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The Thousand Dollar Challenge
Witnessing Tools
Monday, August 11, 2014
Pete Garcia

Recently, a blogger by the name of TK Burk proposed a $1,000 challenge, attempting to put forth eight ‘unprovable’ questions pertaining to Pre-Millennial Dispensationalism.  The catch to his gimmick was that one had to answer using only one verse. To my understanding, Mr. Burke is either an Amillennialist, or some flavor of Preterist.  I didn’t dig deep enough into his profile to find out, but needless to say, he purports to have come ‘out of Dispensationalism’ once he realized it was wrong.

I responded to his challenge, not because I felt some urgent or pressing need to prove him wrong, but that I found his challenge rather simple, yet, completely disingenuous. I mean, even if I could prove by one verse, would he actually pay up?  Hardly.  He would simply try to throw off another explanation as to why I’m wrong in my interpretation, and cloud the issue with irrelevant minutia until the matter was dropped.

So I write this for you, not for him, in that when you encounter those who have their mind firmly entrenched in a faulty eschatology, that you have the tools to answer as simply, and directly as possible.

Now, in understanding doctrinal positions within Scripture, there are singular verses that prove one position or another.  For example, the exclusivity of Christ (John 14:6), or the sealing of the believer by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:14).

Other doctrinal positions, particularly in the areas of Ecclesiology and Eschatology, are developed by understanding numerous verses (from both OT and NT scripture) and one comes to such an understanding, such as Pre-Millennialism, by balancing the scriptures against itself to see which is true.

One other thing that I thought was pretty disingenuous about this whole thing, was that when Scripture was actually being written, there were no chapter or verse delineations.  Chapter and Verse didn’t come along until the 13th-16th centuries.

The idea is, is that if Paul or Peter or Jesus was speaking, that you take the portion of the passage they were speaking to, and balance that with the rest of the passages, not only for context, but so to prevent ‘cherry-picking’ passages to prove a point.  Example: Mark 16:17-18 seemingly would infer that we are to handle snakes and drink poison as a test of our faith.

Rather, I think it is the exception, not the rule that God would have us handling Rattlesnakes as part of our normal, Sunday morning service.  But I digress. 

Compare verses pertaining to Israel for instance, and marry that up against verses that speak to the Church, and see if they are the same.  Or, read verses about the Lord’s Second Coming, and compare them against the verses that speak to the Rapture, and note the similarities and also the differences.  As Jack was often fond of saying, “things that are different are not the same”.

Below is my response to him, his questions, the numbers, and my responses, the letters.  In italics, are my additional notes per question.  Keep in mind, I am responding with as few verses as possible

1)   God delayed His Kingdom because the Jews rejected Jesus.

a)  Romans 11:25-29 (circa 56-57AD)

From before the foundation of the world, God foreknew that He would set aside a nation that would be to Him, a ‘kingdom of priests’.  He also foreknew that they would crucify His only Son, because they would not believe.  He also foreknew that because they did this, salvation would be opened to all of mankind.  So yes, God delayed the Kingdom (see Deut. 28:58-63; Isaiah 46:9-10; Matt. 8:11-12, 25:14-19, but this was neither a surprise to Him, nor a “Plan B”.  See Ephesians 3:9-11

2)  There is a gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel.

a)  1 Cor. 11:26. Clearly, Jesus’ death on the cross is represented in Daniel 9:26, and we are to proclaim His death until He comes…which is why Christianity has continued this one (of two) practices since the time of the Apostles.

So think about why this one verse is so key in refuting false eschatology’s…if Christ had already returned in 70AD as the Full Preterists would claim, than all of practicing Christianity would have been getting it wrong for the last 2,000 years.  Surely, God would not allowed His Church to have continued as a whole, in such error, for such a long period of time if that were true.

3)  There will be a secret pre-tribulation rapture of the Church.

a)  1 Thess 5:1-9 (in particular, vs. 2-3 contrasts delineates between you and they, them.

One must distinguish (compare and contrast) the Rapture from the Second Coming passages to see that the differences between the two are irreconcilable.  They simply can’t be the same event, because they are so different.  Three of the biggest differences are:

i.  One involves only believers, while the other (2nd Coming) involves the entire world

ii.  One initiates the tribulation period known as Daniel’s 70th week, the other initiates the millennial kingdom

iii.  In one, Satan is not bound for a thousand years, and the latter Satan is bound for a thousand years.

4)  God will require the building of a physical third Jewish Temple.

a)  Matthew 24:15 (33AD) 2 Thess 2:4 (50AD) Rev 11:1-3 (95AD, but points to a future temple)

Like it or not, there is a third temple built.  Why? Because the Bible says there will be. So let’s recap about the previous ones:

i.  Solomon’s Temple---destroyed by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC.

ii.  Zerrubabel and Joshua’s Temple (later became known as Herod’s Temple) ---destroyed by the Romans in AD70.

There is blue prints to another temple found in Ezekiel 40-48, which detail another temple, much larger than that of the previous ones.  Remember, Ezekiel was in Babylonian captivity at the time he wrote this, and that temple has to date, not been built yet. 

5)  God will no longer accept grace and Jesus’ blood for salvation but will instead return to the Law and animal blood sacrifices.

a)  I don’t think it will be done as a memorial, but if it were, it’s no stretch to believe that, since we partake of the Lord’s Supper as a Memorial of Christ’s death on the Cross, and we do so until He returns. (1 Cor. 11:26)

b)  Also, the question proposes an incorrect understanding of the animal sacrifices. They were for restoring fellowship between man and God, not for salvation. (Sin offering, Peace offering).  Hebrews 10:1-4 makes this clear. So your question is flawed to begin with.

This seems to be the “silver bullet” with many in the Amillennial, Preterists camps in their attempt to deny a 3rd temple as still being future.  I think I addressed this pretty head on though…animal sacrifices postponed judgment, but never took away sins.  What it did do though, and you can go back to the skins that were provided to Adam and Eve or to Cain and Abel’s sacrifice, was restore fellowship between Man and God.  Since in the Millennial Reign of Christ will consist of the offspring who are born into the Millennium from the survivors’ of the Sheep and Goat Judgment, these people will not have known what the previous age was like in a Christ-rejecting, sin filled world.  These will not be covered by Christ’s death on the Cross, since it is by grace through faith, which we are saved, and faith is:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. Hebrews 11:1-2

But Christ will be seen during this time…since Christ will be physically dwelling on the earth, ruling from Jerusalem (Ps. 2; Isaiah 2:1-4, 11: 1-9; Daniel 2:44-45; etc)

6)  An Antichrist will make a seven-year covenant with the Jews.

a)  Daniel 9:27 (See Gen 29:27 validation of the use of ‘week’ as equal to seven years)

This man, will confirm a covenant with the many for seven years.  And since Daniel 9:27, absolutely follows Daniel 9:26, this means that after Christ’s death on the cross for many (vs. 26), there must be a seven year period that would have to proceed that.  I ask Mr. Burke to show when and where this happened, historically.  If he points to any period of time, outside of the immediate decade of Christ’s death, then by what basis does he allow for the dreaded gap in time?  Whether that time be 10; 40; 2,000; etc…a gap is a gap. 

7)  There will be a future seven-year tribulation period.

a)  Jeremiah 30:7, 11 (unless you can claim vs. 11 has already happened, it’s still future.

I really like Jeremiah 30:11 for this type of response, because it so definitively puts the global nature of God’s judgment into context.  There really isn’t anyway around this.

8)  A physical Jesus Christ will return to establish a 1000-year reign on earth.

a)  Rev 1:7 (physical coming), Dan. 2:44 (physical kingdom, destroys all other physical kingdoms on the earth)

So the only way a Preterist can try and get around this Revelation 1:7 verse, is to try and make the book itself written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.  The only problem with this is, it wasn’t.  Here is why:

  1. An earthquake decimated Laodicea in AD60.  Historically, it took more than a decade to rebuild the city, which means that the church there in no way, could become rich, complacent, lukewarm, etc…in such short years.
  2. Col. 2:1; 4:13, 15-16 make mention of Laodicea…and none in a negative way.  It is believed that Paul wrote Colossians as part of his ‘prison letter’s’ while serving under a Roman sentence…which would have been around AD61-63. If Revelation were to be written prior to the siege of Jerusalem (AD67) or the utter desolation (AD70) of it, than Laodicea would have had to have a complete moral and spiritual breakdown in less than a 4-7 years, so much so, that Christ is physically nauseated by their lukewarmness.  (Rev. 3:14-22)
  3. Thomas Ice puts together even more compelling reasons than space allows me here, to adequately squash the notion that Revelation was written prior to AD70.
  4. Lastly, the ‘soon’ reference found at the beginning and end of Revelation seem to (at least for the preterist) put the proverbial nail in the coffin for a 1st Century fulfillment.  How then do they explain Romans 16:20, or James 5:7-8?

Assessment

I’ve learned over the years, that despite proof, despite historical facts, despite doctrinal consistency, men and women of particular theological persuasions will not be persuaded.  Why do men who purport to be on the side of biblical truth, attack a position of which its main pillar, is that of taking the biblical text as literal as possible?  And I don’t mean a ‘wooden literalism’ as the Partial Preterist Hank “the Bible Answer Man” Hanegraaf often mocks it as.  But that which takes the text in the plainest sense possible, keeping differing forms and styles of writing in its proper context.

In another section of this man’s blog site, he sportingly cites a secular article that enthusiastically proposes that Dispensationalism must be incorrect, because it’s less than 200 years old.  If time is determining factor on the accuracy of one’s message, Jesus Himself would have been in trouble…seeing that His entire ministry lasted only 3 ½ years long.  Clearly, Mr. Burk wouldn’t argue that Jesus’ three and a half year earthly ministry was any less valid as compared to the then, 1,400 year old Judaism? 

Dispensationalism, only 200 years old?  It can’t possibly be right

I wonder if that is the same reasoning that people in Noah’s day used when they rejected his warning of impending judgment. 

Hahaha…that Noah guy can’t be right, his message is only 120 years old!” 

We all see how that turned out.

Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  2 Peter 3:3-7

About Pete Garcia

Last week: The Fourth Apostasy



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