PMW 2023-038 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

wolf and lambIn my last posting I gave a brief survey of Isaiah’s glorious postmillennial hope as found in Isaiah 2. In this one I will quickly summarize this hope as it is found in Isaiah 11, another great chapter embodying the postmillennial hope.

Isa. 11:1–2: a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse.
Along with Assyria, Israel has been chopped down to a stump (10:18–19, 33–34). Yet the Messiah, the true Davidic king, will arise from the lineage of Jesse (vv. 1, 10; David’s father, 1 Sam. 16:10–31). Christ is the greater David who was typified in David (see 9:7b Note). He will be endowed with “the Spirit of the LORD” (v. 2), thereby exercising wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and the fear of the LORD (v. 2). Continue reading


PMW 2023-037 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Isaiah is an important book in Scripture and an invaluable witness to the postmillennial hope. We may see the importance of Isaiah in the following.

Isaiah has been widely used. The book of Isaiah has long been important to God’s people. We see this in several ways. Among the Jews at Qumran, the second most cited book in the Dead Sea Scrolls is Isaiah, exceeded only by Deuteronomy. Not only do we find among these Scrolls a complete, well–preserved Isaiah scroll, but twenty partially-preserved copies. The New Testament alludes to Isaiah 411 times, directly quoting it over fifty times (e.g., Matt. 13:14–15; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; Acts 28:26–27; Rom. 9:29; Heb. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:9).

The next three observations explain why Isaiah was so popular to New Testament writers.

Isaiah presents us with an exalted view of God. It especially emphasizes his sovereignty (6:1ff; 24:1–3; 37:15–20; 43:8–11) and his holiness (1:4; 5:16; 30:9–16; 37:23; 43:8–11). And in light of these glorious doctrines, it especially condemns human pride (2:11–18; 14:12–15; 37:23–25; 66:1–3).

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PMW 2023-036 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The physical resurrection of the dead is under attack in modern Christianity. Again. However, this time it is not just the liberals. Rather, some evangelical Christians themselves are denying the physical nature of the resurrection body. They often begin their denial by citing 1 Corinthians 15:44, which speaks of the resurrection body thus: “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual [pneumatikos] body. If there is a natural [pseuchikos] body, there is also a spiritual body [pneumatikos].” By misunderstanding this passage, the remainder of the Bible, and the power of God, opponents of the future, physical resurrection are, like Hymenaeus and Alexander: their faith is suffering shipwreck (1 Tim. 1:19–20; 2 Tim. 2:16–18).

This denial of the physical resurrection based on this famous passage is remarkable in that 1 Corinthians 15:44 has been in the NT for 2000 years. And during that time the universal, historic, orthodox Christian faith has held to a future physical resurrection. It even creedalized this great truth, which is “of first importance” regarding the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1–3). For instance, toward the end of the Apostles’ Creed we declare with the universal, historic, corporate Christian church that we believe “in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” In the original language versions of the Creed, the resurrection of the “body” is more exactly declared to be the resurrection of the “flesh.” For in Latin the word carnis was used and in Greek sarx.

But there is abundant evidence in Scripture that the resurrection will be future, physical, and corporate. That is, it is not occurring now (for it is future). Nor is it a spiritual transaction (for it is physical). Nor does it transpire at the moment of each believer’s death, as they occur one-by-one (for it is corporate).

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PMW 2023-035 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Toward the end of the Apostles’ Creed we declare with the universal, historic, corporate Christian church that we believe “in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” According to Philip Schaff (The Creeds of Christendom, 1:22), in the original language versions of the Creed, the resurrection of the “body” is more exactly declared to be the resurrection of the “flesh.” For in Latin the word carnis was used and in Greek sarkos.

We know that the resurrection is a physical resurrection of the dead body for: (1) all forerunner resurrections (though temporal only) were physical resurrections of the flesh (e.g., John 11:43–44). (2) Old Testament prophecies speak of the resurrection of the flesh (Job 19:25–27; Isa. 26:19–20). (3) Jesus’ own resurrection was a physical of the flesh (σάρκα καὶ ὀστέα; Luke 24:39). (4) Thomas was rebuked by Jesus for not believing he was physically resurrected (John 20:24–29). And (5) Jesus’ resurrection was the “first-fruits” of the eschatological resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20), showing that just as the first-fruits of a wheat crop is wheat, so the first-fruits of the resurrection is like Jesus’: of the flesh.

Furthermore, Scripture speaks of the general resurrection as occurring at one time (John 5:27–29). It occurs at the end of history on “the last day” (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54). When Martha spoke of her belief that her brother Lazarus’ resurrection would be on “the last day” (John 11:24), Jesus did not correct her in any way.

This declaration of belief was an important counter to unbelief from without and Gnostic intrusions within the Christian faith. We see denials of the resurrection of the flesh, not just in modern liberalism, but in antiquity. The Sadducees denied it (Matt. 22:23; Acts 4:1–2; 23:6–8). Jesus even rebuked them for denying the idea of resurrection, noting that they “did not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Matt. 22:29). This is invariably the reason liberals today deny the resurrection, for they care nothing for the Scriptures as God’s word nor do they even recognize the power of God.

The Athenians scoffed at Paul because of it (Acts 17:18, 32). There we read: “Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, ‘What would this idle babbler wish to say?’ Others, ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,’—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18). A little further into the context we see how vehemently these unbelievers derided Paul: “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, ‘We shall hear you again concerning this’” (Acts 17:32).

Hymenaeus and Philetus claimed that it has already occurred in Paul’s day. Thus, we read Paul’s exhortation to Timothy: “avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:16–18). Apparently they believed that it was a spiritual resurrection that was undetectable and therefore irrefutable.

There was a disruptive faction in Corinth that also doubted the physical resurrection of the dead. In 1 Corinthians 15:12–17 Paul warned that this destroyed salvation, if true:

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PMW 2023-034 by Louis Berkhof

Louis Berkhof was a famed Reformed theologian who wrote an important Systematic Theology. In this theology he explained and defended the historic Christian understanding of the physical resurrection of the dead. In this he was in lockstep with virtually universal Reformed theology, as well as with the ecumenical creeds defining Christianity to the world.

Below is his comments on the resurrection, taken from his Systematic Theology, pp. 720ff.

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PMW 2023-033 by Andrew Sandlin

The following article written by Andrew Sandling, President of Center for Cultural Leadership explains why he (and I and many others!) did not notice Gary DeMar’s commitment to the core principles of hyperpreterism until recently.

Gary DeMar’s Heretical Eschatology: What Did I Know, and When Did I Know It?
By P. Andrew Sandlin

I don’t intend to pursue further the controversy over Hyper-Pretersim (HP) brought to light by this letter signed by a number of Gary’s friends.

But I feel obliged to respond to Gary’s statement that he hasn’t changed his views in about 25 years, and that I have continued to promote him during that time, and only lately have I objected to his views. Have I just over the last few months become more severe in my judgment on heresy? Was I tolerant of Gary’s false teaching for a quarter century and only in the last few weeks become publicly intolerant of it?

The short answer is no. Here’s the longer answer:

Gary is quite correct that I had concerns over his eschatology 25 years ago. The (HP) heresy was rearing its ugly head. Its books were being carried by the late Walt Hibbard at the now defunct Great Christian Books, which was influential in the Reformed camp at that time. By reliable accounts, noted author David Chilton had embraced the HP heresy before his premature death. Many people seemed to have had the impression that to embrace postmillennialism was to embrace preterism, and even heretical HP.

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PMW 2023-032 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.crucify him

In response to a previous article I wrote on the Olivet Discourse, a reader challenged my interpretation of the division in the Discourse. He believes the Lord does not move to consider his second coming and final judgment until Matt. 25:31. He challenged me largely because he felt that the view I present (a division in the Discourse at Matt. 24:34–36) does not actually deal with the disciples’ question in Matt. 24:3. They expected the destruction of the temple would signal “the end of the age,” which my reader assumes is the end of the old covenant era, and therefore of the temple era in AD 70.

The Two-age Structure of Redemptive History

I am currently researching a book on the two-age structure of redemptive history. My view is that which is taught by most Reformed (e.g., B. B. Warfield, Geerhardus Vos, Richard Gaffin, Greg Bahnsen) and many orthodox evangelical (e.g., George E. Ladd, Grant Osborne, R. T. France, D. A. Caron) scholars. There is clear and compelling evidence that the two-age structure of redemptive history is not speaking of the old covenant versus the new covenant. Continue reading