Waldron responds to my provocative response
After my provocative response to Dr. Waldron and some conversation with others in the comments section beneath, I was quite surprised that Dr. Waldron devoted two posts to little old me. I really didn’t think that Dr. Waldron would respond in this way. I thought he would interact with what I was saying in the comments beneath. But instead, he posted official blog posts. I responded to each of these, but he never answered back. So the question remains, can Pre-Millennialists and A-Millennialists dialogue? It doesn’t seem that way.
So Dr. Waldron is going to get his very own post here. I’m going to let my readers see what he responded to me in light of my response to him, and in light of the conversations that were occurring between myself, Barcelou, Jason, and Brett. Dr. Waldron was reading these conversations and interaction. I’m going to make some comments interspersed throughout his response. Then later I will post my official response to Dr. Waldron. You can read what Dr. Waldron had to say at this link here or just keep reading.
Everyone and especially the Orange Mailman,
Sorry, I have been so busy I could not get back to this for the last few days. This is a very interesting discussion. I appreciate the thoughtful and irenic tone. I also appreciate Orange writing. I expected that a Dispensationalist would respond as he did to my post. You may not appreciate my calling you that, Orange, but I have to classify you some way. You are either a Dispensational or Historical Premil or somewhere in transition. Since you don’t fit the definition of historic or covenant premil, because of your rejection of the church being the New Israel, I can only say that whatever your differences from Classic Dispensationalism, you are basically in the Dispenational camp. I don’t mean to call names–only to make clear distinctions.
First off, Dr. Waldron insists that I am a dispensationalist. But what in my writings does he cite that makes him categorize me as a dispensationalist? Nothing. You notice it’s only because I don’t fit into the categories that he has predetermined. He says I don’t fit the definition of a Historic PreMill because of my rejection of Covenant Theology’s belief that the church is the new Israel. But that’s not what Historic PreMill believes. I’ll cite Ladd a bit later with another post that I responded to. But for now, here is a quote from Thoughts on the Apocalypse by BW Newton commenting on the 144,000 in Revelation 7.
The vision, therefore, of those here mentioned as sealed from among the Tribes of Israel, I regard as having reference to the preserved remnant of Israel – that remnant which after having been made to pass through the fires, and refined as silver is refined, shall be made, in the millennial earth, “a strong nation.” In their being sealed during the season of Israel’s last woes, we find, in part, the fulfillment of that promise, “when thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
Not only is Dr. Waldron unfamiliar with the Historic PreMill position, but this reveals something even more disturbing. Anyone who does not believe and see through the paradigm that the church is the new Israel is a dispensationalist in the eyes of Dr. Waldron. It’s easy to dismantle the dispensational scheme. That’s why A-Millennialists are quick to slap that label on people. Not because their beliefs show them to be dispensationalists, but because it’s just easier that way.
Having said all that, I have to say that I am entirely unmoved and unimpressed by your arguments that there might be a future reinsitution of the sacrificial system, circumcision, the temple, dietary law, and the religious calendar. It seems to me that one text alone puts an end to this kind of fanciful speculation. It is Hebrews 10:1: “For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.”
Here is this one text that everything rests upon. The above text is supposed to put to an end any type of “fanciful speculation.” Does that verse settle the matter for you? What does the verse say? What does Dr. Waldron think it says? He thinks that verse says that there will never again be any sacrificial system, physical temple, religious calendar, etc. Note that in my previous responses, I have asked for a use of the word “abolish”, “abrogate”, or some reasonable facsimile. You would expect that Dr. Waldron would have provided me with some scripture which uses a word such as this. So if this is the one text that everything rests upon, I guess I’m the one who is unmoved and sorely unimpressed.
Note also Hebrews 8:1-6: “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “SEE,” He says, “THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.” But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.”
Again, do you read the word abolish, abrogate, or a reasonable synonym? I don’t.
I think this text actually and clearly implies that if the law is reinstituted, then Jesus himself would not be qualified to be a priest in that Temple. What do you think?
I’ll post my response to this in the next post.
More importantly, both these passage make clear that the relation of the Law to the New order in Christ is that of shadow to substance. Note the reference to “true tabernacle.” Not true as opposed to false, but to true as opposed to shadow.
The relation of the Old to the New according to Hebrews is that of shadow to true. This reigning paradigm of the New Testament by itself necessitates a figurative interpretation of Ezekiel 40-48.
So here is Dr. Waldron’s conclusion regarding Ezekiel 40-48. Because there were types and shadows in the Old Testament, and because Christ is not a shadow but the real thing, that means we have to interpret Ezekiel 40-48 in a strictly figurative way. This can’t be a literal temple based on the above.
There are a number of points in addition to this that I think you failed to address, Orange. Among them I don’t recall you addressing the reinstitution of circumcision. But I leave these peccadilloes aside because they are minor compared to the failure to understand the reigning paradigm of the New Testament with regard to the relation of the Old and New (or as Hebrews also puts it, the Good to the Better Covenant).
Note: I did not fail to address circumcision. I responded to it, but I left it out of my presentation here since Dr. Waldron picked up on his poor memory and responded to it separately. I will post my section on circumcision, Waldron’s response, and my counter-response in a post all its own. But what were the other points that I failed to address? I responded to everything in his post. There was not one scripture that I did not address and you readers can go back and see right here in my series.
But here is my big failure. I don’t understand the reigning paradigm of how the Old and New Testaments relate to each other. For Waldron and other A-Millennialists, once the New Covenant has been established, the Old Covenant has been abrogated, or abolished. But that’s not what Christ prophesied. He promised to be the fulfillment of the Old Covenant.
I ask the question “Do you believe Christ came to abolish the law?” but don’t get a response and I’m pretty sure why. The minute he states that the Old Covenant has been abolished, or that the law has been abolished, he has contradicted Christ Himself. Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it. Here is a better understanding of the relationship between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. We live under the New Covenant and a fulfilled Old Covenant, not an abolished Old Covenant.
It’s not that the nation of Israel became the church at Pentecost. The nation of Israel is still the nation of Israel. The believing remnant of Israel (Israel elect) is the assembly, the church. At Pentecost, they were baptized into the eschatological kingdom. Now they stand as the assembly of the citizens of Messiah’s future kingdom. Believing Gentiles are equals in this present assembly. In the future at Israel’s repentance, the nation of Israel will enter the church. Think about that. In the age to come, God doesn’t do away with the church, he consummates it. Israel will be Messiah’s body in the age to come. In the Messianic Kingdom, believing Gentiles will be a part of the church as well as the OT testifies. God won’t be through with the church at the coming of Messiah, the church will just be getting started.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman