DEBATE III / TOPIC IV / CLOSING STATEMENT (d.)
The Personal, Bodily, Second Coming Christ
Copyright © The Last
Since Warner has chosen to stay the course of absurdity, I will have no problems in picking out his amazing inability to discern an argument. Those who are reading this debate have noticed these points as well. In short, if it is Warner’s duty to adequately expose me for a Christ-hater, then he has failed in that task. Nothing that he has written even remotely comes close to having me want to go back to the Dispensational church I was raised in. See, I know Tim’s views. I was raised in them. They never made much sense, then, either, but I preached it anyhow. Tricky questions were asked to which my only reply was, “well, that’s what the Bible says.” But, in reality, it was far from biblical truth. Warner endorses slaughtering animals by the truck loads for Jesus in the Millennium. He dodged this by saying “atonement” does not REALLY MEAN atonement. The sins committed under the old covenant were not REALLY forgiven. It was ALL just symbolic. Then he turns around and accuses me of uses “hidden meanings”! That is why we have chosen to have this debate left on our website. I want people to read it! I want them to see the alternative: slaughtering animals for Jesus, or recognizing the once and FOR ALL TIME sacrifice of the Lamb.
So, on with the show. Warner takes 12 pages (12 PAGES!) to respond to my last post. He begins by saying that his first post was “really simple.” That I, in my response, “muddied the waters.” 12 PAGES! Apparently, he did not like my response!
The first thing I wish to point out is Warner’s explicit
heresy. Yes, I use heresy. Warner flatly contradicts the Chalcedonian
Creed of 451 A.D. Since Mr. Warner is so
fond, in an almost Roman Catholic way, of the creeds and fathers, he should
have known better. I wrote, “He was not
a human person.
Speaking of Christology, Warner makes another incredible
mistake. He wrote, “there was no Jesus,
is no Jesus, and will be no Jesus without his physical flesh.” Maybe Warner might want to explain what
CHRISTophanies were in the Old Testament.
The Logos is the Divine Person, the Son of God, as
Therefore, it is shown, by orthodoxy, that Jesus became fully Man, took on flesh and a human nature, that his human nature is not called a “person” and that Jesus remains fully human to this day without requiring him to have hairy arms and fingernails. Warner dismisses my argument, falls into heresy while doing it, then calls me the heretic. I am laughing out loud here.
Now, onto anthropology. Warner wrote, “a man is not a man
without a body.” Does the Bible affirm
this? There are no men with God in
heaven today? Just “disembodied
non-men”? Where does he come up with
this stuff? Samuel was not a “man” when
he spoke to Saul (I Sa 28)? Moses and Elijah were not “men” when they
spoke with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration? That means that while Jesus’ body was in the
tomb for three days, Jesus was not a man!
That is where statements like this lead.
Another theology lesson, the image of God is not IN man. Man IS the image of God. This image defines MAN, not DNA, Tim. God has no body, no arms (well, the Mormons
and JW’s thinks he does, but they are kooks anyhow). He made man in his image. Image is not “flesh”, Tim. How can God make flesh part of the image of
himself when he has no such image?
Again, this is standard theology.
But, Tim states that without a body, Jesus is just some “mystical
fog.” Is that our option, Tim? Or is this another example of an unguarded
statement on your part? God has no body
according to every creed and confession I have read. He has no brain. He, too, must be a mere
“mystical fog.” Follow my reasoning: the
Creeds rightly recognize that only One Person in the Trinity is called the
Logos. This Logos is eternally God’s
Son. He is one Person. Therefore, to be
a Person, and a Son, does not require a human body. In Tim’s view, my grandpa, who died years ago
and his body is currently laying 6 feet under in an
Warner, of course, tries to read all of this into the “this same Jesus”. It fails. But, allow me to continue pointing out his errors. First off, Warner states that “there is nothing said here about the power of God”. Well, Tim, what does a passive verb mean? It means the subject of the verb is being ACTED UPON by another agent. That Luke knew Greek is certain. That he could have written “Jesus entered into heaven” without a passive is certain, as well. But, Luke uses the passive. He was TAKEN UP. The verb form itself is causal. Taken up by whom? In what manner was he taken up? Then this will be the SAME MANNER they saw him go. It’s as simple as that. Tim must make this mean more than it does in order to read into it “bodily” and “visibly.” He drones on for a paragraph about why Luke used the passive voice. I have translated Greek for over 12 years now, and my Ph.D. work is in biblical languages. The phrase hon tropon (“in like manner”) Warner takes to mean that “at his second coming [Jesus] will be the same in appearance as His ascension.” Am I the only one to notice the difference between the appearance of Jesus in Revelation 1? There, Jesus is quite different in appearance. Revelation 19 sees Jesus as appearing on a white horse. Did he leave on a white horse? Since “horse” is certainly a “manner” in which one can depart and since Jesus, on Tim’s watch, the ascension and the descending must be the same, then where was the horse in Acts 1? Where is the white horse in Daniel 7?
Warner mocks at the idea of Jesus being “seen” by some and not “seen” by others in Acts 1. Yet, when this “same Jesus” appeared to Saul in Acts 9, Saul’s attendents “did not see anyone” (9.7). Wait a minute. Jesus appeared to Saul and stood right in front of him, but his servants “did not see” Jesus? Warner cannot grasp such a thing, but there it is. It is entirely possible for Jesus to have appeared to his followers and have only his followers see him without anyone else.
Next, Warner states quite plainly that the weight and height of Jesus, whatever it was, was the “same” Jesus that they saw go into a water-vapor cloud. And, that he would return in exactly the same frame and weight that he left with. Think, reader, for a second. Think of a cloud outside. Take any cloud. Well, let’s take the cloud in Acts 1. Was that cloud visible to those in China? Clearly not. Yet, Warner quotes Rev 1: “every eye will see him.” How? If Jesus occupies space like you and I do, with weight and height, then, when he appears over China, can those in America see him? Clearly not. I once offered this argument to a Dispy friend of mine. His answer: television! Jesus will be filmed coming down from the sky over Jerusalem and every eye would see him on TV! Answers like this should cause serious thinkers to laugh, but this is about as dumb as it gets. Logistically, it is impossible to view Jesus over globe at once. Those in China would never see him. If he appeared in Africa, those in Greenland won’t see him. The absurdity of such a view (and the Bible never asks us to believe in absurdity) should cause one to think about such a position. But, that’s what Warner demands the reader to believe. I strongly advocate that Warner continue to teach such things because, last I checked, Preterism is growing precisely because such things are simply untenable.
Warner then moves on to Daniel 7. He really thinks that the clouds there in 7.13 are water-vapor clouds that we see every day. He then continues to quote the verse where “the Ancient of Days” came. Is the “son of man” who comes TO the Ancient of Days the same who comes here? Well, in Revelation 1 Jesus is described in the EXACT SAME imagery used to describe the Ancient of Days. Are they both the same? In the OT, YHWH is described as “one who rides on the clouds of heaven.” This is found throughout the Psalms and the Prophets. Only he “rides on the clouds of heaven.” When Jesus said to the Sanhedrin that they would see the Son of Man “coming on the clouds of heaven” the priest tore his robe and said, “he has uttered blasphemy.” How did Jesus utter blasphemy by saying that HE would come “on the clouds of heaven”? Was Jesus equating Himself with YHWH? Was Jesus saying, in effect, that HE would be the one “on the clouds of heaven”? This is an assertion used of YHWH alone! To the priests ears, Jesus was saying that he was the rider on the clouds of heaven! Now, it is particularly said that THEY would see the son of man coming on the clouds of heaven. But, if Warner is correct, then Jesus is a liar. THEY are all dead (the Sanhedrin). Did they see him come on the clouds of heaven? Warner says no. Preterists say yes. However, let us say that Warner means that eventually they would see him coming on the clouds of heaven. For Warner, this is the Second Coming that happens BEFORE the “rest of the dead” are raised at the end of the Millennium. Therefore, the coming of the Lord on the clouds of heaven takes place BEFORE those who made up the Sanhedrin in Jesus’ day are raised from the dead. This makes it impossible for Jesus’ prophecy to EVER be fulfilled here. They are not around to witness the Second Coming. They are dead. They will not be raised from the dead until AFTER the Millennium. Jesus does not come on the clouds to heaven to end the Millennium in Warner’s view. Therefore, Warner makes Jesus out to be, in fact, a liar. Heresy indeed.
Rather, Preterists, ever loving the words of Jesus, take Jesus at his words in spite of fallible “fathers” that Warner so adores. Jesus said that THEY would see him coming on the clouds. I am a heretic for believing Jesus’ words “at face value.” So be it.
In Psalm 18, when God “comes on the clouds” and rescues David, did anyone see it? Read Psalm 18 and then try to find what David describes there in the narratives about David’s life. Do an honest study. When did God shoot arrows against the Philistines? Warner’s “literalism” fails to do justice to poetics. But, I have proven, his literalism runs into such absurdities that one must surely see it for what it is.
He then goes on to deal with “several points” that I made. Actually, he does not answer my questions at all. He once again dodges how he can take “soon” in Hebrews 8.13 as A.D. 70, but does not take it as such in Hebrews 10.37. He tells you to read his article on time statements. Well, I did. Hebrews 8 and 10 are not there (or I did not see them there). Nice dodge, Tim. In that article Warner argues that Peter deals with the “delay” of the Lord’s return in II Pe 3. Yet, here again, Warner contradicts Scripture. Let us read Hebrews 10.37 again, shall we? “For in just a very, very little while, he who is coming shall come AND WILL NOT DELAY.” Warner must argue for delay. Preterists takes the Bible at its word. Jesus did not “delay” his coming in the least. What Peter is arguing against is that SCOFFERS were charging that Jesus had delayed. Peter is arguing that there is NO delay. Everything is right on schedule. Secondly, what were SCOFFERS doing in Peter’s day expecting Jesus to return at that time anyway? Is this what Peter was preaching? Was Peter preaching that the “parousia” (used there in Greek) would come in their generation? What were they SCOFFING at? “Delay” means that something was originally scheduled to take place, but didn’t. Is this how God works? “I am going to come at this time” and then, “you know what, I changed my mind.” But, this is what Warner actually argues for! He has dodged this throughout the whole debate, and when I finally have him agreeing that Hebrews 8.13 is A.D. 70 because of the word “soon” there, he does not even answer me in a 12 page article! This should tell you SOMETHING.
In point 3 I wrote, as Warner quoted, that “therefore, we are born again spiritually, die physically, and are born again-again physically. How can this nonsense be?” Warner answers: “It is not nonsense.” Therefore, one is left to conclude (and I have never had one do this, so this is a first!) that Warner believes in two “born again” events for the believer! It is not nonsense for him! I am born again, die, and am born again AGAIN! Please, for the love of all that is holy, where does the Bible say, “ye must be born again-again”? But, this is where absurdity takes you when you refuse to listen to the words of Jesus and take him at his word.
Point 4: “What Frost is actually telling you is that you already have all Scripture promises right now.” Well, Paul said it better: “ALL (can you read that, Tim?)…ALL the PROMISES are YES and AMEN in Christ Jesus.” “You have EVERYTHING pertaining unto life and godliness.” “You have been blessed with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ.” Warner says “no, we have not.” Preterists say, “yes, you have.” Jesus came upon the scene and preached that the kingdom of God had arrived, that he was fulfilling the Scriptures. The Pharisees said, “no! Not according to our traditions!” They limited what God was doing by quoting “fathers.” Warner does the same thing. According to Tertullian, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, you do not have all the promises in Christ, you do not have every spiritual blessing. Well, okay. I think I’ll stick to the Bible, here, too.
Warner belittles the Christian life by saying “what you have now is all you get”. He means that by saying that Preterists say that what you have now is all you get. Well, let’s see. I have reconciliation and peace with God. I have the forgiveness of sins. I have Christ in me. I am in Christ. I am known of God. I am a son. A co-heir. The list is endless. I know that this is not enough for Warner, but it sure sounds like good news to this sinner. Warner’s view depreciates what Christ has accomplished because for him, salvation is always in the “yonder over there” life. This life, this world, is “evil.” It is going to hell in a handbasket. As one Dispy said, “You don’t polish brass on a sinking ship.” The world is a sinking ship. The world that Jesus came to redeem is going to hell in a handbasket. Good news? I guess for Warner, it’s about as good as it gets until God blows the whole thing up (which he has delayed now in doing, in allowing the evil to continue). To me, this was the sad way I used to look at life, until I came to see that the Bible gave me a worldview that told me that Jesus rules the world and is working ALL THINGS to the good for those who love Christ Jesus.
One last observation of Warner’s failure to understand the Bible: He decidedly admits that Jesus is not reigning on the throne. “Jesus did NOT begin to reign in His kingdom from the time of the ascension.” Someone might want to tell Paul that. Paul wrote, “For he MUST CONTINUE REIGNING until he puts all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy being destroyed is the death” (I Co 15.25). The Greek here for “reign” is a present infinitive. It denotes an action taking place at the time of the writer. “For he must continue reigning” or one could say, “for he must go on reigning.” The present passive for “destroy” also indicates that Jesus was currently destroying “the death”. Warner, of course, will come up with some bizarre “future present” scheme here, but Preterists do not have to resort to such obscurities. Paul uses presents for both verbs, and Paul’s Greek is far better than Tim’s. How long will the reader not check these things out for himself? Why be slave to a bankrupt system of Dispensationalism? Watch what Warner does: he quotes Revelation 11.15-18 to support that Jesus’ reign is not yet. However, no such thing is done in that text. “You have taken your power and have reigned” (aorist). That’s the Greek. This verse does not at all say “when” he started to reign. No doubt, the NIV translates this verb “reigned” as “have begun to reign” using an inceptive idea for the aorist. But the Greek verb itself is simply aorist. Translators have come up with ways of naming different types of verbs, but this an art, not a science. The KJV translates it simply as “you have reigned”. Why take the NIV over the KJV here? Secondly, if the beginning of the reign of Christ means that “the death” has been placed under his feet, that is, has been destroyed, then how does Warner account for folks dying in the Millennium? If “the death” in I Co 15 means physical death, and if Jesus’ reign means that he has placed all enemies under his feet, including physical death, then, logically, physical death ceases. But every Pre-Millennialist I know has folks dying in the Millennium! Third, the passage here before us goes on. When the time of this “reign” occurs, “the time has come for judging the dead and for rewarding your servants” (11.18). This is found at the END of the Millennium! In 20.12 “and he judged the dead” (same Greek as in 11.18). 22.12 says, “Behold, my REWARD is with me and I will give to each one as their works are”. At Jesus’ second coming, then, which in Warner’s view is BEFORE the Millennium begins, he comes with his reward to give to each man according to his works, and the also judges the dead. But, this is all said to happen at the END of the Millennium! The same vocabulary is used. The books are opened, the dead are judged “each according to their works.” Maybe Warner has two “rewards-judgements-resurrections of the dead” like he has two times when we are born again-again. But, clearly, death does not end in the Millennium. So, maybe Warner has death not being put under the feet if Christ UNTIL the END of the Millennium. However, how can that be if, in fact, “the dead are judged” when he returns at the BEGINNING of the Millennium? Victory over death is when he returns, according to Paul in I Co 15. I am sure Warner has some lame excuse for mangling these points, but, to me, the Preterist system has no consistency problems at all. Everywhere I turn, Warner contradicts the Bible on these issues.
Finally, Warner quotes the Creeds and the Fathers like a good Roman Catholic would (and he never dealt with my statements about Ignatius, another dodge). He slips in, without proof, that Polycarp was a disciple of John. I asked him to prove this about Ignatius, and he didn’t. He quotes the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds, but not Chalcedon. Chalcedon explicitly denies that Jesus was a human person, but had a human nature and divine nature in One Person. Warner heretically believes that Jesus is also a person, thus, Chalcedon is wrong. But, if orthodoxy is defined by what the Creeds state, then Warner is a heretic, plain and simple. He has Christ as two Persons, the Logos, and the Human. He goes on and on with long quotes from the fathers, but never once answered my questions concerning Ignatius and the Bishops. “Rather than defending Ignatius” he moves on to other areas.
Thus, what are we left with? Well, number one, Warner is a heretic. I subscribe to Chalcedon, he does not. Two: Warner is inconsistent. Three: he dodged most of my statements and did not answer them (like, what happened to Elijah’s body, or Ignatius). He denies the rule of Christ today. He flatly contradicts the Bible. He utilizes passages with such extreme literalism that he cannot maintain consistency in other passages. He advocates that believers are born again twice. Sounds like a real heck of a view you got going for you there, Tim.
Warner wrote, “I have nothing against Sam Frost personally.” Let’s read what Tim really means: I have nothing against Sam Frost personally, just that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a heretic, a deceiver, a son of satan, a gnostic, a mystic, outside of Christianity, but other than that, a great guy. Hmmm.
It is no secret that Preterism disagrees with the Creeds on this point. The Creeds “have and may err” according to the Westminster Confession of Faith. See, they are fallible documents. Tim wields them like the Bible. He states that I am not Reformed, but this is a lie, too. I am a Calvinist in my definitions of God’s sovereignty. I hold to all five solas of the Reformation. That does not mean that I agree with Calvin in eschatology, though. Calvin was a “partial-preterist.” His commentary on Zechariah 14, for example, explicitly understands that Jerusalem’s demise in A.D. 70 is meant. He clearly uses the “spiritual hermeneutic” in that passage. Jesus standing on the Mount of Olives and ascending into heaven, Calvin says, was fulfillment of Zech 14. But, even Tim can see the inconsistency here on Calvin’s part. One cannot maintain that Zech 14 is fulfilled without also including the Second Coming. I, then, make adjustments. Adjustments are what is meant by the Reformed slogan semper reformanda (“always reforming”). Even Warner has distanced himself from Classical Scofield dispensationalism for what he calls “progressive dispensationalism.” Warner can call me what he likes, it makes no difference to me. I won’t have to answer for it.
Elder, Christ Covenant Church