Dan Harden’s Response to Walt Hibbard’s Support of Ian Harding’s Book

By Daniel E. Harden

Hibbard Replies to Sam Frost's Analysis and Critique | Preterist Rapture

..(O)ur spiritual condition is drastically different from those of the pre-Parousial saints, based solely on the fact that our High Priest returned and brought back with Him our completed atonement.  Christ has made us whiter than snow, blameless before the Lord, despite our shortcomings.  What was a promise / deposit for the pre-Parousial saints is a reality for us today — even while living on Earth.  Our going to Heaven when we die is BECAUSE of these fulfilled promises.  We don’t look forward to them being fulfilled in fullness when we die, or else we would never be qualified to make it on our own, for we are unable to do so on our own.  Indeed, if we didn’t have glory in fullness already, we couldn’t go to Heaven at all, for God cannot abide anything less than perfection.  But our entrance into Heaven is assured because we already have Eternal Life in fullness NOW!

Following is a point/counterpoint treatment of Hibband’s support of Ian Harding’s book, with Hibbard represented by the blockquoted text, and Harden in response:

“It was not long after the publication of Ian D. Harding’s monumental in-depth study of what actually happened at the Second Coming of Christ in AD 70, that the eminent preterist scholar, Rev. Samuel M. Frost, wrote an extended review of the book.  As I would expect, Sam (as I shall refer to him) does his best to balance his review with some high praise of Mr. Harding’s efforts, but levels most of his comments on where he and Mr. Harding disagree. This is of course to be expected since Sam is known to affirm the “corporate body” or “remained on earth” view of the rapture and resurrection events.” – Walt Hibbard

There is a distinct difference between the “corporate body” and “remained on earth” view!  The two are not synonymous.

“In this reply to Sam, I will attempt to point out where I believe he misunderstands or misinterprets the clear meaning of the biblical text, and as a result teaches a contrived view much like that of the well-known author, Max King.  Sam, in fact, admits to following Mr. King’s hermeneutical model.” – Walt

Sam does not hesitate to employ the term “heaven now” to describe his own ultimate fulfillment conclusions, in contrast to author Ian Harding’s term “taken to heaven” to describe the actual manifestation of God’s glory for believers in heaven. To say it another way, Sam teaches that the AD 70 scenario found complete fulfillment by the changing of the covenants, from Old Covenant to New, in that first century.

Again, a note of caution.  Just as “corporate body” is not synonymous with “remained on earth”, nor is “heaven now” synonymous with “remained on earth”.  Disavowing the idea that we as post-Parousial saints are actually in heaven is a different matter than disagreeing with the Parousial rapture concept.

“In fact, Sam would have us believe that the living pre-Parousia saints received everything promised to them in glorification without the need of being raptured to heaven out of this wicked world.  But I would counter by suggesting that those saints would not have known, nor could they have been expected to know, that they had been delivered from every infirmity, nor given rest from persecution, nor had seen the face of Jesus Christ, all according to promise!  Their living experience would have told them just the opposite!  It would have seemed to these Christians that the great expectations promised to them had not been fulfilled at all!  It would have been a time of severe faith-testing and disappointment as they continued under persecution from Rome and the Jews and were still waiting to behold their Savior face to face.  Thankfully, this is not what happened!” – Walt

Actually, this is not totally correct.  The Jews were a huge part of the underlying reasons for the persecutions, and they were cut off with the destruction of Jerusalem.

It would be helpful if you included Scriptural references, rather than just concepts, when specifying what the promises were.  “Delivered from every infirmity”?  If by that Rev. 21:4 is implied, then it MUST be taken apocalyptically — this is prophetic language as the state within the Kingdom.  Remember, within the Old kingdom, such was constantly occurring because it was a physical kingdom, a mere shadow.  Within the true Kingdom of God, these problems are taken away.  Do we hurt?  Do we cry?  Certainly. But not on account of the Kingdom.  There is no more death or pain spirtually.  There is no more spiritual death for Christians, nor spiritual pain, nor spiritual tears.  The Jews had this constantly because of the mode of their atonement rites.  The physical was a shadow that was imperfect and caused much consternation.  (What if I can’t afford the atonement sacrifice?  Etc.)  Again, this is prophetic, apocalyptic language.

“Given rest from persecution” —

Matt. 11:28.  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  29.  “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  30.  “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I am having trouble finding any passage anywhere that says that persecutions in general will end.  Certainly when Scriptures speak of the coming salvation, it isn’t speaking about salvation from persecutions, but a completion of atonement.

Gal. 1:3.  Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,  4.  who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,

Deliverance was from “this present evil age”, the oppression brought about by the still existing age, the Jewish system.

1 Thes. 1:9.  For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,  10.  and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Very specifically referring to the wrath that was about to be poured out on the Jews.

I don’t see anywhere where Scripture promises the saints that they would not be subject to any persecution after the Parousia.

As for “seeing the face of Jesus Christ”, this can hardly be taken at – ahem – face value, for the apostles had already seen the literal face of the risen Lord, and they weren’t in heaven.  The idea of seeing the face of Christ must be two-fold.  First, the idea that no imperfect soul can look at the face of God and survive.  Why is that?  Because the imperfect cannot abide that which is perfect.  All this means is that the pre-Parousial saints were not yet perfected.  Second, it was clear that it was still “as in a mirror” and that Christ was not yet revealed as He would be at the Parousia.  What was still a future promise would be made clear when it came about.  The destruction of the old age and the physical “kingdom” was also when it became apparent — REVEALED for all — that the saints, the Christians, were the TRUE sons of God, and bride of Christ.  Incidentally, Harding misses this BIG time.  Every time he talks about something being revealed, he has it being revealed in Heaven, when in actuality the entire idea behind being revealed is an Earthly concept.  There was no need to reveal anything in Heaven, where everything is already clear.  The Christians were revealed TO THE WORLD as being true sons of God, receivers of His glory and honor, by the removal of the shadow-system.

1 Cor. 13, which Harding harps on, says:

1 Cor. 13:12.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Actually this doesn’t mean “see the face of Christ” so much as seeing the completion of what was only “in part” in that chapter, seeing what would be revealed on earth at the Parousia.

The only place where the phrase “His face” appears with the implication of “seeing the face of Jesus” is again in the apocalyptic description of life within the Kingdom of God.

Rev. 22:3.  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.  4.  They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.

For us, as post-Parousial saints, having received the completion and fullness of atonement, there is no more curse and His name is on our foreheads.  Verse 4 is in no way to be taken literally, or else all spiritual bodies have a literal name of God on their foreheads.  But instead it is a description of the condition of the saints within the post-Parousial Kingdom of God, which we have today!

“Sam apparently believes that these first century Christians, scarred by sin and corruption, and living in a fallen world inherited from Adam, would experience everything promised in the Bible as the clock struck 12 midnight on that momentous and glorious Day of our Lord’s Second Coming.  Yet, apparently they would not be aware that anything happened as they remained on earth, one by one, to live out their days and die of old age, or succumb to persecution by the sword.  Sam believes that they received complete fulfillment of all of the promises, not by experiencing them in a way that would bring rejoicing and relief from suffering as promised, but rather accepting it all by faith!  It remains a mystery, as one attempts to comprehend what Sam is teaching, how any pre-Parousia saint would believe that the long-promised fulfillment had come and that it applied to himself as an individual person.  His life would have remained the same as if no Parousia had happened, no fulfillment of promises had taken place!” – Walt

The problem with this is that it misunderstands the whole purpose for the Parousia, and the need for the Messiah — to save us from our sins.  Sam is absolutely correct on this score.  Christ restored us, meaning that the saints exist in a condition as Adam did before His fall.  The Parousia was the perfect “fix” for the fall, because it removed the curse, removed the blot and blemish of sin for the saints forever, making us whiter than snow.  The Parousia completed Christ’s High Priestly mission to correct the condition of being “scarred by sin and corruption”.  We are free of that curse regardless of the fact that we live in a “fallen world inherited from Adam.”  The Kingdom of God isn’t inherited, but it can — and is — obtained by living saints.

As for life remaining the same, there is one very crucial difference, one that any Jew would have recognized — the saints at the Parousia (and ever since) were made pure, freed from the bondage of sin because Christ completed the process whereby He permanently removed all our sins.  We are blameless before the Lord — not because of ourselves, for we continue to sin, but because of Christ, because He removed our sins and brought the completion of atonement back once and forever!  So yes, the living saints at the time of the Parousia received all the promises due to them regarding perfection, glory, honor, etc., even though they were still living on earth.

The core of the promises made to the saints had nothing to do with locale and everything to do with their spiritual condition before the Lord.

“It was interesting to have Sam express a difficulty with Mr. Harding’s use of the word “experiential” in relation to raptured believers who were the recipients of the fulfilled promises.  To him, such an event or process as glorification would not require an experiential fulfillment at all.  Rather, it should be accepted by faith, believed that it happened, and not to be expecting to see any outward or perceived effect of this kind of spiritual fulfillment.  How likely was it that those earliest Christians would have been so eager to hope for the Parousia to arrive as Scripture teaches, along with all that was promised to them, and yet find that there was really no change in their daily experience, just more of the same suffering that they were already well acquainted with.  Where was the deliverance promised at the Parousia?  What happened to these promises?  Did not Jesus fulfill His Word?” – Walt

Absolutely, Christ fulfilled His word.  The problem with today’s world is that it expects sensationalism.  But to the Christians, as sons of God, who understood the need throughout the OT and NT Scriptures for a “fix” to the blemish of sin, it was a HUGE deal to have Christ say that He was about to return from the Holy of Holies and would bring with Him their completed salvation.  And we as Christians should recognize that such a spiritual promise is the ultimate promise, not anything that is “experiential”.  Sam is correct — glorification didn’t require anything experiential, for it wasn’t something physical.  When one receives glory, it isn’t experiential, but is both spiritual and something of status.  To give glory to someone is to raise him up in status.  The pre-Parousial saints received glory at the Parousia because when Christ returned with their completed atonement, it lifted them up from their condition of “needing the completion of atonement” which they only had as a deposit, to one of having it in completion.  Glory and honor are NOT experiential.  And Harding misses this completely.

In earlier correspondence that I had with Sam Frost, I discovered that he does not hold to “progressive sanctification” in the life of the believer. It is all “positional” and takes place once and for all at the time a person is saved.  This is hardly what one would expect from one professing the Reformed faith, as evidenced by the great body of Puritan writings heavily loaded with book after book dealing with progressive sanctification or growth in grace.  I fear that these long-dead Puritans would never have recognized Sam as one of their number, at least in the area of sanctification.

Curious.  When a believer is saved today, he is “washed clean” completely, isn’t he?

To Sam, the implications of what happened to the pre-Parousia believers at the time of the Second Coming is shrouded in mystery or at least not discussed at any great length in his review of the Harding book.  Apparently what did happen to give these persecuted saints “relief and deliverance,” according to Sam, was nothing intrinsically different from what they as pre-Parousia believers already had received when they first believed.  In effect, they received nothing more experientially than what they already had!  Yet the N. T. is full of glorious “expectation statements” suggesting a magnanimous and amazing time of ultimate fulfillment when Jesus Himself would return at His Parousia.

But that doesn’t specify whether the “expectation statements” are in any way “experiential”.  Which was more important — saving the body through being relieved of persecution, or saving the soul through completed atonement? (Beware of that which saves the body but does not save the soul.)  To me, the news of the glorious arrival of my fulfilled atonement, and therefore
the completeness of my being accepted as a full son of God despite my shortcomings, is of far more import than seeing a promised removal of pain.

Is the NT full of glorious expectation statements suggesting a magnanimous and amazing time of ultimate fulfillment?  Absolutely.  Do we, as living saints today, have the fullness of that fulfillment, completely, thanks to His making complete atonement possible?  Amen, yes we do.

It should be evident to the reader by now that there is a major watershed contrast between this “change of covenants” or “corporate” or “heaven now” view, compared to what is known as the “literal rapture “or “taken to heaven in A.D. 70” view.  It serves as a study in bold contrasts!  An overview of each view appears below:

(1)  One view holds that what first century, pre-Parousia believers received when they first believed was an “already and not yet” experience, followed by the Parousia event where it became to them a “consummated and fulfilled” prophecy received by faith, namely, the fullness of the New Covenant as it replaced the Old Covenant, but with no actual experiential fulfillment like they were promised in terms of their daily struggle with persecution, indwelling sin, and earthly conditions.  In brief, a real letdown!

This is a poor characterization, because it attempts to render as insignificant what the real hope and promise was, that of completed atonement and perfection in God’s eyes by the consummation of the removal of sin.  The daily struggle is meaningless without this!

(2)  On the other hand, the view taught by Ian Harding demonstrates that the pre-Parousia believers, when they received Jesus as Lord and Savior, experienced a “firstfruit/deposit” share of the great promises of expectancy in the New Testament, and then, when the New Covenant came into its fullness with the return of Jesus Christ, these believers were caught up to heaven along with those saints raised out of hades, and the combined group taken to heaven to be with Jesus, experiencing the “full harvest” of all that was promised to them on earth, including deliverance and relief from suffering and persecution, and glorious, incorruptible, immortal, spiritual bodies, suitable for heaven for all eternity.

Actually, Paul states that to get the heavenly body, one has to die!  Frost does point this out, and it is in accord with:

1 Cor. 15:22.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

1 Cor. 15:35.  But someone will say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?”  36.  Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies.

Heb. 9:27.  And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28.  so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Notice what that last passage does not say — it does not say they were awaiting the return of Christ to free them from that death that is appointed, but rather to free them for salvation, so that when they experience the judgment of verse 27, they will be found blameless.

Again, that is what Christ brought back — blamelessness, spiritual purity, for the saints.

Now, it may be helpful to list succinctly the major problems with this “Max King view” that Sam Frost has picked up and is determined to run with it into the end zone.  I see these differences as major, not trivial, and as Scripture-denying dangers, not as unimportant exercises in hermeneutic gymnastics.

1.   Sam’s interpretative system fails to recognize the “gathering together” of the dead pre-Parousia believers raised out of hades (the Resurrection of the Dead) along with the living pre-Parousia believers which Paul in I Thess. 4:17 predicted “will be caught up together” at the Parousia. The author of Hebrews wrote that the O. T. saints, like Abraham, “would not be made perfect apart from us – God having provided something better for us” (11:39-40).  Sam’s view, which denies a “caught up gathering” hardly does justice to the inspired language.

Such language does not require a rapture, however.  Whatever the “gathering” is, it must be of a nature that it was actually possible for the pre-Parousial saints to not easily recognize, without being watchful.  It must be of a nature where they could be deceived into believing it had already occurred.

I don’t happen to agree with Sam’s view on the resurrection, but to say his system fails to recognize the “gathering together” is inaccurate, it does recognize it covenantally.

 2.   His view downplays the scores of N. T. expectation statements from the lips of the Lord Jesus and from the inspired apostolic writings.  These living saints would be changed and transformed, would bypass physical death, would be glorified in their heavenly, spiritual bodies (I Cor. 15:51-54;  Phil. 3:21) and be joined with the deceased  and risen saints out of hades, and together would enter into the presence of the Lord.  It was at the Parousia that this was predicted to happen, not at some point following their physical death.  Sam says little about these expectation statements, of course, and in effect denies or explains away the “real life experience” of those anxiously-awaiting, promise-expecting, living N. T. saints in A.D. 70 at the Parousia.

Harding, on the other hand, fails to recognize the victory over death that we, as post-Parousia saints, enjoy.  Harding, in essence, takes a “process” idea with regard to the idea of perfection and glorification, stating that each saint can only achieve that by physically dying.

Two quick points here.  First, I don’t believe either 1 Cor. 15:51-54 nor Phil. 3:21 talks about taking a physical body and changing it into a heavenly body.  In Phil. 3:21, for example, the transformation is to the “glorious body of Christ”.  To apply that literally means every heavenly body will have holes in their hands and sides.  But since the word <summorphos> is clarified in Rom. 8:29 as a transformation into the “image of His Son”, then that means the transformation is to Christ’s image, something His glorious body has/had but man’s inherent physical body doesn’t have.  God created Adam “in His image” but Adam lost that when he fell.  Paul is saying nothing different than what I’ve said above — that the transformation was nothing other than the “renewal” or “restoration”, the re-gaining of the image of God.  Adam had this while on Earth, so to say that post-Parousial saints cannot have this is equivalent to saying that Christ could not completely restore or fix what Adam broke.  Adam had the
image of God, but lost it.  Today, thanks to the completed work of Christ for the complete atonement of our sins, and His return with that completed atonement at the Parousia, we as post-Parousial saints once again have the blamelessness, the perfect image of God, transformed to the glorious body (or image) of Christ as sinless and blameless and whiter than snow — despite our sins — for our sins are remembered no more.  Praise God!

3.    Sam Frost also seems to miss the high level to which Ian Harding carries the hermeneutical principle of “audience relevancy.”  To minimize or deny the distinction between the living, pre-Parousia N. T. saints and the post-Parousia saints living beyond that vitally important A.D. 70 watershed mark is devastating to sound exegesis.  There are two distinct groups here.  It was to the first group, the first century group, that the promises of a literal rapture were made.  These saints were the ones who were an exception to the general rule that “it is appointed unto man once to die.” (Heb. 9:27).  These same living saints were the only believers promised to be “caught up. to a meeting with the Lord in the air (Thess. 4:15-17).  Those who lived after the Parousia would experience physical death followed by receiving their glorified spiritual bodies and all that the “harvest of fulfillment” would entitle them to receive in heaven.

Why?  Heb. 9 says nothing about any exceptions whatsoever, even in light of the expectation of the soon-to-return Christ.  Nothing.  I would expect a very clear statement here if there were in fact any exceptions to be made. But it is merely left as “it is appointed unto man once to die” without any statement that “but you won’t experience death, but will be an exception”. This can be taken a step further.  Heb. 9:27 mentions two events — physical death and judgment.  To say that the pre-Parousial saints would be an exception to that rule (and why mention the rule at all if they were?) would mean that they would also be an exception to judgment.

I will also stress a point here that Kelly Birks likes to stress — the word <harpazo> does not in any way indicate a direction of “up”

One other point, the “meeting” indicated in 1 Thes. 4:17 indicates a “coming dignitary”.  Harding’s attempt to change the direction of the “coming” is totally unbelievable.  The living saints were “snatched” to a meeting of a coming dignitary, Christ.  The direction of the approach is already determined in verses 14 and 16 (something Harding conveniently overlooks): ”  God will bring with Him” … “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven…”  Therefore the correct direction is downward toward Earth, so the “approaching dignitary” is one that approaches earth, and the saints then “met Him to escort Him in”, as is the proper interpretation of “a meeting” <apantesis>.  This means the destination is Earth, so the saints that were “caught away” really were an escort, hailing His arrival.  A “rapture” would have the saints leaving and then returning to Earth!

Scripture says over and over that all men must die.  Even Christ died.  So for the pre-Parousial saints to “be like Him at His coming”, and attempting to apply this as a heavenly-body concept, they would have had to die!

4.   Building upon 3. above, in order for post-Parousia Christians to experience the culminative fulfillment of those magnanimous heavenly promises that only the pre-Parousia believers actually experienced at the Parousia, they, too, would later be transported into the heavenly realm at the time of physical death, receiving their glorious spiritual bodies just as the pre-Parousia believers already had.  Ian Harding devotes a major portion of his book in showing from the Scripture how the ultimate fulfillment promises could only be experienced outside of this sin-cursed world in which we live.  In spite of this seemingly so obvious fact, Sam Frost charges that Mr. Harding only asserts this opinion and does not prove it from Scripture.  In my opinion, there can be no doubt that Harding proves his case conclusively, leaving the attentive reader thoroughly convinced.

It left me totally UNCONVINCED because he missed what true “glory” and “perfection” meant — and was reiterated in Scripture — the return of Christ with completed atonement, and therefore the consummated cleansing of the saints’ spirits through the completed work of Christ as both Sacrifice and High Priest on our behalf.  We are holy and blameless today.  THAT was the ultimate promise and its ultimate fulfillment.  Christ didn’t preach “the rapture”, He preached the coming Kingdom.  It was what was coming that was preached, not what was leaving.

I’ll make the case stronger.  The Kingdom was promised as coming.  This didn’t mean it was leaving Heaven.  Harding misses this too, by the way.  Christ stated it clearly in His prayer: “Thy Kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven”.  When the Roman Empire incorporated (or “came to”) Israel before Christ’s birth, it didn’t leave Rome.  It merely expanded its borders.  The same was true with the Kingdom.  The Kingdom came down from Heaven to Earth without leaving Heaven.  But Christ also said the Kingdom of God is “within”, meaning it exists within man.  The Kingdom hadn’t come yet because man in his not-yet-completely-atoned-for condition couldn’t yet house the Kingdom.  With the arrival of Christ — out of the Holy of Holies with completed, fulfilled, consummated atonement — on Earth at the Parousia, the saints were now pure in God’s sight and could have (and experience!) the Kingdom.  BUT if all saints were raptured, then the Kingdom couldn’t have descended at all, for there would be no vessels on Earth left to contain it. All saints raptured = no saints remaining = no Kingdom come, for the Kingdom is within the purified saints.  The NT clearly is full of promises about the “coming Kingdom” tied in with the Parousia.

Harding is absolutely wrong when he says that the “ultimate fulfillment promises could only be experienced outside of this sin-cursed world in which we live”.  Adam had it, but lost it.  Christ regained it for us.

5.   Working from the position of denial of the truths expressed in 4. above, Sam may need to be reminded that Abraham of old actually “looked forward to a city having the foundations of which the builder and maker is God” and “embraced and confessed that they are aliens and tenants on the earth” (Heb. 11:10,13).  That city is the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city, to which Mr. Harding devotes some 27 pages of exposition.  All of the promises of “the Garden of Eden restoration” are heavenly promises that could never be fulfilled on this sin-infected earth, but only in heaven itself.

Again, I say this is incorrect.  The New Jerusalem and the Kingdom of God are the same, and the promise to both wasn’t that the saints would “go to” them, but that they were “coming down” from Heaven at the Parousia.  This is pronounced time and time again throughout the NT.  Missing the promises of the restored Garden of Eden is due to looking for a physical fulfillment, which is the reason the Jews missed the Kingdom and the reason the futurists
missed the resurrection.  The promises of the Garden of Eden are within the Kingdom, the New Jerusalem, and Christ Himself makes it clear that this is not a physical entity, so we shouldn’t expect to see physical fulfillments.

6.   Sam Frost is allergic to anything that smacks of futurism. He faults Harding for ending up with a “futurist eschatology” which of course is a false charge.  Ian, on the other hand, is humble enough to admit that many futurist scholars of past and present generations have done some excellent exegetical work in many areas of eschatology, even as they completely missed the timing and nature of the consummative fulfillment that Jesus and His followers recorded in the N. T.  I fear that Sam is “throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” thus robbing both himself and his readers of some valuable biblical insights.  And worse yet, by doing that, he completely misses the grand glory and tremendous splendor associated with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which fulfilled the promises delivered to both O. T. and N. T. believers.  Sam seems to explain away that unique, once and for all, Parousia event, as a mere positional or transitional change in covenants, something where “experiential events” are ruled out as being “less spiritual” than what he considers the “heaven now” view to set forth.

The Parousia was absolutely covenental.  To attempt to view it outside of its covenental framework is a mistake.  Harding elevates “experiential” over covenental, to the point of hardly even acknowledging any covenental fulfillments, which is a mistake.  I don’t think anybody denies that futurist scholars of past and present generations have done some great work.

7.   I was surprised to discover in Sam’s review almost no space devoted to the study of prime Scripture passages in Harding’s book, such as John 14:23 and I Thess. 4:13-17.  These are pivotal passages and much support for Harding’s viewpoint comes from a careful study of these great truths.  The first passage tells us that Jesus would depart at the Ascension to heaven where he would prepare a place for those first century believers, and that He would return and receive them to Himself in that place.  And the second passage uses the Greek word “harpazo” (caught away) to describe what would happen when the Lord returned.  It is the same Greek word, as Sam well knows, that was used in Acts 8:39 to describe Philip’s experience of being “caught away” and found later at Azotus, and when Paul was “caught up” to the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2) and in Rev. 12:5 where the man-child was “caught away” out of the devil’s reach.  Yet Sam is not alone in passing over lightly these vital passages which teach a literal rapture at A.D. 70.  All preterists who hold to a “heaven now” or “covenantal  change” view of the end-time events suffer under the same unwillingness to accept at face value these passages that clearly teach this great removal of living saints from the earth in about A.D. 70.

Hardly.  Christ did leave and prepare a place — he paved the way through His High Priestly work for man to be with Him in the Kingdom of God.  And guess what — we ARE!  Christ brought back the Kingdom to Earth.  John 14 does NOT say He would take them away, just that they could be where He is, that is, in the Kingdom.

The Greek concept behind <harpazo> does NOT have to be a physical.  The saints at the Parousia were definitely “caught” into the Kingdom.  All saints, both living and dead, are in the Kingdom of God with Christ, together in the Kingdom forever.

8.   To this reviewer (and I suspect to others as well), it is almost unbelievable that any serious student of the Holy Scriptures could adopt the “heaven now” position.  Some have gone even further than Sam Frost in speculative thinking, such as Ward Fenley, who teaches that believers today have two bodies, a physical body and a spiritual body, both at the same time.  One body that you can touch and see and the other spiritually present also!  At this point I think it is only fair, open and honest to urge the “heaven now” preterists to return to sanity in their eschatological studies.  If they choose not to do so, they are laying themselves wide open for ridicule and laughter from the entire futurist community and many preterists as well – and even worse will do insurmountable damage to the preterist cause, and to the credibility and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ, the very One whom preterists strive to honor in virtue of their adopting the preterist viewpoint!

I agree here, insofar as the saints today are not literally in “heaven now”. But that doesn’t mean the saints today aren’t in the Kingdom.  I see Harding’s work as damaging as well, for it defies history, and it denies a clear Greek understanding in such passages as 1 Cor. 15 and 2 Cor. 5. Here’s one example.  Harding harps time and again on the inability for saints on Earth to be fully in the Kingdom of God because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God”, and yet he fails to even follow the simple English understanding of language, let alone Greek.  It is very true that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” — that was a clear reference to the Jewish system that believed the Kingdom was physical and passed down along physical lines.  But just because the physical man (flesh and blood) could not inherit the Kingdom of God does not mean he could not have the Kingdom of God.  All that the word “inherit” means in its normal usage is “to acquire through right of physical birth”, a passing based on physical ancestry.  When Nicodemus was faced with this dilemma, he asked Christ and Christ told him the way — “You must be born again”.  The Kingdom was coming, but it wasn’t something that could be inherited.  Indeed, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ” (Rom. 6:23) “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” — but that doesn’t mean man couldn’t acquire it through Christ.  Indeed, the whole “mystery” of 1 Cor. 15:51 was that the promise of 1 Cor. 15:47-49, about acquiring the “image of Christ”, was something that would happen to the living!  Adam had the image of God and the Kingdom of God but lost it.  Thanks to Christ’s work in bringing completed atonement, all saints, dead and alive alike, would regain that image, changed/transfered back into that image of God and Christ through the cleansing brought about by the consummated atonement work of Christ on our behalf.  It couldn’t be inherited.  Spiritual purity wasn’t something a spiritually defiled being could inherit (the proper rendering of the second half of 1 Cor. 15:50), but it was achievable only one way, through Christ and His High Priestly work.

9.   In reference to 3. above, Sam’s chief interest, like that of Max King’s, seems to be in discussing the corporate body that present day 21st century believers dwell in here and now, namely, the New Covenant.   In fact, in earlier years of email correspondence with Mr. King, there has been, not surprisingly, a reported denial of any actual individual body resurrection.  Of course it is understandable from reading his books that his entire rapture/resurrection paradigm involves the corporate idea alone. Sam Frost seems to actually believe that this is what the Scripture teaches. Ian Harding, however, convincingly demonstrates something quite to the contrary – a more simple, believable, and sane view of the first century resurrection and rapture events.  Many preterists have held to the corporate view, more or less, during the past 35 years – a view that is likely to soon pass into the realm of out-dated preterist fantasies – especially after one has taken the time to thoroughly digest Mr. Harding’s masterful treatment of the subject.  The companion book by Edward E. Stevens, Expectations Demand a First Century Rapture, has already placed this view in the public eye, giving the serious preterist scholar and student ample material supporting this viewpoint.

I strongly disagree.  I find Harding’s work grammatically flawed and historically ignorant.  He does some good things, like showing some deposit-aspects of the pre-Parousial Christians.  But he often takes generic statements about such things as the Kingdom of God and salvation, and tries to apply it as an already-established fact for the pre-Parousial saints.  To see the corporate understanding of Scripture and specifically the NT does not demand the corporate understanding of the resurrection that Frost holds.  There has been much good work done to show that the resurrection still has a place among individuals even in the corporate setting of the NT.  I don’t see that as “out-dated” at all.

10.  In considering the spiritual level of both the pre-Parousia N. T. saints and the post-Parousia saints living today, we need to ask ourselves as modern-day Christians, just how do we measure up today to the spiritual level of consummate blessings that Mr. Harding spells out in his book?  How do we today compare to the Apostles Paul, John and Peter who admit that they were, in effect, experiencing only the “deposit/firstfruits” stage of their Christian experience (I Cor. 13:9-12), and looking forward to the Parousia for the “harvest” consummation of that fulfillment?  Can any of us 21st century Christians make the claim that we have attained to a higher spiritual level than the pre-Parousia Apostle Paul?  Mr. Harding asks this question in several places throughout his book, yet Sam chooses to ignore the question and offers no answer.  This question alone, all by itself, would seem to be sufficient to refute this strange and unrealistic “remained on earth” view that Sam espouses.  So where are the post-Parousia living Christians today who are supposedly bearing a higher level of spirituality than the pre-Parousia Apostle Paul?  One would expect, given Sam’s position, that all of us should be able to identify more with the first century post-Parousia believers than with the pre-Parousia believers who were still waiting for the promises to be fulfilled, if Sam’s view is correct. Yet just the opposite is true!  Why is this?

I would think because Harding is incorrect to compare the two.  There are ways the pre-Parousial Christians were “more spiritual” because of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the special gifts imparted to that group of people, with the idea that this facilitated the establishment of Christianity.  But the question in general ignores completely that we today do have something very important that the pre-Parousial saints only had as a future hope, the finished work of Christ resulting in our being made pure and blameless before God, the completed and consummated atonement brought back from the Holy of Holies and given to all saints at the Parousia. Harding totally downplays the absolute magnitude and significance of this. Without it, the Parousia loses much of its impact.  Do we live more spiritual lives?  Hard to tell, the times are different.  Different saints have lead tremendously spiritual lives throughout history.  To say that we don’t match up to Paul in his spiriutal walk is actually totally irrelevant in light of what is really important, that is, what we DO have that he didn’t have.  I don’t profess to be on a “higher level of spirituality” than Paul.  But I do profess to have my sins paid for in full, with completed atonement that Paul saw as still a future event.  And that, regardless of our respective spiritual walks, is what is pivotal — and totally missed by Harding.

Before I conclude this article, I must point out a few other errors or false assumptions that Sam commits against Mr. Harding’s position.  He tries to tell us that Harding is forced by his arguments to deny “justification by faith” in its fullest sense today because we are still living on the earth. Nonsense!  Justification is a forensic term that is applied to the account of the Christian at the moment he trulybelieves and it doesn’t grow or progress, which Harding affirms, and in no sense is incomplete, unlike sanctification which does progress.  There is, however, the fullness of application of every aspect of salvation which finds its consummation only after we die and are taken to heaven.

Again, I disagree.  The fullness of our being justified, in our being perfected, is available to us today.  When we die, we won’t become “more saved” in any way, we will simply move on to our next phase of our spiritual life.  Our atonement is already complete.

Sam Frost in several places in his review asks the questions, “Must one experience full salvation in order to say that he has it?  What prevents one from believing that he has it regardless of his experience?  Isn’t this faith?”  Perhaps Sam should devise a “time machine” and return to that first century A. D. world and put that question to the suffering first century pre-Parousia saints!  Would they not rebel against such a notion?  “You mean to say, brother Sam, that we are not going to actually receive relief or deliverance that we have been promised in II Thess. 1:7-10?  Nor that we will receive transformed bodies (Phil. 3:21) just like Jesus has, when He returns?  Nor be clothed with a building from God at the time of His Parousia (II Cor. 5:1-4)?  Nor receive rewards (Matt. 16:27Rev. 22:12) that He promised to us?  And do you mean we will not see Jesus when He is revealed (I John 3:2).  Hey, Sam, you don’t talk much like what all of us have been told!  We don’t believe you because you are trying to take away our hope of glorious fulfilled salvation that we were promised at the Parousia!”  Then Sam replies, “Let not your hearts be troubled, just accept it all by faith, brothers, and don’t expect to be raptured and gathered with the saints of old because it just isn’t going to happen at the Parousia, so get ready to die of old age or by the sword!”  Sounds like one big cruel joke, doesn’t it?

One passage at a time…

2 Thes. 1:7-10 speaks quite specifically about the easing of the persecution that the Thessalonians would receive with the destruction of Jerusalem, and the flaming vengence on “those that do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” is a direct reference to the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem. Paul doesn’t say they will “rest from all their earthly trials” at all here, simply that the Jews would be dealt with.  What is more, in light of what immediately follows this in 2 Thes. 2:1-3, it is obvious that the Thessalonians weren’t expecting a rapture as a fulfillment of this promise, or else they couldn’t possibly have been in any danger of being deceived that it had already occurred!

The “transformed bodies” of Phil. 3:21, in light of the Greek words used, was a changed in schema only, a “meta-schema”, which means the body itself didn’t change.  What the transformation entailed was a <summorphos> or change from the image of Adam to the image of Christ.  I don’t believe the pre-Parousial Greek saints would have understood this verse in any way to be a change from a physical body to a heavenly body, merely a change while remaining physical from the image of Adam to the image of Christ.

2 Cor. 5:1-4 is also problematical.  The Greek words used indicate that something was “put on”, but you can’t put one body on over another body. Besides, the word <oiketerion> in verse 2 is never used in Greek literature to refer to a single house or dwelling, but to an area or realm.  What was going to be “put on” wasn’t a body, but a realm — the Kingdom of God.  Paul proves this in verse 4 by stating that mortality was swallowed up in LIFE. Not swallowed up by a different body but by life, Eternal life.  This is realized by all believers today when they believe!  I have elsewhere pointed out the inconsistency in stating that the physical body is changed by “putting on” another body, when that really isn’t what the rapture advocates.  The rapture demands that the same body is changed — the spiritual body isn’t “put on over” it, but rather it is changed into a spiritual body.  That is two different concepts altogether.  What is more, the rapture falls flat in this passage because of what follows — in the body = away from Christ, while away from the body = with Christ.  Yet a rapture entails a condition of keeping a (changed) body AND being with Christ.  Paul says while in the body they were away from Christ.  He does NOT say “until he takes us up” or any such thing, but clearly sets the need to be absent from the body to be with the Lord (in the sense of being with Him in Heaven).  And yet the rapture contends that the pre-Parousial saints were bodily raised and taken to be with the Lord in Heaven, which goes totally counter to Paul’s teaching here.  He affirms his teaching in 1 Cor. 15:36 where he clearst states that they would have to die (phyiscally) to have their spiritual bodies.

Finally, 1 John 3:2.  Again I say that Harding totally misses the concept of “revealed”, for what was being revealed was on earth, not in heaven.  The destruction of Jerusalem, the passing of the old age, the annihilism of the shadow served to reveal the Christians, the saints, the Church as the true sons of God, the true glorified Chosen, the true Israel.  It also revealed Christ as the Son of God who keeps his vengence against the apostate Jews and those that turn their back on  Him.  What is revealed must be revealed on earth.  There is nothing hidden in Heaven, so the revealing of Christ and the saints represents the true showing of who they are to those on earth. The saints were revealed as they were, the true sons of God.  Christ was revealed as the true son of God and the Judge, and the saints saw Him completely as He was, the One who keeps His promises and delivers completed salvation/atonement to His followers.  This was “as in a mirror” when still a promise and hope, but when that which is hoped for arrives, it ceases to be a hope that is seen “as in a mirror” a way off, and becomes a reality seen “as it is” in its arrived existence.

When Sam quotes Ian Harding from pg. 157 of his book that believers at the Parousia receive a “body of incorruption, of glory, of power, of spiritual life – just like Jesus’ heavenly body,” Sam objects that this body is not like Jesus’ heavenly body because Jesus was raised in the same body he had in the tomb, while believers, according to Ian, receive a new body even as the corpse is laid to rest in the ground.  Sam believes that Harding has fallen into the common “resurrection body trap” that Reformed theologians are quick to recognize.  Actually, however, the glorious heavenly body that Ian speaks of was acquired by Jesus after the Ascension, not at the Resurrection or while He remained on the earth as Sam suggests.  Jesus’ resurrected body was not identical to His glorified heavenly body!  We need to remember that when Jesus appeared after the Ascension to Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road, He was not in the form of a body like He had at His resurrection, but it had been transformed into a glorious, incorruptible, immortal, spiritual body suitable for heaven, just like the new bodies that believers at the Parousia would later receive.  Sam’s objections therefore are not valid and Ian Harding’s statement that the new bodies of believers were actually “just like Jesus’ heavenly body” is affirmed!

This is also problematical at best.  It would seem to me, based on Christ’s changed mode of existence — not needing food, appearing and disappearing, being visible only occasionally, etc. — that He did have his physical body changed into a heavenly body (although he kept His wounds) at the Resurrection, rather than at the Ascension.  The fact that He had physicality on selected occasions does not mean He was physical, any more than the angels who appeared to Abraham were any more physical in nature simply because they took on physicality for the occasion.

We do not know for sure exactly what Saul saw on the Damascus road.  It is certainly possible that Christ had the exact same form as during His post-resurrection appearances on earth, but that the mere fact that it was in Heaven gave it a more brilliant quality.

But the problem intensifies for the rapture position here.  Christ was changed/raised from His physical body complete WITH scars, holes in hands/wrists, etc.  To then say the saints would be conformed to His glorious body would indicate that the bodies of the raptured saints would remain as they were on Earth.  Those missing a leg on Earth would still be missing a leg in their heavenly bodies, etc., since it was their same bodies merely “changed”.   Now if the insistence is that Christ retained His physical body and was not in His heavenly body after the resurrection, then the saints would naturally have expected to be raised into their physical bodies as well.  But Paul states otherwise in 1 Cor. 15.  In verse 20 he states: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. ”  If Christ was merely raised physically, then this would indicate that the saints would only gain physical resurrection as well.  But the whole point of Christ’s resurretion wasn’t that He was raised physically, but that He was raised into His spiritual, heavenly form, and thereby all saints could also acquire a heavenly form.

Preterists who believe in the “remained on earth” view of the rapture need to make some close distinctions that can quite often get lost in the shuffle.  When this subject arises, it is essential to remember that we are discussing three separate groups of believers.

The first group are the O. T. saints who “believed God and it was accounted unto them for righteousness,” such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Esther, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel and many others.  In addition, there were N. T. believers who died or were martyred before the Parousia took place. Among these were John the Baptist, Stephen, and likely Peter and Paul as well, who died with the hope of being alive when the Lord Jesus would return a second time as He Himself promised (Heb. 9:28).  All of this combined group of believers, at the time of physical death, were consigned to hades in the bosom of Abraham (Luke 16:19-31), and at peace, awaiting their long-promised resurrection and assurance of one day being in heaven with Jesus.

These departed saints were the only people who could accurately be described as participating in a “Resurrection of the Dead.”  This was to occur at the sound of an archangel’s voice and a trumpet (I Thess. 4:13-17) when Jesus would be revealed at His Second Coming.  These people were to be raised out of hades, caught up to be with Jesus along with those first century living saints, who constitute our second group.

I absolutely agree.  It is ONLY the dead saints that would be raised/resurrected, not the living saints.

The second group includes all of the living believers who were present at the time of Christ’s Parousia.  This group could possibly be described as few in number (Matt. 7:14Luke 18:8) or possibly as some (Matt. 16:28), but likely much fewer than the 144,000 that Sam (turned literalist!) suggests as a minimum number.  The apostles often considered themselves to be among this number of survivors left on the earth at the Second Coming, but even many of these godly men died before that great Day arrived.

There were also Christians in the churches throughout Asia who were outside of Jerusalem, but nevertheless were included in the number of believers on earth when Christ returned.  Note carefully that only this group, plus a few from among the first group, were actually the only believers to whom the words of the N. T. promises were written!  And of those who heard the promises first hand, only those who remained alive at the Parousia were the ones who became the sole exceptions to the Hebrews 9:27 verse “And as it is reserved to men once to die, and after this, Judgment” or John 17:15 “I do not pray that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil.”

But this requires a departure from the very verses mentioned!  Christ specifically did NOT pray for them to be removed, and there is no exception mentioned in Heb. 9:27.  AND the verse mentions both death AND judgment, and this would entail the raptured saints to bypass judgment as well.  The saints alive at the Parousia did NOT become exceptions to a rule where no exceptions are given or allowed!

It was both of these first two groups of believers who were “caught up together in the clouds to a meeting with the Lord in the air (I Thess. 4:17).  The first group was resurrected out of hades and was joined with the living believers on the earth at that glorious and never-to-be-repeated event where the Lord Jesus caught them up to be with Him forever in heaven, the place that He had prepared for them following His Ascension!

But notice clearly in 1 Thes. 4:14-16 that as far as locale is concerned,  the dead were already with Christ, already raised into heavenly bodies! This means that whatever is meant by being “caught away” in verse 17, it cannot be a change from one body into another.  The first group was already resurrected out of Hades!  The ONLY way the dead and living could be “changed” or “caught” at the same time is for this to be a spiritual change or elevation.  The raised saints had their heavenly bodies, the living saints had their physical bodies.  Both groups were “changed” / “caught” at the same time.  The result CAN’T be the heavenly body, for the dead saints ALREADY HAD THEIRS!  This is true in both the 1 Cor. 15 and the 1 Thes. 4 passage.  This is a major grammatical problem for the idea of a rapture. This wonderful event had to be their “being swallowed up with life” — their being brought together into the image of God, into the condition of completed atonement.  No other argument satisfies the grammar and sequence of events in both passages as applied to the individual.

This combined group of believers was the first group of human beings who ever entered into heaven!  Peter tells us that “the prophets sought out and searched out, prophesying concerning the grace for you, searching for what, or what sort of time the Spirit of Christ made clear within them; testifying beforehand of the sufferings belonging to Christ, and the glories after these ( I Pet. 1:10-11).  The fulfillment of those long-sought-after promises was being fulfilled right before their very eyes.  It was the wonderful and glorious consummation of the salvation promises, and it all happened at circa A.D. 70.

The coming of Christ with completed atonement was equivalent to the coming of glory.  We have this glory in fullness today, even while saints on earth. That was the one thing above all that the prophets looked forward to.

The third group constitutes all true believers who were converted to Christ after the Parousia had occurred.  This includes late first century, second century, third century and those believers living even today and those born into each generation of the future and throughout this never-ending world (Eccl. 1:4Ps. 78:6989:36-37148:46Eph. 3:21).  It includes you and me, being among those trusting in Christ alone for salvation.  No rapture for any of these people!  The rapture event was fulfilled in that first century.  The place in heaven has been prepared and the gates are wide open! As believers in Christ from those earliest post-Parousia Christians to this present day who have died, one by one, they have entered into heaven.  It was the “consummation of salvation,” “the fulfillment of all that Jesus Christ prepared for His people,” for each one as they were united with loved ones and enabled to behold the face of Jesus Christ in their glorified, immortal, incorruptible, spiritual  bodies, like His glorious body, so different and so exalted above what their earth-dwelling bodies were like. And the wonderful, wonderful part of it all – it lasts forever and sin and its effects shall never enter that place.  Neither will anything enter that is abominable or hateful and every curse will no longer be (ref. Rev. 21-22).

I agree in the concept, but not totally in how it is applied here.  We are now, today, on earth, no longer under curse thanks to Christ.  We will have our heavenly bodies when we are finished here, and go to be “at home with the Lord”.  But that is BECAUSE OF our status of perfected saints with completed atonement!  This was fulfilled at the Parousia.  The church today even recognizes this as a real condition of our spirit based on Christ’s work on our behalf.  Why do those that believe in the Parousial rapture not see what was revealed at the Parousia, that most Preterists see,  that even the futurist church sees?

A major mistake that the “remained on earth” preterists make is that they have gone overboard with the idea that A.D. 70 was the fulfillment time for every aspect of the prophetic events.  Indeed, A.D. 70 was the date when all prophecy was fulfilled in terms of the prophetic events themselves, but we must constantly keep in mind that along with the actual Parousia, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the Judgment, there still remained the need to apply the benefits to God’s people throughout history itself!  Life would continue on, year after year, generation after generation and in that sense the actual fulfillment to those people would coincide with their conversion date and date of their death – the “firstfruits/deposit” stage and the “harvest” or “fullness” stage.

We have the fullness of the promises today.  We are holy and blameless before the Lord.  It doesn’t get any “fuller” than that.  We are no longer in a “deposit” stage of the work of Christ, because that work was completed.

Preterists have been accused, and sometimes justly, for “crowding everything into that first century period” and assuming that every aspect of fulfillment or application thereof must needs be confined to, and completed within, that narrow timeframe.  So our friends, the “remained on earth” folks, like Max King and Sam Frost, demand that even in the cases where Scripture speaks of a “never- o-be-repeated” method of dealing in a special way with a special people, such as the A.D. 70 Rapture of living believers, they “leap forward” and reckon all the heavenly rewards in their fullness as applying immediately to themselves; even to believers who have not yet entered into the heavenly realm.  So the church today witnesses the likes of which are people who will tell you that they are even now in heaven! Strange smiles on many faces follow, and why not?  These preterists either do not know what heaven will be like, and thus deceive themselves into thinking they are already there, or hold to a view of heaven that is a “condition of the mind,” where the imagination itself is the ultimate fulfillment, and which may never be within the realm of human experience. In either case, they are not willing to allow history to unfold, whether it is in the form of a Rapture that would be experiential, or to force an immediate and final fulfillment now upon people living today who are awaiting their physical death to realize God’s ultimate and heavenly fulfillment promises.  Waiting out our days on earth until God calls us Home seems to be the normal plan for the experiential and ultimate fulfillment of those precious promises that initially were bestowed only upon the first two groups of saints in that amazing first century A. D.

I totally agree that the idea of being in heaven now is untenable.  There is a difference between the locale of heaven and the locale of earth.  However, it must be recognized that we are FULLY in the Kingdom of God now, just as the saints in Heaven are, and that our entrance didn’t require anything more experiential than our belief in Christ.

Ian Harding has written a masterpiece of prophetic literature.  His critics may come and go, but it remains the challenge of every preterist Christian today to slowly and prayerfully read this earthshaking book!  Especially consider the Scripture passages that Mr. Harding takes the time to print out in full (a real time saver!) and then place yourself in the shoes of those first century Christians.  Behold the promises – all of them!  See for yourself if you can envision these promises being fully realized on this sin-filled earth.  See how much more reasonable it is to understand them as fulfilled in heaven, where sin, corruption, mortality and death, in every sense, can not enter in!

Alas, the errors of concepts in Harding’s book are many, and I would not consider it a “masterpiece of prophetic literature”.  His contention rests solely on the idea that in his opinion, we cannot be perfected in glory while on the earth, so therefore the pre-Parousial saints must have been raptured.  This is a flawed supposition from the outset, based solely on the “experiential”.  He fails to see that we are completely perfected now in a spiritual sense, and have received the promises the pre-Parousial saints only hoped for.

He also fails to grasp the idea that the coming Kingdom did in fact come! And that it could come without leaving Heaven.  And sadly he didn’t really address the areas of the rapture view where it seems to be weakest, like the fact that we have historical records of saints that bridged that time period, being active both prior to and after the Parousia.  He also didn’t address various areas of Scripture that are “problem areas” for the rapture view.  And at points his grammar is less than sound, as are his concepts.

I urge everybody to realize that our spiritual condition is drastically different from those of the pre-Parousial saints, based solely on the fact that our High Priest returned and brought back with Him our completed atonement.  Christ has made us whiter than snow, blameless before the Lord, despite our shortcomings.  What was a promise / deposit for the pre-Parousial saints is a reality for us today — even while living on Earth.  Our going to Heaven when we die is BECAUSE of these fulfilled promises.  We don’t look forward to them being fulfilled in fullness when we die, or else we would never be qualified to make it on our own, for we are unable to do so on our own.  Indeed, if we didn’t have glory in fullness already, we couldn’t go to Heaven at all, for God cannot abide anything less than perfection.  But our entrance into Heaven is assured because we already have Eternal Life in fullness NOW!

I certainly don’t agree with all Frost or Max King has to say, especially where their brand of resurrection is concerned.  I do believe, as Walt does, that the resurrection is both covenental and individual, and that it was only a promise that was fulfilled for the dead saints, as a resurrection out of Hades.

I do, however, see many problems with the Parousial rapture view — enough so that I seriously doubt it will render “out-dated” the Reformed Preterist who does not hold to a Parousial rapture concept.  We didn’t inherit the Kingdom of God, but praise the Lord we have it as our gift nonetheless!

Daniel E. Harden

What do YOU think ?

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