By Bill Reeves
The Preterist-View of prophecy denies that there will be a future, bodily resurrection of the dead from the graves! King, therefore, runs right into the face of such passages as Jn. 5:28, 29 and 1 Cor. 15, but he has the special “tools” of an A. D. 70 Advocate to “explain away” the obvious import of these and other related passages.
The context of 1 Cor. 15:12-58 has to do with the literal dead being raised, if Christ was literally raised from the literal dead (and even King admits that Christ was!) But the Preterist-View doctrine makes the discussion of our resurrection one from a figurative death (the dead and decayed “body” of Judaism). But, on the other hand, King (wanting to have his cake and eat it, too) invents his “secondary application” when he is in a tight and needs some Scripture to refer to what happens to us when we die. He then uses some verses from 1 Cor. 15 in his “secondary application.” If we could convince ourselves that God has favored King with such liberty with the Scriptures, we could more easily be taken in by his fanciful doctrine!
To Christ, as Savior and Mediator, all authority in heaven and on earth was given (Matt. 28:18). As such Christ is now reigning and will, Paul says, “till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be abolished is death.” This “death” is just as literal as “dead” in v. 20. At such time, Paul says, Christ “will deliver up the kingdom to God.” His mediatorial reign shall have ended. Of course, the reign of Christ and God in our hearts will never end, if we are faithful unto death, and are saved unto that heavenly kingdom, and have entrance into that eternal kingdom (1 Tim. 4:18; 2 Pet. 1: 11). That will be when He comes the “second time,” not as Mediator and Savior, but as Judge (Heb. 9: 28; Acts 17:31).
But King must deny that at some date future from now Christ will deliver up the kingdom to God. He had to “deliver it up” back in A. D. 70! So, he must deny the obvious meaning of “deliver up,” and give it a forced interpretation. Listen to him: On the word “till” he says: it means “when he really begins to reign in power; not a cessation of activity but a gathering up to a state of absolute power and perfection.” “The word till does not denote cessation of reign, but rather points to a time and an event that will be the zenith of his reign.” A-144 He does not tell us where he gets this “zenith” business! He issues the following challenge: “I challenge anyone to show that Christ is going to give up (his chosen phrase BHR) the kingdom! Hell have it for ever and for ever and for ever!” Well, Brother King, we will be glad to accommodate you, by using a version you yourself turn to when the wording in the KJV does not suit your play-on-words: Berrys Interlinear. It reads, “When he shall have given up the kingdom.” (P. 465). Of course Christ shall reign forever, and has an everlasting kingdom, but He will not reign forever as Mediator, with all authority given to Him. King, do you believe that time will continue forever -time as we know it? All authority was given to Christ for His mediatorial reign, and when that phase of His reigning is terminated, that authority shall be returned, and that is what the apostle Paul is saying in I Cor. 15. That people, saved and mediated by Christ, will be saved forever, and in that sense the kingdom is spoken of as eternal. That phase of the kingdom is yet ahead.
Let us look at Thayers definition of the Greek word translated “deliver up: ” “to give over into (ones) power, or use” (P. 481). The same Greek word (paradidomi) is found in John 19:30. and is translated in the KJV (of all places! ), “give up.” So, to “deliver up” is the very same idea as “give up,” and King is challenging for anyone to show the very thing that the apostle Paul declares! We simply turn over to Paul this play-on-word-artist.
Now, since he likes challenges so well, we issue him one: Show us a version or Greek authority that translates paradidomi (deliver up) as “raise up or restore to rightful place.” A-144 What a definition! And King has the audacity to issue challenges on definitions after such a wild one as that! He must think mighty highly of himself to expect people to accept his verbal inventions on no higher authority than his “ipse dixit.”
King conveniently divides 1 Cor. 15 into sections. See pages 199-201. He says that vv. 1-20 is “given to the bodily resurrection of Christ himself.” Note the phrase, “bodily resurrection.” He uses this in reference to Christs resurrection, but will not use it in reference to anyone eises. Elsewhere he refers to the “traditional resurrection doctrine” A-211 as advocating a fleshly resurrection A-217 in distinction to his “spiritual resurrection.” “The resurrection is spiritual and not fleshly.” A-222 Repeatedly he contrasts “the fleshly view” A-225 with the “spiritual view.” A-197 He speaks of the “literal body view” A-192 as opposed to the “spiritual body view.” A-195 This special phraseology is used for effect! If one takes anything literal, he is fleshly, according to King! We believe in a bodily resurrection, but King insists on representing us as believing in a fleshly one. He believes in the bodily resurrection of Christ, but will not represent us as believing in a bodily resurrection of the dead, sometime future from now. According to King, ours is a fleshly view, a literal view, the traditional view!
Then, doing a switch on us, he gets off of the bodily resurrection and from v. 21 to v. 58 he gets on his so-called “spiritual resurrection,” while the apostle Paul stays on the same subject, vv. 12-58, and that is, the physical, bodily resurrection of the dead! On Kings sections from v. 2 1 to v. 58, he uses his own invention of “Primary resurrection” and “secondary resurrection.” applying these sections primarily to “the rise of the Christian system itself” out of Judaism, once Jerusalem was destroyed, and secondarily to what happens to a man at death. … His natural body that was sown (verse 44) answers to the fleshly or carnal system of Judaism … from which came the spiritual body … Judaism answers to the field or the world in which the good seed was sown (Matt. 13:37, 38). This natural body, receiving its death blow at the cross and beginning then to wax old and decay (Heb. 8: 13), became a nursery or seed body for the germination, growth, and development of the spiritual body by means of the, gospel. Thus, out of the decay of Judaism arose the spiritual body of Christianity that became fully developed or resurrected by the end-time. Hence, this is the primary meaning of Pauls statement, It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body. – A-200 so, thats how King manhandles 1 Cor. 15:21-58, while Paul sticks with his subject of a bodily resurrection, just like Christs!
King denies that the “graves” of Jn. 5:28,29 are literal. A-219 He makes this passage deal “with spiritual, no physical death.” A-219 “. . .the end of Judaism . . . is the resurrection of John 5:28,29.” A-220 Before the Preachers Meeting he said, “Yes, I believe Jesus arose physically from the dead,” but of us he says, “personally, I dont hold to the view that there is a physical resurrection.” “A physical resurrection, however, is denied.” A-204.
Well, after all of Kings misrepresentation of our position, and all of his play-on-words, Jesus still is on record as saying, “. . . all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth,” and Paul, also, saying, “It is sown … it is raised.” That which will be raised a spiritual body is the same as that which was sown. Of course we do not believe that a fleshly body will come from the grave, but that a spiritual body will, and will be the resurrection of that very body which was buried. 1 Cor. 15 describes the body in the grave as that which was “first,” natural… terrestrial, corruptible, “weak,” “earthly,” “flesh and blood,” and mortal,” and declares that it will be resurrected a spiritual body. This is what King denies that the passage teaches. No wonder King does not believe in a bodily resurrection and will not properly represent us as so believing. He hopes by tying “fleshly” onto us we will be “scared” into his Preterist-View heresy!
He denies that Phil. 3: 21 is yet to be fulfilled. According to him it does not refer to the physical body at all! “Why did he use the plural,our and the singular body, if he were talking about a general resurrection of individual dead bodies?” A-194 “The redemption of our body (not bodies) in Rom. 8:23 is equated with our vile body (not bodies) in Phil. 3:21, and corresponds to the redemption of the purchased possession or church in Eph. 1: 14.” A- 194
King, by his forced interpretation of Rom. 8:23 and Phil. 3:21, gets himself into many difficulties. If the singular word “body” refers to the church, as a spiritual body, then he has the church “vile,” and has Paul referring to “our” church! But Paul in Rom. 8:18-25 contrasts the sufferings in the physical body with the glory of the physical body once it is redeemed. In saying “our body,” he uses the part of speech which we call a “synecdoche,” wherein the part is put for the whole (as fifty sails, for fifty ships). King wants to play on the fact that the word “body” is singular. Let him try his little play on 4:23, “your spirit” (did all the Philippians have but one spirit?); on 1 Thess. 5:23, “your spirit and soul and body” (did they have but one of each? or, if the “body” is the church, what is the “spirit” and the “soul?”); on Heb. 10:22, “our hearts” (plural), but “our body washed with pure water” (is the church baptized, King, or are individual bodies baptized? The Greek text says “body,” not “bodies;” therefore, “body” as in the ASV and NASV).
In Phil. 3:21 the Greek text says, as the ASV renders it, “the body of our humiliation,” or as the NASV, “the body of our humble state,” and not “our vile body.” Paul is contrasting v. 20 with v. 21. Whereas the enemies of the cross had only earthly citizenship, a glory pertaining to appetites of the belly, and an end characterized by perdition, Christians have a heavenly citizenship, a promise some day of the glorified body like Christs for the physical body which in this life is subjected to humiliation, and an end characterized by salvation. Paul uses the singular, “body,” just as he uses the singular, “spirit,” in 4:23, etc. The one body is characteristic of each, individual one, and therefore the one is put for the many. This is common in the Scriptures. Note I Jn. 3:19-21, “our heart.” But King knew this when he perverted Rom. 8: 23 and Phil. 3: 2 1. He has a theory to defend! Route 3
TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 14, pp. 9-11
February 8, 1973