You are hereBuilding with Wood, Hay, and Stubble - An Examination of King-Frost Resurrection
Building with Wood, Hay, and Stubble - An Examination of King-Frost Resurrection
"Now if any man upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." I Cor. 3:12-15Introduction
In an earlier article, we looked at "the" millennium according to Max King and discussed some of the more serious errors inherent in that system. In this article, again we want to subject King to fiery ordeal, examining his teaching regarding the resurrection of the dead in light of the scriptures. Because he has recently published a book espousing King's views, we will expand our examination to include the position of Samuel Frost. We feel the result will show that they have built with wood, hay, and stubble.
I. King and Frost Confound Man's Legal Justification with the Eschatological Resurrection
The first and most obvious error in the King-Frost system is their habitual confounding of man's legal justification with the eschatological resurrection. For King and Frost, remission of sins is the eschatological resurrection: "First, we propose to show that death refers not to the phenomenon of biological death, but to sin-death, which has the root meaning of 'separation from God,' and that soteriological life, in contrast to sin-death, is the focus of resurrection from death." "This is the basic core of what Preterists mean by resurrection from the dead: it is to be finally declared as reconciled with GodÂ…putting Man back into a right relationship with himself, like it was before the transgression of Adam. This is resurrection from the dead."
According to King and Frost, the believer experiences resurrection by baptism into Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. Purportedly, this is the only resurrection the believer will experience: "This death in Christ becomes the only death necessary to obtain resurrection lifeÂ…For Paul, Jesus is the Resurrection of the Dead, and those in him participated in the eschatological resurrectionÂ…In short, for Paul, the resurrection of the dead for those living bypasses the need for them to physically die in order to participate in it, because Christ's physical death takes the place of that need." Frost is wrong. Christ's death takes the place of the believer's need to suffer eternal death at the resurrection of damnation, not physical death unto the resurrection of life. Believer's must still die physically to enjoy resurrection life. However, according to Frost, belief in one's personal resurrection at physical death is subject to a charge of "futurism": "There are not 'two resurrections' for the one believer. That is the theology of futurism, not Preterism. What happens if this is accepted is that the 'spiritual resurrection' must become downgraded to 'fiction' in order that the 'real and spatial' resurrection take place at the point of physical death, devaluing the resurrection life the believer has while still living on the earth." Indeed, so convinced is Frost that the believer's resurrection occurs on this side of eternity that he has tricked himself into believing he is presently in heaven! "Again, you wrote, 'The Christian is not ACTUALLY in heaven until he puts off the physical body.' This DESTROYS PreterismÂ…In Revelation 21, the New Jerusalem COMES DOWN to earth. The Glory of the Lord RESIDES in his heavenly temple, which is NOW the Church. Welcome to heaven."
Frost's assertion that the believer is actually present in heaven is so absurd as to hardly require refutation. It bespeaks a fundamental failure to grasp basic Biblical concepts and usage touching the believer being set in a right position with God. The same misunderstanding is at bottom of the King-Frost belief that the eschatological resurrection of the last day consisted in man being restored to "soteriological life." It stems from a failure to distinguish man's legal reconciliation to God and his resultant citizenship in heaven from man's actual resurrection and habitation above.
The wages of sin is eternal death of man's spirit or soul. (Rom. 6:23; cf. Matt. 10:28; II Thess. 1:9) Physical death is the portal and prerequisite of eternal death; one cannot die eternally until he first dies physically. Therefore, physical death is a token and incident of eternal death (viz., the "second" death Â– Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14). Because God was unwilling that those who are repentant should be lost eternally, he interposed hadean death between physical and eternal death. Hades was a place of sequestration interposed by God a means of saving man. The righteous could not pass from physical death to heaven until Christ paid the ransom by his substitutionary death and atoning blood. Without hades there would have been no saving the soul or spirit; man would have passed directly from physical life to eternal death. Hence, hades was created in order to preserve man's spirit until the eschatological resurrection when the righteous would be brought to heaven and unbelievers eternally destroyed in the second death. Hence, the righteous dead waited the eschatological resurrection in hades. There is no longer a resurrection from hades. Hades was destroyed at Christ's coming in A.D. 70. (Rev. 20:11-15; cf. I Cor. 15:55; Hos. 1314) Men now pass directly from physical death either to eternal death, or to eternal life. In order to be raised from physical death to eternal life, man must first be legally acquitted of sin by the atoning blood of Christ. It is this legal adjudication acquitting man of sin that King and Frost mistake for the eschatological resurrection. It is not; it is regeneration.
One need merely study the imagery of Rev. 20:11-15 to see that only the physically dead participated in the eschatological resurrection. There, it is easily seen that the eschatological resurrection happens on the other side of eternity and is experienced only after putting off the body of flesh. Physical bodies by definition are bounded by time and space and therefore incapable of existing in the realm of the spirit. Man's eternal inheritance is in heaven. (Matt. 6:20; Phil. 3:20; I Pet. 1:4) Hence it is axiomatic that in the resurrection man be clothed with an immaterial body, unbounded by time and space, suited to the ethereal realms above. By comparison, regeneration happens on this side of eternity. Thus, Paul wrote Titus, saying, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Tit. 3:5) Thus, regeneration is a washing that occurs here, not hereafter. (Cf. Acts 22:16) It is the legal restoration of man to God by the remission of sins by baptism into Christ. (Acts 2:38; cf. 3:19-21)
Confusion of Figurative with Real
It is true that baptism is described as a death, burial, and resurrection with Christ (Rom. 6:3-6; Col. 2:11, 12), but this is merely figurative. The act of being immersed, of going down into water and coming up out of water, is symbolic of the believer's union with the redemptive work of Christ through the obedience of faith. The believer does not actually die in baptism. To the contrary, it is Christ's death that is applied to him! The whole transaction is legal and judicial, not actual and spatial. Baptism is also described as a surgical operation in which man receives the circumcision of Christ in putting off the body of sins. (Col. 2:11, 12) Would any contend that this is actual circumcision? The same verses call baptism a burial and resurrection. If the circumcision received in baptism is merely figurative and metaphorical, how can the resurrection be actual and spatial? Other accommodative language used to describe conversion and regeneration include the blind receiving sight (Jno. 9:39-41), the deaf hearing (Matt. 13:9-16), and the sick being made whole. (Mk. 2:17) In conversion and regeneration, Gentiles who were "far off are made nigh near by the blood of Christ. (Eph. 2:13) They were strangers and foreigners, but are now made fellow-citizens. (Eph. 2:19) Colossians refers to this as being "translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son." (Col. 1:13; cf. Phil. 3:20) Ephesians describes it as being "raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:6) Being made near by the blood of Christ did not entail a change of spatial relationship nor did acquiring citizenship in the heavenly Jerusalem; translation into the kingdom of God's dear Son entailed no change of spatial relationship, nor did being "raised up" and made to sit in heavenly places. All are figurative terms used to describe the change in man's legal relationship to God affected by obedience to the gospel. Paul described his own conversion as being "crucified with Christ." (Gal. 2:20) Clearly, Paul was never actually crucified; as with the other examples, use of the term is completely figurative and metaphorical. What is true of these expressions is also true of man's death, burial, and resurrection with Christ in baptism. Thus, reconciliation to God by baptism into Christ is not the eschatological resurrection, or any part thereof.
King makes this same error in regard to the eschatological "change;" he consistently fails to distinguish between the resurrection of the dead and the eschatological change. "The change of which Paul speaks in verse 51, involving both the dead and the living, is said to occur, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump"(v. 52)Â…We have seen in verses 35-44 that the change (resurrection) of the dead is tied to the sowing of the natural body, which is thereby quickened or raised a spiritual body." Frost is in accord. Yet, the eschatological resurrection and change are not the same thing. "Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (I Cor. 15:51, 52) Not all would die physically before the great consummation. Some would live to see Jesus coming in his kingdom. (Matt. 16:27, 28; Jno. 21:22) "We shall not all sleep" refers to the living and answers to the "we which are alive and remain" of I Thess. 4:15. In Thessalonians, the dead rise and the living are "caught up" to meet the Lord in the air. In Corinthians, the dead rise and the living are "changed." In both texts, only the physically dead would be raised. King and Frost err in teaching an actual resurrection for those physically alive. The terms "resurrection" and "change" simply are not interchangeable. Any system that fails to distinguish these is inherently flawed.
Frost insists there is only one resurrection and argues that an individual resurrection of believers after A.D. 70 is "futurism." King makes substantially the same argument. The scriptures speak of only one resurrection because the eschatological resurrection was retrospective; it was backward looking, with a view of raising the long dead saints from Abel onward. It was the resurrection of the last day, the time when death and hades would give up their dead. The living and those born on this side of the second coming were not part of that resurrection. Saints who die today do not need to be raised from hades as the saints for former ages required, but go to be with God immediately upon death of the body. For them, resurrection occurs upon the body's demise. The Psalmist refers to the heavens as the curtains of a tabernacle under which man dwells. (Ps. 104:2; cf. 19:4) Paul seems to pick up this metaphor in II Cor. 5:1: "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, and house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Our "earthly house" refers to our mortal bodies of flesh; "this tabernacle" refers to this temporal realm, the tabernacle of the material heavens and earth. Dissolution of our earthly house speaks to putting off the body in death. The "building of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" speaks to our immortal and immaterial bodies. These are received and enjoyed in heaven above upon death of the body, not upon earth. It is true that believers are clothed upon with immortality as a matter of law when they are washed from their sins, but as long as we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight). It is not until we put off the body in death that we are raised up and receive immaterial bodies fitted for life in heaven above. (II Cor. 5:6-8)
We hasten to point out that King and Frost both define the eschatological resurrection as essentially legal, as "putting Man back into a right relationship with himself, like it was before the transgression of Adam." King describes the resurrection as to "soteriological life." But if the eschatological resurrection was merely legal and soteriological, it was not actual and spatial. In that case, the souls of the dead would still be in hades. But if the dead were raised from hades, then the resurrection was more than merely covenantal; it also entailed a change of location for the dead in removing from hades to heaven. If the resurrection of those physically dead required both a legal and spatial change, why do King and Frost insist those on this side of eternity have been resurrected when they have had no spatial change; why did the resurrection of the physically dead require two elements (legal and spatial) but the purported resurrection of the living only one (legal)? Surely this discrepancy is enough to demonstrate the error of their doctrine.
II. King and Frost Make the Resurrection the Peculiar Possession of Israelitish Flesh
According to King and Frost, the resurrection is the peculiar possession of Israelitish flesh; viz., the lineal descendants of Jacob. King states, for example, that man's redemption and salvation is "of Israel through Christ." Notice that King did not say redemption is of Christ through Israel, but of Israel through Christ Â– a very significant difference, indeed! A misstatement? Hardly. For King, God's salvation of the world was not merely through fleshly Israel; rather it belonged to Israel; apart from fleshly Israel the world had no hope Â– the promised redemption was Israel's promise, the covenants were Israel's covenants, the hope of the gospel is Israel's hope, the body of Christ (the church) is actually Israel's "resurrected, consummated body." "Therefore, resurrection was Israel's hope that awaited fulfillment in the last days through their Messiah." Paul needed to "remind the Gentiles constantly of their provisionary or 'not yet' status in Christ. Their perfection in terms of the 'coming of that which is perfect,' was contingent on Israel's consummation." Thus, we are not perfected in Jesus (Col. 1:10), but in Israel! Israel, not Christ, is the first-fruit that sanctifies the harvest. Israel, not Christ, is the root that sustains the whole. To be saved, Gentiles must be grafted onto Israel, not Christ. The gospel to the Gentiles derived its "substance and validity" from Israel. "The Jewish root is a necessity to Gentile Christians; they can not live without it." "Gentile perfection is necessarily tied to Jewish perfection, for Gentiles 'do not bear the root, but the root bears you.' (Rom. 11:18)"
Frost is to the same effect. The hope of resurrection originates with Israel, there is no hope of attainment apart from them. The resurrection hope is "a Jewish hope." "The resurrection life enjoyed by those who 'received' the gospel message is dependent upon, and a result of Israel's resurrection to glory." Jesus was fleshly Israel's Messiah; he died on behalf of the sins of the fleshly Jews; the promise of resurrection was made only to fleshly Israel; the apostles preached the hope of Israel's redemption; the Spirit was promised only to Israel. "It was not the 'hope of the Gentiles,' but the 'hope of Israel' whenever 'resurrection of the dead' was discussed." The salvation of Gentiles resulted from the initial salvation of Israel. Israel is the root that supports the Gentiles. If the Gentiles would be saved, they must be grafted onto Israel. "For Paul, resurrection of the dead is covenantally tied to Israel." "The New Covenant was made only with Israel." Christ saves Israel because "he was covenantally tied with them in the flesh."  "God forgave Israel's sins, and through them, the sins of the world."
This brief survey of King's and Frost's beliefs should make clear that, for them, salvation and resurrection is totally dependant upon Israelitish flesh. Hear Frost again: "Israel, then, must enter in through the body of Christ and be incorporated in it. Christ was the way of their redemption because he was covenantally tied to them in the fleshÂ…Israel 'after the flesh', being of the same seed as Christ (seed of Abraham), could enter in through his deathÂ…into their glorious sin-free life with God foreverÂ…God forgave Israel's sins, and through them, the sins of the world." Thus, it was an "organic bond," consisting in Israelitish flesh that enabled Christ to save the Jews. Gentiles, who are not tied covenantally to Christ in the flesh, must be grafted onto Israel that through the Jews God they may obtain remission of sins! Let those words sink down in your ears: "God forgave Israel's sins, and through them, the sins of the world." Hence, according to Frost, we come to Jesus only indirectly through the Jews. But there is more.
Flesh based redemption figures in the resurrection of the Old Testament dead. According to King and Frost, Old Testament Jews who died under the law are saved by their fleshly connection to New Testament Jews who obeyed the gospel. Here is how Frost puts it: "Therefore, the baptism of those Jews into Christ tied Israel, of which those Jews were related to according to the flesh, to Christ. The firstfruits are intimately bound with the harvest, being of the same lot, and if the firstfruits is holy, then so is the whole lump (Rom 11.5). This is the corporate dimension of baptismÂ…Thus, if part of the whole is washed, then the whole is washed. Since Israel under the old covenant was not washed, then those Jews coming in through baptism could be washed by God through Christ, and through their washing, 'all Israel' would be savedÂ…The response of the part brought about the salvation of the whole. If part is holy, then so is the whole."
This is nothing if not a wedding of Catholic Purgatory to Mormon baptism for the dead! The fleshly "organic bond" between New Testament Jews and the Old Testament dead was such that baptism of the one washed and sanctified the other! Hear him again: "It was God's design to save Israel by bringing them into the body of Christ through the firstfruitsÂ… the firstfruits obtained what Israel so earnestly sought for, and the whole is holy because of the firstfruits, then those being baptized 'on behalf of the dead' are clearly, organically connected to the dead whose behalf they were being baptized for." King is to the same effect: "In this sense, the destiny of the deadÂ…was being worked out through the participation of the firstfruits in Christ's age-changing death and resurrection. The solidarity between the firstfruits and historical Israel was such that the perfection of the one was grounds for the perfection of the other. (Hence, the thrust of Paul's baptism for the dead motif.)" "Were it not for the response of the baptized remnant or firstfruit Jews to the power of God through Christ, Israel would have been left to perish." 
Thus, for King and Frost Israelitish flesh is the sine qua non ("without which not") of mankind's salvation; it is the hinge upon which all things turn. However, virtually every point they rest their position upon is without scriptural support. Contrary to Frost's assertion that the resurrection was "a Jewish hope" based upon a promise to Israel, the promise of the resurrection originates in the garden at the very fall of the race. God promised the woman, who became a symbol for his spiritual people, a "seed" that would crush the head of the serpent, whose poison, lying beneath its tongue, became a symbol for death: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. 3:15) The promise of a redeemer to Adam and Eve was of a universal nature; it was not to Jews, or the seed of Abraham, but to the father of the whole race of mankind.
Frost states that the Spirit, which for him is the "beginning" of the resurrection, was promised only to Israel. But what says the prophet Joel? "I will pour out my spirit upon ALL FLESH." (Joel 2:28) "All flesh" means all races of men. "All flesh" would see the salvation of God. (Lk. 3:5; cf. Isa. 40:5) "All flesh" is as grass. (Isa. 40:6; cf. I Pet. 1:24) "All flesh" would know the Lord is God. (Isa. 49:26) The Lord would plead with "all flesh" and "all flesh" would worship before him. (Isa. 66:16, 23) Where is the "priority" of Israelitish flesh among these? Frost claims that Jesus was Israel's Messiah; that Jesus died specifically for the sins of the Jews. Contrary to Frost, Haggai calls Jesus the "desire of all nations." (Hag. 2:7) All nations looked for God's salvation; the whole creation groaned and travailed in pain looking for redemption, not just the Jews. (Rom. 8:19-23) John described Jesus as the Lamb of God which "taketh away the sins of the world." (Jno. 1:29) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son." (Jno. 3:16) Jesus was sent to save men of every race and language from sin, not merely the Jews. Frost doth greatly err!
For King and Frost, remission of sins is the peculiar property of Israel, Gentiles must be grafted onto the root of national Israel if they would be saved. "God forgave Israel's sins, and through them, the sins of the world." But Jesus, not Israel, is the root that sustains the tree of God's people. Frost and King make this error from a misreading of Rom. 11:16-18: "For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partaketh of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee." The "braches" that were broken off were unbelieving Jews; believing Gentiles were being grafted into the tree of God's people. That Jesus is the root is easily seen from the fact that the Jews cannot be both the branches and the root; they cannot be the source of life for themselves. Christ is the root that gives life to the whole. Paul makes clear who the root is; right in the very book of Romans itself Paul reveals that Jesus is the "root of Jesse" which rises to bring life to the Gentiles. (Rom. 15:12) John also refers to Jesus as the "root of David." (Rev. 5:5; 22:16) Nowhere are the Jews ever called anything but a "root of bitterness." (Heb. 12:15) The very notion that they are the root of life is stunningly erroneous are betrays the fundamental misreading of scripture. King and Frost claim that believers from fleshly Israel were the firstfruit that sanctified the whole. But Jesus is the firstfruit. It is Jesus who is foreshadowed by the Jewish feast of firstfruits, not Israel. According to the law of Moses, the sheaf of firstfruits was to be waved by the priest "on the morrow after the Sabbath." (Lev. 23:9-14) This pointed to Jesus' resurrection upon the first day of the week. (Jno. 20:1) Hence, Paul calls Christ the firstfruit of them that slept. (I Cor. 15:20, 23) There is no sanctifying power in Israelitish flesh that requires Gentiles to approach Christ indirectly through them.
Frost says that Jesus was "covenantally tied to Israel in the flesh." According to Frost, this becomes the sole basis for being eligible to receive remission of sins. Let's have that quote again. "God forgave Israel's sins, and through them, the sins of the world." Thus, everyone else must be grafted onto Israel to obtain the benefits of Christ's blood! Was Christ of Jewish flesh? What of it? He was also tied covenantally to every other race of people through the promise to Adam. (Gen. 3:15) That is why Luke traces Jesus' genealogy to Adam, demonstrating that he is the savior of all mankind, not just the Jews. (Lk. 3:38) Frost asserts that salvation of Gentiles resulted from the initial salvation of Israel. But even here he is wrong. On the first Pentecost after Christ's resurrection, the gospel of salvation was first proclaimed. Luke records that there were present in Jerusalem "devout men out of every nation under heaven." (Acts 2:5) Seventeen different nations of people are named by Luke. (vv. 9-11) These were the first to respond to the gospel call to "repent and be baptized" for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) Frost claims that "the new covenant is made only with Israel." Here is perhaps his most profound error of all. "They are not all Israel which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, but In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." (Rom. 9:6-8) Thus, fleshly Israel is not the Israel of the New Testament, and, in fact, never was. Fleshly Israel was always a type and foreshadow of the true Israel of God; believers are counted for the seed and are the true Israel (Gal. 6:16); it is with them, not fleshly Israel, that the New Testament is made; it is they who have the promises, not fleshly Israel. Fleshly Jews were never the object of God's promised salvation; the promises belonged to "spiritual" Jews, to those who were "Jews" inwardly, in heart, not in flesh. (Rom. 2:28, 29) The whole King/Frost edifice, built upon the erroneous assumption that "Israel" was the Old Testament nation, thus collapses upon itself.
III. King and Frost Remove Christ's Substitutionary Death and Atoning Blood from Gospel by Denying Physical Death is a Penal and Remedial Consequence of Sin and the Fall.
There is a disturbing tendency among some Preterists to deny that physical death was a penal and remedial consequence of the fall. This appears to be a reaction against those who attempt to disprove the resurrection occurred in A.D. 70 by arguing that, because dead-bodies did not rise, therefore the resurrection did not occur. It is as if by denying physical death was any part of man's fall they feel they are strengthening their argument against the physical-body view of the resurrection held by so many futurists. They are wrong. It should be said at the outset that neither King nor Frost expressly deny the substitutionary death or atoning blood of Christ. In fact, both are expressly affirmed. However, as we shall see, denial that physical death was a penal and remedial part of the fall implicitly denies the substitutionary death of Christ; the one flows as a logical consequence from the other. Therefore, it is important that the place of physical death in the fall and redemption be understood and maintained.
God warned Adam "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Gen. 2:17) For both King and Frost this means that Adam would die the very day he ate: "The punishment for such a crime was only one thing: death on the day he ate." However, we believe the better view is that the phrase is an emphatic expression, rather than a literal statement of time. If the law says "in the day you violate the law you will go to prison," we understand that it is not necessary that the offender go to prison the day of his offense. We understand that "in the day" is an emphatic expression pointing to the time of the offense, not the day of punishment, and speaks to the certainty of what will result from breaking the law; that it may take weeks, months, or even years for the offender to be brought to justice is assumed, and in no way viewed as offering a contradiction to the law's warning. In I Kng. 2:37, Solomon warned Shimei "on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die: thy blood shall be upon thine own head." (Cf. v. 42) This is identical language to that used to warn Adam. The narrative goes on and tells us that in fact Shimei did cross the Kidron, traveling to Gath to obtain his run away servants. When word of this reached Solomon, Shimei was arraigned before the king and put to death. (v. 42) Although Solomon used identical language as God used to warn Adam, it is clear that Shimei did not die the day he crossed the Kidron. Days, weeks, perhaps even months elapsed before he was put to death. The physical circumstances of traveling to Gath and back require that this was so.
Notwithstanding this example and the normal usage of language, it is important to Frost that physical death be no part of man's fall; he is insistent that Adam died the very day he ate: "Man was sentenced to be separated from eternal life and from the presence of God he enjoyed in the Garden Sanctuary: he was sentenced to live his days outside the gate of the Garden Sanctuary (3:24), never to return, and never to come to the Tree of Life until the head of the snake was crushed. Man was now cut off from eternal life with God and placed outside the Garden Sanctuary. God kept his word: Man died the very day that he sinned against God." King agrees: "This means, as we have pointed out above, that death, and its entrance into the world, must be seen as occurring when Adam was driven from Eden, and from the life and presence of God." According to Frost, man would have died physically even if he had not sinned and continued to eat of the tree of life. "Preterists conclude, then, that the 'death' Adam suffered was not 'physical' death. That is, had Adam never sinned, hypothetically, and had he eaten of the Tree of Life, his spirit, the 'person', the 'man' Adam, would have been forever with God, but his earthly shell would have eventually expired in a natural manner." This is plainly wrong.
The tree of life sustained man's physical existence indefinitely. It was to bring on physical death and prevent man living forever as a sinner that the right to the tree of life was taken away. "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden to Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken." (Gen. 3:22, 23) The upshot is that when man transgressed the command he became carnal, sold under sin. (Rom. 7:14) Physical death became necessary in order to save man's soul; in death man puts off his body that the spirit might return to God who gave it, freed from the law of sin in his members. (Eccl. 12:7; Rom. 7:23) This is the meaning of Paul's exclamation "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" In dying physically, man is separated from his sinful flesh, enabling God to bring the soul or spirit of man to heaven. Thus, physical death was a remedial measure taken by God, necessary to save man. Physical death was also a penal consequence:
"And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed in the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. 3:17-19)
Frost has it that "returning to dust" refers to man's expulsion from the garden: "When God tells him that he shall return to the dust, he is being told that he is returning to where God made him: outside the Garden." Frost's explanation is a weak and unconvincing attempt to avoid the fact that physical death was a penal consequence of sin. The passage plainly states that Adam would eat bread in the sweat of his face until he returned to the ground. Thus, returning to the ground followed a life of labor and sorrow, not preceded it; "for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." The book of Job refers to this passage when he states: "All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust." (Job 34:15) Solomon quotes it in Ecclesiastes: "All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again." (Eccl. 3:20) Cleary, all subsequent writers understood Adam's return to the ground as a reference to physical death. So should we. The wages of sin is eternal death. The greater includes the lesser; one cannot die eternally until he first dies physically. The sentence of eternal death requires that man first die physical death. It is vain to try to avoid this simple fact. If physical death was no part of sin's wages, why did Christ have to die physically? By denying that physical death was a punishment of the fall, Frost unwittingly overthrows the substitutionary death of Christ. According to Frost's approach, all Jesus had to do to "die" was be born into the world of banished men. If physical death was no part of the penalty, then physical death should not have been part of the remedy; Jesus need not have suffered to purchase man's redemption. But as it is, Christ's death was substitutionary. The fact that Christ suffered physical death to redeem man proves that physical death was a penal consequence of sin. Any system of theology or eschatology that removes physical death as a penal and remedial consequence of the fall must be rejected as denying by implication the substitutionary death of Christ.
IV. Frost and King make Victory over Death Depend upon Removal of the Mosaic Law
As we have seen, for King and Frost the eschatological resurrection is essentially legal, consisting in the justification of man from sin. "This is the basic core of what Preterists mean by resurrection from the dead: it is to be finally declared as reconciled with GodÂ…putting Man back into a right relationship with himself, like it was before the transgression of Adam. This is resurrection from the dead." Since the resurrection purportedly is solely a legal adjudication acquitting man of sin, it should come as no surprise that, for King and Frost, the power of death was the Mosaic law. Hear King: "One must look to the Jewish system as the state and power of death to be destroyed by the reign of Christ." "Paul is conscious that death's defeat hinges upon sin's defeat, and that the defeat of sin is tied to the annulment of the old aeon of lawÂ…For Paul, death is abolished when the state of sin and the law are abolished." "When the 'ministration of death written in tables of stone' was finally destroyed, death was swallowed up in victory."
Frost is equally explicit that sin and death exist only because of the Torah: "If the 'sting of the death is the sin, and the power of the sin is the torah' then what happens when you remove the torah and its demands? Obviously, the sin loses its power. What happens when the sin loses its power. [sic] Quite clearly, the death loses its sting." "The death, the sin, and the law became the unholy trinity of evil." "From Adam to Moses, 'the Death reigned' over all men. But, in that time, 'sin was not charged to anyone's account' because 'there was no torah.' Torah is the law of Moses, or the law of God given by revelation." "For the sting of death is sin, and the power of the sin is the Torah of Moses. When the Torah is fulfilled, then shall the death be destroyedÂ…By fulfilling the Torah, Messiah has removed the condemnation of the Torah that came through the sin of Adam, and the death that reigned in that sin."
The notion that the power of death was the law of Moses figures prominently in the "corporate body" view of the resurrection advanced by King and Frost, which will be discussed in the following section. Our purpose here is simply to demonstrate that the Mosaic law was completely irrelevant to the power of sin, death, and the resurrection. Let us repeat that: The Mosaic law was completely irrelevant to the power of sin, death, and the resurrection.
The power of sin is not in the Mosaic law, but the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death exists entirely independent of the law of Moses. This may be seen from the fact that sin and death obtained before Moses' law and exists even now, though the law of Moses has been removed. The law of sin and death was extant in the garden and underlay the commandment, saying, "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Gen. 2:17) The law of sin and death reigned in the ages following Adam's transgression until the law of Moses. Through the fallen nature inherited by Adam's transgression, all men are "made sinners." (Rom. 5:19) Hence, death (viz., condemnation of death) passed upon all men in that all sin. Paul speaks to this when he says "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the word, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression." (Rom. 5:12, 13)
Paul is not saying there was no law between Adam and Moses. Before the Mosaic law, sin was in the world. Sin was imputed during the period from Adam to Moses, but not on the basis of the Mosaic law. All sorts of moral commandments existed prior to Moses, including prohibitions against criminal homicide (Gen. 4:1-15; 23, 24), apostasy (Gen. 6:1-4), idolatry (Gen. 31:19, 30), violence and oppression (Gen. 6:5-13), sodomy (18, 19), adultery (Gen. 20); and incest. (Gen. 19:30-38) These laws were not necessarily written or communicated by divine revelation, as they were by Moses, but they were known to man nevertheless. "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another." (Rom. 2:14, 15)
Man is able to recognize that some things are inherently evil even without the benefit of divine revelation. Death reigned from Adam to Moses through the violation of unwritten moral precept extant in man's conscience. Under the law of Moses, these precepts were written and codified, not brought into existence; the law of Moses was superimposed upon the law of sin and death, it did not create it. Other laws were added, including laws regarding ceremonial feasts, forms of worship, the temple and priesthood, and others necessary to the orderly arrangement of society. Paul called the law of Moses a "ministration of death" (II Cor. 3:7, 9), not because it created sin where sin did not previously exist, but because the law elucidated sin that already existed. (Rom. 7:7, 13) Moreover, the law of Moses made no provision for pardon; the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin. (Heb. 10:4) Although the law of Moses has been taken away, the law of sin and death exists even today. All who sin come under condemnation of this law (albeit, in Christ, man can find grace upon repentance). If sin were imputed only on the basis of the Mosaic law, then grace would be universal and unconditional for the Mosaic law is now annulled. But as it is, even though the Mosaic law is annulled, men continue to come under condemnation of the law of sin and death. By his substitutionary death, Christ satisfied the law of sin and death, he did not destroy it or take it away. By participation in Christ's death, man is justified before God and made a partaker of eternal life as a matter of law. As long as he continues in a state of grace, the blood of Christ preserves him spotless before the throne. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I Jno. 1:7) But, if a man practices sin (apostatizes), he falls from grace and again comes under the dominion of sin and death Â– and this though the Mosaic law has long ceased to exist. (Heb. 10:26; I Jno. 5:15) The assertion of King and Frost that death reigned by the Mosaic law is without scriptural basis and must be rejected.
The fact that the abolition of the Mosaic law was irrelevant to the resurrection is fatal to the King-Frost system for it is a central plank of their manifesto that the "dead" who were to be resurrected refers to members of the Old Covenant community, dating from its inception in the Exodus/Sinai events," and that the resurrection is "essentially a resurrection of dead Israel." In other words, for King and Frost the participants of resurrection was defined by the Mosaic law, all others were without hope and could share in the resurrection only indirectly by being grafted onto the root and stock of Israel. But if annulment of the Mosaic law was irrelevant to the resurrection, then the basic premise of the King-Frost system is suddenly swept away and the resurrection is open to men of every race and language directly though Christ. Moreover, the notion that the resurrection spoke to the death of Judaism and the rise of Christianity is deprived of all basis, a point we shall take up more particularly below.
V. King and Frost Err in Making the Change of the Kingdom from National/Political to Spiritual/Ecclesiastical the Eschatological Resurrection
According to King and Frost, the primary application of passages touching the resurrection are interpreted corporately and covenantally. According to King "the primary application of the resurrection is applied to the death of Judaism, and to the rise of Christianity." In the New Testament, the "resurrection has reference many times to the change from the Jewish system to the Christian system, where the material body of Judaism is put off in death and the spiritual body of Christianity is resurrected in life." For example, in I Cor. 15:1-18, "the primary application deals with the development and rise of the Christian system itself." II Cor.5:1-10 "primarilyÂ…applies to the fall of Judaism and the rise of Christianity." Indeed, the fall of Judaism and rise of Christianity is the "primary resurrection."
The resurrection was corporate in that it spoke to the collective body of believers being raised out of Judaism. The meaning of Paul's statement, "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body" refers to Judaism and Christianity. "The natural body that was sown answers to the fleshly or carnal system of Judaism." "New Testament ChristiansÂ…were in that natural bodyÂ…anticipating their coming forth into a fully developed spiritual body." "When the natural body died, there arose from it a spiritual body clothed with incorruption and immortality."
The purported dichotomy between Judaism and Christianity means that the resurrection is also "covenantal." The old covenant was a "ministration of death" and "through the power of sin, strengthened by the presence of the law, Judaism became a 'body of death.'" "Paul wanted to attain unto the resurrection of the dead (ek nekron, out of the dead) or from among the dead as represented in the Jewish system." "Judaism was the metaphorical grave of the spiritual dead out of which this resurrection took place." Consequently, "one must look to the Jewish system as the state and power of death to be destroyed by the reign of Christ."
Frost is in accord. The end of the Mosaic age "culminated in the destruction of the nation of Israel 'according to the flesh' and the concomitant resurrection of Israel 'according to the Spirit' in A.D. 70." "Israel was sown while in a corrupted nature, but Israel is also raised incorruptible. The body of Israel before will not be the body of Israel after, but it will be Israel! It is Israel transformed, just like an apple seed is transformed into an apple tree. This transformation can only take place in the body of Christ." "God was not remaking another Israelite kingdom after the form of David and Solomon in the OT narratives. He was not making another kingdom of 'flesh and blood' Israel. The same spiritual body of Christ that transformed the Gentiles would also transform Israel. The body that Israel was sown with would not be the body it would be raise in." "Paul has just contrasted the 'spiritual body' of Christ with the 'natural body' of AdamÂ…Paul then is commenting on the nature of the kingdom. It will not look like what was seen when David was ruling. Its temple will not look like what Solomon built and its city will not be spatially located on a map. It is not a flesh and blood kingdom." "The resurrection of the dead, for the apostles, was a spiritual regathering of individuals into the 'one new man' and one body' of Christ's makingÂ…This is somatic (bodily) resurrection. God was raising Israel from the dead somatically from Adam to Christ." "Man was ruled by the sin and the death regardless of the torah he honored with his mind (7:25b). Paul describes this 'deliverance' as a deliverance 'from the body of the death' (7:24). Israel was a dead body under the law, and Israel's body needed to be created into a 'new man'. Israel's 'lowly body' needed to be transformed into Christ's 'glorious body'.
Fails to Account for Saints Antedating Sinai
According to King, the dead who were to be raised consisted solely in the Old Testament saints from and after Sinai: "The dead would logically answer to members of the Old Covenant community, dating from its inception in the Exodus/Sinai events." Frost is in accord: "This means that the resurrection of the dead ones is essentially a resurrection of dead Israel." This is, perhaps, the most obvious error in King's and Frost's system, for it excludes from the resurrection Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and untold others who lived prior to Sinai. Let us repeat King's statement in full so the reader can see that we do not take him out of context: "If Paul understood his dying to the old aeon and his rising to the new (through the power of Christ's death and resurrection) to mean an attaining unto resurrection with Christ 'out from among the dead,' it follows that the dead would logically answer to members of the Old Covenant community, dating from its inception in the Exodus/Sinai eventsÂ…Their resurrection for passage from the old to the new did not occur at Pentecost, but rather in the end-of-the-age consummation (completion) of the body of Christ, or the perfection of the firstfruits."
Thus, there can be no mistake that King is referring to the corporate resurrection of Israel by its passage from the old aeon to the new in A.D. 70. He is very specific that the dead include only those from Sinai forward, thereby leaving all who lived from Adam to Moses unaccounted for. Others indeed are added by baptism; the Gentiles were/are grafted onto the root of national Israel by baptism into Christ, and the long dead of historical Israel are added to Christ by baptism for the dead. But no account is ever given for those who antedate Sinai. Frost states the same in his book, defining "all Israel" as beginning at Abraham, but excluding Adam, Noah, and countless others. "All Israel include all those long dead from Abraham onward, the 7,000 in the day of Elijah, ect." Pressed in private correspondence how Adam, Noah, and other were are to be saved, Frost stated that their "organic bond" (fleshly connection) to Israel joins them to those who would be raised. But this admission defeats the whole scheme inasmuch as it concedes that it is not national Israel after all that is being raised, but some amorphous group identified along racial lines. We ask, If Adam was to be saved based upon his fleshly connection to Israel how is it that all men were not to be saved on that basis, seeing all men were related to Israel through Adam? Paul is very clear that God "hath made of one blood all nations of men." (Acts 17:26) Why did the Gentiles need to be grafted onto the root of Israel when they already were part of the family tree by Adam? Perhaps King or Frost will be so kind as to explain these things for us, seeing there is not a word about them in any of their books.
But, truly, this demonstrates again the fallaciousness of the system King has dreamt up. If it is not national Israel that was to be raised, if the body must be made to include Adam, Noah, Abraham and individuals like Melchisedec and Jethro (as indeed it must), then the whole corporate body view of the resurrection vanishes like a phantom into thin air. In such event, the natural body that was sown could not have been the "fleshly or carnal system of Judaism," for, if it was, it was missing half of its members consisting in the righteous dead antedating Sinai; and Judaism could not have been the "metaphorical grave of the spiritual dead," for, if it was, this mass grave was only half full inasmuch as those who antedate Sinai were not in it! Half of the righteous dead are "left behind."
Of course, King's and Frost's scheme requires that one be prepared to accept that Gentiles who were baptized into Christ were not baptized into Christ at all, but into Judaism; they did not become members of Christ's body, but the dead body of Israel, and they were not baptized into Christ's substitutionary death, but into the unregenerate grave of Judaism where they awaited resurrection day Â– assertions impossible to be reconciled with the plain teaching of the New Testament. Furthermore, one must be willing to overlook the contradiction that Israel was a "dead body under the law" and the statement that "When the natural body died, there arose from it a spiritual body clothed with incorruption and immortality" How can the body be dead under the law for 1,500 years, but not die until A.D. 70? Moreover, it would be interesting to learn what metaphorical grave alien sinners are in today? Are they in the grave of Judaism? To what do we attribute their state of sin-death now that the Mosaic law and Judaism are gone? Surely, the fact that the Mosaic law was not the source or power of death proves the error of the corporate body view. If the Mosaic law was irrelevant to the power of sin, death, and the resurrection, as indeed it was, then Israel was not a "dead body under the law" and was not "resurrected." Hence, the whole hypothesis collapses. Instead, Israel was merely a political union for the better instruction and preservation of God's people in the ages preceding the church, and the law a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Nothing more or less. King and Frost greatly err.
According to King's and Frost's view, the resurrection was threefold: The first, consisting in the mundane (earthly) change in corporate structure of God's people (the political to the ecclesiastical), the second, consisting in the justification of the living, the third, in the heavenly resurrection of individuals from hades. According to King, the first is the "primary" resurrection. It has already been shown that man's legal justification (regeneration) was not an actual resurrection at all. It is true that Paul uses language of resurrection in speaking of one's obedience to the gospel. Eph. 2:1, 6 states, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sinsÂ…and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." However, this was clearly figurative and accommodative language. The Ephesians had not actually been raised up to heavenly places, they were still upon earth. Paul uses this language simply as a metaphor to demonstrate that, through participation in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, whereas they had been under judgment ("dead in trespasses"), they were now judicially acquitted ("quickened") before God, and thereby joined in to the righteous dead in hades paradise ("heavenly places") in contemplation of law. The like image appears in Heb. 12:22, 23 where the living saints on this side of eternity are joined with the "spirits of just men made perfect" (viz., the souls of the righteous in paradise). In Heb. 10:19, these Christians are encouraged to "enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." Obviously, they could not actually or spatially enter the divine presence until they put off the body in death, but they could enter prospectively as a matter of law through obedience to and perseverance in the gospel. Another figure of speech used to teach this same lesson is the bride's garments being washed. (Eph. 5:26, 27) In both cases (believers being raised and the bride being cleansed) the language is purely figurative. Just as the imagery of the bride and groom are employed to teach the church regarding the nature of its relationship with Christ, so the language of resurrection in conversion is employed to impart lessons regarding redemption and sanctification. By no means can conversion be deemed the eschatological resurrection.
King's and Frost's corporate view of national Israel being raised up as the spiritual body of Christ (the church) makes the resurrection consist in nothing more than of a sort of divine "corporate restructure" of God's people from the national to the ecclesiastical, to which is superadded the forgiveness of sins. But can it in fairness be said that the eschatological resurrection primarily consisted in the mere corporate reorganization of God's people? Would anyone reading Jesus' words in of the New Testament, saying, "I will raise him up at the last day" (Jno. 6:44) conclude this spoke to a corporate change from the political to the ecclesiastical? We seriously doubt it. Indeed, the resurrection has universally been understood as the raising up of the dead from hades to their eternal rewards; it has ever been understood individually, not corporately. We do not deny that the church is likened to a body (I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 1:22, 23; 5:30), but it is also likened to a bride (Eph. 5:31, 32; Rev. 21:9, 10), a city (Rev. 21, 22), a temple (I Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:21), a mustard seed (Matt. 13:31, 32), a measure of meal (Matt. 13:33), a net cast into the sea (Matt. 13:47), and any number of other similes and metaphors. To suggest that the corporate restructure of God's people from the national to the ecclesiastical and the Mosaic to the Christian was the primary resurrection is to appropriate language intended for the actual and apply it to the metaphorical Â– the same mistake King and Frost make with regard to regeneration. Then, too, one cannot but wonder what happens to the King-Frost system upon the revelation that the Mosaic law is irrelevant to the resurrection and does not define the body of those that were to be raised. Where does the corporate body view appear when deprived of its defining element?
This leaves the resurrection of souls from hades. This is the only true resurrection in the New Testament. It is the resurrection depicted in Rev. 20:11-15 and consisted solely in individuals being taken from the place of the dead to go and meet their final reward. There must be added to this the souls of the saved living on this side of the second coming, who are raised up at the moment of death to go and be with the Lord in heaven; beyond this, however, the scriptures promised no other resurrection nor was any other looked for by the saints of God. The King-Frost threefold resurrection scheme is therefore seen to be erroneous.
VI. The King-Frost Scheme is Built upon Bizarre and Unsupportable Exegetical Tangents
More Firstfruits Error
King and Frost support their eschatological scheme by what is inarguably some of the most bizarre and unsupportable exegetical tangents that can be found in Christendom. Chief among these is King's doctrine of "firstfruits" and "baptism for the dead." We have touched upon this briefly above and at length in a previous article on King's view of the Millennium, so we need do no more here than to show how baptism for the dead figures into King's view of the resurrection. According to King (and Frost), the resurrection was accomplished in three stages: Christ, then the "firstfruits," and finally "the dead." Unlike virtually every other school of eschatology extant, King and Frost reject the idea that the resurrection spoke to raising the dead from hades on the last day, and see it instead as stretching over approximately forty years. Thus, King and Frost speak of the resurrection as "beginning" at Pentecost in A.D. 33 and culminating at the A.D. 70 consummation. The belief that the eschatological resurrection began at Pentecost reflects the King-Frost error that the resurrection was soteriological and not hadean; that the resurrection was from sin-death, not hadean death; that the resurrection was essentially legal and not actual or spatial. Because King and Frost see the resurrection as essentially legal, the remission of sins by baptism in Jesus' name preached by Peter on Pentecost (Acts 2:38) represents the beginning of the resurrection. In the period from Pentecost to A.D. 70, those who respond to the gospel message to "repent and be baptized" were the "firstfruits." To King and Frost, the justification of the firstfruits by "dying and rising" with Christ in baptism is the "first resurrection." (Rev. 20:4-6) The first resurrection presaged the eschatological resurrection, which would occur when the firstfruits were "perfected." The firstfruits sanctifies the whole harvest (Rom. 11:16); to King and Frost the "harvest" is the Old Testament dead of national Israel. Hence, the Old Testament dead come to Christ only indirectly through the gospel Jews ("firstfruits"); the firstfruits are "the link between Christ's resurrection and the resurrection of the dead." Indeed, the Gentiles too must approach Christ through the firstfruits, for unless they are grafted onto national Israel they are not made partakers of the root of salvation. In fact, the reader will be surprised to learn that the firstfruits complete Christ's cross: "In Acts 2, we see the faultless Christ before the throne of God after His resurrection from the dead. However, as complete and decisive as this salvific event was, we can not dispense with the inclusive dimension of Christ's redeeming role and declare the firstfruit case closed or consummated in the resurrection and ascension of the individual Christ." Thus, Christ's redeeming role was not complete in his individual resurrection, the firstfruits had something to add. "We conclude that both the resurrection of the dead and the age to come had a decisive beginning through the cross, reaching the point of consummation through the completion of Christ's death and resurrection in His pre-end-of-the-age body, the firstfruit of the age to come." Here, King states the death and resurrection of Christ were completed or perfected through the firstfruits. Hear him again: "It is proper, therefore, to speak of the firstfruits (Jewish Christians in particular) as filling up or bring 'the sufferings of Christ' to fullness in relation to the completion of the age. In them was completed the age-changing meaning of Christ's death and resurrection." Notice that the firstfruits "filled up" the cross, sufferings, and resurrection of Christ, and that apart from them these were incomplete. Hear him one last time: "As 'first-fruits' they possessed the responsibility of reaching perfection and gaining God's acceptance in order to open the way for the acceptance of the entire harvest of saintsÂ…Surely they understood their position as first-fruits, knowing that the complete redemption, glory, and manifestation of sons of God of all ages rested upon their eventual victory over Judaism." The complete redemption of man thus rested upon the firstfruits! One wonders where Christ fits in.
It is unnecessary to elaborate further on the King-Frost doctrine of firstfruits and the resurrection. The falsity of this doctrine has been dealt with above and in an earlier work. The unstated premise underlying the whole doctrine is salvation by the "organic bond" of Israelitish flesh. It is the key-stone in the arch of the King-Frost system. Without the Israelitish firstfruits, the harvest is not sanctified, the Old Testament dead are left to perish, the Gentiles cannot be saved, and the whole plan of redemption is scrapped. It is a doctrine crying out to be condemned as heretical. That in all of Christendom no one else teaches or has ever taught anything like it, save perhaps the Mormons, brands it as a novelty of modern invention, requiring rejection.
I Cor. 15 and the Identity of the Dead
I Cor. 15 is the leading New Testament chapter on the resurrection. Hence, it is pivotal in King's and Frost's work. Verses 1-11 speak to the fact of Christ's bodily resurrection. This fact is an essential tenant of the Christian faith preached by Paul and the apostles. The resurrection speaks to Christ's divinity and his substitutionary death and atoning blood by which he broke the bands of sin and death, bringing "life and immortality to light through the gospel." (II Tim. 1:10) Verses 12-34 develop further the fact and eschatological implications of Christ's resurrection. Some at Corinth denied the resurrection of the dead. (v. 12) We are not told the identity of these gainsayers. The Sadducees denied the resurrection. (Matt. 22:23) Hence, the gainsayers at Corinth might have been Jews who had come under the influence of the Sadducees. Greeks also denied the resurrection of the dead. Luke records that, when Paul preached Jesus and the resurrection unto the Athenians, some of these Greeks ridiculed: "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked." (Acts 17:32) Thus, among both Jews and Greeks there were those who denied the hope and promise of an afterlife. Which of these two groups was responsible for the controversy at Corinth we are not told and therefore cannot say. Undaunted by the silence of the scriptures, however, King and Frost weave an elaborate tapestry, pulling imaginary threads from here and there in an attempt to recreate the controversy at Corinth, casting it in terms of a Jew-Gentile schism.
According to King (and Frost who follows him), "the dead" whose resurrection was denied by some at Corinth refers to the Old Testament Jews who died under the law of Moses. Allegedly, Greeks at Corinth were denying that the dead from Old Testament Israel would participate in the resurrection on the last day: "The dead would logically answer to members of the Old Covenant community, dating from its inception in the Exodus/Sinai events." "The denial of resurrection of the dead was motivatedÂ…by a scorn on the part of some (Gentiles) for God's covenant people Israel, who, in view of their unbelief and hostility toward the law-free Gentile mission, were looked upon as being excluded from resurrection (soteriological) life in Christ." Why it should be supposed that faithful members of historical Israel, such as David and the prophets, were cut off based upon the disbelief of Jews in Paul's day is a mystery King does not bother to explain. Suffice it to say it is a faulty and illogical premise upon which to interpret I Cor. 15. There is no logical or theological basis for God to vicariously reject the faithful dead from Israel's past because of the unbelief of others. But, given the fact that King and Frost believe in a vicarious redemption by the firstfruits based upon baptism for the dead, perhaps we should not be surprised they should wander into this error. We know that among both Jews and Greeks some denied an afterlife. However, there is no evidence anywhere in the New Testament that anybody denied the patriarchs of yesteryear were cut off even while those in Christ were being saved, let alone based upon the unbelief or resistance of first century Jews to the Gentile mission. The evidence just does not exist. The whole premise underlying King's and Frost's construction of the chapter is therefore little more than a sojourn in cloud-land, a dream, the product of an overwrought imagination, not the word of God.
The notion that "the dead" in I Cor. 15 speaks only to deceased Jews from ancient Israel is based upon a forced and unnatural construction. Nobody reading the phrase "the dead" would naturally reach the conclusion that ancient Israelites alone was being referred to; that would not be the natural inference to draw from the phrase. The phrase is too general and inclusive to naturally suggest a group so small and particular. To arrive at such a conclusion, one must undertake a long and arduous journey of reasoning, inference, and deduction. The fact that in two thousand years of Christianity King and Frost are the first and only to arrive there is telling. Indeed, the very novelty of the doctrine requires it be rejected. When we construct doctrine based upon inferences and deductions, we build upon our own reasoning and not the word of God. This is building with wood, hay, and stubble. When the Greeks at Athens mocked at Paul's message concerning Jesus and the resurrection of "the dead," the resurrection of Old Testament Jews most certainly was not at issue, why should it be supposed Jews are the subject here? What possible basis could there be for such a bizarre supposition? In Rev. 20:11-15, John foresaw the general (universal) resurrection. "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death an hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." (vv. 12, 13) Here, the phrase "the dead" occurs four times. Are we to believe that only dead Jews are under discussion? Surely not! Why then should the identical phrase in I Cor. 15 receive so arbitrary and narrow a construction? The dichotomy upon which much of chapter and argumentation is based is the fall of the race in Adam and the salvation of those that belong to Christ. As Adam is representative of all races and languages of men, so is Christ. He is the second or "last Adam." "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made quickening spiritÂ…the first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven." (I Cor. 15:45, 47) If the controversy was as narrowly framed as King maintains, and only dead Israelites were at issue, then Paul has framed his argument entirely too wide. Paul does not need to argue that "in Adam all die" (v. 22), he needs to argue that in Moses Jews die. Adam is too broad a foundation upon which to frame so small a house. Further, Jesus shouldn't be the second Adam, since (as per King and Frost) it is only Jews he came to save (and those Gentiles grafted on to them), rather, he should be the second Moses. "The first Moses brought death, the second Moses life" would be the argument we would expect if only the deceased of ancient Israel were at issue. But, as it is, the universal nature of Paul's argument belies the fact that the dead of every race and language was what was at issue, not just Israelites. And truly, if it was Israelites Paul had in mind, we would expect him simply to say as much. The fact that he is silent on this score alone should be enough to dispel the notion entirely. Indeed, the concluding exhortation "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord," belies the fact that the chapter is directed to the Corinthian's resurrection, not Old Testament Jews. This exhortation to the Corinthians is like those occurring in I Thess. 4:18: "Wherefore, comfort one another with these words." Comfort one another with what words? Paul's words demonstrating that their loved ones who had fallen asleep had not perished, but would be resurrected. (vv.13, 14) In the like manner, the Corinthians were told to abound in the work of the Lord, knowing their resurrection was sure. The concluding remark simply makes no sense if "the dead" were Old Testament Jews.
Nature of the Resurrection Body
Verses 1-33 speak to the fact of the resurrection; verses 34-58 to its nature. Where all other students and theologians see the type of body to be received in one's individual resurrection at issue, King and Frost see corporate resurrection at issue. Thus, we are told the text suddenly switches from a controversy about the resurrection of individuals to a discussion regarding corporate change from national to ecclesiastical, and from the actual to the metaphorical. Strange stuff, indeed! Hear them: "Resurrection has reference many times to the change from the Jewish system to the Christian system, where the material body of Judaism is put off in death and the spiritual body of Christianity is resurrected in life." "The primary application of the resurrection is applied to the death of Judaism, and to the rise of Christianity." "Thus, out of the decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christianity." "Adam/Natural Body and Christ/Spiritual body. Two bodiesÂ…The body that Israel was sown with would not be the body it would be raised in...Paul, then, is commenting on the nature of the kingdom. It will not look like what was seen when David was ruling."
That the New Testament nowhere teaches that the change from national to ecclesiastical was the eschatological resurrection (or part thereof) has already been briefly discussed. Our object here is simply to note the bizarre exegesis King and Frost employ touching this subject. Are we to believe that Paul suddenly changes subject from the fact and promise of individual resurrection to a discussion about the nature of New Testament church? According to King and Frost, Yes! The basis for the sudden change is the singular term "body" in v. 35: "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come." In a section subtitled "There is One Body," King states: "The context of I Cor. 15 and other related passages show that Paul is thinking primarily in terms of a collective singular body that is sown a natural body and raised a spiritual bodyÂ…Paul is not thinking of a sowing of individual bodies one by one from Adam to Christ (or beyond Christ), but of the sowing of the one body..." Thus, based upon the use of the singular "body," King and Frost conclude that Paul has changed from individual to corporate resurrection. But the reader must ask himself whether this is reasonable. The overarching issue in I Cor. 15 is the fact of man's resurrection, which some were denying. Does it make sense that in the midst of a discussion that touches the hope of immortality implanted in the breast of every man and woman, Paul should begin talking about the body of Christ? How does the form of the kingdom answer the question "with what body do they come?" The Corinthians were already in the body of Christ, they had been baptized into it by the Spirit. (I Cor. 12:13) They required no instruction regarding the nature of the kingdom; they already knew it was not like Israel under David. To suggest that Paul is explaining the kingdom to them simply makes no sense at all. It is an exegetical disconnect, a non sequiter.
Surely, the better view is that Paul answers the question "with what body do they come" by instructing the Corinthians about the nature of individual body received in the resurrection. He answers, stating, they are raised with a spiritual body. (v. 44) A spiritual body is incorporeal, unbounded by time and space; it is immortal and immaterial, fitted to the ethereal realms above. The church is not a spiritual body; it is a figurative and metaphorical body. A corporation is a figurative and metaphorical body. Its legal existence is a right conferred by statute. Its bodily (corporate) nature exists only through the combined acts of individuals. A corporation's lack of physical body does not make it a spiritual body. Not even a corporation created for spiritual purposes, such as a church or Bible society, is a spiritual body. It may have spiritual objectives, but its bodily nature is purely figurative, existing only in the abstract. Thus, when Paul states the dead rise with a spiritual body, it clear he is not talking about the church. Jesus said that in the resurrection they are "as the angels of God." (Matt. 22:30) Paul says that in the resurrection they are spiritual and incorruptible. Paul and Jesus are saying the same thing: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; in the resurrection, man will be incorporeal, unbounded by time and space.
What about the use of the singular "body," does this require the collective approach adopted by King and Frost? Not at all, use of the singular is merely an incident of literary style. Speaking of the inspiration of the Holy Ghost given to the apostles to do the work of the ministry, Paul said: "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." (II Cor. 4:7-10) Here, Paul uses the plural "earthen vessels" in referring to the apostles' ministry, then moves to the singular "body" in reference to their sufferings. The plural "vessels and singular "body" refers to the same individuals Â– each apostle bore in the body the sufferings of Christ. "The body" is the apostle's body, not the church. This is clear from v. 12 where Paul says, "So then death worketh in us, but life in you." That Paul refers to the apostles when he says "death" is at work in us is clear from I Cor. 4:9, 10: "For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise, in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable but we are despised." Can there be any question that these passages interpret one another? Clearly, use of the singular "body" can in no way be construed as referring to the church.
We do not deny there are times where the singular "body" does in fact speak to the kingdom-church. (Eph. 1:22, 23; 2:16; I Cor. 12:13; etc.) There are even times where the collective singular is used in eschatological contexts. Thus, Paul speaks of the adoption and redemption of the collective body at the eschaton. (Rom. 8:23; cf. Eph. 1:14) Similarly, Paul speaks of the "change" of church's collective body at the great consummation when the blood of Christ would finally cancel the debt and stain of sin. (Phil. 3:21; cf. Eph. 5:25, 26) However, the language of resurrection is never used of the collective church at the eschaton. The sole exception is Col. 3:3, 4 where Paul says "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." However, this is clearly figurative. The Colossians were not actually dead, they were merely considered to be dead in contemplation of law by identification with death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. As such, they were soteriologically joined to the dead in paradise (Eph. 2:1, 6; Col. 1:13) and would be ushered into the divine presence as a matter of law at the eschaton. (Cf. Matt. 27:51; Heb. 6:19; 10:19-22; 12:22; Rev. 22:4) Other than this one instance, which is plainly figurative, language of resurrection at the eschaton is used exclusively of the biologically dead. The dead would be raised, but the living would be changed. (I Cor. 15:52; Phil. 3:21; I Thess. 4:16, 17) The church, consisting of the living saints, would be legally and soteriologically changed, not resurrected. II Cor. 5:1-10, relied upon heavily by King and Frost, is not to the contrary. King and Frost take a corporate view of this chapter. Although we disagree, for purposes of argument let us grant that the "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (v. 1) refers to the church. What of it? There is no language of resurrection in this chapter. None. Thus, even if this chapter speaks of the church being clothed with immortality at the eschaton, it was merely legal and covenantal, not actual (the saints were not spatially translated to heaven). In no event can II Cor. 5:1-10 be cited in support of the notion the church was resurrected.
The King-Frost approach to the eschatological resurrection is riddled with serious exegetical and theological errors. Love of the truth requires that their followers join the great majority of Preterists in rejecting the King-Frost system of eschatology
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ (Warren, OH, 1987), p. 469. The term "soteriological" is the adjectival form of soteriology, from the Greek soterion, deliverance (< soter, savior, < soas, safe + logy); viz., the doctrine of deliverance by Christ.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead (Truth Voice Publishing, Xenia, OH, 2004), pp. 153, 154.
 Ibid, 116; Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ , pp. 404, 405
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead (Truth Voice Publishing, Xenia, OH, 2004), pp. 166, 167.
 Excerpt from a debate with Frost. (For the whole article go to http://www.preteristcentral.com/articles-preterist-frost-simmonsII.htm.)
Taken from a discussion of Frost with "Malachi" at: http://planetpreterist.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1997 Cf. Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 157, 176
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, 639.
 Ibid, p. 654, 655
 Ibid, p. 469.
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 674; emphasis added.
 Ibid, pp. 674, 675.
 Ibid, p. 645.
 Ibid, p. 677; emphasis in original.
 Ibid, pp. 396, 476, 489, 490.
 Ibid, p. 456.
 Ibid, p. 301.
 Ibid, p. 579; cf. 273
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 172.
 Ibid, p. 49.
 Ibid, p. 48; emphasis in original.
 "Messiah died on behalf of the sins of His people according to the Scriptures of the Jews." Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 89.
 Ibid, p. 90; cf. Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 649, 650, 652.
 Ibid, p. 41.
 Ibid, p. 56.
 Ibid, p. 178.
 Ibid, 65, 66.
 Ibid, p. 50.
 Ibid. p. 158.
 Ibid, p. 75; cf. 77..
 Ibid, p. 78.
 Samuel M. Frost, excerpts from a debate with the author. The whole text is posted at http://www.preteristcentral.com/articles-preterist-frost-simmonsII.htm
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 516, 593; emphasis in original.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, pp. 49, 52.
 Ibid, p. 41.
 Ibid, p. 78.
 Ibid, p. 178.
 Ibid, p. 158; emphasis in original.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 149.
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 624.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 150.
 Ibid, p. 151.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, pp. 153, 154.
 Max R. King, The Spirit of Prophecy (Warren, OH, 1971), pp. 144.
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 644.
 Max R. King, The Spirit of Prophecy, p. 145
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 86
 Ibid, p. 156. It is unfortunate the Frost calls the law evil. Paul said the law was holy. (Rom. 7:12)
 Ibid, p. 154.
 Ibid, p. 96.
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 253.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 42.
 Max King, The Spirit of Prophecy (Warren OH, 1971 ed.), p. 204.
 Ibid, p. 191; cf. 210, 212.
 Ibid, p. 210.
 Ibid, p. 212.
 Ibid, p. 200.
 Ibid, p. 200.
 Ibid, p.207.
 Ibid, p. 202.
 Ibid, p. 202.
 Ibid, p. 145.
 Ibid, p. 194.
 Ibid, p. 220.
 Ibid, p. 144.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection, p. 62, 63.
 Ibid, p. 75.
 Ibid, p. 78.
 Ibid, p. 81.
 Ibid, p. 175.
 Ibid, p. 155.
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 253.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 42.
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 253, 254.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 140.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, p. 155.
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 202.
 According to King and Frost, from Calvary to A.D. 70 Christians were in the natural body of Judaism "anticipating their coming forth into a fully developed spiritual body." The reader is reminded that this body is allegedly "dead." But this same period is also the time of Christ's betrothal to his bride. (II Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7) Hence, if we are to credit King and Frost, Jesus was betrothed to a corpse!
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 403.
 Ibid, p. 393.
 Ibid, p. 489, 490
 Ibid, p. 396.
 Ibid, p. 476.
 Max R. King, The Spirit of Prophecy, p. 58.
 Ibid, pp. 253, 469; cf. 622.
 "This is clearly a case of vicarious or representative redemption. ..From this there is no escape." Max R. King, The Spirit of Prophecy, pp. 57, 58.
 Max R. King, The Spirit of Prophecy, p. 191.
 Ibid, p. 204.
 Ibid, p. 200.
 Samuel M. Frost, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead, pp. 76-78, 81.
 Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, pp. 349, 350.
 It is true, that saints on this side of eternity share in the kingdom of heaven, but their participation is by rebirth, not resurrection. (Jno. 1:13; 3:3-5) Paul here is talking about resurrection, not rebirth. Thus, it is clear the church is not in contemplation.
 King asserts that Paul's statement "So then death worketh in us, but life in you" (II Cor. 4:12) refers to Jews dying covenantally even while the Gentiles were coming to life: "Concerning the Jewish portion of the firstfruit believers, Paul wrote, 'For we which are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you .." (Max R. King, The Cross and the Parousia of Christ, p. 535.) However, this is plainly wrong. The context overwhelmingly demonstrates that those being delivered to death were the apostles, to whom was entrusted the ministry of reconciliation. (See II Cor. 1:8 et seq.) Although the outward man perish by fire and sword, the apostles had good comfort in the knowledge that God would raise them up and cloth them with immortality. Hence, they could face death knowing that to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord.