PMT 2017-027 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Recently a reader/listener of mine expressed some confusion with some statements I made. He asked me to clarify my point to clear up his confusion. Here is a part of the exchange, which might be helpful to others who may have had the same concerns.
Reader (1st inquiry):
I am currently listening to your lecture (sermon?) entitled “Ken Gentry on 2 Thessalonians 2 – The Man of Lawlessness”. In that message you state that “the second coming” will occur at the end of time. According to your understanding, what will the second coming of Jesus the Christ be like when it does occur? What will actually take place during that “second coming”?
Gentry (1st reply):
Christ will physically return, physically resurrect the dead, and call up his own. Then he will conduct the Final Judgment, establish the consummate new heavens and near earth, which believers will inhabit while the lost will be consigned to hell. Glorious for us; grim for others.
These physical events are anticipated in spiritual realities occurring now. He spiritually comes to receive us into heaven when we die — as he did each of the disciples (John 14:3), spiritually resurrects us to new life at the moment of salvation (Eph. 2:5-6), and makes us a spiritual new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). The paralleling of the spiritual and physical resurrection are clearly drawn in John 5:24-29.
Have We Missed the Second Coming:
A Critique of the Hyper-preterist Error
by Ken Gentry
This book offers a brief introduction, summary, and critique of Hyper-preterism. Don’t let your church and Christian friends be blindfolded to this new error. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com
Reader (2d inquiry):
Thank you for your prompt and interesting response. What do you mean by “physically resurrect”? According to your understanding, what is “the consummate new heavens and near (new?) earth”? Where will they be located? What all will be included in them? Or is the new heavens and new earth established as one entity?
Gentry (2d reply):
Physical resurrection means bodily resurrection. Our material bodies will be resurrected and reconstituted. God created angels to be spirit-beings, he created man to be a material being. And he sanctified that reality by his Son becoming a material (human body) being. We are composed of body and spirit. Our final estate will be a reuniting of spirit and body.
The NHNE will be basically like the present one, but without sin involved (2 Pet 3:9ff). The universe will be located all over the place, like now.
Reader (3rd inquiry):
Are you saying that the NHNE does not at present exist? And because it does not exist, no one, not even the persons to whom Peter writes in the first century (1Peter 1)?
Gentry (3rd reply):
The NHNE exist presently in spiritual form in the believing community, it will exist physically in consummate form forever. Like we are spiritually resurrected (saved) now in anticipation of our one day being physically resurrected (John 5:25-29). Theologically this is known as the now / not yet principle.
Reader (4th inquiry):
Thank you for the link to your materials on resurrection. Do you have a document that expounds in much more detail on this statement: “Christ’s was unique for the time, but it spoke of others to follow at “the end” (v. 24). Thus, the resurrection of Christ as the first-fruits is: (1) the first of this order to occur, (2) represents his people’s resurrection, and (3) expects more eschatological resurrections to follow at the end.”
Are you here stating that Paul teaches the Corinthians that resurrection occurs in three stages? Stage 1. Jesus; stage 2. The people that are His; stage 3. (the final stage) at the end of time?
Postmilllennialism and Preterism
Four lectures by Ken Gentry (downloadable 4 mp3s).
(1) Postmillennialism: Wishful Thinking or Certain Hope?
(2) The Identity of the Beast of Revelation.
(3) The Resurrection of the Dead.
(4) The Great Tribulation is Past.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
Gentry (4th reply):
Any standard (non-dispensational) commentary on 1 Cor 15 should answer your questions.
No, not three stages. Jesus’ resurrection is the fore-runner to ours, the pledge of it, not the first stage. The last resurrection is of all men simultaneously, with differing results for the lost as compared to the saved. There is one day of final resurrection (John 5:28-29).
Reader (5th inquiry):
I find the following statement, which I found in your article, “Our Eschatology Resurrection” very puzzling: “Christ’s (resurrection) was unique for the time, but it spoke of others to follow at “the end” (v. 24). Thus, the resurrection of Christ as the first-fruits is: (1) the first of this order to occur, (2) represents his people’s resurrection, and (3) expects more eschatological resurrections to follow at the end.” (Emphases added)
I get it that Christ’s resurrection was “unique” all though I would greatly appreciate your personal explanation of why it is “unique”. And I understand the idea “that it spoke of others at “the end” which I assume that you are quoting from 1Cor 15:24 “then the end.” However, you do refer to “this order” of resurrection which I assume is a reference to verse 23a: “But each/every man in his own order…” However, you never actually provide any specific exegesis of 1Cor 15:23. Then, seeming to comment on “this order” you write, “(2) represents his people’s resurrection, and (3) expects more eschatological resurrections to follow at the end.” “The end” apparently being a quote from 1Cor 15:24a. Thus, the whole statement seems somewhat ambiguous to me.
Please correct me if I am wrong, however, it seems to me that you are stating that the “order” of resurrection is accomplished in three “pledges,” steps, or stages (whatever you wish to call it): “first” step, the unique resurrection of Jesus the Christ; (step 2) the resurrection of His people; (step 3) “more eschatological resurrections to follow at the end”. It seems quite clear to me that you are stating that the unique resurrection of Christ occurs (step one) and then later is followed by the resurrection of His people (step two), which is later followed by the resurrection of “the rest of the dead” (more… resurrections to follow at the end) (step three). The above is that which I understand Paul to be writing.
Gentry (5th reply):
The uniqueness of Christ’s resurrection at that time was that it was an actual eschatological resurrection whereby he arose again in an eternal, indestructible body. He left this world and entered heaven in his physical body, never to die again (Acts 1:9–11; Heb. 7:25). He is in heaven “in bodily form” (Col. 2:9; cp. Acts 7:56). No one had ever been resurrected like that before. Thus, his resurrection was “unique.” All others who were resurrected before the end of history would die once again to await the eschatological resurrection where they would receive their consummate, eternal, renewed bodies.
When speaking about Christ as the “first-fruits,” I wasn’t referring to three steps of the resurrection. After all, points 2 and 3 in my note don’t refer to separate stages at all. My three points were explaining three different aspects of the significance (not phases, steps, stages) of the concept of “first-fruits.” That is:
Regarding my first point, Christ’s resurrection is unique, in that it was the first eschatological resurrection. His resurrection was not simply a temporary revivification of a corpse, which would eventually undergo death once again. Thus his resurrection is the first of the eschatological order.
In #2 I meant that as a “first-fruit” it also pictures the nature of his people’s own eschatological resurrection. He was not to be the only person ever given an eschatological resurrection with an indestructible, ever-living body (1 Cor. 15:42–43). That is, our resurrection will be of the same nature as his: eschatological, eternal, not a temporary revivification. Thus, my point had nothing to do with a distinct phase from a following eschatological resurrection.
My point # 3 was noting out that Christ’s resurrection was only one resurrection, but it was designed to expect many more resurrections at the final day. As the first-fruit his was a pledge of more to come, like the first-fruit of a harvest indicates more harvest to come.
Thus, my reference to three matters was not concerned with stages, steps, phases of resurrection. Rather it was highlighting three aspects of the nature of the first-fruit character of Christ’s resurrection.