If All End Time Prophecies are Fulfilled How is 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 Fulfilled?

PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY Forums Forum If All End Time Prophecies are Fulfilled How is 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 Fulfilled?

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    Critics of preterism sometimes cite 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 as evidence that all end time prophecies have not been fulfilled: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. . . . For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” Since there are so many differing interpretations of Scripture, futurists sometimes argue that all end time prophecies must not be fulfilled since it is clear that humanity does not have complete knowledge. However, this is not really what Paul meant to say to the Corinthians.

    1 Corinthians 13:9-12 is clarified by 2 Corinthians 3:12-18. In light of 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 it becomes clear that the clarity of knowledge and understanding on earth mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 refers to the insight garnered in Jesus Christ.  The Bible is a series of prophecies and veiled prophetic customs all fulfilled in the death, resurrection, return and reign of Christ, the Word of God (John 1:1).  The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to believers to reveal explicit or veiled prophecies whose ultimate purpose is also to point to Christ’s death, resurrection, Parousia and reign:

    ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy.  ‘And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. ‘The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.  ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:17-21).’

    If the gifts of the Holy Spirit were ultimately for the purpose of predicting Christ and the events surrounding the coming of Christ and the Messianic Kingdom than once Christ returns and fully establishes His reign, then, of course, all gifts of the Holy Spirit would cease as there is nothing left to prophesy concerning Christ Jesus.  The fact that the Law and the Prophets is really a series of symbols, types and shadows prophetically pointing to Jesus Christ and the establishment of the New Covenant is made clearer upon its fulfillment. Hindsight is 20/20. Thus knowing how the Old Covenant ends the symbolism of the Law then becomes clearer to the saints as is explicitly explained by Paul and the early disciples in the New Testament. In other words, Christianity, the New Covenant, clarifies the Law, the Old Covenant, and reveals it to be veiled, prophetic symbols pointing to Jesus Christ. For a detailed explanation see http://www.preteristcentral.com/Through%20a%20Glass%20Darkl….

    That having been said, I believe that these verses also have heavenly meaning and fulfillment. In other words, these verses are also fulfilled literally at the resurrection of the dead. As explained in the link above, the “face to face” imagery mentioned in v. 12 points to a clear understanding of the Old Covenant in light of the knowledge instilled during the New Covenant imparted by the explicit teachings of the early disciples. This “face to face” imagery is contrasted to the veil over Moses’ face mentioned in 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 which symbolizes the obscure symbolism of the Law which would have been unintelligible to the Old Covenant saints. Though this is true, I believe that this unveiled “face to face” encounter also points to a literal face to face fellowship with Christ in heaven at the resurrection.

    The veil over Moses’ face and the veil blocking the way to the Holy of Holies did not just symbolize a veiled understanding of the Law, it also represented a boundary blocking the Old Covenant saints from entering heaven after death. Hebrews 9:3 reads, “Behind the second curtain [veil] was a room called the Most Holy Place[.]” Hebrews 9:7-12 indicates that just as the high priest entered the Most Holy Place once a year to offer sacrifice for sin, Jesus entered the Most Holy Place to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin once and for all at His death and resurrection. Hebrews 9:23-25 then goes on to say that the Most Holy Place of the Temple was an earthly symbol or shadow of heaven itself. And thus after Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin, He entered the Most Holy Place which is heaven:

    It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.

    After Jesus’ death on the cross, the veil of the Temple was torn in two (Matthew 27:51). According to Hebrews 9 it is clear that the Most Holy Place of the Temple was a symbol of heaven. The fact that the veil was torn after Jesus’ death on the cross is an earthly sign of the fact that the barrier to God in heaven (the Most Holy Place) was removed or about to be removed. This barrier is initially removed while on earth through the coming and reception of the Holy Spirit which restored the saints to the spiritual presence of God. However, this barrier is not completely removed until the saints are ushered into the presence of God in heaven at the resurrection. It is in heaven that we truly see God and His Son face to face. Thus it is at the resurrection to heaven that we first see Jesus face to face as is implied in 1 John 3:2: “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Of course humanity does not literally see Jesus face to face while here on earth. This is because Jesus is currently in heaven ruling at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:56). Preterists believe that once the body physically dies, the saints are immediately resurrected to heaven. It is while in heaven that the saints truly and literally see Jesus face to face and thus it is here that this verse is ultimately and literally fulfilled. Confirming the heavenly fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 13:9-12 people who have had revelatory near-death experiences (NDE’s) often claim that when in heaven they have immediate access to all knowledge as if they seem to know everything. Thus in heaven the knowledge and understanding of the saints is truly made complete!

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