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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Response to Don K Preston's "Fullness of the Gentiles - Response to Israel Only #1" Article

By Lazarus Conley

About a month ago, Don K Preston wanted me to rebut and refute his article “The Fullness of the Gentiles – Numeric or Relational - #1 A Response To “Israel Only”
For the record, I do not accept Israel Only and I never would for any reason. It is just another batch of heresy in the realm of full preterism.

While never shall I be Israel Only, Mr. Preston wished me to challenge his article so I accept Don K Preston’s challenge to rebut and refute his article. I will simply do it in the form of correction. Anything he might have correct, I will simply say is correct. Anything incorrect, I’ll offer the correct orthodox position. In this article, IO means Israel Only and FP means Full Preterism. 

“An absolutely fundamental tenet of what is known as the IO crowd is when Paul said that at the coming of the Lord “the fullness of the Gentiles would come in” he supposedly meant that this is (was) the end of salvation”.

Most IO’s like Jason DeCosta and Michael Bradley hold to the erroneous position that Jews and Gentiles are the same people ethnically and biologically. They are incorrect in this position from the get-go, which should be unsurprising. Jew and Gentile are a different people who become, by faith in Christ, one people of the Holy Heavenly Nation of God with Christ as their King. AKA Christians. 

“The full # of the Gentiles – which in that paradigm is in reality only the totality of Israel – would be saved.”

Yes, the IO paradigms of Jason DeCosta and others like him are screwed up. Preston and I would agree on this partially in the fact that they screw up from the get go and are incorrect.

“There’s no salvation for anyone today. God loves no one today. To say that this is an “ungodly” and horrible doctrine is a huge understatement. It is deplorable. Frankly, I am amazed that anyone could ‘fall’ for that doctrine”.

I would agree with Preston that IO is stupid to hold onto and is a stupid doctrine to fall for. However, if one holds to full preterism and its paradigm that all is fulfilled and are willing to be consistent, they will likely fall for this erroneous belief but in another form that isn’t like DeCosta or Bradley’s brand of IO. Instead, the consistent one will hold that Jew and Gentile are two separate peoples. Being full preterist, they will have to accept that as one people in Christ, Christ did as He promised to do and gathered the elected or chosen Jew and Gentile from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven as Mark 13:47 and Matthew 24:31. Eklektos as anyone who has studied Greek or Christian theology on a basic level is aware election is God’s free choice. It is a process where one chooses or elects someone for something. After an election ends, the chosen has been chosen, or elected. It is a one time event if it goes correctly, and with God there are no mistakes for He knows all and is omniscient and has foreknown whom He will elect from the beginning of creation. If full preterism is true, then one must accept that the election ended in AD70 and since eklektos cannot be redefined, then God must, according to the full preterist paradigm, have completed his process of election in or by AD70 when the 2nd Coming and the gathering happened.

To answer all of this we need to get the fullness of what Romans 11 says and what it means. Paul in Romans 11 is clear in v.1 that He will not forsake or “cut off” His people. Paul says God forbid to this for he is a Jew too, an Israelite by Abraham, natural-born of the tribe of Benjamin. Adds “whom He foreknew”… God knows who He will elect.

In v.2-3 this is continued that God is faithful and hasn’t forsaken His people. Paul cites Elias who denounced Israel before God for their apostasy (3/1 Kings 18:47-40; 19:10, 14)

Time after time, the Jews rebelled against God but He always had mercy on them and never forsook them.

In v.4 he continues citing Elias to continue showing God’s faithfulness.

In v.5-6, Paul gives us and has assurance of the existence of a “remnant” (Gk. Leimma. Only found here in the NT once).

The whole concept of “remnant” is common in the O.T., in view of the majority of Israel’s wickedness, from Noah (Gen 7.23), to Joseph (Gen 45.7) to the 7000 (3/1 Kings 19:18) to those of Micah’s prophecy in Micah 2.12; 4.7; 5:7). Every remnant was established by God, as will a promised future remnant.

Paul uses the Greek word ekloge, election in other words, in v.5 to establish that God has chosen to keep a remnant even at his very time. Those called or chosen or elected are initiated then into a whole new life, so they mustn’t lapse into inactivity. They must put to election to work (1 Peter 1:3-11).

V.7 It is obvious that not all Gentiles (just like Jews) have come to be part of the Christian faith. Paul in v.7 seems to have the Jews majority in mind here in his thinking but the reader must always understand that the election includes both Jew and Gentile in Christ, something an IO just can’t get a clue on for some reason. For the elect to obtain salvation, they must live in accordance with their election.

They were collectively called “the election” (Gk. Ekloge. Noun). Those not elect are called “the rest” (In Gk. Loipoi, plural of loipos).

V.8 Paul quotes/refers (though not a fully literal quotation) Isaiah 29:9, 10 LXX to explain the case of the “stupor” and “slumber” which we find in Isaiah 6:9, 10.

V.9-10 Paul quotes David from Psalm 68/69:22, 23 LXX.

V.11 “Haven’t they stumbled”? (eptaisan, aorist of ptaio). In James 2:10 and 3:2, the same verb is rendered “offend”, where it’s implied that the one who offends may repent and recover. The Jews’ fall and stumbling and offenses will result in more salvation for the Gentiles. Furthermore, Paul clearly shows us that the failure isn’t final nor is it permanent.

V.12 The riches of the world, of the Gentiles, is the salvation brought to them by and in Christ.
Origen says of this, “As long as Israel persists in unbelief, the fullness of the Lord’s portion will not be said to be completed. For the people of Israel are missing from the whole”. In another spot he claims “Indeed, there will be a conversion for them at the end of the age”.

St. John Chrysostom echoes the same sentiments when he says “When the fullness of the Gentiles shall have come in, all Israel shall be saved at the time of the 2nd Coming and the end of the world”.

To oppose IO yet again, V. 13-15 Paul was called to be Apostle to the Gentiles but he wasn’t limited to them only, for in Acts 9:20, he preaches Christ in synagogues. Paul cares about people groups as he has been called to one people but is also a natural born Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin as well (see 2 Cor 5:18, 19).

If the Jews’ rejection has resulted in the Gentile’s reconciliation how much more shall their reception of Christ one day be? Paul answers by a conjecture which is not purely hypothetical, (obvious to anyone not a full preterist anyways) “if not life from the dead?” Is Paul talking about the Resurrection of the Dead? Does Paul foresee the divine plan for salvation extending to the whole people of Israel and also to the entire human race? Obviously, since God’s will is that all men be saved (1 Tim 2:4).

Finally, is it in the 2nd Coming of Christ, at the end, in which the resurrection to life shall take place, that is, behind Paul’s conjecture?

“With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), “for He quickens the dead” (Rom 4.7) and He “raises the dead” (2 Cor 1:9).

V. 16 Paul begins making it even more obvious with the use of metaphors when showing the Divine Plan for man’s salvation with his mention of the firstfruits (aparche) of the dough or the lump (phyrama) from which bread was made, and the olive trees (elaia, see v.24); here only the root (rhiza) and the branches (kladoi) are mentioned.

We know the firstfruits is Christ (1 Cor 15:20, 23) and the lump is all mankind here in context here.
V.17 If the olive tree is a figure of the True Israel, Israel who accepts Christ as Messiah, then the broke branches are the Jews who didn’t believe in the True Israel, who is Christ. “Thou art my servant O Israel, and in thee I’ll be glorified” (Isa 49:3; Jer 11:16; Hosea 14:6).
“Wild branches” don’t normally get grafted to a good olive tree but here it is being done. By grafting, the Gentile is no longer a wild branch but has become a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree.

Paul warns in v. 18 that those grafted in are not to be boastful or prideful. The root, Christ sustains them, not the other way around. The Gentiles have not replaced the Jew in God’s plan for restoring mankind.

v. 19-22 He hasn’t forsaken His people. They’re not left out for the redemption of the human race. God foreknows this all and has chosen His people, however, everything is our choice, so you could be cut from the tree and its root if you do not follow and practice your faith, actively loving God and loving people.

v. 23-24 St. John Chrysostom explains further: It wasn’t God who cut them off, but they have broken themselves off, and fallen, and Paul did well to say they have broken themselves off. They can be re-grafted if they will repent.

v. 25 Paul wants them to know this “mystery”, which is that God is in control of all things and His purpose and will shall be revealed.

v.26-27 God remains in control of the whole history of salvation. He never abandons the Jew because He is faithful to the covenant He made with them. “All Israel shall be saved”. God’s covenant with Israel stands, but it is a renewed covenant and doesn’t call for doing the works of the Law, but for an inner conversion. The real fulfillment of the covenant on the Jews’ part is in becoming one of Christ’s followers.

“But this hardness hasn’t happened to the whole of Israel, rather just a part of it. For many believed, whom God foreknew, and again, in the future, they’ll believe. For the Israelites are hardened to all of the nations, foreknown of God, should be saved, and then all Israel shall be saved (those having believed)” –Blessed Theophylact-

Now that we have the correct interpretation of Romans 11 we can proceed to go on with Mr. Preston’s work.

He states “My purpose in this brief study is to focus on the word translated as “fullness” (pleroma, πλήρωμα, Strong’s #4138) in Romans 11:25, as well as the antonym, hettema. If it can be shown that these words do not inherently mean and demand a numeric fullness, then one of the key pillars of the IO paradigm is negated and falsified. In reality, that entire house of cards comes crashing down. Let me begin by saying that pleroma and hettema are numeric “neutral” words. Both could be used to refer to number fullness or deficiency. However, neither word is used of numbers in the Bible! As we shall see, Paul never uses pleroma of numeric fullness. Pleroma is used 17x in the NT, and to reiterate, Paul never uses the word, in his epistles to refer to numeric fullness even though he uses the word in discussions of the Gentiles.

Preston would be correct in that these words are neutral as far as the Greek goes and is correct on the numbering goes. You can translate the words and interpret them in such a manner with the Greek language. Very possible to do that in the Greek language. Mr. Preston even furthers his point by quoting a ton of occurrences in the bible where we are not given exact numbers and are just told they are filled up to the brim as far as they can go like in Mark 8:20 where “When Jesus fed the multitude, they took up twelve baskets “full” of the leftovers”. We don’t get the full amount of how many leftovers were in the 12 baskets. We can only guestimate the exact amount.

However, we CAN know this about Romans 11:25… “When the fullness of the Gentiles comes in”… Here’s why, just like in Mark 8:20 we can’t know the exact amount of leftovers that are still in those 12 baskets. We just know the baskets are full and filled to the brim. In the same way, we know one day that the fullness of the Gentiles will come in and it will be completed in number, aka filled to the brim. The same I will note is true for Galatians 4.4 and Eph 1.10 in context that when time is filled to the brim we don’t know the number exactly, we just know because of pleroma that it is completely filled.

Now back to Romans 11:25… how can I know that this number is exact and will be filled to the brim? Because of the word pleroma and because I know there’s more to the letter to the Romans than just Chapter 11:25. There is also that pesky word eklektos and Romans 8:19-39 and Romans 9 where it discusses the election and predestination of God and talks about His plan for mankind’s redemption, which I will have to discuss in a bit because it is extremely important to understand. Especially for a full preterist because consistency is important!

“I believe that any objective reader can carefully examine each of these usages and agree that not one of them uses pleroma in a numeric focused sense”. Amen Mr. Preston. We can’t know an exact number with the use of pleroma alone.

“Now, does that alone demand Paul could not have used it with a numeric connotation in Romans 11? No, that would be to be guilty of illegitimate totality transfer”. Agreed.

“But, the consistent use of the word is at least indicative of the fact that Paul consistently used pleroma in a non-numeric sense”. This is false. Paul does have a number in mind. The number is a mystery over what the exact number is obviously but we know it is a completed number to be filled to the brim like a basket that has reached the maximum amount of bread it can hold. Not exactly a non-numeric sense. More like a non-specific numeral sense because Paul doesn’t know the exact number of Gentiles it will take to be filled. Only God alone knows that in His Divine Plan when “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11.25).

“That means that the clear burden of proof lies on those who insist that he is using it in a numeric sense in Romans 11. I am convinced that a close look at the actual context and the verbiage used demonstrates very clearly that he was not doing so. And we will get to that momentarily.”
It’s just been shown that is not the case as far as I can tell but I will further the “fullness of the Gentiles has come in” in a few and won’t forget it because we still have to talk about those other chapters and verses in Romans and a few more pesky things Preston may not be too fond of reading.

“It should be noted that Paul uses pleroma and another word hettema, as antonyms, contrasting words. Hettema is the opposite of pleroma. If hettema is not numeric, then pleroma is not numeric and vice versa. How does Paul use hettema? Notice Romans 11:12: “Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure (Greek, hettema, ἥττημα, Strong’s #2275) riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!”

Preston tries to dupe the reader here with a bit of a false premise. By one having to admit that indeed, alone and by itself, the Greek words plemora and hettema can mean non-specific numbers and non-exact numbers, that it has to be the case that it is not going to be able whatsoever to be numeric. We’ve shown that’s not exactly the case though earlier and that while it can be that way in the Greek, depending on the context of the sentence, that there are exact numbers going on with further context clues like how we know about God’s predestination, His will, His foreknowledge, His omniscience, and His election. We aren’t the ones who know this exact number where the basket is full and filled to the brim, unable to carry any more of what it’s carrying.

“I believe that Paul uses a parallelism in the text. His use of “their fall” is parallel to “their failure.” If this is true, then what was “their fall”? It was their transgression, (Greek, paraptōma, παράπτωμα, Strong’s #3900); it was their sin. Their failure, their diminishing, was not a diminishment of their number, it was their sin, their failure to accept their own Messiah. That rebellion, led to their diminished / forfeited place in the Presence of God. There is not a hint of number in Paul’s discussion of “their failure.” At the very least, one is on absolutely safe ground to say that Israel’s sin led to their diminished state. Not their diminished number, but, the loss of their standing with God. They had been “cut off” as a result of that paraptōma, that transgression. The lexicons support this idea, revealing that diminished number is not the main idea – or in any way demanded – by hettema."

Well not exactly. There is no exact numbering going on. Paul is not going 1, 2, 3 Jews and 5 Gentiles. He is saying that the number of Jews because of their stumblings and offenses and fall will result in the salvation of the Gentiles. We also know there IS an exact number because of election and predestination again.

Much of the rest of this argument for a while is Preston trying to further his points about hettema and plemora without bothering to take predestination and election ever into account like oh I don’t know…. Romans 9:11 where Paul makes a point God’s purpose and design (prothesis) according to election (kat’ eklogen, in accordance with his own choice)? Ah drats!

One could keep quoting and going with this but we shall skip a bit down since it has been shown Preston is not entirely accurate in his going about with this. One thing to be said though. It is true that you can use hettema as diminishing. Matter of fact, the KJV does so in Romans 11:12. Hettema also should be noted has only 2 occurrences in it while plemora has 18. So in context, when Preston says this: “Now, one has a perfect right to ask why hettema is not translated as “diminished number” more often if it is a word that suggests or demands numeric diminishment” remember that it is a word that is used twice in the NT and while we don’t have an exact number to give, we can, because of predestination and election know that there IS an exact number known to God for plemora and hettema.

“Notice that not one– not ONE– of the lexicons define hettema as a numerical deficiency, or diminishing. What that suggests is that since pleroma is the antonym, the opposite, of hettema, that pleroma is likewise not a numeric fullness. It is, rather, as the use of all of the words in Romans 11 indicate, hettema is the cutting off, the failure, (failure being a majority rendering), the loss, fall, etc, and is used as an antonym to pleroma. This means that Paul was speaking of Israel’s failure and loss (her rejection) versus her blessing! It is her loss of status as opposed to her “restoration” to the Presence of God. It is clearly not their diminished number versus their full number.”

Again, God knows the exact number of the elect. Therefore, he knows the number because of foreknowledge and His prothesis. He knows the amount of plemora and he knows the amount of hettema, even if we don’t.

Thus, this statement by Preston is false: “Thus, the idea of diminished number is far and away the least attested translation”. 

“One has a right to ponder why the translators in those nine versions choose to render it “diminished number. That concept is not inherent, not inferred, not necessary in the word itself. It is very clear that the preponderant lexical and translational evidence does not support the idea that diminished number is on Paul’s mind.” 

Perhaps Mr. Preston, the translators know by itself that this is the case but also were keeping in mind eklektos and prothesis might be important when translating to keep context correct and not ruin a good translation because of silliness.

“In the translations, pleroma in v. 25 is translated as full number in 28 of the translations, half of them. The question of course is, since pleroma is the antonym of hettema, and since hettema absolutely does not indicate number in Romans 11, what is the justification for rendering pleroma as “full number”?”

Election and God’s predestined plan obviously is the justification for it. Context matters.

“So, Paul did not mention, suggest or imply numeric fullness a single time leading up to verses 25f. Hettema is no such reference, as we have shown.” Paul doesn’t have an exact number in mind because he doesn’t know it. God does in His prothesis and eklektos to come.

“Let me now draw together the information on both hettema and pleroma to show that a numeric diminishing and a “full number” is not the focus of Paul’s discussion, but rather, a diminished standing or status, versus a “standing” or status. I will do this by examining the terms that Paul uses in Romans 11 to describe Israel and her standing, or lack thereof, in his day.” Again, Paul doesn’t know exact number of Jew or Gentiles… he is not God. Only God knows this exact number.

Romans 11: 11-12 – “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure (hettema) riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness (pleroma)!

“The contrast here could not be more clear”. True. When we have context, we know that we don’t know the exact numbers but God does. We also know that one day the number of Gentiles will be filled to the brim of the basket when “the fullness of the Gentiles come in” and that number is complete. We also know that the Jews’ hettema or failure will not be final nor permanent.

Romans 11:15 – “For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”

“Now, if numbers are the issue in Romans 11 one has the right to think that Paul would have expressed that in this verse. But no, the only emphasis is on Israel’s being cast off, cast away but the anticipation of their “acceptance.” Now, casting away is not, needless to say, a numeric reference. It is a status reference, just as “acceptance” is not numeric, but has reference to a change in status, from being cast off (lost in sin, dead) to being accepted which is reconciliation. And for Paul, Israel’s reconciliation is Israel’s resurrection from the dead. (Please carefully note that Paul does not say that Israel’s reconciliation would result in them eventually being raised. His words are clear, their acceptance (their reconciliation) would be their resurrection!) Paul is focused on Israel’s sin, their transgression, and their consequent status. He is patently NOT focused on the number but on the covenantal standing of the rebellious. He uses stumbled (literally, transgressed) three times, refers to their “defeat” once, and then contrasts that with the anticipated “inclusion” being grafted back into the root. These are status, standing, relational words and ideas– NOT NUMERIC! It is eisegesis of the worst sort to turn these references to status into a reference to number”.

Election and predestination again must be taken into account with regards to plemora and hettema. There’s no way around this with the bible. The numbers in context are known to God. 

“Paul continues this theme of rejection / acceptance, with not one mention of numbers: (It should be noted that the Greek language has words for numbers, but, Paul never used any of them in his discussion of the fullness of the Gentiles. Not one).” Paul doesn’t need to mention exact numbers. He doesn’t know exact number God has chosen for this prothesis but God does.

Skip to “You must impose and interject the idea of numbers into the text to get them there, because numbers are not there.”

One must also use context to get the proper reasoning instead of just using two words to try and justify your unorthodox positions but I digress. 

“And then, we come to the crucial text of verses 25-27: For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved. Now, since Paul has not mentioned, suggested or implied numeric fulness, or numeric diminishing, a single time leading up to these verses, one must have some powerful linguistic and contextual evidence to make it say “full number” or “diminished number.” Preconceived ideas are not sufficient.”

Paul again doesn’t have to use an exact number. We know there is one because God knows it. And when the exact number that God alone knows is filled to the brim of the basket, then, because the fall of the Jews is not final nor permanent, the natural born will be saved, and all who are True Israel will be saved, upon Christ’s return, aka His 2nd Coming.

Which now leads me to what I said I would get to at some point. Under the FP paradigm, the 2nd Coming happened. Therefore, one must conclude that Romans 11:25 happened and was completed. The exact number that God foreknew had to have been completed by AD70. Therefore, all of Israel must have been saved in AD70, with the number of Gentiles complete and full that God decided to choose or elect. This isn’t looking good for Don.

First, Romans 8:19-23, 29-30, and Romans 9

You can read the Scriptures for yourself so read along.

8:19 “Creature/creation” (ktisis). Paul says “Creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God”

Both before and after man’s Fall, man was still made in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27). Man was formed from the dust of the ground (2:7), and after his fall, the earth became hostile to him (3:17, 18) and he was condemned to a hard life ending in death (3:19). Since man is part of Creation as the Creature, he also finds that since he is from the earth being formed from the dust of the ground, his own body is hostile to him, in that he dies after living a hard life.

It’s clear thus, the interaction between man and creation is such that the earth shares in man’s destiny; it is not only the stage for man’s fall and redemption, but also reflects or is reflected by all that pertains to man. You can see this in Gen 9:12-16; Psalm 134/135:6-7; Col 1:20; Eph 1:10; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21, which begins with the last part of St. John’s vision of “a new heaven and a new earth” showing heaven and earth will be renewed when the elect among men have fulfilled their destiny. 

The “earnest expectation” (apokaradokia) is an anxious looking forward to man finally overcoming all that is contrary to him by and through God. The object of the created world’s expectation/awaiting (apekedechomai) is this appearance or manifestation (apokalypsis).

v.20 The creation was “made subject” (hypotage, aorist passive of hypotasso) to “vanity” (mataioten, dative of mataiotes). Ouch ekousa “unwillingly”.

Ekon is found in 1 Cor 9:17 as unwilling.

This was all done “in hope” (ep’elpidi). The sunjection of creation to vanity was not without hope. We “according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness” (2 Peter 3:12-13).

v.21 The creature itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

“Corruption” (phtora, used here for the first and only time in Romans). He terms what was previously vanity to corruption and the creature’s subjection to it now is “bondage” (douleia).

The hope implicit in God’s act of subjecting the creature to corruption was repearedly made explicit in the promises made to Israel through its history., A summary of it can be found in Isaiah 61.

In this verse, “shall be delivered” and “liberty” are two related words, elevtherothesetai, a passive future of elvtheroo, “to free” and elevtheria “freedom”. In Isaiah and Luke 4:16-22, deliverance and liberty translate the Greek noun aphesis “forgiveness”, or “set free from punishments”.

“Into the glorious liberty” is more literally translated to “into the freedom of the glory” and “the children of God”. Thus, a development: from “corruption” to “glory” and from “sons (adoptive)” to “children” (natural, or born, of these born again or from on high).

Obviously this deliverance that will come will be by the effects of the Lord’s 2nd Coming.

V. 22 “We know” (oidamen) is significant. Means knowing as a result of seeing or experience. That the creation’s affected by the evils of men is plain to see and in the OT (Ps 106/107:33-34 LXX; Jer 12:4). Creation’s groaning of pain are because of man’s wickedness. “Until now” indicates the end of time will come for the groans and trevails because creation’s hope, the creature’s hope, has been realized in the Incarnation of Christ, the Son of God.

v.23 We may look forward to eternal life through faith in Christ our Lord (John 20:31; Rom 2:7; 6:22,23; 1 Thess 4:15-17; 1 Tim 1:16; 4:8, and elsewhere) according to His promises (1 John 2:25) and the restoration and redemption of the soul and body which Phil 3:21 says Christ “shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious Body”. In 1 Cor 7:31, “For the fashion (schema) of this world passes away”. 2 Cor 5:1-5 “For He that’s wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit”.

v. 29 “For whom did He foreknow, He also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren”.

God has already seen that which is to come to pass in our human history. Foreknowledge I shall explain a bit. It is understood by some to mean God pre-determines what each person may do. This is off as it would cripple man’s free will. If it were all such, there’d be no need for final judgement in Matthew 25:31-46 and Paul’s warning in 2 Cor 5:10 would make zero sense and so on with plenty other verses. One must take into account God’s omniscience when dealing with predestination.

“Predestinate (proorisen from proorizo) to be conformed (symmorphous) to the Image (eikonas) of the Son”.

Such is God’s predestination. Since Christ is fully God and fully man and Resurrected, so will we to be conformed to the Image of the Son in fullness.

The purpose of the Incarnation of the Son of God, when the divine plan reaches its culmination, was to make God known to man (John 1:18), so that man might attain the stature of Christ, the likeness of God (Eph 4.13) and transform His body, “that it may be fashioned like unto the glorious body of Christ”, the God-Man (Phil 3:21 – symmorphon- may be fashioned into).

V.30 Those He knows are predestined to be transformed according to the Image of Christ, the God-Man. Then, successively, He God also calls, justifies (or makes righteous), and glorifies them. Here “glorified” is in the aorist, but clearly points to what the final stage in the future is; thus, the divine plan will be complete. He who overcame death will overcome death in us to have us conform to the Image of Christ, who is fully God and fully human. This is theosis in full and the ultimate victory will be completed: 1 Cor 15:24-26; Eph 1:20-21.

In order to get this clear I must keep going with predestination and God’s plan because this is vitally important. We continue with Romans 9 where in vv. 1-5 Paul begins to now deal with Israel’s role in God’s design for man’s salvation, with her rejection of Christ, and her resulting current condition. Lest one would think that he’s lying about what he’s said about the Jews or that God’s abandoned his own people, Paul puts up a disclaimer that he’s speaking the truth (aletheian) and not lying (psevdomai). Tying into Romans 11 obviously later but in 9.6-8 we see Israel’s rejection of Christ Paul lamenting over but then he goes to declare that there has been no failure because God’s promises (ho logos tou theou) “the word of God” have indeed been effective and do remain. Some Jews had believed and what more, Gentiles too: these believers constitute the true, real Israel. Later on, we will see Paul discuss how the Jews will come to Christ again when the Gentiles’ number has been completed as their failure isn’t permanent.

It doesn’t need to be said to Don but to IO’ers like those who follow DeCosta’s brand of it that obviously not all of Abraham’s fleshly children are his children, “his seed”; take Keturrah, whom he married after Sarah’s death (Gen 16:15; 25:1-4). (Gen 21:12) “How was Isaac born? Not according to the law of nature, nor the power of the flesh, but according to the power of a promise” –St. John Chrystostom-

The understanding of “the seed” was foretold by the Psalmist when he wrote Ps 2:6-8 LXX “But I’ve been appointed king by Him on Zion His Holy Mountain… The Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day I’ve begotten thee. Ask of me, and I’ll give thee the nations [ethnos, “Gentiles] for thine inheritance”.

Salvation is open to all who have faith and become “children of the promise”.

Paul gets much deeper in here about the Divine Plan of God going all through vv.9-13 about Jacob and Esau, and through God’s Divine Providence and through His omniscience and foreknowledge, because of God’s purpose/design (prothesis) according to election (kat’ eklogen, in accordance with His own choice) might stand (or remain meno).

The twins/2 nations have a destiny to fulfill in this design. IT must be remembered that the whole drama of man is told from God’s perspective: He is above time, man’s time, and has already seen the outcome of the Drama (as St. Iraenaus reminds us), here expressed in the conflict with the brothers. God’s “loved” Jacob and “hated” Esau because He’s already seen what manner of people they are and what their life will consist of; Jacob has a part to play in the story and plan of redemption but Esau doesn’t. Note that this doesn’t remove their free will whatsoever either. They made the choice. God’s just seen it since He sees all the eternal now.

With that, I believe it is adequate to finally ask this question since it’s been shown what Preston has wrong and off about his ideas on the fullness of the Gentiles… If all is fulfilled and Christ came back in AD70 did Matthew 24:31 and Romans 11:25 happen and get fulfilled? Because if so, there is a problem.

Matthew 24:31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The elect would have to have been elected in AD70 during Christ’s 2nd Coming for all to be fulfilled. We would also have to say that no more Gentiles are being elected today for sure because that number in AD70 reached its fill or plemora.

Eklektos as many Greeks will point out ends. Once done, once chosen, there’s an end to that process. It becomes ended and complete. Eklektos has no possibility in any of its forms of being ongoing whatsoever. The whole word means to choose. To vote. To elect. The process has an ending. It cannot be ongoing. You can have a recount & a re-election but it has specifications in the Greek to clarify if a new election takes place or a recount or a re-election. There’s no way around this word. You’re either the chosen people or you aren’t. And if Christ came back in AD70 the choosing happened. The election happened. And there is no recount or new election taking place. No new choosing. No continuation as there is no mention whatsoever in the bible of a new election taking place.

This leaves some interesting and terrifying conclusions if the election process is over and is far reaching theologically speaking. What does it mean to us today on a practical level if the elect were elected in AD70?

Salvation would end in AD70 because Christ came for His Bride in AD70. The marriage consumnation would be over and Christ would have come for His Bride, the Church, who is the elect. Can you be saved if the elect were elected? Doesn't appear to be so or possible if full preterism is true and one is consistent as Christ already chose His Bride Israel (Jew and Gentile) in AD70. This is no laughing matter at all. It's clear from Romans 11:25 as we've shown, that if AD70 was the time Christ came back and finished election, then the fullness of the Gentiles ended before or in AD70. All Israel would have to have been saved in AD70. This all would have to have ended.  This is no laughing matter. This is vastly far reaching.

A full preterist like Don K Preston could try and attempt to redefine eklektos much like Preston seems to do with a lot of things but it would just look foolish and would be nothing more than him/them redefining something much like gay used to be happy and now is considered by many to be a word for homosexual. It would also be extremely dishonest at the end of the day betraying the true Greek meaning of the word since the Greek doesn’t really allow for a genuine redefinition of it. And in light of the Divine Plan having to have been fulfilled since Romans 11.25 would have to be complete, this leaves a lot of problems Don K Preston will have to deal with or choose to ignore at his own peril.

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