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Friday, October 9, 2020

Preston on Trial: A Refutation & Review of Don K Preston’s “Paul on Trial”.

BY: LAZARUS CONLEY            

            From the start to the end, Preston’s book “Paul on Trial” makes absurd claims, false accusations, bad eisegesis, and reeks of pseudo-scholarship throughout the entire 93 pages of his work that would make even the likes of fellow pseudo-scholars like Alexander Hislop cringe.

Right from the beginning, Preston makes false assumptions about amillennialism which should surprise no one. Amillennialism is a pretty broad eschatological position and if one has done study… any study of eschatology at all in their life (which Preston claims to be, and clearly isn’t) that amillennial teachers are not a monolith like he paints them out to be, just as one cannot claim that all premillennialist or postmillennialist teachers are all the same. Even in the trans-millennial group that Max King and Don Preston and his CBV Full Preterist cohorts are all a part of, there exists large differences of opinions among them. Even in their small sect of heretics they do not have a monolith with trans-millennialism. To suggest and paint it in the way he does is absurd.

Amillennialism is not a monolith. There are various trains of thought within all denominations so I will give mine. In my train of eschatology, it is taught that Christ installed the New Covenant on the Cross through His Death and His Resurrection. Christ fulfilled the Law and the Prophets (i.e. the Old Covenant) at the Cross. Eschatology was not all fulfilled just because the Old Covenant was rendered fulfilled, obsolete, and superseded by Christ with the ushering in of the New Covenant (Matthew 5:17-18 and Hebrews 8:1-13). Preston in this book will make false claims like this all the time.

For correction, Matthew 5:17’s “law or the prophets” is merely a way of referring to the whole Old Testament. Christ says He has “not come to abolish”. We should read Matthew 5:21-48 as well with their correctives in light of Christ’s opening remarks in 5:17-18. In fulfilling the Law, Jesus does not alter, replace, or nullify the former commands; rather, He establishes their true intent and purpose in His teaching and accomplishes them in His obedient life. When He says “until all is accomplished” it means until the full manifestation of God’s Kingdom, for which we are called on to pray for (Matthew 6:10). St. Hilary of Poiters says of Matthew 5 that “from the expression, “pass”, we may suppose the constituting elements of heaven and earth will not be annihilated… He [Christ] does not intend to abolish it but to enhance it by fulfilling it. He declares to His apostles they will not enter heaven unless their righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees. Therefore, He bypasses what is laid down in the Law, not for the sake of abolishing it, but for the sake of fulfilling it[1].

Preston purposely misinterprets scripture and needs to re-read Romans and Hebrews. The Old Covenant has passed and been rendered obsolete. We are bound to the New Covenant and not the Old. Preston will in his books suggest the use of the term “heaven and earth” used in the Bible many-a-times are merely Hebrew idioms but this requires one to overlook many instances in the Old and New Testament where it strongly suggests that one day the material creation will be changed and transformed, no longer subject to the conditions brought to Creation by Adams’ sin. We know God will not be destroying Creation. He will restore, renew, and transform it into the Image of Christ (Rom. 8:20-21 - “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay/corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God”).

Preston will argue that if Matthew 5:17-18 is unfulfilled, then we should all be under Torah and the Old Covenant right now but overlooks that Acts 10, Acts 15, and many other instances disprove his fallacious claims as St. Peter eats with Gentiles and St. Paul, also a Jew, preaches to them and eats with them and lives with them during his ministry. Don conveniently forgets the Bible teaches that we cannot follow the Law perfectly, nor can we and never have we been able to fulfill the Law. It is only Christ who has fulfilled the Law, to perfection, and made us righteous by faith in Him. He, the Christ, as the High Priest gave His ultimate sacrifice and installed the New Covenant with His blood, the Cross, and His Resurrection. In this, the New has superseded the Old and rendered it as dead, waxed, and void (Hebrews 8:13).

            We are no longer under the Mosaic Law. We are under the Law of faith, in the New Covenant. St. Paul in Hebrews 8:13 declares the New Covenant has made the first old, and that it is no longer in effect. Paul sees the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy in the New Covenant and in the Church, where the knowledge of God is experienced, sins are forgiven, and the people participate in the Kingdom of Heaven. Paul declares that the New Covenant has made and rendered the first one old, it is no longer being in effect. He sees the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy [having come to pass now] in the New Covenant and in the Church, where the knowledge of God is experienced, sins are forgiven, and the people participate in the Kingdom of Heaven [thanks to Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross].

Hebrews 8:8-13 quotes from Jeremiah who had proclaimed that a New Covenant was coming into effect one day. Paul is showing us that that day is today, in the present, in Paul’s time right then, not having to wait until AD 70. When the announcement was made it was known and understood that the first covenant formerly in effect was OLD when the announcement was made known. This was and is an upgrade, like a new phone and make the old phone obsolete and to be done away with. We have this upgrade today because Christ went to the Cross, died, and resurrected. The wording of Hebrews 8 makes it clear Paul is speaking about Jeremiah’s announcement being fulfilled today. As soon as it was made known, they were put on notice that the covenant they were under was old and ready to vanish when the new came and Paul is showing them it has already come and made that clear that Christ sealed the New Covenant with His blood and his death, and Resurrection, ushering in the New Covenant.

Hebrews 8:13 cannot and does not mean what Preston purposely misinterprets it to be. That which was waxing old was doing so after the cross and before 70AD. The context does not allow for the full preterist interpretation whatsoever. The old was already waxing old when Jeremiah made the announcement and was ready to vanish and did vanish when Christ nailed the old to His Cross. This is discussed further in my refutation chapter where I deal with Max King in Hope Resurrected if one wishes to dig deeper into why this is all a fallacious argument from Don K Preston.

Preston in this book will attempt to make the claim that Paul was on trial for teaching a spiritual resurrection of the dead. Spiritual death in Preston’s mind is what Max King refers to as sin-death, alienation from God spiritually through sinning against God. In Preston’s eschaton, one is spiritually dead because of their sin. He thinks Christ died a spiritual death… a sin-death… and then was revived physically (which already becomes problematic) and then spiritually revived from spiritual death (sin-death) (which seems problematic since Christ didn't sin and is said to be a sinless sacrifice as Paul says in Romans and Hebrews). 

I would not disagree with Preston on one point. Paul was on trial for his teachings on the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. That is clear in scripture. However, that’s not obviously the only reason that Paul is on trial here. Any person who has read the bible and has a basic grasp on theology and history of 2nd Temple Judaism can figure out why Paul was on trial, namely because 1) he was claiming Jesus to be the Christ and the Messiah prophesied about by the Old Testament Law and Prophets, 2) Paul was claiming Jesus to be God, and not just God but God-Incarnate. 3) Being that Paul was teaching Christ to be God-Incarnate, God the Son, he was also teaching that Jesus the God-Man would be the one to resurrect the dead from their biological graves (as is clearly taught in 1 Corinthians 15 and other places in the Bible despite Preston’s claims).

Preston as I’ve noted in my book Hope Resurrected and my personal blog with the same title, pulls a faulty assumption that he pulled from Max King’s Cross and the Parousia, that the Old Covenant ended in 70 AD with the Temple falling and not the Cross. This is obviously blatantly false and I have at lengths proven it to be false in my book. He makes the faulty assumption that all Old Testament prophesies and promises must be fulfilled when the Old Covenant is rendered obsolete, fulfilled, and superseded by the New Covenant. Promises like Daniel 12’s of a resurrection of the just and unjust are to be fulfilled at the 2nd Coming in full upon Christ’s return (His Parousia) when He ushers in the New Heavens and New Earth and fills Creation with His Presence and is all in all as 1 Cor 15 states will take place.

Preston claims: “It is claimed that Pharisees longed for a physical resurrection. Paul said he was a Pharisee. Therefore, this must demand, we are told, that Paul longed for a physical resurrection as well. But while on the surface this sounds plausible, it is actually a bit of bad logic and quickly backfires. To demonstrate this, we have to briefly examine what it was that the Pharisees and perhaps even the majority of the Jews of the first century, expected and longed for”[2].

Preston asks: “If Paul’s declaration that he was a Pharisee and believed in the resurrection demands that he believed in the physical resurrection, then of logical necessity one must argue that Paul likewise embraced the entire Jewish eschatological narrative. If not, why not”[3].

Paul as a Pharisee would have accepted there would be a biological resurrection by God. He would have accepted there to also be a future Messiah. He would have been waiting for a New Covenant as Jeremiah and fellow prophets had prophesied (Jeremiah 38 LXX; Ch. 31 in MT). This is a no- brainer. The reason Paul is on trial is because he says that the New Covenant has come and is here. Jesus is this Messiah prophesied about by the Law and Prophets, Jesus is God-Incarnate. Jesus, being God, will bring about the Resurrection of the dead because He is God.

His New Heaven and New Earth will be material. The Pharisees did think if Jesus was Messiah that He should have brought about and brought forth a material kingdom and overthrown their enemies when they wanted (for them they wanted it now). It is clear however that the Messiah had and does have other plans and delays the ushering of this kingdom in order to fulfill other Old Testament prophesies under the New Covenant like 1) bringing Gentiles to Christ under the New Covenant and 2) bringing all 12 tribes of Israel out of Assyrian captivity and out of the Exile that the majority of 1st Century Jews still believed they were experiencing and under (some Jews we should note still believe this to be the case).

He claims that Wright, citing Elledge, “tells us that resurrection was a first century concept directly tied to the national (corporate) restoration of Israel to the land, out of exile, and that this idea played an important role in the Jewish revolt in AD 66-70 AD”[4]. If one has read Brant Pitre’s Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile, which derives largely off of Wright’s work in a large way, one would know that while Elledge does say that, as does Wright in some respect, their conclusions completely screw up the entire full preterist paradigm so it is bizarre that Preston would even try to use Wright or Elledge in any context to try and push his full preterism doctrines in a book. This is because 1) Preston does not (and he has admitted this multiple times) believe that Judaism nor the Jewish race exists post AD 70. He admits this in his book, Israel 1948: Countdown to Nowhere. In this book, Preston claims that “the bible did not predict a regathering of Israel in unbelief in 1948” as dispensationalist teach and then claims that “history and the present, proves that Israel was not, and is not, in obedience to the Mosaic Covenant”.[5] It is quite strange to make such a claim since Preston will make statements like this and try to claim history does not support dispensationalism and then fail to take his own views into account as well, since history does not support him nor does it assist full preterism and its claims one bit. 

While I would agree dispensationalism is a heresy as well, the main reason for mentioning this book here is to show evidence that he does not believe Jews exist and has in fact written this in his books before. It is evident by his quote from Israel 1948 where he says “it is legitimate to question the lineage of those who claim to be Jews today”[6] and makes it quite evident that he thinks Jews do not exist ethnically any longer. The facts are that, although Judaism may have changed in its religion, the idea that ethnic Jews do not exist any longer is quite bizarre as they obviously do. It’s a very odd statement to make. Make of it what one will being it is pseudo-history but facts are that this statement is false. Jews and Judaism did not cease to exist in 70 AD. History proves it and makes it quite clear that there were plenty of revolts and even some kings afterward who were Jewish.

Preston seems to completely disregard that the Kitos War (115-117), the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-136), the Gallus Revolt (351-352), and Samaritan Revolts took place as well such as the Ben Sabar Revolt (529-531), the 556 Samaritan Revolt, and the 572 Samaritan Revolt. The Jewish Patriarchate did not cease either. The Great Sanhedrin remained after 70 AD, well from 80-429 AD. We have the historical data to show it. Gamaliel II (80-115), Eleazar ben Azariah (115-120), Judah b. llai (c. 140), Judah haNasi (170-220), Judah II (230-270), Gamaliel IV (270-290), Judah III (290-320), Hilel II (320-365), Gamaliel V (365-385), Judah IV (385-400), Gamaliel VI (400-425). The Jewish Patriarchate was ended in 429 AD under Emperor Theodosius. Couple this with the fact that there were Jewish kings in history as well like Yosef Dhu Nuwas (500-523) and the Khazar King who converted to Judaism along with his members of his Kingdom. They also lasted from 740-1016 AD. Furthermore, under the Ottoman Empire, the Turks gave the name Hacham Bashi from 1842–1918 to the appointed Chief Rabbi of their nation's Jewish community. We also have that list as well. Avraham Haim Gaggin (1842-1848), Isaac Kovo (1848-1854), Haim Abulafia (1854-1860), Haim Hazzan (1860–1869), Avraham Ashkenazi (1869-1880), Raphael Meir Panigel (1880-1893), Jacob Saul Elyashar (1893-1906), Jacob Meir (1906-1907), Elijah Moses Panigel (1907-1908), Nahman Batito (1908-1915), and Nissim Danon (1915-1918) being the last since in 1917, the British conquered Palestine. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel continues to this day if one just does a simple Wikipedia search for it. One could continue this list but this suffices and shows quite clearly Preston’s claims are false and absurd on so many levels.

This is not the only problem for Preston however… While Wright speaks on the Babylonian Exile mostly, Pitre focuses his dissertation on what the Jews thought about the Assyrian Exile. As Pitre says, “Most Jews of this period [i.e. 2nd Temple period], it seems, would have answered the question “where are we?” with the response: ‘we have returned to the land, but the rest of Israel is still in exile; the lost 10 tribes of the northern kingdom have not yet returned’. They believed that, in all the senses which mattered, Israel’s exile, which had begun with the deportation to Assyria, was still in progress. Although the Jews had come back from Babylon, the rest of Israel had not yet returned from being scattered by the Assyrians; hence, the glorious message of the prophets regarding the ingathering of all 12 tribes remain unfulfilled. The lost 10 tribes of Israel still remain scattered among the nations”[7]. They believed that since the 10 northern tribes were “still in literal, geographical exile… most of Israel hadn’t in fact returned from exile – despite the many promises of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others, [and believed] that the God of Israel would do just that”[8] and gather them. It’s pretty obvious if one reads Pitre that this is accurate when he goes through works like 1 Enoch, the Sibylline Oracles, Psalms of Solomon, and The Testament of Moses, 1QHodayot, 1QRule of the Community, the Damascus Document, and others. I encourage one to read his work for oneself but it is unanimous that all scholars virtually agree that the Israelites didn’t return to Israel when the Temple fell in 70 AD. In Early Christian descriptions of the 2nd Advent, the eschatological climax is always either the resurrection of the dead, final judgment, and the defeat of evil, or the dissolution of creation as we know and experience it and the inauguration of a new heavens and a new earth – never of the End of the Exile. In Pitre’s work, he brilliantly shows us that in Daniel 9:24-27, the primary function of Christ’s Messianic Woes and His death as Messiah, would be to begin the end of the Exile. Christ is to be a ransom of many. His ransom will release the scattered exiles of Israel (the many) and this will be a New Passover and bring about a new Exodus: a return from exile. This is one of the contexts of Romans 11:25-27 in that when Christ returns, the Gentile elect’s number will be completed and then all Israel will be saved and gathered, as Matthew 24:31 concludes. Until the 2nd Advent, the disciples and their successors are to go and bring the Gentiles to the Lord and by doing this, once the number is completed, all of Israel will be saved because the ingathering of the Jews of all 12 tribes (especially the Lost 10 Tribes) will take place (Romans 11:25-27; Matthew 24:31). None of this happened in 70 AD and this puts another problem in Preston’s plans to make full preterism plausible. The elect, like Noah, are a chosen remnant, preserved by God through an unparalleled period of destruction, whose universal reach is checked only by the divine favor given to a chosen few. The Parousia is after the Great Tribulation, the elect being gathered is an image of exile ending and a restoration of the 12 tribes of Israel and the grafting of Gentiles along with that, coming in. The only way to bring about this end of the Exile is to go to the nations and bring them back to Zion and by going there and doing this, the end of Israel’s Exile will also mean the end of the Gentiles’ separation from Zion and the worship of Yahweh as Isaiah 66 shows is prophesied to take place. It will be the 70 disciples and their successors (with the 12) who will be the representatives of the eschatologically reconstituted Israel. As one can safely see, this is a huge problem for Preston and his attempt to use Wright or Elledge just makes him look foolish. It becomes evidently clear he has not done enough research or read through the source material he is referencing. 

Preston gives absurd statements like how Christ wasn’t the first person in the Old or New Testament to be raised from physical death so therefore, it must mean “Christ was the first to be raised from the death of Adam, which was [he claims] ‘spiritual death’, i.e. alienation from God”[9]. This is all such silly reasoning since it is made clear that what Paul is saying is that Jesus Christ is the first person to resurrect from the dead physically and not die again. Christ lives forever and is the firstfruits of this: He is the first to have resurrected to eternal life. None other have done so in the history of man. Furthermore, this man who died and resurrected from the dead will, because He is God Incarnate, raise us too from the dead. This is the message of 1 Corinthians 15 and Acts 17 and Acts 24, etc. which Preston blatantly and dishonestly denies.

As I’ve noted in my book Hope Resurrected when I refuted Preston’s book Death of Adam, Life of Christ, of the more modern translation scholars, we have Robert Alter, who translates Genesis 2:16-17 as “From every fruit of the garden you may surely eat. But from the tree of knowledge, good and evil, you shall not eat, for on the day you eat from it, you are doomed to die”. Altar says of vv. 16-17: ‘surely eat…doomed to die’. The form of the Hebrew in both instances is what grammarians call the infinitive absolute: the infinitive immediately followed by a conjugated form of the same verb. The general effect of this repetition is to add emphasis on the verb, but because in the case of the verb ‘to die’ it is the pattern regularly used in the Bible for the issuing of death sentences, ‘doomed to die’ is an appropriate equivalent”[10]. The sentence of death is immediate but the sentence is that Adam is “doomed to die” or “become mortal and die” which makes this all quite simple. Numerous rabbinical writers and Early Church patristics have written commentaries on Genesis 2:16-17 that are used this exact same way which completely opposes Preston’s whole argument that this is Adam dying some spiritual death. History never goes in favor of full preterists.

In the commentary of Sforno - Rabbi Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno (1475-1550) at 2:17, he states: “the tree in the middle of the garden, in close proximity to the tree of life, mentioned previously (v. 9). The meaning of ‘life’ is in connection with that tree is equivalent to the meaning of the words in Deuteronomy 30:19 ‘I have placed life and death (to choose) before you’ [we may understand this to mean that the tree of life if its fruit were eaten, would result in life of infinite duration, whereas eating from the tree next to it would result in life being shortened (being made mortal)[11].

In Rabbi Jacob ben Asher (1269-1343)’s commentary the Tur Ha Aroch, he states: “’For on the day you eat from it you will surely become mortal’: This is not a warning of immediate death (as it would have been equivalent to the dying out of the human species) but a warning not to forfeit eternal life on earth… The belief in the mortality (eventual metamorphosis [he means the belief that Adam would die even had he not eaten the fruit]) of all phenomena which consist of more than one raw material, is held only by people who lack in true faith and believe the existence of the universe is not due to God’s free will, but was the result of an immutable law of nature, long preceding the existence of any God. For true believers who know in their deepest heart, the universe is the result of the will of a totally free Creator, the continued existence of anything this Creator has initiated does not pose a problem. The only thing that would put an end to the absolute life expectancy of man was the fact that he violated the commandment and ignored the warning of what would follow”[12].

In Scholar and Rabbi Nachmanides’ Ramban Commentary (1194-1270) he states: “’For on the day you eat from it you will certainly die’. That is, you will have incurred the death penalty, not that you will die immediately. A similar usage appears in 1 Melachim 2:42. According to the Sages… if Adam had not sinned he would have indeed been immortal, for the soul is capable of sustaining the body forever and this is what the Creator originally intended”[13].

Finally, Rabbi Hezekiah ben Manoah’s commentary (1210-1310) the Chizkuni states: “’for on the day you would eat from it you would surely become mortal’. Man had not been created as a mortal body, but after having sinned he was punished by becoming mortal. God’s warning did not mean he would die immediately. He only had warned him he would his entitlement to infinite life. At some time in the future, he would not be able to escape the need to die. This is why he had to be separated from proximity to the tree of life so that he would not be able to regain the immortality he had now lost”[14].

This is merely the Jewish rabbis’ take on it. There are plethora of Christian writers to choose from as well. In the end, there is no case to be made for Preston’s argument and it is blatantly dishonest to the core and an abysmal failure to push something in the pseudo-scholar world for the eschatological agenda named full preterism.

One can also question this: Assuming Preston correct for devil’s advocate purposes, why is a spiritual judgment of death bringing something physical that they already apparently are supposed to be experiencing already, since they’re mortals according to Preston? Does this make any sense? Is the ground that is being cursed the same today as it was Pre-Fall? Is this serpent being spiritually cursed since it loses physical attributes? Preston needs to answer questions like this because the question arises of why God would bother cursing the ground if the creation was subject to bondage to corruption as it’s always been apparently? Is the ground spiritually subjected to bondage since Paul says in Romans 8:21 that it is to be freed from bondage to corruption? What is the curse on the ground supposed to mean if this is all spiritual? Why does God give Adam toil if he already would have had toil to deal with? Something just is not adding up here obviously.

I have not managed to read Stephanos Mahalio’s work that Preston references but I’m going to assume if he is a scholar and a PHD worth his salt, that he sees the already, not yet principle in Scripture. Assuming Preston is not lying his socks off, according to the footnotes, Preston laments that Mahalio does in fact employ the already not yet principle, much to poor Preston’s dismay. Preston claims that “it is impossible to extrapolate the resurrection into the distant future… [and that]… this is especially true in light of the constant New Testament assertions that the time for the judgment of the living and the dead, i.e., the resurrection, had arrived [he quotes 1 Peter 4:5, 7, 17]”[15].

Problem is, this isn’t what 1 Peter 4:5, 7, or 17 say. They say: “Who shall give account to him that is ready to [Gk. hetoimos] judge the quick and the dead”. (v.5), “But the end of all things is at hand [Gk. eggizo]: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” (v.7), and “For the time is come [Gk. hoti ho Kairos tou arxasthai] that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” It’s pretty simple to comprehend that Peter is saying God is ready to judge the quick and the dead, that the end is at hand, and the time is today… a clear reference to the already, not yet principle that is found all throughout the scriptures. The apostles expect as did the early church that it could happen (the 2nd Advent) at any time because they did not and do not know the day nor the hour that He will come and were and are instructed to live as if it could come and happen at any time period. Preston claims later that “to suggest Daniel foretold a general resurrection of the physically dead, and to then say the time had arrived in the 1st century flies in the face of reality. How could the time of the (physical) resurrection of the dead have arrived in the first century, and yet, there clearly was no ‘general’ or even widespread, resurrection of the physically dead in the first century? Physical resurrection were few and far between – truly exceptional and amazing events. There is simply no way, logically, to suggest that the exceptionally few physical resurrections recorded in the NT were in any way the fulfillment of Daniel 12”[16]. This is all simple stuff that Preston just cannot argue coherently over. There is a way and that way is obvious: the already but not yet principle that eschatologists have taught since the beginning of Christianity, which Preston rejects in favor of atheist bible critics who hate God and his own private interpretations which amount to shoddy eisegesis.

Preston erroneously misuses Romans 6:3-10 to try and make the fallacious claim that Paul has a spiritual, non-biological resurrection in mind and ties Daniel 12 to this. He says that “it goes without saying that Paul is not speaking of the Romans as literally, physically dying and being literally, physically buried as Christ was, or of being literally, physically raised from biological death as Christ was raised… it is specious in the extreme to suggest that he had physical resurrection in mind. And of course, that means that he did not have a material, physical, New Creation in mind.[17]” It is all very poor eisegesis for one who claims to be a scholar. Let’s clear this up a bit.

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” (Romans 6:3-10).

Christ was baptized so that He might become the type and example to us of baptism. “[The] Lord, in His baptism, has prepared the means by which the believer participates in His death, burial and resurrection, even appropriating them to himself. In accordance with the words of the Savior Himself, man is reborn in baptism, of ‘water and the Spirit’, that is, he is born ‘from above’ (Greek anothen), and by extension, ‘born again’. This rebirth is real, not symbolic, as most of the Reformers have held... Christ’s submitting to baptism prepared a way for us to follow Him into His death by our own baptism. As He was buried in the earth, we are buried in water… St. Paul’s speaking of our ‘being dead with Him’ (2 Tim 2:11-14; literally, ‘having died with [synapethanomen]’) is explained by St. John Chrysostom (On 2 Timothy, Hom. V): ‘This death he means of both the Laver [Baptism], and in the suffering. For he says, ‘Bearing about in the body of the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body’ [2 Cor 4:10-11]’. This means that, as baptized Christians, who ‘walk in the newness of life’, are prepared to follow ‘the Captain of our faith’ in suffering persecution, rejection, and even bodily harm for His sake… That “even so we also should walk in newness of life’, refers both to the new life in Christ that follows baptism, and to the resurrection” to come[18].

The apostle develops “the theme of ‘dying with Christ’ by exploring the implications of this victory for all who have faith in Him. Since we, he says in the name of all true believers, have died with Christ – that death accomplished in our baptism – and we now have the faith (pistevomen, ‘we believe’) that we shall also live with (syzesomen, future of syzao) Him, not only in our new life subsequent to baptism, but also that we shall share in His resurrection. This ‘belief’, an unwavering confidence, is reflected in 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 and 2 Timothy 2:11.[19] It is quite clear that Paul’s talk on baptism is not just something spiritual going on or symbolism. The Hebrew concept of being wholly human is to be of a body and soul in unison. As Larchet says “We are aware that we are not purely corporeal beings. We know full well that our body cannot be simply reduced to the sum total of its material components, and that these are structured and animated (that is, literally, endowed with life) by a principle that is superior to them”.[20]It must be admitted that, by allowing distorted forms of asceticism and moralism to develop in its midst, Western Christianity bears a heavy responsibility for the depreciation and even rejection of the body that our culture has known in the past and, as a consequence, for the backlash to which has given rise… The fact remains that original, authentic Christianity is, by its very nature, the one religion that values the body most of all. This is seen in its doctrine of creation, whereby the body too is deemed to be made in the image of God. Similarly, Christianity’s portrayal of future life is one in which the body is also called to participate. Indeed, it is seen in its conception of the human person as composed inextricably of soul and body, and who thus does not simply have a body but in part is a body, marked by all its spiritual qualities. Without question, such exceptional value and significance accorded the body is linked to the very basis of Christianity – namely, the Incarnation. It is a consequence of the fact that the Son of God became man, assuming not simply a human soul but a human body; that in this body He experienced what we experience; that in His person He delivered it from its weaknesses and ills, making it incorruptible, granting it eternal life, and that He gave it as food to His disciples and believers, making them partakers of His divinity, and all the associated blessings.”[21] Jesus is fully God and fully physically human. God Incarnate, God in deified flesh. We will be changed and transformed in like manner into the Image of the Son shall we be made.

Larchet notes: “In Paradise, as we have seen, Adam was united to God with his whole being. Transparent to God’s energies, he was radiant with grace in both soul and body… Ceasing to fulfill God’s will and turning aside from him, by his own fault he lost the grace he had been receiving and the good things associated with it. The Fathers call this ‘the ancestral sin’ – a sin that was to have a decisive influence on the history of humanity, and whose nature, significance, and consequences enable us to understand much of our present situation, in particular, the condition of the body as it is today… In this sin, the principal role was played by Adam’s spirit… [In the] personal sin of Adam all of his soul’s faculties played a part: his memory no longer remembered God, his imagination imagined that which was evil, his appetitive or desiring power coveted false goods, and his irascible power began to struggle to obtain and hold on to them, whilst opposing and resisting God’s will… Adam turned away from God, and as a result, of his own free will, he deprived himself of God’s grace, and so he found himself to be deprived also of the blessings he owed to that grace. Consequently (since evil results from the privation of good), he introduced into himself, into the world, and all his descendants ‘a like number of opposite evils’. In the first instance, these evils affected the soul, which became passible, experienced sorrow and suffering, became corrupt, and died a spiritual death through being separated from God and deprived of divine life. They then spread to the body where they manifested themselves most sensibly. From then on, the body became subject to suffering, sickness, corruption, and eventually death”.[22]

God is to sanctify the whole human being. He will sanctify body and soul. Baptism is the preparation for this in the New Testament. What a shocker that Don K Preston doesn’t understand baptism or the Hebraic concept of what constitutes being a human being. Preston tries to screw the text with shoddy eisegesis by claiming in page 18 that 1 Corinthians 15:49 is about spiritual resurrection when it literally uses the word eikon in it which means an image. For the full preterist, they have to claim that eikon means something invisible which completely betrays the Greek language and its usage of the word which means a visible image. We see this quite clearly in Colossians 1:15 where it says that Christ is the visible image of the invisible God” and uses eikon there as well to support the fact that Christ is fully God and fully human and retains His physical body which has been resurrected from the dead, empowered by the Holy Spirit. He begins to ramble in this book about how the “image of God” does not refer to a physical body which just goes to prove that Preston does not comprehend basic theological truths. We are made in the image and likeness of the Holy Trinity. God did indeed create us with much more than physical attributes in mind. That’s evident throughout the entirety of Scripture. However, the Son is the image of the invisible God and He shares in essence with the Father and the Spirit that allow us to carry and represent God’s image and likeness. It would be superficial and tragic to only suggest or think that our likeness to God is only in physical terms. That said, our form is like that of Adam and we are currently being and will be conformed to the image of the New Adam, Christ as 1 Corinthians 15, Romans 5-8, Col 1:15, and multiple other scriptures attest. Preston tries to make balderdash claims that “if one wishes to argue that ‘the image of Adam’ refers to the biological body, then to be consistent, one has to argue that in Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians (not to mention 1-2 Peter), the saints were in fact in the process of laying off their bodies of human flesh, blood, and bone”[23]. This is completely absurd when one takes into account that they were not doing such a thing. What they were in the process of doing was becoming glorified humanity. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, which we will discuss at length later, was in fact teaching that current humanity will be resurrected and changed and take a body that glorifies humanity, a pneumatikos body we shall inherit that will be empowered by the Spirit of God, just like Christ, who we await to be conformed to His Image (1 Cor. 15:49).

We had discussed Pitre above for a reason in this refutation. Preston actually mentions Pitre’s book when Pitre shows that the restoration of Israel that is promised must involve the return of the 10 lost tribes of the northern kingdom and the resurrection of the dead. He asks “did Paul embrace this Pharisaic resurrection hope?[24]” Well, yes. Despite Preston’s malarkey claims, Paul shows us pretty clearly in Romans 11 that this is the case that when the number of Gentiles is complete, then all Israel will be saved (Rom 11:25-27). This would be because as the Gospels say, Christ will send his angels to gather the elect from the four corners of the world (Mt 24:31)… that elect being Jew and Gentile from all over the world… in other words, this includes a return from exile and the 10 lost tribes coming back to communion with God. The Divine Council of God, The Holy Trinity, will reign over all lands and Christ will be “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).

Preston asks such ridiculous questions. “When Paul said he was a Pharisee, was he saying that he believed in a future physical resurrection? If so, was he also saying that he did not believe in a physical restoration of the literal twelve tribes to the physical land, to the physical city, where physical animal sacrifices were to be offered by a genealogically confirmed priesthood, and that physical circumcision was to be imposed?[25]” These questions are all quite disingenuous. He makes the faulty and absurd assumption as he always does that the Old Covenant was done away with in 70 AD when he thinks the 2nd Coming happened. This has been proven false as we showed above and went at lengths to show in Hope Resurrected. The New Covenant was installed at the Cross through His death burial and resurrection. The 12 tribes as we said before are to be restored in some way when the 2nd Coming takes place because of Romans 11 and Matthew 24:31 among other prophecies in the Old and New Testament. This new exalted reality to come will not require a Jewish priesthood because Christ as Hebrews says is the High Priest and made us all part of the royal priesthood. There is no need for sacrifices because Christ, the High Priest already made the ultimate sacrifice, Himself. Preston’s questions are silly and absurd. Just because Paul preaches the same kind of resurrection that the Pharisees do doesn’t mean that the Pharisees had everything correct all the time. They expected a Messiah and He came and they missed it. Paul, a Pharisee, didn’t. They expected something to take place that would atone for Israel’s sins. It did. Christ died for them. 

One can and should find it all ridiculous Preston cites the likes of NT Wright, Brant Pitre, CD Elledge, and Jon Levenson. NT Wright and Pitre for example fully endorse the resurrection of the dead being biological bodies that are raised from the dead. I would challenge Preston to show us otherwise where these two believe otherwise because one will find an argument of silence in that case, worse than finding evidence for full preterism’s claims that Jesus lost his human body in the ascension and had his 2nd Coming in 70 AD.

Jon Levenson shows us in Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel, that in classical Christianity and at least the Pharisaic form of Judaism, resurrection was for the whole person in body and soul and also argues like Wright and Pitre would, as well as Elledge, that the Saduceean and Essene branches of Judaism all have an argument for being moreso influenced by the Greek concepts of the afterlife whereas Pharisaical sects had a more reactionary approach in comparison. We also know without a doubt that the early Christians believed that resurrection meant body and soul being glorified and revived. As we all know though, Preston isn’t going to tell you that. He is instead going to pick and choose quotes from people and cherrypick scholars and misinterpret even at times, their words to try and make himself appear a credible scholar when in fact he is not. We know what the Jews and Christians believed about the resurrection. Preston knows this too and rejects sound and trustworthy historical data, historical texts, scholarship, and what Scripture shares with us, all for shoddy eisegesis.

He tries, unsuccessfully, in the next pages to tell us that “the trial of Paul shows us therefore, that the proper view and definition of the resurrection is not the raising of human corpses out of the dirt, but the restoration of fellowship between man and God. That restoration gives eternal life. It is the removal of the only thing that brings death – sin”[26].

Let us end this stupid debate once and for all. The rest of this article I am going to show the reader the proper interpretations of the Scriptures that Don K Preston refuses to uphold in an honest manner and show that Paul and the New Testament do teach a biological resurrection of the dead. What did the sect of Judaism called the Pharisees believe about the resurrection of the dead? They believed it would be biological bodies to rise from their graves. This is confirmed in the youngest parts of the Talmud and the Gemara as well shows us this to be true in the post-AD 70 Pharisees’ interpretations of prophets who speak on resurrection like in Job 19:25-27, Daniel 12, Isaiah 26:19 (more generally Isaiah 24-27 make up the Mini-Apocalypse of Isaiah), and Ezekiel 37 just to name a few. We know that Paul was a Pharisee and in their sect as is evidenced in Acts 23:6 where he says he is a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee and also in 26:5 and Phil. 3:5. He used the Septuagint as his source in his letters and writings and this was what the Jews would have held to as their “Bible” (to use the modern vernacular). Their bible “canon” would have been Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, 1 Ezdras, Ezra-Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther with additions, 1, 2, and 3rd Maccabees, Psalms 1 to 151, the Prayer of Manasseh, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Psalms of Solomon, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah, Malachi, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Lamentations, Letter of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and lastly, Daniel with additions like Susanna and Bel the Dragon. This is a lot different from the bible that many Protestants use today but this would have been the canon that Paul would have used as would the Pharisees. Paul would have been well versed and know all these books quite well as a Pharisee who had been tutored and taught under Gamaliel. Preston could very well argue some of these books are not “canon” but he would have no case to give nor evidence since unfortunately for them, these books were used in the Septuagint by the Jewish Pharisee sect and read and considered scripture and sacred history. It also is true that the Early Church held to these works as well and that ultimately the canon would include all these books when the Church would form the “Bible”. So we can trust these books to be considered scripture and authoritative to the Pharisees and the Early Church and obviously to Jesus and Paul and other apostles. None of them were interpreting this resurrection of the dead as some bodiless, ghostly, non-biological resurrection of the dead. This is made evidenced as soon as St. Clement’s writings in the 90s AD as well as the Letters of Ignatius and beyond that it is obvious this was the teaching of the Early Church in its earliest time period after the NT as we know it today was fully written down by 100 AD. Thus, history and tradition from both the Pharisees and the Early Christians both show us they believed in the resurrection of the dead as being a biological one that Jesus and Paul and apostles predicted would take place at the 2nd Coming event.

Can we get a biological resurrection of the dead out of the scriptures though? Yes. We can actually.

Job 19:25-26 “For I know that an eternal one exists, one who will free me upon the earth, to raise up my skin, which endures all things. For by the Lord, these things were fulfilled in me…” Brenton’s LXX

Job 42:17a “And it is written that he shall rise again with the ones whom the Lord shall raise up”. The word used for “raise” here in the LXX is used for resurrect and “to stand up” and that is the obvious context it is used in.

Wisdom of Solomon 1:12-14 “Do not strive for death… because God doesn’t cause death or delight in the destruction of the living ones. For he created all things to exist…”

2:23-24 “Because God created humanity for incorruption and he made it an image of his own particular nature; but through the envy of the devil, death entered into the world, and those who are party with him experience it”.

3:1-4, 7-8 “But righteous souls are in the hand of God, and torment will never touch them. They seem to have died, in the eyes of the foolish, and their departure was considered to be oppression, and their journey from us to be an affliction; but they are at peace. For even if they are punished in the sight of people, their hope is full of immortality; and having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good, because God tested them and found them worthy”… “And in the time of their examination they will shine out, and they will run around like sparks in straw. They will judge nations, and they will rule over peoples, and the Lord will reign over them for eternities”.

I will not type it all out but one can check Wisdom of Solomon 5-6 where it speaks on the final judgment of the unrighteous and the rewards to come for the righteous ones. It also speaks on judgments put upon kings and rulers of nations across the earth.

Ezekiel 16:51-58 and Ezekiel 37 LXX points to the Resurrection of the dead.

Daniel 12:1-2 pretty obviously discusses it in brief passing when it talks about some awaking from the dust they were asleep in, an obvious reference back to Genesis 3 and Isaiah 25-27, with the people of God and also the unjust, rising eternally to shame or joy: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Confirmation, if one even needs this is found in 1-2 and 4 Maccabees which part of Daniel finds to be fulfilled by the actions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his profaning the temple with an abomination of desolation (1 Mac. 1:54) by placing a statue of Zeus and a pig offering at the Temple.

We find in 2 Maccabees 6:23 Eliezer being asked to be sent to Hades. The reason for this is made quite clearly when in 7:6-9 one of the 7 sons that are massacred and martyred by Antiochus says that “…the King of the world (referring to the Lord) will raise us to an everlasting renewal of life, because we die for his laws” and seals the deal with 7:13-17 where it clearly shows us the resurrection of the dead and sharing with us that Antiochus’ non-repentance will result in everlasting torment: “After he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. When he was near death, he said, “One cannot but choose to die at the hands of mortals and to cherish the hope God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!” Next they brought forward the fifth and maltreated him. But he looked at the king, and said, “Because you have authority among mortals, though you also are mortal, you do what you please. But do not think that God has forsaken our people. Keep on, and see how his mighty power will torture you and your descendants!” (NRSV). To make matters worse for Preston, 2 Maccabees 7:20-29 clearly shares with us that the 7 sons will share in the resurrection of the dead which is a bodily resurrection that gives them breath back in their lungs and give life back to them: “The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Although she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. She encouraged each of them in the language of their ancestors. Filled with a noble spirit, she reinforced her woman’s reasoning with a man’s courage, and said to them, “I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of humankind and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws.” Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his ancestors, and that he would take him for his Friend and entrust him with public affairs. Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native language as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: “My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. I beg you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. And in the same way the human race came into being. Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God’s mercy I may get you back again along with your brothers.” (NRSV)

2 Maccabees 12:39-45 NRSV clearly shows us through Judas Maccabeus’ prayer for the dead. He does this because he believes in the resurrection of the dead and the final judgement to come and since these dead Jews are found with cursed objects they pray as is custom for Judaism to pray for the Lord to have mercy on these men, something one should note that the Early Church continued this practice of prayer for the deceased: “On the next day, as had now become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kindred in the sepulchres of their ancestors. Then under the tunic of each one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was the reason these men had fallen. So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen. He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin”.

4 Maccabees 9:21-25; 15:1-3; 16:1-13, 17:1-6, 11-18 NRSV:

“Although the ligaments joining his bones were already severed, the courageous youth, worthy of Abraham, did not groan, but as though transformed by fire into immortality, he nobly endured the rackings. “Imitate me, brothers,” he said. “Do not leave your post in my struggle[e] or renounce our courageous family ties. Fight the sacred and noble battle for religion. Thereby the just Providence of our ancestors may become merciful to our nation and take vengeance on the accursed tyrant.” When he had said this, the saintly youth broke the thread of life”.” [4 Mac. 9:21-25]

“O reason of the children, tyrant over the emotions! O religion, more desirable to the mother than her children! Two courses were open to this mother, that of religion, and that of preserving her seven sons for a time, as the tyrant had promised. She loved religion more, the religion that preserves them for eternal life according to God’s promise”. [4 Mac. 15:1-3]

“If, then, a woman, advanced in years and mother of seven sons, endured seeing her children tortured to death, it must be admitted that devout reason is sovereign over the emotions. Thus I have demonstrated not only that men have ruled over the emotions, but also that a woman has despised the fiercest tortures. The lions surrounding Daniel were not so savage, nor was the raging fiery furnace of Mishael so intensely hot, as was her innate parental love, inflamed as she saw her seven sons tortured in such varied ways. But the mother quenched so many and such great emotions by devout reason. Consider this also: If this woman, though a mother, had been fainthearted, she would have mourned over them and perhaps spoken as follows: “O how wretched am I and many times unhappy! After bearing seven children, I am now the mother of none! O seven childbirths all in vain, seven profitless pregnancies, fruitless nurturings and wretched nursings! In vain, my sons, I endured many birth pangs for you, and the more grievous anxieties of your upbringing. Alas for my children, some unmarried, others married and without offspring. I shall not see your children or have the happiness of being called grandmother. Alas, I who had so many and beautiful children am a widow and alone, with many sorrows. And when I die, I shall have none of my sons to bury me.” Yet that holy and God-fearing mother did not wail with such a lament for any of them, nor did she dissuade any of them from dying, nor did she grieve as they were dying. On the contrary, as though having a mind like adamant and giving rebirth for immortality to the whole number of her sons, she implored them and urged them on to death for the sake of religion.” [4 Mac. 16:1-13]

Some of the guards said that when she also was about to be seized and put to death she threw herself into the flames so that no one might touch her body. O mother, who with your seven sons nullified the violence of the tyrant, frustrated his evil designs, and showed the courage of your faith! Nobly set like a roof on the pillars of your sons, you held firm and unswerving against the earthquake of the tortures. Take courage, therefore, O holy-minded mother, maintaining firm an enduring hope in God. The moon in heaven, with the stars, does not stand so august as you, who, after lighting the way of your star-like seven sons to piety, stand in honor before God and are firmly set in heaven with them. For your children were true descendants of father Abraham”. [4 Mac. 17:1-6].

“Truly the contest in which they were engaged was divine, for on that day virtue gave the awards and tested them for their endurance. The prize was immortality in endless life. Eleazar was the first contestant, the mother of the seven sons entered the competition, and the brothers contended. The tyrant was the antagonist, and the world and the human race were the spectators. Reverence for God was victor and gave the crown to its own athletes. Who did not admire the athletes of the divine legislation? Who were not amazed? The tyrant himself and all his council marveled at their endurance, because of which they now stand before the divine throne and live the life of eternal blessedness”. [4 Mac. 17:11-18]

“The mother of seven sons expressed also these principles to her children: “I was a pure virgin and did not go outside my father’s house; but I guarded the rib from which woman was made. No seducer corrupted me on a desert plain, nor did the destroyer, the deceitful serpent, defile the purity of my virginity. In the time of my maturity I remained with my husband, and when these sons had grown up their father died. A happy man was he, who lived out his life with good children, and did not have the grief of bereavement. While he was still with you, he taught you the law and the prophets. He read to you about Abel slain by Cain, and Isaac who was offered as a burnt offering, and about Joseph in prison. He told you of the zeal of Phinehas, and he taught you about Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael in the fire. He praised Daniel in the den of the lions and blessed him. He reminded you of the scripture of Isaiah, which says, ‘Even though you go through the fire, the flame shall not consume you.’ He sang to you songs of the psalmist David, who said, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous.’ He recounted to you Solomon’s proverb, ‘There is a tree of life for those who do his will.’ He confirmed the query of Ezekiel, ‘Shall these dry bones live?’ For he did not forget to teach you the song that Moses taught, which says, ‘I kill and I make alive: this is your life and the length of your days.’” O bitter was that day—and yet not bitter—when that bitter tyrant of the Greeks quenched fire with fire in his cruel caldrons, and in his burning rage brought those seven sons of the daughter of Abraham to the catapult and back again to more tortures, pierced the pupils of their eyes and cut out their tongues, and put them to death with various tortures. For these crimes divine justice pursued and will pursue the accursed tyrant. But the sons of Abraham with their victorious mother are gathered together into the chorus of the fathers, and have received pure and immortal souls from God, 24 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” [4 Mac. 18:6-24]

Psalms of Solomon 2:34-41 speak of a resurrection of the dead in passing reference as well as the judgment of sinners for eternity and the eternal blessedness that comes from faithfulness. Chapter 3 on a sinner and the just: 3:16 says “But those who fear the Lord will arise into eternal life, and their life will never come to an end in the light of the Lord”.

Ps. Of Sol. 14:6 shares a judgment scene “Therefore their inheritance is Hades and darkness and destruction, and they will not be found in the day of mercy of the righteous But the holy ones of the Lord will inherit life in cheerfulness”. Chapter 17 of Psalm of Solomon gives us a whole talk about eternity for Israel and the other nations who glorify God. It also brings up and references the woman and her 7 sons as well from the Maccabees.

Enoch 22:11-14 Here their souls are separated in this great affliction until the great day of judgment and punishment and affliction upon the revilers to eternity, and the vengeance for their souls, and here he binds them to eternity. And if it was before eternity, then this apartment has been made for the souls of those who lament and those who reveal their destruction when they were killed in the days of the sinners. And thus it has been created for the souls of men who were not just, but sinners, who were complete in their crimes; and they will be with criminals like themselves; but their souls will not be killed on the day of judgment and will not be taken from here.” At that time I blessed the Lord of glory, and said: “Blessed is my Lord, the Lord of glory and of justice, who rules all things to eternity!”

Enoch 51:1-5 "And in those days the earth will return that entrusted to it, and Sheol will return that entrusted to it, which it has received, and hell will return what it owes. And he will choose the just and holy from among them, for the day has come that they be saved. And the Chosen One in those days will sit upon his throne, and all the secrets of wisdom will proceed from the thoughts of his mouth, for the Lord of the spirits has given it to him and has honored him. And in those days the mountains will skip like rams, and the hills spring like lambs satisfied with milk, and they will all be angels in heaven. Their faces will shine in gladness, because the Chosen One has arisen in those days, and the earth will rejoice, and the just will live thereon, and the chosen will walk and move thereon."

Enoch 61:1-5 "And I saw in those days that long cords were given to those angels, and they took to themselves wings, and flew, and went towards the north. And I asked the angel, saying: “Why have these taken the long cords, and have gone away?” And he said to me: “They went out to measure.” And the angel, who went with me, said to me: “These bring the measures of the just and the ropes of the just, that they may support themselves on the name of the Lord of the spirits to all eternity. And the chosen will begin and dwell with the chosen, and these measures will be given to faith [fidelity], and will strengthen the word of justice. And these measures will reveal all the secrets of the depths of the earth, and those who have been destroyed by the desert, and those who have been devoured by the fish of the sea, and by the beasts, that they return and support themselves on the day of the Chosen One, for none will be destroyed before the Lord of the spirits, and none can be destroyed".

Enoch 62:1-16 "And thus the Lord commanded the kings and the powerful and the exalted and those who dwell on the earth, and said; “Open your eyes, and lift up your horns, if ye are able to recognize the Chosen One.” And the Lord of the spirits sat on the throne of his glory, and the spirit of justice was poured out over him, and the word of his mouth slew all the sinners and all the impious, and they were destroyed before his face. Then will stand up on that day all the kings and the powerful and the exalted and those who hold the earth, and will see him and will know that he sits on the throne of his glory, and that the just are judged in justice before him, and that there is no word spoken in vain before him. And pain will come over them, like a woman who is in travail, and to whom the birth is hard, when the son enters the mouth of the mother, and she has pain in giving birth. And one portion of them will look upon the other, and will tremble and cast down their countenances, and pain will seize them, when they see this Son of the woman sitting on the throne of his glory. And the powerful kings, and all who hold the earth, will honor, and bless, and exalt him who rules over all, who was hidden. For formerly the Son of man was hidden, and the Most High preserved him before his power, and has revealed him to the chosen. And the congregation of the holy and the chosen will be sown, and all the chosen will stand before him on that day. And all the powerful kings and the exalted and they who rule the earth will fall before him upon their faces, and will worship and will hope in this Son of man, and will petition him and ask him for mercy. And that Lord of the spirits will only press them, that they hasten to leave his presence and their countenances will be filled with shame, and darkness will be heaped upon their countenances. And the angels of punishment will receive them to take vengeance on them, because they have abused his children and his chosen. And they will be a spectacle for the just and for his chosen; they will rejoice over them, because the wrath of the Lord of the spirits rests upon them, and the sword of the Lord of the spirits is drunk with them. And the just and chosen will be saved on that day, and will henceforth not see the face of the sinners and of the unjust. And the Lord of the spirits will dwell over them, and they will dwell with this Son of man, and will eat and lie down and rise again with him to all eternity. And the just and the chosen will have risen from the earth, and will have ceased to cast down their faces, and will be clothed with the garments of life. And these will be the garments of life before the Lord of the spirits; and your garments will not become old, and your glory will not decrease before the Lord of the spirits".

Baruch 3:1-5 “O Lord Almighty, God of Israel, the soul in anguish the troubled spirit, crieth unto thee. Hear, O Lord, and have mercy; for thou art merciful: and have pity upon us, because we have sinned before thee. For thou endurest for ever, and we perish utterly. O Lord Almighty, thou God of Israel, hear now the prayers of the dead Israelites, and of their children, which have sinned before thee, and not hearkened unto the voice of thee their God: for the which cause these plagues cleave unto us. Remember not the iniquities of our forefathers: but think upon thy power and thy name now at this time.”

2 Esdras / 4 Ezra 7:32-33 The earth shall give up those who are asleep in it, and the dust those who rest there in silence; and the chambers shall give up the souls that have been committed to them. The Most High shall be revealed on the seat of judgment, and compassion shall pass away, and patience shall be withdrawn.

Josephus Antiq. XVIII, 1, 3. Written literally by a Pharisee.

The Old Testament is obvious proof for a resurrection of the dead that will be biological. The people who have gone to the dust will be redeemed. This and 2nd Temple Judaism texts all show us that there is prophesied to be a resurrection of the dead that is biological bodies being raised from the dead. This was the Pharisees' belief as well as the majority of Judaism. We find Jesus celebrating Hanukah (Feast of Lights) which shows us that the Maccabees did matter and have context in Jesus’ time. The story of the 7 children and mothers was well known to all at the time. Daniel’s prophecy would also be well known in Jesus’ time. They saw Antiochus IV as some of the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. Jesus knew this as did Paul, a former Pharisee who was well-read, under Gamaliel’s tutorage.

The New Testament easily confirms a biological resurrection. 

Jesus makes it clear in the Greek that in John 5:21-30 the dead will rise by His voice speaking the dead to life and that they will rise from their graves.
 
John 5:21-30 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me”.
 
Acts 4:2 “greatly disturbed that they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead”. The Greek is anastasin ek nekron. In Greek this can be no other than a resurrection from or of the corpse.

Acts 17:32 “When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some began to mock him, but others said, “we want to hear you again on this topic”. The Greek is anastasin nekron. This can have no other context in the time other than a literal rising up of a dead corpse to life.

Acts 24:15 and 21 “and I have the same hope in God that they themselves cherish, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked” (anastasin te dikaion kai adikon) and “unless it was this one thing I called out as I stood in their presence: ‘It is concerning the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you today“ (Anastaseos nekron).

Paul makes it clear in his letter to the Thessalonians when he says: “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thess. 4:14).
 
“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:12-13).

1 Corinthians 15 as all know, answers this outright when it uses pneumatikos soma which means a body raised to life and empowered by the Holy Spirit. For brevity's sake, I will just defer to my own book in Chapter 8 where I refute Max King's interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15 and prove without a doubt that it teaches an obvious biological resurrection. 

In conclusion, Preston is selling pseudo-scholarship to his followers and claiming it is scholarly. It is clear as we have shown that this book is full of misinformation and on a personal note it should be said that he should be ashamed of himself for taking scholars out of context as well. Don K Preston has been proven time and time again to make false claims and to be a proven pseudo-scholar. Save yourself the trouble and money to buy and read someone better instead of a proven pseudo-scholar who only wants to make money off of ignorant people. 



[1] Catena App. Mt. 5:19 – St. Hilary of Poiters.

[2] Don K Preston. Paul on Trial. 10. Kindle. 2020. JaDon Publishing. Ardmore OK.

[3] Ibid. 12.

[4] Ibid. 13.

[5] Preston. Israel 1948. 2011. Loc. 36, 171.

[6] Ibid. Loc. 528.

[7] Brant Pitre. Jesus, The Tribulation, and the End of the Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of the Atonement. 2006. Baker Academic. 37.

[8] Ibid. 39.

[9] Preston. Paul on Trial. 14.

[10] Robert Alter. The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary. W.W. Norton & Co. NY. London. 2004. (Kindle)

[11] www.sefaria.org. Search: Genesis 2:17.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Preston. Paul on Trial. 15.

[16] Ibid. 15.

[17] Ibid. 16.

[18] Dmitri Royster. St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans: A Pastoral Commentary. SVS Press. NY. 2008. 145-146.

[19] Ibid. 150-151.

[20] Jean-Claude Larchet. Theology of the Body. SVS Press. 2016. 8

[21] Ibid. 11.

[22] Larchet. 34. 37.

[23] Preston. Paul on Trial. 22.

[24] Ibid. 45.

[25] Ibid. 48.

[26] Ibid. 77.

Matthew Chapter 22-28

[Chapter 22] Christ talks in parable to them more while the Pharisees and Sadducees are already pissed off at Him. 22:1-14 - The King has a ...