Eschatology Put_On_The_New_Self

Published on January 24th, 2013 | by Sam Frost

20

The day of the Lord and Romans 13:11–14

Put_On_The_New_SelfRomans 13:11–14 has been taken in many ways by interpreters, and this can cause considerable confusion for those wanting to understand exactly what Paul was saying here. First, the verses in question read:

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

As noted by N.T. Wright, “Paul does not say, as so many of his interpreters have supposed that he said, that the final end of which he speaks in Romans 8, I Corinthians 15, I Thessalonians 4–5, and elsewhere, will certainly come within a generation.”(1) That is, many have asserted that Paul believed with certainty that the “final end” of history would come to a close in his own generation. This is patently false.

First, Paul plainly expected many ages and “generations” to come: “to Him is the glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen” (Eph. 3:21). Does this sound like a man that expected his generation to be the final generation? Hardly.

Secondly, the visions found in the Prophets concerning the massive expansion of the Gospel—not in just hearing it, but being converted by it—could have hardly been fulfilled within thirty or so short years. Paul had dreamed of reaching Spain, but never did, and Rome was spread throughout upper Gaul, reaching all the way to modern Britain, to the upper regions of Africa. These areas were not reached by the Gospel within a generation. Not to mention the fact that they knew of the Orient nations to the east, including China.(2)

So, what are we to do with the language of Paul in our text? The great Charles Hodge, in his still often referenced Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (1886), noted that in his day there were “three leading interpretations.”(3) The first is put forth by “Hammond” and “Whitby.” That is, Henry Hammond, and his famous Paraphrase and Annotations of All the Books of the New Testament. He took this to mean the persecuting powers of the Jews would be broken, expecting that what Paul is talking about here in his time was in reference to A.D. 70. Daniel Whitby took the same view. However, neither of these men understood Paul as referring to what Wright called the “final end.”

Hodge dismisses this view, as does Wright, but in doing so they both make interesting remarks that reminded me of what I wrote in Why I Left Full Preterism.(4) Hodge, remarkably, wrote, “We are not to understand the expressions, day of the Lord, the appearing of Christ, the coming of the Son of man, in all cases in the same way.”(5) And, then he quotes a long list of verses concerning the “days” and “comings” of the Lord from the Hebrew Bible. Wright even notes that “salvation can refer to saving events during the present course of history,”(6) as it so often does, again, in the Hebrew Bible. How many times was Israel “delivered,” “saved,” “redeemed,” and the like? Read your Hebrew Bible.

Note the word “times” (plural) in my question. Paul is speaking of a specific kairos (“time”). He is not speaking of all times. He is not speaking of all the times and seasons the Father has set for the future (see Acts 1:7, where kairos is used in the plural along with chronos, also in the plural). Again, Paul wrote, “Brothers, but of the times (chronon – plural genitive) and seasons (kairon – plural genitive) you have no need to be written.” Why? Because “the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.” Just one of the many comes like thief, or do they all come like a thief to those who cry “peace, peace”? These verses, taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:1 ff. also contain an allusion to Jeremiah 6:14 where the Prophet states, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (ESV). This is set in the context of impending judgment upon Judah.

Also, Ezekiel 13:10, “Precisely because they have misled my people, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when the people build a wall, these prophets smear it with whitewash” (ESV). Ezekiel is foretelling impending doom (see especially chapter 7, where the “day of the Lord” was “at hand” and “the end is near” and Yahweh is coming to “repay them according to their deeds.” Sound familiar?). Jesus plainly stated that “heaven and earth will perish . . . but about that day, no man knows” (Matt. 24:35, 36). That’s why there is “no need” for Paul “to write” to the Thessalonians about future times and seasons, future times, or even the “when” of the final time (1 Thessalonians 4:16 ff.).

Now, having said all of the above, could it be that Paul, using typical “day of the Lord” language was describing an event that was to appear on the horizon in their own time (with Whitby and Hammond)? However, understanding Hodge, that this language is not to be understood “in all cases in the same way,” are we not justified in taking a position that though Paul may have the dissolution of the Jewish nation in mind, he does not mean that the events of Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, and the like were to take place at that time. What I am positing is that the early Christians certainly expected a “day of the Lord” in their time. However, they did not expect the final day of the Lord in their time (as already pointed out), which would usher in the restoration of all of creation and resurrection of the dead.

Further, the “in between times and seasons” the Father has set for the future is known only by him, yet, would be characterized by the same historical revolutions and convulsions associated with “the wrath of God.” That is, God in history working all things to the good for those who love Christ Jesus up to the final wrapping up of the gift of creation itself and handing it to His people (Rom. 4:13). God alone knows the in-between times and seasons, and also knows the time when heaven and earth with perish (which not even the son of man knew), transforming them into the new heavens and new earth. This is where history is going, which provides us with the incentive of discipling nations under the heading of Isaiah 2:1 ff. The Church is given the task of bringing heaven on earth.

With this, the ethical injunctions found here in our text apply to every generation precisely because God, who comes in many ways(7) throughout history (personally, locally, nationally, globally), can, in these ways, come at any time in history. Always watch. Always keep on guard. “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” This last part, “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” speaks of our present and ongoing sanctification, and is rooted in the ultimate putting on, or being transformed by the resurrection of Jesus, obtaining a body like his glorious one. “Put on the Lord Jesus” means put on the present, Risen and Reigning Jesus, the man who was dead, but who is now alive at the right hand of the Father.

With this understanding, we can dismiss the Dispensationalist view, that Paul was envisioning the end of the world only to have it “postponed” because of Israel’s non-repentance. This is based on the assumption that Paul here is envisioning the end of the world, and since that obviously didn’t happen, then this postponement theory must be rejected. We can dismiss the idea that Paul envisioned the end of the world, but was, quite simply, wrong. This floats the liberal-critical notion that is decidedly against the infallibility of the Scriptures.

We can also dismiss the recent idea, often called Full Preterism, that, taking its cue from Dispensationalism, Paul was indeed envisioning the end of the world. However, it was not postponed (against the Dispensationalist), and Paul was not wrong (against the Liberals). No, this view says, the “world” was the “covenant world” of Israel. The resurrection of the dead was “spiritual” only. The “final end” was AD 70. This view runs into problems when it comes to “putting on Christ.” The end result of sanctification (“putting on Christ”) is the manifestation of resurrection, and if that has already happened, then the ethical incentive is lost. The ethical incentive of “Christian living” has as its goal the final application of putting on Christ, and if that has already happened, then, post-AD 70 “Christians” are complete, perfect, even if they wallow in whatever sin they wish. One may tout ethical living, but it no longer has any further goal since the goal has been reached. This is just one of the numerous problems this latest innovation (which is beginning to show signs of fatigue) runs into.

With the dismissal of these views, we can move forward in such a way that we, today, can read the battle hymns and psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures in practically the same way. We worship the God who rides on the clouds of the heavens, hurling his arrows, repaying the wicked, rewarding the saints in time and space. He saves us, rescues us, delivers us, sets us on high mountains. Though we stumble, we yet shall not fall. Those psalms are our psalms and in those psalms God “comes down” (Ps. 18) many, many “times” and at many, many “seasons.” We know where we are going. We know where we have been. Let “maranatha” be said again!Endnotes:

  1. N. T. Wright, Romans, New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, 728()
  2. C.P. Fitzgerald, China: A Short Cultural History, 197–201.()
  3. p. 410()
  4. American Vision, 2012, 42–46()
  5. Hodge, 411()
  6. p. 728()
  7. see Kenneth Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion, “The Various Comings of Christ”, 278–281, Third Edition, 2009, Apologetics Group Media()
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About the Author

With a B.Th. (Liberty Christian College), Samuel completed a M.A. in Christian Studies; M.A. in Religion, and Th.M. from Whitefield Theological Seminary, Lakeland, Florida (with combined credits in Hebrew from Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida – and in Greek from Church of God School of Theology, Cleveland, Tennessee; Now, Pentecostal Theological Seminary). Samuel Frost is an Online Mentor in Biblical Studies and Theology at Vision International University, U.S.A., and owns/operates his own business in Florida with his wife Ann Marie, and his children, Janet, Jacob, Hunter, and Olivia.



20 Responses to The day of the Lord and Romans 13:11–14

  1. It seemed to me that this little passage of scripture spoke about new life in Christ. I think the key comes in verse 12. When Paul says, “Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” NASB He then goes on to say how living properly as in the day is Christ-like living. Of course that doesn’t necessary account for the part in verse 11 “for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” Perhaps this is in reference to law vs. grace, but that is pure speculation on my part.

  2. Roderick says:

    Sam Frost, the man that even Dee Dee Warren called a LIAR and a PANDERER. The man who LIED to people, claiming he was EVER a “Christian” pastor. The man who used to get on to PalTalk, admittedly drunk out of his mind and claim to be a “scholar” preaching to people. The man who utters profanities at people. The man who covers up for thugs like Jason Bradfield who calls people’s workplaces and tries to get them fired. If ANYONE thinks Sam Frost and his little cadre of followers are legitimate representations of Christians — shame on you for allowing yourselves to be duped.

    • sam says:

      And there you have it…..Roderick at his best.

      • Roderick says:

        And there you have it, Sam Frost at his best of trying to deflect the documented lies he has spewed. He is truly a master of utilizing social conformance; trying to get everyone to join in on voting his critics off the island as if he was on “American Idol” instead of American Vision.

      • sam says:

        Roderick has been banned. I think everyone here can understand why.

      • Jason Bradfield says:

        I can add the episode here to yet another item on the “stalk” list. He’s racking up quite a large file with his obsessive behavior.

      • Jason Bradfield says:

        Goderick, I already know, all too well, how you work. Even if i thought that AV here had successfully “banned” you, i am painfully aware that that will not stop you. After numerous attempts to ban you myself, i have witnessed you change ip addresses, emails, and even post as someone else, using Sam’s name and email in particular, to skirt bans.

        So it doesn’t surprise me in the least that here you are again. I have come to learn over the years that one simply does not “ban” Roderick, because Roderick has a most pathetic life in stalking people day in and day out.

        Just look at your blog. Anybody can click on your name, go to your blog, and see the sick obsession you have.

        Yeah, i called your house. Now tell people why i did. Tell people about all the emails, comments…tell people about how in the span of 24 hours, you attempted over 15 times to leave the same comment on my family blog, freaking my wife out.

        Tell people how you magically appeared within 24 hours of me creating a new youtube channel for Whitefield.

        I’m mean, just look at this thread, for crying out loud. It is no secret that you hate American Vision. You have been slandering DeMar, McDurmon, and others for quite some time now. And yet, you show up here and now. Why? Because of one reason…your sick obsession with Sam.

        And you call ME a follower? hahaha. Hilarious. You follow Sam everywhere he goes!

        You don’t tell people how you follow me around to forums, sign up, and then end up getting yourself banned once the admins realize how sick you are.

        You don’t people that after i blocked you on FB, that you attempted to befriend relatives of mine, who you don’t know from Adam, in some sort of sick, twisted scheme to find out what i have doing.

        You don’t tell people ANY OF THIS! You don’t explain to people that my attempt to call you ONE DAY was AFTER ALL THIS CRAP that i have been receiving from you, after i have requested NUMEROUS times for you to leave me the heck alone.

        You can’t go one week without talking about me or Sam.

        You’re sick. You’re a physco-path. You’re mentally ill. You need help. You need the Gospel. You need Christ.

  3. Roderick says:

    When the will PARTIAL PRETS admit that its their inconsistent notions that have bred so many Full Preterists in the first place???

  4. Rodericke says:

    Good to see at least Sam is no longer lying about ever being a CHRISTIAN “pastor”. Now if he stop lying about other things.

    • Jason Bradfield says:

      lol. Sam, any surprise that your lover would show up?

      • Roderick says:

        Jason L. Bradfield the wanna-be “deacon in training” for a cultic group that had to create its own denomination. Jason L. Bradfield, the thug who calls up people’s work and tries to get them fired and then hides behind the gowns of bearded men pretending to be “elders”.

      • sam says:

        Jason, we all know Roderick. Funny, the cult leader he accuses us of following is Dr. Ken Talbot, who sits on the board of American Vision. Apparently, Gary DeMar and the American Vision crew are cult followers as well. But, we all know Roderick, the joke of a man, whose reputation has destroyed his credibility in every way. His own words, even here, demonstrate that he is filled with nothing but hatred.

  5. MoGrace2u says:

    Of course Paul is not speaking of the final end of history here, any more than he speaks of such an end in Rom 8, 1 Thes 4 & 5 or in 1 Cor 15. As for the 2nd point, hearing and being converted by the gospel was a requirement that only applied to the called remnant of that generation, and they were reached with the gospel before Jerusalem was destroyed. So it seems to me you are arguing for a point that Paul was not concerned with in the first place.

    Robin

    • sam says:

      Robin, as some of you may know already, is a Full Preterist. And, this is a prime example of the failure of this view to reach the lost. It already happened. That mission was for then and there, and that’s it. It “only applied” to them, at that time. Now, one is free to believe such nonsense, just don’t call it, “Christianity”. Call it something else.

      • MoGrace2u says:

        Sam, then you must know my view ;) What applied to that generation was that the remnant had to be reached before judgement could bring an end to that OC system whose age was about to end, leaving only the NC in place for the age that never ends. It was that old age that was coming to its end which last days had arrived as they were bookmarked for that generation by the incarnate appearance of Messiah and the very same judgement the OC required to satisfy the wrath of God against His own people for their idolatry.

        The Levitical law not only required a sacrifice for atonement, it also included the complete destruction of the sacrificial offerings. This judgment typology was accomplished at the cross for sin and in the burning of the temple, thus completing all that the law required for the covenant Israel had been under so that not one jot or tittle failed.

        There is no provision for wrath and vengeance for those now in the NC, because the law of sin and death is not a part of it.

        Robin

  6. John McGrew says:

    Dear Sirs:
    Try applying Paul’s statement- every man in his own order- to the resurrection of the believer from 70 on, with the exception of Christ and those first fruits which followed Him immediately, and see how many problems go away, especially in the debate with full preterists. It’s only ‘the rest of the dead’ that have to wait to the end of all the years. Don’t worry about the bodies are still in the graves argument, thats just the shell, it’s the germ of live inside that springs up into the new, spiritual body. I stand with Athanasius and Luther on this, though not with Luther’s reasoning, he seems to fall back on the indeterminateness of time, which I don’t agree with, not within creation anyhow. Athanasius recognized that men did not die as they did formerly, and that death was the door to resurrection for the believer because Christ had accomplished everything necessary, which is of course true. Food for thought.
    Sincerely,
    John McGrew

    • sam says:

      The problem here is that Christ as “firstfruits” designates the nature of resurrection. He is the firstfruit of the harvest, of which we are still forming as the gospel is preached and the elect are saved. I am not sure how you view Luther’s view (his Small Catechism affirmed the self same resurrection body). Calvin was certainly opposed to any idea that we “get a new spiritual body” when we die. So, if I understand you correctly, you appear to be saying that. But, that does not work in that it makes Jesus’ resurrection an “exception” to the rule of the rest of us. Paul’s doctrine is that our resurrection will exactly mirror The Resurrection, Jesus Christ.

  7. Curtis Dunn says:

    “Hodge, remarkably, wrote, “We are not to understand the expressions, day of the Lord, the appearing of Christ, the coming of the Son of man, in all cases in the same way.” And, then he quotes a long list of verses concerning the “days” and “comings” of the Lord from the Hebrew Bible. Wright even notes that “salvation can refer to saving events during the present course of history,” as it so often does, again, in the Hebrew Bible. How many times was Israel “delivered,” “saved,” “redeemed,” and the like? Read your Hebrew Bible.”

    I am still influenced with Hodges thought on this topic. I appreciate the expansion of his by your own. The Church was busy working out a Christian Calendar, when Constantine arrived on the the ,scene the broader meaning of the Day of the Lord becomes manifested. The Calendar becomes Roman Law to assist in the Discipling of the Nations.

    Thanks

    Curtis Dunn

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