That Which is Perfect


or Through a Glass Sea Darkly

“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”  1 Cor. 13:8-10

I remember hearing a Southern Baptist pastor many years ago teaching that “that which is perfect” was the completed New Testament. He was forced to find some point in first century history that would justify his belief in the cessation of miraculous gifts like tongues. Well, to a point, I think he was right.

The apostolic church was quite a different kettle of fish to the church after AD70.[1] Paul and the other apostles would very soon be face to face with Christ, but only after the Word was completed (around AD64-65) as a final witness to the Jews, and the gospel was preached to all the Gentiles in the oikoumene (Matt. 24:14). Only then could the end of the age come.

That premillennial pastor wouldn’t entertain a “first resurrection” in AD70, but I believe concerning the completion of the Bible and the end of tongues as “business as usual” he was right on the money.

This interpretation is also supported by the Dominion pattern. The chapter begins with Paul’s Word from God as the “prime mover” (the Ark), runs through the “mystery veil” (Red Sea) to the Altar and Table (Tabernacle) to a wilderness where, in response to the Law, Eve is victorious through an exercise of love. If this is true, it paints the miraculous gifts as Trumpets which were a warning to the Jews. They are the ministry of the two legal witnesses against the old order, pictured in Revelation as partial judgments.[2] These childish signs weren’t going to make it across the Jordan, which is the Laver, the crystal sea, the glass barrier through which Paul peered and upon which the firstfruits saints including the apostles would soon stand (Rev. 15:2) (Jericho – Atonement) [3]. Then faith, hope and love are the finished, perfect (mature) Tabernacle which remains to this day.

[1] See Babel and Pentecost and End of the Abrahamic Rift.
[2] See The Two Witnesses.
[3] I know the “glass” refers to a mirror. The laver was made out of bronze mirrors. It symbolises the firmament. See Exodus 38:8; Job 37:18; 2 Cor. 3:18.

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7 Responses to “That Which is Perfect”

  • QuantumGreg Says:

    Michael, I can understand some of this. But I have an objection (somewhat). Some of the things under an older administration, when brought under the newer administration, are “taken up a notch” (toward glorification). For instance, in the 40-year wilderness the manna tasted like honey because they were headed toward a land filled with milk & HONEY. When the children of Israel tasted of the fruit of the land (which was BETTER than the manna), then the manna stopped. But they no longer just enjoyed the “taste” of honey, but actual honey itself.

    Also, the manna was “bread from heaven” which Christ is the “True Bread from Heaven” (taken up a notch). The inspired writing of the NT during that transition from Old to New (AD30-70) was also like the manna (“bread” [Word] “from heaven”), and when AD70 came, that inspired writing was completed.

    And as the writer of Hebrews says, they of the 1st century AD were only “tasting of the powers of the age to come.” When that age arrived in AD70, then the taste was over, and the fulfillment came. Now instead of just participating in the tasting of the powers of the age to come, we are actually living in the powers of that age.

    Thus, miracles & healings did not cease in AD70, but rather, SHOULD ABOUND and be like second nature to a Christian (a son of God). With these supernatural powers of this age we should be instrumental in setting creation itself free from the bondage of corruption (i.e. healing the sick, etc.).

    Just some thoughts, brother.

    REALLY enjoying these patterns! I have read Bible Matrix 1, and have just bought 2. Really looking forward to Totus Christus either on Kindle, or I’ll just order it when I’m done with 2.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Hi Greg

    It’s a nice thought that the miraculous gifts should have continued as they were (from 30 to 70), but church history doesn’t reflect it. The passage puts faith, hope and love at Booths, as the true shelter. So these are the more mature gifts, and they are gifts we all have to give.

    Also, the Old Testament history records many miracles, but they seem to occur at the beginning and end of Covenant cycles. There were times (such as two periods of 400 years) where God was silent, and there were no miraculous gifts.

    But I do like the way you think.

  • QuantumGreg Says:

    Michael, you wrote, “…but church history doesn’t reflect it.”

    Well, I thought of that. So I did my own research. But then I discovered a rather remarkable book that has already done the detective work. The book is not really teaching you anything. The author basically writes an introduction arguing for the continuation of the spiritual gifts (sounds a little charismatic), but then the rest of the book is made up of JUST direct quotes from the “church fathers” starting with the first century and going forward through time. The excerpts are showing how every generation of church history is full of miraculous healings and gifts.

    The book: Miracles and Manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the History of the Church by Jeff Doles.


  • Mike Bull Says:


    Sounds like an interesting read. I don’t think many Christians would believe in an entire cessation of gifts, but of the apostolic gifts – gifts channelled through particular people. Doug Wilson is really good on this distinction – I’ll post a link if I can find it.

  • QuantumGreg Says:

    Michael, read the article, and disagree with the conclusion. His conclusion is not warranted by his argument. But I won’t belabor that here on your blog site. I’ll just point out this. If prophesying, for instance, was “the Word of God” even in Paul’s day, then why were the saints of God commanded to judge it? Obviously, it could be wrong, is the only answer to that.

    Since you see patterns and types very well, consider this type. Before Christ came, there was the Law and the fleshly ordinances. In my life, before Christ came into it, my life was law, fleshly.. When Christ came into the world He introduced grace in a new living way. When Christ came into my life He introduced grace to me personally in a new living way. But the time when Christ came into the world there was an overlap between the Law and the spiritual kingdom of God. And the time Christ has come into my life there is an overlap between my flesh and the spirit. In AD70, the Law was fulfilled completely and done away with, leaving only the Kingdom of God. When I physically die, my fleshliness is completed and done away with, leaving only the spiritual.

    Thus the time before the overlap in AD30-70 represents my life before Christ, the overlap period represents my current life, and the post AD70 time represents my life after death.

    If this is a correct comparison (and I’m not saying it is), then I can follow up with some other things. Since tongues was a sign for the unbelieving Jews (Ishmael/fleshly/Law) of their soon destruction, then indeed, when AD70 came, Ishmael/fleshly/Law was cast out (fulfilled). So it stands to reason that corporate tongues had indeed fulfilled its purpose of warning of the coming judgment… corporately. In like manner since tongues would be a sign of the coming destruction of my flesh in death, then indeed UNTIL then PERSONAL tongues has not ceased. Instead it serves as a sign of my mortality, for me, personally.

    There is a corporate tongues in 1Cor 14, and an individual worship tongues there as well. Otherwise it makes no sense for Paul to say if there is no interpreter to keep speaking in tongues privately to God and yourself.

    Anyways, I personally have seen folks get healed WITHOUT me touching them. A young man & his friend visited me. He had injured his back playing softball. He was in pain. When I offered to pray for him, I stood up, and he stood up. I was reaching for him to lay hands on him in obedience to Jesus, and instead, he grabbed his back and his mouth dropped open and he exclaimed, “My back is getting hot and tingly!” It stayed that way for a good 5 minutes. When the feeling past, he was completely healed. No pain. He no longer needed therapy his mom was taking him to.

    Healing is a daily occurrence in my life, dear brother. I know it is not me at all. It is Jesus in me.

    Sorry for the long response. :)

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Hi Greg

    No worries.

    Some good points, but types are types. Tongues were a sign to unbelieving Jews that the “Abrahamic divide” was being undone — a reversal of the Babel scattering. There is likely a corresponding type in each Christian life, but it’s not tongues.

    I don’t dispute that God heals, but if there is any proliferation of it — of the kind we see in Acts — it is when the gospel is breaking new ground. And even then, it doesn’t seem to have the apostolic “volume.”

    So, I guess it’s a matter of degrees. But this passage most certainly refers to the need for signs as a thing of childhood. God will give them to us when we need them.