Looking at the Collapsing Universe in the Bible

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December 21, 2012 Tags: Christ & New Creation

Today's entry was written by Brian Godawa. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Looking at the Collapsing Universe in the Bible

Note: With all the talk about the end of the world this week, we thought it would be good to reflect back on Brian Godawa's look at Revelations and the "collapsing universe" it presents. Today we repost the first entry in the series. The rest of the posts can be found here.

Creation and Decreation

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. (Revelation 6:12–14)

The non-concordist view of science and Scripture argues that Biblical texts about creation were never intended to concord with modern scientific theories. Thus, Genesis 1 is not cryptically describing the Big Bang or instant fiat, a young earth or old earth, special creation or evolutionary creation. It is not “literal” language describing the physics of the universe; it is “literary” genre describing God’s sovereignty over creation and most likely his covenantal relationship with his people.

But the argument against literalism of language of the creation of the heavens and the earth is also applicable to the language of the destruction of the heavens and the earth, or what the Bible calls, “the last days,” “the end of the age,” “the end of days,” or “the Day of the Lord.” Christians often refer to this as “the end times,” but the technical theological term is eschatology, which means “the study of end things.”

Regarding the end times, the modern Evangelical popular imagination has been deeply influenced and at times dominated by a theological construct that is best reflected in the 1970s bestselling The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey and the newer bestselling fictional phenomenon Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

This view believes that the Bible foretells an as-yet future scenario on the earth of a rapture of Christians, followed by the rise of an “Anti-Christ,” a world dictator who initiates a Great Tribulation on the earth, requires a “Mark of the Beast,” and assembles global forces for a battle of Armageddon against Israel, resulting in the Second Coming of Christ who replaces the universe with a new heavens and earth to rule forever. The technical theological term for this view is futurism, the belief that prophecies about the end times are yet to be fulfilled in the future.1

In this article, I will address the hermeneutic or interpretive approach used by this futurist perspective and apply it to the particular aspect of creation language, or in this case, decreation language -- the collapsing universe and the destruction of the heavens and the earth.

In short, the language of cosmic catastrophe often interpreted literally as referring to the end of the space-time universe is actually used by Biblical authors to figuratively express the cosmic significance of the covenantal relationship between God and humanity.

The tendency of modern literalism is to interpret descriptions of signs in the heavens and earth as being quite literal events of the heavens and earth shaking, stars falling from the sky, the moon turning blood red, and the sky rolling up like a scroll. The problem with this hermeneutic is that it assumes the priority of modernity over the ancient world. Rather than seeking to understand the origins of symbols and images used by the writers within their ancient context, this literalism often suggests the writer was seeing events that would occur in our modern day but did not understand them, so he used his ancient “primitive” language to describe it.

So for instance when the apostle John saw modern day tools of war in his revelation, such as battle helicopters, he did not know what they were so he described them in ancient terms that he did understand such as locusts with the sting of scorpions, breastplates of iron, a crown of gold and human faces, whose chopper blades made the “noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle” (Rev 9:3-9).

I was taught this modernist interpretation and lived by it for many years. When I read about Jesus explaining the “end of the age” I would assume he meant the “end of the space-time universe” because that’s the kind of language I, a post-Enlightened modern scientific mind, would use to describe such an event. When he spoke of the moon turning blood red and the sun being darkened, I assumed such events were easy miracles for God, so if you considered them figurative, you were falling down the slippery slope of neo-orthodoxy. When Jesus said stars would fall from the sky, you had better bet stars would literally fall from the sky (a primitive description of meteors2) or else you’re a liberal who doesn’t believe in the literal accuracy of the Bible.

But all that changed when I sought to understand the prophetic discourse on its own terms within its ancient cultural context instead of from my own cultural bias. I now propose that the ancient writers did understand what they were seeing, but were using symbols and images they were culturally steeped in, symbols and images with a history of usage from the Old Testament, their cultural context – not mine.

In this essay, I will argue that the decreation language of a collapsing universe with falling stars and signs in the heavens was actually symbolic discourse about world-changing events and powers related to the end of the old covenant and the coming of the new covenant as God’s “new world order.” In this interpretation, predictions of the collapsing universe were figuratively fulfilled in the historic past of the first century. The technical theological term for this view is preterism, the belief that most or all prophecies about the end times have been fulfilled in the past.3

Notes

1. The Left Behind series is a particular version of futurism called Dispensational Premillennialism. For a more in depth presentation of these varieties of eschatology see Bock, Darrell L. ed., Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999.
2. Interestingly, as soon as the interpreter thinks falling stars are meteors, he has just engaged in figurative speculation, which is not literal.
3. Some examples of orthodox scholars who hold to this view are Sproul, R.C. The Last Days According to Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1998; and Gentry, Kenneth L. Jr. Navigating the Book of Revelation. Fountain Inn: SC, Goodbirth Ministries, 2009.


Brian Godawa is the screenwriter of To End All Wars and other feature films. He has written and directed documentaries on church-state relations, stem cell research and higher education politics. He is the author of Hollywood Worldviews: Watching Films with Wisdom and Discernment (InterVarsity Press) and Chronicles of the Nephilim, a series of fantasy novels about Biblical heroes within their ancient Near Eastern mythological context. He speaks around the country to churches, high schools and colleges on movies, worldviews and faith. His movie blog can be found at godawa.com/movieblog/.

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Ashe - #75584

December 21st 2012

Those cheesy 70s end-time movies are still a guilty pleasure of mine. Like, “A Theif in the Night”.


Norman - #75609

December 21st 2012

Brian,

Thanks for your timely post.

With the upcoming release of the musical film version of “Les Miserables” I was wondering if you have ever noticed the strong similarity found in that dialogue with the literary formula the bible uses.  I assume the writers would have borrowed from similar biblical metaphorical patterns in telling the judgment and redemption scenes of a “New Day” found within their story line.  In fact if you removed the story of France and inserted the story of Israel and its impending judgment scene regarding the changing of an old order to be replaced with a new one, you can almost match them seamlessly.

I often imagine that someone of your literary skill set who understands how the biblical story is told could accomplish something similar as Les Miserables for the bible.  All the similar great themes are found within and it would be very educational for moderns to grasp how imagery can be unfolded to reveal grand ideas and bring the bible to life.

Thanks

Norm


Cal - #75638

December 22nd 2012

There is a difference between partial-preterism and full-preterism. What seems to be advocated is full and that blows up the balance in Scripture of already/not-yet.

The solution for “Left Behind” lunacy is not to pendulum swing to the other side. The language of Revelation is for all times, not the past as history lesson nor the future as some mayan doomsday prophecy (that’s right, still using the cliche after Dec. 21!).


micahmartin5 - #75648

December 23rd 2012

Cal,

It always amazes me when people make that claim. If Jesus said his return would be within that generation, and the Apostles wrote the NT with the urgency of that return in mind, then the NT would be set in the “already / not yet” transition time (think 2nd Exodus / 40 years).

How does believing it ALL happened exactly as predicted (despite the nature being different than what you assumed) violate the “already / not yet” balance of Scripture?

Brian pointed out, brilliantly, that Genesis 1 doesn’t have to concord with material / world history, and that would mean the end talked about in Revelation would not concord with material / world history. Just think about it. Covenant Creati Eschatology. 

Blessings,
Micah 


Cal - #75670

December 25th 2012

First, you’re not understanding the “already/not yet”. I’m not saying that what Jesus prophecised and what Revelation (of Jesus no less!) speaks about didn’t happen. It has happened. Yet it is also waiting to happen. This Age has ended, the Temple’s destruction is a sign of that, and the Age To Come has begun. Yet it has also yet to be fulfilled.

That’s the point, as bizarre as it is. I’m not counting 50/50 of completion. The events of Revelation have happened, are happening and will happen. If you imply a Full-preterism, you destroy its future (and present) implications. The King is still yet to return and yet we are with Him in Spirit. It’s both.

Gensis, while perhaps not about material and rather functional creation, has assertions in regards to material creation. Namely that it was created and has a beginning and is not an accident or outside the direct shaping hand of Christ who made and upholds all things.


micahmartin5 - #75673

December 25th 2012

Cal,

 

Some Scripture would be helpful. 

You also might be misreading Brian’s post. If Genesis 1 is not talking about the material universe then it doesn’t say anything about the material creation, period. “Functional” creation get’s close but still set’s it within a material boundry. A “covenant creation” of God’s people is just that. It is interesting that Paul calls believers a “new creation.” 

You may want to critically examine your position before you so quickly right off the full preterist hermeneutic. 

You say,  

This Age has ended, the Temple’s destruction is a sign of that, and the Age To Come has begun. Yet it has also yet to be fulfilled.

Yet, Paul preached “nothing but what the Law and Moses said would happen” and “nothing but the hope of Israel.” So, where did Paul preach a yet future coming of Jesus outside of “the hope of Israel” thousands of years after “that age” ended?


Remember, guys like N.T. Wright are on record saying things like:

“The first thing to get clear is that, despite widespread opinion to the contrary, during his earthly ministry Jesus said nothing about his return.” N.T. Wright, “Surprised by Hope” page 125.

Show me where the Bible talks about the end of “the age to come” after all the promises to Old Covenant Israel have been fulfilled (including resurrection) in Jesus’ “this age” and we can continue further. If you can’t show me that, then you might want to reconsider your position. 

Here is your problem:

Your resurrection at the end of time hope must be based on God’s promises to OC Israel, according to Paul.

But, you have the OC age ending in AD 70.

So, either God didn’t keep his promise to OC Israel, which causes a big problem, or Paul, didn’t say anything about an end of time casket resurrection. 

Blessings,
Micah 



Cal - #75697

December 27th 2012

Micah,

I don’t know what to tell you. Is the resurrection of the dead a metaphor? The whole thrust of the second half of the epistle to the Thessalonians is to comfort them. The dead sleep until Christ returns, and then the dead will rise (1 Thess 4).

Also, in Colossians 3, the thrust is about union with Christ. When He returns, so shall we for our life is hidden in Christ.

 

Every OC promise was fulfilled in Jesus and ended in Him, when He was nailed to the cross, so was the Torah (Col. 2:14). Scripture says nothing about this passing away in the destruction of the Temple. That is merely a sign of what has happened in Christ, the true Temple (Matthew 12).

 

My hermeneutic is Christ, that all the Scriptures point to Him. In that He is with us by His Spirit and yet to descend, we are waiting. That’s why Revelation ends with the prayer and cry, “Come Lord Jesus”.

Amen John.


micahmartin5 - #75714

December 27th 2012

Cal,

I understand that we probably have some basic hermenuetical differences, and this is not the place for a long drawn out discussion, but here are some quick thoughts. (BTW, I think Norm did a fantastic job responding below.)

Try reading 1 and 2 Thessalonians from the original audience’s perspective. You will see that they were expecting Christ’s return before they all died. You will also see that Paul promised them relief from their persecutors at the second coming. They also were not unaware of when the 2nd coming would happen, like those who would be taken by surprise, because they were not in darkness.

Again, read those two letters as if you are reading other peoples mail and ask yourself what the clear timing is suposed to be. Don’t let your presupposition of the “nature” of resurrection blind you to the timing of it. Your presuppositon might be wrong. 

I would also point out that Hebrews is specific that Christ would return to “those who were eagerly awaiting his appearing.” (Hebrews 9:28) This exact language is used in 1 Corinthians and Colossians. They were eagerly awaiting the 2nd coming. 

Isn’t “resurrection” an OC promise? Then how was it fulfilled at the cross. This idea that the law was fulfilled at the cross is very weak (IMO) classic A-mil theology. I can give you some good preterist writings on this very subject because many full-preterist come out of the A-mil camp. 

Christ said that the law would stand until heaven and earth passed away. (Matthew 5). Maybe we should try to identify what is meant by “heaven and earth.” 

Luke’s version of the Olivet discourse says that the destruction of Jerusalem were the “days of vengance to fulfill all that was written.” Luke 21:22.

Paul was on trial for his hope in the resurrection (a yet future event at the time) yet he claimed it was the “hope of Israel.” 

Yes, everything is about Christ! That is the beauty of the Covenant Creation / Eschatology hermeneutic, but there is a very clear pattern that is played out in the NT as the anti-type to the type found in the Old.

BTW, Revelation opens and ends with a “Jesus is coming soon” bookend. That should be enough evidence to start questioning the modern status quo.  

You can certainly email me if you would like to discuss the details further. I will show you what I have studied and where it has led me. 
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Blessings,
Micah



  


Cal - #75719

December 28th 2012

Micah,

I understand Paul’s pastoral concerns here. That is why the already/not-yet distinction is absolutely important.

The resurrection was an OC promise, you’re right. And, it was fulfilled in Jesus, the first born from amongst the dead, the first fruit of the resurrection.

Why am I talking about a literal resurrection? Because that is what is in Christ.

Our Union with Christ (which is crucial in understanding Paul) is what brings us into the reality of Christ. Because he rose, we shall rise. Because He overcame sin, so shall we.

Our justification, sanctification, glorification, adoption, resurrection etc etc. is all IN Christ. In Him, we have all of it. However that consumation has yet to occur. That is why Paul can speak of both being true.

There has been no raising of the dead, we do not have bodies like Christ. I don’t see how the resurrection can be real in one sense, and then totally a metaphor after the fact.

In Christ, the law has passed away. You left off the crucial “until all is fulfilled”. In Him it is, we are in between consummations. Not all is of Christ yet and that is the work of God now.

My presuppositional hermeneutic is Christ. This is not a novelty: Irenaeus spoke of it, Luther did, Barth did etc. This is John 5:39.

To go where you are going is to deny Christ as the center of all of Scripture. Jesus is still coming, and despite scratching our heads that soon is 2000 years and counting, that urgency has yet to disappear.

The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple are signs of that change. Christ is the temple, our city is in Heaven awaiting to come down with Christ. That has not happened yet. However, our life is in Christ and we are seated with Him in majesty.

You can’t collapse either way. It’s both.


wesseldawn - #75703

December 27th 2012

2 Peter 3:12:

Looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.

Obviously in 70 A.D. the heavens were not on fire and dissolved! This is speaking of a catastrophic end. 


wesseldawn - #75704

December 27th 2012

sorry Cal, this was meant for Micah…


micahmartin5 - #75713

December 27th 2012

Wesseldawn,

Please read Briand Godawa’s 6 part series on “The Collapsing Universe” language. 

Thanks,
Micah 


wesseldawn - #75770

January 1st 2013

Micah,

The Bible must be interpreted via the repetitious algorithm and then the inconsistencies disappear.

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:26)

Anytime after the time of Christ is ‘the end of the world’! 


PNG - #75675

December 26th 2012

Why is that someone becomes “brilliant” because they agree with us? Doesn’t this really mean that I am “brilliant,” and what a clever fellow you are to come to the same conclusion as with me?


lancelot10 - #75677

December 26th 2012

Micah - Jesus meant that the end times would happen within one generation - the generation of the end times - this should not be confused with the siege of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 ad which was accurately foretold in the gospel of Mathew - this is why the christians escaped over the rooftops to edom - by reading Jesus’s prophecy in Mathew - see Josephus et al.   

A similar scenario is now arising with Israel which will be under siege and the Jews will escape to the mountains and caves of Edom.   This does not seem to be Ezekiel 38 and 39 but later.

When the last Generation starts and how long it lasts is open to much debate - some think it started in 1948 with the state of Israel.


micahmartin5 - #75682

December 26th 2012

Lancelot10,


I am sorry, but I fail to see how “this generation” can mean an unspecified generation millenia into the future. The greek is emphatic and I don’t think you can provide any other example (from the NT) of that term meaning anything other than the generation Jesus was living in. 

I always ask people to take a look at the greek or an intelinear Bible and then tell me what Jesus would have said if he meant to say his generation. It is exactly what the text records. The way the greek is used, it always means the then current generation. 

An audience relevance thought experiment also can do the trick.

If you were standing there listening to Jesus 2000 years ago, would you have thought he was saying a generation 2000 plus years into the future? If that is the message they got, why are there so many near time statements littered throughout the New Testament? 

I questioned my dispensational theology a long time ago. It didn’t stand up very well to close scrutiny.

I think Brians article does a great job of showing the glaring problems with dispesationalism on both ends of the Bible. 

Blessings,
Micah 


micahmartin5 - #75649

December 23rd 2012

Brian,

It would be nice to see someone explore the Temple motif of the Genesis 1 heaven, earth, and sea as the entire creation of the old covenant people consisting of Jew’s and Gentiles, and then apply those motifs to the New Creation of Revelation 21 with a new eaven and earth, but no more sea correllating with no more distinction between Jew and Gentiles.

It would also be fun to trace that motif through parts of Scripture like the prophets and Psalms. Have you ever noticed that motif popping up anywhere?  

Thanks for a great article. I always wonder what the Dispensationalist YEC guys (and dispy OEC guys for that matter) will do when they find out that there is a matching Genesis hermeneutic for Preterist eschatology.  

Thanks for the very timely article.  

Blessings,
Micah 


Seenoevo - #75652

December 23rd 2012

The Book of Revelation may seem like the Bible’s strangest and spookiest book, if any of the books could be so characterized. No wonder Martin Luther wanted Revelation (along with several other books) excised from Scripture.

It’s also one of the most symbolic books of Scripture. Just about anyone reading it senses that many symbols are used.

At the same time, I don’t think one should necessarily consider all of the images as completely symbolic. A Bible believer might reasonably think that the second coming of Christ and ‘the end of time’ will involve some extraordinary events on earth and in the universe. The believer is already aware of historical and cataclysmic natural disasters (e.g. from earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes, forest fires). Many of these things already strain our comprehension with the magnitude of their destruction. A believer could reasonably expect that in the unprecedented final days, such kinds of things will be unprecedentedly worse. As for stars, since the universe will come to an end, it’s not unreasonable to think that the stars and other things up there will start behaving like we’ve never seen before, in the last days.

One way or the other, it’s a riveting read. And among other possible lessons, it highlights the evil and the end result of believing in falsehoods. Some of the final verses go

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood.”


PNG - #75676

December 26th 2012

So Seenoevo consigns those who disagree with him to perdition. Nice. 


lancelot10 - #75678

December 26th 2012

By not taking Revelation seriously - by assuming nothing supernatural is going to happen is undermining the prophecy which is a dangerous thing to do in view of the curse at the end.

Peter warns about this “ Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

We can see the one world government slowly taking shape for the antichrist to rule - but many things have to happen before this.

I certainly believe in the future millenial reign by Jesus and a new heaven and earth instantly created at the annihilation of the last rebellion at the end of the thousand years.


micahmartin5 - #75683

December 26th 2012

Lancelot10,

 

Jude records that those scoffers were among his audience, 2000 years ago. 

Try reading the last days that the Bible talks about as the last day’s of the Old Covenant System (Temple). Try reading the pronouns with an eye to audience relevance. 

Blessings,
Micah 


Merv - #75679

December 26th 2012

Micahm wrote:  

Remember, guys like N.T. Wright are on record saying things like:

“The first thing to get clear is that, despite widespread opinion to the contrary, during his earthly ministry Jesus said nothing about his return.” N.T. Wright, “Surprised by Hope” page 125.

 

If Jesus isn’t talking about his return in Matthew 24, then what is he talking about?  Sure, the passage does include “before this generation passes away”.  Some modern Bibles footnote this to explain that generation can mean “age” or “race”, and I agree this may be an ‘after-the-fact’ re-interpretation to allow for a more futurist position. At least if Christian scholars had seen the word ‘race’ or ‘age’ there, then they would have gladly used it in the first place.  But all that aside, isn’t the presumption that it CANNOT mean that also presumptuous (and creates more problems than it solves)?  I haven’t read Wright’s book and may not have the privilege to do so any time soon, but I’m curious how he handles the Matthew 24 teaching.

-Merv


micahmartin5 - #75681

December 26th 2012

Merv,

Wright is hard to nail down and much of it depends on what book you are reading. It is more and more acceptable to see Matthew 24 and 25 as one united discourse dealing with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Wright’s biggest problem, IMO, is that he tries to bifurcate Thessalonians from Matthew 24, but it is clear that Paul is going off of the Olivet Discourse. You can easily see the problem for futurist like Wright if that is the case. Also, Wright has Daniel 12:2 referring to the end of time resurrection (as far as I know) but Jesus refers to that in Matthew 24, not to mention that Daniel 12 puts that resurrection at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. (Many post-mill scholars have capitulated and now see Daniel 12 as fulfilled in AD 70.)

I think Brians post (and larger series) does a great job of exposing these issues. I hope that biologos is willing to explore them more deeply. Genesis is intimately connected to Revelation.  We simply can’t arbitrarly switch hermenuetics.

BTW, I believe Jesus is talking about his return in Matthew 24. Instead of questioning our idea of the “nature” of that return we opt for making Jesus a false prophet (or the Apostles) by denying the time statements that are ALL throughout the New Testament.

However the reality is that the Covenant Creationist / Covenant Eschatology world has put together a tremendous amount of scholarly work in these areas showing a consistent and logical hermeneutic from Gen. 1 to Rev. 22. I think it is high time they get more billing because the old gaurd of dispensationalism (which gave birth to YEC) is severly lacking. The same goes with the A-mil position and the Post-mill postition, all of which I used to hold. (IMO of course.)

Blessings,
Micah 


Norman - #75680

December 26th 2012

This discussion boils down to accepting a consistent Biblical hermeneutic approach.  It goes against dependable logic even for Biblical students to use a hybrid pick and choose approach of interpreting scripture.  Learning the Biblical symbolism as it has been utilized over centuries of OT, 2nd Temple and first Century writings point to a reliable interpretive method by the first Christians. If we don’t want to accept their hermeneutic then perhaps we may get off track.  Reading and understanding Genesis through Revelation requires that we lock in on how Jesus, Peter, John and Paul employed scripture and if we dig deep enough it follows the OT and 2nd Temple patterns and not later Jewish and  acquired Christian interpretive methods. However we need to keep in mind that the majority of Jews did not accept Christ and the early Christian interpretive hermeneutic and the sadness is that over time Christians have defaulted back to the diluted Jewish interpretation that didn’t correlate with the first Christians methodology.

Let me explain why consistency is required.  Most scholars are coming to recognize that Genesis was written using the tool of symbolism extensively and because of that they realize that the Adam and Eve story is not history in the purest sense but is a theological writing employing metaphors and symbolism. It is becoming recognized that the Garden was not a literal place but is an ideological setting to frame a story line from.  Therefore you really can’t accept the idea that a perfect earth existed 6000 years ago and it was magically changed as most YEC portend it was. Biblical Evolutionist especially recognize and accept this realization, and have learned to read Genesis more accurately now without having to read unrealistic sceneries into Genesis.  You simply are not going to find many Biblical Evolutionist scholars accepting Genesis as literal.

Now we need to turn around and look at the other end of the Biblical spectrum as well and notice that Revelation ties in extensively to the Genesis Garden motifs and builds upon them. People that are educated extensively in Ezekiel, Daniel and 2nd Temple literature recognize this much more readily than the typical layman biblical student who shy away from these informative pieces of literature.  They also are beginning to recognize how similar the metaphors are consistently used and this includes Genesis.  So a logical mind would recognize these patterns and should ask themselves when they encounter Revelation why literary rules that hold for Genesis and Ezekiel no longer hold for Revelation?  Why would the literary genre change gears all of a sudden? Well the simple answer is that it doesn’t even though we have many people reading it like it does. Revelation is no more projecting a return to the physical Garden (as YEC project it existed) of Eden here on Earth than Genesis was projecting that there was one in the first place.

 No Revelation is projecting a return to the Garden of Eden as understood to represent right standing with God through the defeat of the wily Beast (Satan) that beguiled the faith pursuing  Eve (woman) and Adam (man) who represent Christ and the church.

Paul understood this symbolism and Eph 5 illustrates how he grasped what Genesis was all about, He says it was prophecy pointing to Christ but the Jews rejected this kind of biblical hermeneutic. Paul was not literalist when it came to Genesis.

Eph 5: 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Revelation is all about the finishing in the first century the battle of Satan (represented by the brood of Jewish priest called vipers by Christ) and defeating their imposition of legalism upon the faithful.  It means that a New Kingdom had been introduced and there was a 40 year New Exodus (read Heb 3 & 4)  that was ongoing for the New faithful and that at the impending  judgment of Jerusalem and the Temple would be the sign of Christ Parousia (coming/presence) to confirm that He indeed had defeated His enemies and was worthy of being declared God’s Son and thus became the last Adam.  We seemly don’t know the language and the story well enough and how it was used because it requires a lot of hard work and effort to keep things in context when others are telling you to literalize it. We thus are partakers of the New Kingdom and are full benefactors of that right standing before God just as the first Adam was expected to grasp but failed in doing so.  Much more could be said to flesh out the completeness of the story but it requires we pay attention to the ancient interpretations that the first Christians used and not the apostate Jews or later well-meaning but misguided Christians.  The church lost the ability to understand Genesis and we are rediscovering it and the same goes for Revelation.

It means we are going to have to change some of our ill-advised thinking about scripture that have become fond acquisitions over time but it doesn’t mean we are settling for a lesser story but IMHO a better more robust one.

Norm


Seenoevo - #75684

December 26th 2012

PNG wrote: “So Seenoevo consigns those who disagree with him to perdition. Nice.”

I thought about this statement. And the more I thought about it, the more remarkable I found it. Can we not all acknowledge the following?

- Seenoevo can’t consign anyone to perdition. Scripture says that’s God’s job alone.

- Seenoevo is not saying anything, but is merely quoting what the book of Revelation has God saying.

- Although Seenoevo bolded “falsehood”, the practice of “falsehood” was not the only transgression highlighted here by God.

- PNG’s statement, while perhaps facetious or sarcastic, seems to imply that those who disagree with Seenoevo believe in and practice falsehood.

- If Scripture is true, and so that verse from Revelation is true, then likely some will go to hell for falsehood. Such could include Seenoevo, if Seenoevo is guilty of preaching or practicing falsehood.

- If humans are incapable of distinguishing between truth and falsehood, the highlighted Scripture verse is meaningless or perhaps false or unjust.

 

And who cares what Seenoevo says?

Just some thoughts.


GJDS - #75686

December 27th 2012

I note the apeal to symbolism - it is worth remembering that language itself as written is a combination of symbols. Meaning is conveyed by the use of symbols, but meaning is found within the culture and community that uses these symbols. Regarding the word of God as written by those shosen by Christ to bring the message of the Gospel; it is important to remember that whenever we take these matters seriously, these people called by God to bring us the good news of Christ, always relied on the Holy Spirit to provide the meaning to the message. I think people in those days, as we do, understood that symbols and various ways of using language, is part and parcle of human activity. The meaning of the good new, however, is always provided by the Holy Spirit. It is this that makes arguments and debates difficult to use when discussing God’s word amongst those taught by the Faith in Christ.


Norman - #75707

December 27th 2012

Cal, #75697

Absolutely the writers often use “death” as a metaphor describing a condition of spiritual separation (loss of righteousness) from God that began with Adam in the Garden. Adam didn’t physically die in the Garden but died spiritually (loss of right standing with God and in need of resurrection which is standing before God). 

2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  (not physically dead -norm ) 2 in which you once walked … 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

Col 2: 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,

Resurrection is not simply defined as a bodily coming out of the grave biblically but is a corporate (group) rising of the faithful of Israel and Gentiles to have the same right standing with God as Christ.  This was demonstrated through Christ obedience, death and resurrection and Paul expounds upon it above and extensively in Rom 6. He presents the case that the faithful in Christ through their Baptism are joined with Christ in His resurrection and are free from the burden of Sin.  

Rom 6: By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Notice above that the discussion about being baptized into Christ and His resurrected frees us from Sin.  That means we are restored to Adam’s original Garden expectation.  It’s all about the here and now and is not focusing on Life beyond our physical Death but the abundant redeemed life from Sin in the present.  Now no where am I saying that the faithful are not partakers with Christ in eternal Life, in fact by definition if one is in the Body of Christ then they by an inclusive definition individually reap eternal life.  We make our mistake by trying to compartmentalize resurrection with just a bodily coming out of the grave when that is not its focus.  Eternal life with God is part and parcel of walking as God’s Covenant people through Jesus Christ.

Isaiah prophesied this great freedom from Adam’s Spiritual Death (separation from God in Isaiah 25.

Isa 25: 7 And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.  He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,

Yes physical death is also defeated because beyond there was no hope for the faithful to be reunited to God. However through Christ not only are we forgiven our sins and are walking with God but we no longer reside in Sheol, hades or the Grave at our physical death.  Unlike some project there is no need for the faithful to reside in Hades to be sprung visually out of the Grave (as in Rapture theology) in the future. Christ completed that for us and upon our physical death will join Christ in union eternally.  That is why the New Covenant Kingdom of Christ has wiped away all tears already, otherwise we would be considered still living under that old Covenant bondage of death and therefore Christ really did not accomplish all that was prophesied of Him when he came.

I realize that some people do not think we have the Kingdom of Christ fully but I believe their thinking is built upon an amalgamation  of Old Covenant theology that looked forward to the Messiah not realizing the fullness has been established.  Yes this physical life is tough and dangerous but for God’s people it is no longer a trail of tears regarding our Spiritual assurance and life.

Please realize that accepting resurrected life now does not mean we don’t get to live with God eternally.

Indeed we get the best of both worlds.


Seenoevo - #75710

December 27th 2012

The book of Revelation has a way of directing our attention to the end times, and to the last things: death, judgment, heaven or hell.

Scripture and Christian tradition seem to indicate that few will ultimately get to heaven. [“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Mat 7:13-14; “It is certain that few are saved.” Augustine; “Those who are saved are in the minority.” Thomas Aquinas]

If that’s true, maybe it’s only true in the overall long-run; maybe some periods or populations within human history will fare far better than average. Could the United States be such an exception to the rule of few being saved?

The reason I ask is because of a Gallup poll released on Christmas Eve: http://www.gallup.com/poll/159548/identify-christian.aspx

Does this mean that at least 77% of Americans today are going to heaven?


Norman - #75720

December 28th 2012

Cal #75719

Sorry to keep posting out of the thread but am having issues accessing the intended Thread.

Why can’t Christ literal resurrection have been the sign to humanity that was needed to fulfill the Old Covenant promises?  Where or why is a literal coming out of our physical graves  going to fulfill anything to anyone if it is a last Rapture event as espoused by the Left Behind propositions?  Is it going to be a sign to the  apostate “Left Behind crowd ” of their impending destruction?  If it doesn’t happen in that manner than the only other alternative is to leave the faithful dead in a form of soul sleep and then reanimate them either 1. Back here on a reformed paradisiacal earth (YEC hermeneutic) or 2. In Heaven where Christ must be now. (most Christians are split on the two alternatives)  The difference ultimately though is likely a moot issue as God will provide in the end for our eternal souls.  

What I propose however is that the Old Covenant holding tank called Hades has been destroyed already and through Christ all the eternal faithful to God go immediately to be in God’s and Christ presence (Isn’t that so much better .  I don’t know what that is going to be like; who knows it could be a duplicate earth like place but I doubt if we can find anything in scripture that is going to draw us a detailed picture of the hereafter.  So essentially it doesn’t really matter on what you or I believe as it’s in God’s hands and the end result is that God provides.

Now what bothers me about your last post here is that you are starting to develop a “straw-man” definition that seemingly pits fulfilled eschatology against the benefits and power of life in the Holy Spirit.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  What Christ has empowered is in place and that is Life in the Spirit and I would venture that most Christians accept that power as a realized aspect of faith in Christ.  In fact I would venture that most full Preterist embrace that divine empowerment more robustly than many futurist do who think Satan needs to be yet defeated.  Satan’s forces are out there as he has been from the beginning but he has no authority anymore over the faithful as he did over the Old Covenant body under the First Adam (if he is still in power in the Kingdom of Christ then we are still in our sins)(Do you believe we are still in our sins?).   I don’t

1 Cor 15: 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul makes it abundantly clear that the Law was the power of Sin and it (the Law) has been set aside and the expected sign of its consummated termination was in AD70 when the seat of the Jews power base of Mosaic Law was destroyed as Christ predicted it would be.  The razing of the 2nd Temple and the destruction of Jerusalem was the judgment of God through Christ that the Law was finished forever as a means for righteousness with God.  Paul spends 4 chapters describing the problem of the Law that begins with Adam from Rom 5 through Rom 8. It is a critical understanding that must be grasped to comprehend why AD70 was so important as a sign to the first beliers in Christ.  Just as the Jews understood the destruction of the first Temple was judgment from God.

It is just erroneous to paint full Preterist as not fully embracing the Power of Jesus Christ. Just because you may not fully understand fulfilled eschatology, it should not permit you to draw a picture that is so diametrically opposite to what many of us embrace concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I don’t mind people arguing their theological points but I’m going set the record straight when it comes to positing positions on many full Preterist that are simply inaccurate.

Now keep in mind that full Preterism just like any other Christian groups has many individuals and no one thinks exactly alike.  They are just like you and me, they are all on a journey to discover truth and that is simply a huge process for those who seek that endeavor.  I doubt if Pete Enns, John Walton, N. T. Wright, Darrel Falk or any scholar has the same mindset as they had 20 years prior. Study tends to change your perspective and not always the way you may have envisioned years earlier.

Blessings

Norm


Cal - #75729

December 29th 2012

Norm:

You’re still taking the promises and putting them into 70 AD rather than in Christ. Again, you’re collapsing it into the wrong way. I know it’s hard to fathom that we have every promise fulfilled in Christ as the Yes and Amen of God and yet we are still awaiting fulfillment. At most, 70 AD is a  representative of what occurred in the cross, it is the fullfillment of Christ being the true Temple and all the shadows of the OT passed away as the Light dawns.

But to deny future consummation is to deny the possibility of a world set right. Either we become individual escapists into another world or we become hopeless utopians trying to fix Earth to match a spiritual reality. Yes, the Age to Come is here and we who are in Christ bear that message, yet we are also pilgrims ever awaiting our city.

It is the tension of being in Christ and also living in Babylon.


Joriss - #75726

December 29th 2012

Michamartin or Norman.

Acts 1:9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into [h]the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Did Jesus “come in this same way” in AD 70?


Acts 3:19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you,21 whom heaven must receive until the[j]period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

Are “all things restored” in AD 70?

Matthew 26:64 Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, [v]hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”


Did the pharisees see that happen in AD 70?

Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

Do you see the creation free from its slavery to corruption? Or is the whole creation still groaning and suffering the pains of childbirth nowadays?

I can not find any indication whatsoever, neither in the Scriptures nor in the world around me, that that all these things have already happened.

On the contrary, everything in the bible points to a kingdom on a restored earth that still has to come.


Norman - #75730

December 29th 2012

Cal,

I think we are simply at this time on separate hermeneutics paths concerning how to interpret and apply scripture.  The First Christians have been accused of overly spiritualizing the OT prophecies and it was very difficult for the apostles at first and ultimately the Jews to realize the nature of Christ Kingdom. It is pointed out over and over again that the Kingdom was among them and breaking forth. The Kingdom is not described as the ultimate escape from physical earth but was an escape from a legalistic form of religion that had overtaken God’s faithful people under the guise of the Law.  I can’t over emphasize enough the points that Paul continually makes concerning the bondage that Israel faithful endured under the Law.  Paul is nowhere projecting a paradisiacal earth for the faithful but is pointing out that the way of life and righteousness with God is found in Christ and His teachings; namely Loving God and your neighbor.

I know it sounds appealing to take biblical symbolism and apply it literarily such as the wild and domestic animals laying down together. However those are obvious symbols as pointed out by many renowned scholars concerning the eventual coexistence of Jews and Gentiles together in a new kingdom established by Messiah. The scriptures use these mediums of describing the Messianic kingdom continually and we need to learn the early Christian interpretive methods if we are going to read scripture like they do.

The world set right was the world that Adam and eventually the Jews through the imposition of the Law corrupted from the purity that was intended for it. It’s not a physical story by any stretch of the imagination when read in context within their methodology.  Please take the time and find a good Romans Commentary perhaps by Wright or I suggest Tom Holland’s newest one and study what Romans 5 through 8 is all about. Paul is obsessed if I may, with the problem of the Law being the problem that brought on the curse. It is not a physical curse upon planet earth and humanity but a spiritual degradation imposed by legalism. Christ removes the curse of the Law and it isn’t finished covenantally until the Temple and Jerusalem are destroyed as He predicted. Everyone then knew that was going to be the sign of consummated end of the Law (old covenant) and the consummated full establishment of the New covenant of Christ. These prophecies needed to be fulfilled in order to confirm Christ complete works. Not some ambiguous thousands of years in the future rapture event. That kind of theology is right out of the Young Earth Creationist playbook and Evolutionist if they want to be serious players in theology need to realize their inconsistencies when they refuse a 6000 year old physical Garden of Eden that was paradisiacal in nature and was lost but will be restored sometimes in the future. It doesn’t take much logical skill to recognize the obvious hermeneutic inconsistency with that approach to scripture.  You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Lay people may be able to, but serious scholars are going to be laughed out of the room in the long run if they hold to a hybrid hermeneutic that rejects literal Genesis but accepts literal Revelation. Now if you are a YEC then your arguments make perfect hermeneutic sense from their literal perspective.  Ken Ham would agree with you.

Actually Cal most full Preterist believe futurists are the escapist as they concentrate upon imaginary fulfillments as a means to a utopian eventuality. I would say the reality is what is reflected in the book of Job in which faithful man does not have the answers because we cannot fathom God and His power. What we can fathom though is that He forgives us our sins and seeks fellowship with us through Jesus Christ. Whereas before under the Law there was bondage to sin but now there is no more for the faithful. I would say forgiveness of our Sins is Huge and can’t be overstated. Sure the Jews also wanted a physical Kingdom and missed the Messiah and it looks like many Christians are still looking for what the Jews who rejected Christ never got as well.  By the way nowhere am I saying at AD70 that the promises ended; quite the contrary they became fully manifested eternally as long as the earth endures for the faithful.

Cal as long as people keep looking for a future physical return or end of the world then we are going to continue having misguided end of the world projections continually without fulfillment. If we can’t settle it now before you and I meet our maker I invite you and me to sit down with Jesus, Peter and Paul and iron out the details upstairs  Perhaps they will have a nice Starbucks available. If I’m wrong I will gladly accept their correcting assessment.

Blessings

Norm


Cal - #75734

December 29th 2012

You’re straw manning me and totally misunderstanding what I’m saying.

 

I agree with you, Genesis and Revelation are symbolic. I think you are totally missing what the symbolism is for.

All of the OT pointed to Christ, not 70 AD and Christ. The destruction of the Temple was symbolic of what had happened, the Lord was no longer there. Yet Paul was writing BOTH that we were awaiting the redemption of our bodies and that we were already seated with Christ in the Heavenlies. This was before the Romans even surrounded Jerusalem.

I am not a full-preterist and I am not a full-futurist. I am both and I think that’s how the Scripture describes it.


Norman - #75735

December 29th 2012

Cal,

As I said before, we are all on a learning journey.

Blessings

Norm


Norman - #75731

December 29th 2012

Joriss,

Let’s begin by defining biblical terms as they were used in the first century by Christians and 2nd Temple Jews.  I’m sure we can present any idea that we want if we take a modern literal view of symbolic OT concepts and proof text them out of their context.

Since you bring up Romans 8:20 and creation let’s explore the NT and OT nature of the Heavens and Earth; since they are the “Creation” under consideration here by Paul.

Rev 21 says … Rev 21:1  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

It also says : I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

Next it says:  24 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb

Next it says: By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it

You realize this is apocalyptic imagery and despite most Christian’s belief it is not talking about Heaven or physical paradise here on earth.  No it’s using what we call de-creation language to illustrate the change in nature of the Kingdom of God through Christ.  No longer is there any Sea is illustrative that there is no more Gentile Jew division as Israel was the Land and the Gentiles were the Sea. There is only one new humanity (see Eph 2:15) now in force.  Notice that there will be no more temple because the Lord and the Lamb is the Temple.  Therefore we have no more need of the sun and moon because without the Temple there is no need to mark seasons and festivals associated with the Temple cultic practices. Obviously the Nations are still in vogue so again it can’t be in Heaven or Paradise on earth where only Christ is the King and ruler but the Kings of the Nations do recognize and honor it.

Now I would remind you of John Walton’s book “The Lost World of Genesis One” in which he posit that Genesis 1 uses “functional Creation” which is an assignment of purpose to the Heavens and Earth described there.  If you remember in Gen 1 the Sun and Moon were assigned their functions.

Gen 1:14  And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,

The Sun and the Moon were essentials of Temple cultic practices but in the New Kingdom of God they are no longer needed as is the Sea and so all three entities are de-created. They are functionally removed in the New Heavens and Earth. I would submit that this is simply language that scribal Jews would understand concerning the order of their world as they relate to God through Christ.  In fact this was a prophecy fulfilled from Jeremiah which said with their passing that Israel as a physical nation was no longer sanctioned before Him.

Jer 31:35-36  Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the LORD of hosts is his name:  ”If this fixed order departs from before me, declares the LORD, then shall the offspring of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever.”

Paul told the new Christians that they no longer were bound by these cultic practices.

Col 2:16-17  Let no one, then, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths,   which are a shadow of the coming things, and the body is of the Christ;

So using Walton’s functional Creation at the beginning we see John a Jewish Christian employing functional de-creation language to illustrate the changing of the Old Covenant guard.  The old Heavens and Earth are being replaced with a new or renewed Heaven and Earth.  The Heaven’s as a biblical term signifies the order or manner that God interacts with His people whom comprise the earth or more properly the Land. So when we see the use of Heavens and Earth/land we are seeing the covenant designation of God’s holy people and the governing guidelines they have for interacting with God.  In the Old mosaic covenant or old Heavens and Earth the Law, Temple and Human priest and animal sacrifices were in order and in fact Hebrews 12 describes the scene where the Heavens and Earth were changed previously similar to how they were about to be changed again under Christ. Notice how at Mt. Sinai that God shook the Earth when Moses gave them the Law. This event changed the order of the Heavens and Earth or the way that God’s people interacted with God through the Law.  But the Hebrew author says that the coming Kingdom will be a change in the Heavens and Earth that cannot be changed ever again. Of course he is describing Christ Kingdom which he offers gratitude for.

Heb 12:26-28  At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”   This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.   Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,

All of this is to illustrate the way the ancients understood the nature of the Heavens and Earth; it’s completely different than we moderns think of Heaven and Earth. It illustrates that the Heavens and Earth were in a fluid state under the Mosaic Law and that methodology that governed the Heavens was being changed forever. In fact the Hebrew author started his letter off by quoting an OT verse concerning the change that was expected to occur to the Old Heavens and Earth. That Old foundation will perish and the new foundation of governance by Christ will entail thus a change will come about.

Heb 1:10-12  And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;   they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment,   like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed.

continued


Norman - #75732

December 29th 2012

Now let’s consider Romans 8:20  in context of how the ancients used and understood their Heavens and Earth which was the “Creation” in which God laid that foundation as found  beginning with Adam in Genesis 2.

The creation of God’s people began with Adam and these verses are natural climaxes to Paul’s discussion concerning Adam in Rom 5:12 and how Adam was the root beginning of sin in the Garden and it precluded Adam being a true son of God.  Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden and subject to the futility of the law and its curse (read Romans chapter 7 as a prelude).  However a prophecy was given to the woman that through her seed (and later we see Abrahams seed) that Satan who enticed the woman to break the law would be crushed by that seed.  That is exactly what Christ was doing and what Paul is referring to here in Romans 8. The bondage to sin by the faithful to God are being set free from that old corrupt law abiding creation and a new creation was breaking forth but the birth pangs of this new creation was difficult due to the persecution by the older jealous brother Jews who represented Cain against Abel. Eve would be the mother of all the living (it means spiritual living) and her offspring would be the new creation faithful. We see this explained in more detail in Revelation 12. Indeed these first Christians understood that when judgment came upon the Jews that they would no longer be a factor in persecuting them extensively as they were presently doing by chasing them from city to city.

Rom 8:19-23  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope   that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.   For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.   

2:1  And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, (Israel) and on her head a crown of twelve stars.  She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. (Satan the dragon was chasing her and her offspring.)

So indeed the old Creation had been groaning from Adam onward until Christ the Last Adam brought freedom from Satan represented by corrupt Priesthood who tried to kill the first Christians. The woman who represented faithful Israel was having difficulty birthing her children. This background should make a whole lot more sense when we understand just a smidgen of the contextual understanding that we need to know in order to keep the story straight.  Again it’s not about putting us all in Shangri La somehow physically although I realize that would be nice but somehow God has different plans and apparently His Grace is sufficient for us.

There is a huge amount more I could bring into play and I haven’t even touched upon Christ coming on the Clouds in glory as His father did in His Judgments in the OT.  Needless to say books have been written on these subjects and if one desires they can pursue more deeply into these matters to see if these things be true.

Mat 5:18  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Has all been accomplished or are we still under Law of Moses?

Blessings

Norm

 


Joriss - #75749

December 30th 2012

Norman,
Thank you for your response. Although I respect your vision and appreciate the efforts you took to explain it to me, I cannot agree with you.                  Much of what you are saying hinges on the text of Jeremiah you quote, chapter 31:35 and 36.
Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, [and] the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts [is] his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, [then] the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

I think you misinterpret this text. This use of language is not symbolic at all here. Just in the same way the sun, moon and stars will  stay forever, you, my people Israel, will stay forever, in despite of all the judgements you have gone through and are going through, that is what is meant here. See the context in which these text is written. It is about the restoration of Israel! It is promise, the entire chapter 31 of Jeremiah. You quote verse 36. But compare verse 37. Thus saith the LORD;  If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.
This is the same promise repeated in an other way. God will never cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done.
God compares the stability and reliability of his promises and faithfulness with the most stable things in creation:  His ordinances in nature, sun, moon, stars, foundation of the earth, as He does so many times in Scriptures. Psalm 36:6,7; Psalm 103:11 etc.

Verse 2. The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
From the context it is obvious God is speaking to Israel (verse 1 and 3). So how could God say I love you with everlasting love, I’ll plant you, I’ll gather you etc. in this chapter and at the same time say it is not everlasting.
The entire chapter 31 is full of God’s promises to Israel, that He will forever plant it, so a sudden prophecy about Israel’s rejection in verse 36 and 37 doesn’t fit at all in this chapter. No: If these ordinances will depart from Me - (they will never!), Israel will also cease to be a nation before Me forever (So Israel will not cease to be a nation forever).  If heaven above can be measured (It never can!), ... I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD (He never will). These promises fit in and harmonize with the whole intent of chapter 31. Israel has not been a nation for almost 1900 years. But not forever! Israel is a nation again. So this chapter 31 and the reality of Israel being a nation in our days are evidence of God’s promises that won’t fail to be fulfilled one day, although we don’t know how and when. So after all this is not a prophecy about Israel’s rejection, but the very opposite, a prophecy and promise God will never forever reject Israel as his people!
No, I don’t believe in this very chapter there is any connection between the sun and moon  and Temple cultic practices, I think this is an artificial connection. There are too many parts of Scriptures that speak about a Kingdom, that will come and at the same time is already in us. And yes, I believe with you that we are a new creation, risen with Christ, after having been one with Him in his death, and in that sense have been dead, but now are alive to live in Him a new life, living for God.
Nevertheless I believe resurrection of our bodies has still to come. Blessing to you too!


Norman - #75761

December 31st 2012

Joriss,

Thanks for the detailed response; I really appreciate those who look to scripture to sort things out.

Actually Jeremiah doesn’t have to be the backbone of my presentation as I could gather many other scriptures and early Christian extra biblical writings pointing to the dissolution of the associated cultic Temple applications that coincided with the coming of the New Covenant through Messiah.  My point revolved around the recognition that there was no longer a need for the Sun and the Moon regarding Temple ordinances observation (that is why in Rev 21 they are set aside with the Temple).

This chapter however is clearly prophetic toward the coming of Messiah and a new and different covenant unlike the one that was given to their Jewish Fathers.

Jer 31:27  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man (Jews) and the seed of beast (Gentiles). (the two will become the new Israel)

Jer 31:31  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.

I think we may be overlooking the context in Jeremiah 31 concerning the “ordinances” of the Sun and Moon.  Even though your observation is correct that the Sun and the Moon can be used to signify an eternal recognition it’s the associated “ordinances” that are what I am alluding to in my thesis.  

35  Thus saith Jehovah, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar; Jehovah of hosts is his name:

36  If these ordinances depart from before me, saith Jehovah, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.

Now we know that Israel continues to exist in the New Covenant but it is not so as a physical Nation but is a New People (Kingdom of God) where the Government resides in Heaven ruled by Christ and God. So the question should be asked whether Jeremiah is projecting a ceasing of the Ordinances revolving around Temple practices and whether he is laying out in the new Covenant that physical Israel will have lost their standing.   

If we look at Romans 9 we see there who Paul classifies as “True Israel” seemingly in answer to the question you raise.

Rom 9:6-8  But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,  and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”   This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Paul and the Apostles redefined who the inheritance belonged to and as Christ told the Pharisees that many of them would be cast out of the Covenant because of their unbelief in Him as YHWH in the flesh. Paul said the Jews were cut out of the root of the Olive Tree yet they could be grafted back in like the Gentiles if they turned to Christ.

So you won’t find me saying Israel did not continue as I believe the faithful comprise True Israel. I just don’t buy the physical Israel stuff that is going around by many today concerning an Israeli State. They no more comprise True Israel than the man in the moon.

Let me provide just a sample of how the Jews and Christ used the language of the Sun and the Moon to describe the tribulation upon Israel. We can find this language in other scripture as well including its usage against Egypt to depict judgment from God upon them. This is apocalyptic type language and obviously when Egypt was overthrown in Ezekiel the Sun and the Moon did not turn dark and to blood literary.

Joe 2:28-31  “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.  (29)  Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.  (30)  “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  (31)  The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

Christ uses this same OT language to describe the tribulation that would come upon the Jews within a few years.

Mar 13:24  “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,

Finally I’m going to quote a few sections from the “Barnabas Epistle” which is kind of an early Christian first century commentary. This letter was very prominent with the earliest Christians for the first 200 years. It provides a snapshot of the mindset of the Christians and I recommend that serious students of the early church study this epistle extensively to garner the mindset of the times. The letter details why the Jews were confused and that they did not understand the scriptures the way the Christians understood. It essentially says they read the scriptures with a literal perspective and therefore weren’t in tune with Christ and the Apostles teachings. Here are some excerpts where Barnabas illustrates the problem with Temple worship regarding new moon festivals and Sabbath keeping. These were just a foreshadow pointing to Christ.

Barnabas 2:5 5 “What is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? says the Lord. I am full of burnt offerings and do not desire the fat of lambs and the blood of bulls and goats, not even when you come to appear before me. For who has required these things at your hands? From now on you shall tread my court no more. If you bring flour, it is vain. Incense is an abomination to me. I cannot endure your new moons and Sabbaths.”

15:5 “And he rested on the seventh day.” This means, when his Son comes he will destroy the time of the wicked one, and will judge the godless, and will change the sun and the moon and the stars, and then he will truly rest on the seventh day. (now don’t think Barnabas is projecting a future coming but is detailing the prophecy of Christ to be fulfilled in their time.)

8 Furthermore he says to them, “Your new moons and the Sabbaths I cannot endure.” Do you see what he means? The present Sabbaths are not acceptable to me, but that which I have made, in which I will give rest to all things and make the beginning of an eighth day, that is the beginning of another world.” (a new Creation my insertion

Now I don’t recommend reading just selected sections out of Barnabas, you need to read it through and study it contextually to understand what the author was getting at. Most of us Christians don’t really understand that the battle between Christ and the early church was an ongoing centuries old revolt against the Jewish priesthood and their imposition of Mosaic Law. Not all Jews ascribed to Temple worship and the rigors of the law (Essenes were one group) and so there was an ongoing tension between the ruling class Jews and priesthood and the devout groups that considered them corrupt. Christianity sprung up primarily amongst these groups who were already well versed in scripture and were looking for the Messiah to change what they considered a mess of Jewish Religion. I believe the first chapter of John illustrates that some of the Apostles were looking for him at this time to show up. If you study 2nd Temple writings of the time that the early Christians studied then it becomes obvious why they were looking for Messiah. There had been a pronounced dissatisfaction with the status quo of Israel for hundreds of years and Christianity was the climax of the division between the legalist and what I would classify as seekers who wanted a return to the purity of their faith in YHWY.  

Thanks again for the interaction.

Norm


wesseldawn - #75764

December 31st 2012

micahmartin5  (post#75673)

I believe it was you that said that 70 A.D. was the destruction that Matthew 24 was speaking of but the following verses (and so many more) speak of an end of the world:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)

Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (2 Peter 3:12)


micahmartin5 - #75771

January 1st 2013

Wesseldawn,

Check this article out. Gary DeMar is not a full-preterist and David Chilton became one before he passed. This article is a very good treatment of the text of 2 Peter 3. Notice how it works very well with Godawas non-condordist view of Genesis.

http://americanvision.org/3603/what-does-peter-mean-by-the-passing-away-of-heaven-and-earth-a-study-of-2-peter-3/

Blessings and Happy New Year,
Micah


wesseldawn - #75772

January 2nd 2013

Hi Micah,

Thanks for the link as I misunderstood the very excellent point that you (Gary & David) were making…clearly Peter and the other examples are speaking about their own time as being “the time of the end” and you should have been credited with pointing out the apparent discrepancy:

“The last days,” which so many people think refers to what is sill future at the end of this age, clearly means the time of Peter himself. I John 2:18 says it is, in his day, the last hour. Acts 2:17 quoted Joel as predicting the last days as the lifetime of Peter. . . . Peter obviously means his own time.

There are other passages like Hebrews 1:1–2 (notice the use of the plural near demonstrative “these”), Hebrews 9:26 (notice the use of “now”), 1 Corinthians 10:11 (“upon whom the ends of the ages have come”), and James 5:3 (the storing up of their treasure was in “the last days”). The question is: The last days of what? The last days of the old covenant with its stone temple, blood sacrifices, and earthly sinful priesthood.

As I pointed out to you yesterday (#75770), any time after “the time of Christ” is “the time of the end/end times/end days, etc.”:

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:26)

...and then you have the final “end” of “the end”, which so many verses refer to that culminates in the dissolving of the heavens, what some physicists refer to as The Big Rip. http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0302506


wesseldawn - #75775

January 2nd 2013

Hi Micah,

I will try this one more time (I must never copy and paste a copy of a previous post) and I hope it works, if not if you copy and paste it into a blank word document it will make it easier to read (plus I added a few more points):

 

Thanks for the link as I misunderstood the very excellent point that you (Gary & David) were making…clearly Peter and the other examples are speaking about their own time as being “the time of the end” and you should have been credited with pointing out the apparent discrepancy:

“The last days,” which so many people think refers to what is sill future at the end of this age, clearly means the time of Peter himself. I John 2:18 says it is, in his day, the last hour. Acts 2:17 quoted Joel as predicting the last days as the lifetime of Peter. . . . Peter obviously means his own time.

There are other passages like Hebrews 1:1–2 (notice the use of the plural near demonstrative “these”), Hebrews 9:26 (notice the use of “now”), 1 Corinthians 10:11 (“upon whom the ends of the ages have come”), and James 5:3 (the storing up of their treasure was in “the last days”). The question is: The last days of what? The last days of the old covenant with its stone temple, blood sacrifices, and earthly sinful priesthood.

As I pointed out to you yesterday (#75770), any time after “the time of Christ” is “the time of the end/end times/end days, etc.”:

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:26)

...and then you have the final “end” of “the end”, which so many verses refer to that culminates in the dissolving of the heavens, what some physicists refer to as The Big Rip. http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/030250

The end then would be the end of this generation, which is the old dispensation ...the new being when Christ ushers in a new age and restores things back to the way it was in the beginning.

I should have further added that regarding the Bible you must find “all” the verses that speak on a particular subject (matching with same phrases) and collectively (repetitive algorithm) they will explain the meaning and clarify any discrepancies (an exhaustive concordance is invaluable but also keeping in mind that synonyms are often used).


micahmartin5 - #75778

January 2nd 2013

Wessledawn,


I am glad you took the time to read the link.

Hebrews is a book about transition from OC to NC. That is the 40 year period that the Disciples lived in. (Think 2nd Exodus motif.)


I agree that all the “heaven and earth” language in the Bible is referring to the Covenant People.

If Brian is correct that Gensis 1 does not “concord” with the material universe, then that means Revelation 21 is of the same nature (Coveant body not material universe)

Back to Hebrews:

Notice 9:28. He would appear to those who were (2000 years ago) eagerly awaiting him. This is directly connected to churches like the Corinthians and Colossians who were “eagerly awaiting the revealing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor.1:7)

Hebrews 10:36 also give a “very little while” time statement.

What is amazing to me is that people on biologos, for the most part,  agree that Adam was not the first human being, and that the natural world works now as it did before the fall. But when it comes to Eschatology they are looking for the universe to be “restored” to a state that it never existed in the first place.

However, if we understand Adam as the first Covenant Man, just as Christ is the Last Covenenat Man, and approach the Bible in the context of corporate bodies (man on the land = Israel / fish of the Sea = Gentile nations) we can easily see that “salvation” is about being restored to relationship with God (actually a better standing than Adam had at the beginning).

This is exactly what Jesus said in John 17. Eternal life is relationship not biological life on a renewed planet where sin or “bad things” can’t happen.

If we start with the wrong conception of “the Heavens and Earth” of Genesis 1 we will automatically end at a wrong conception of the “new Heavens and Earth” of Rev. 21.

Biologos is willing to question the YEC doctrine of Genesis, but then most won’t question that same"literalistic” hermeneutic when applied to prophecy or eschatology. Full-preterist are just trying to get consistent.

The end matches the beginning.

Identify one and you will better understand the other. The time statements are the easiet, most clear, and best way to identify the arrival of the “new heavens and earth” (and passing of the Sea). John was clear.

Revelation 1:1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.

Revelation 22:6-7 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

Revelation 22:10

Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.

Revelaton 22:12

 “Look, I am coming soon!

Revelation 22:20

 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”


The original audience would not have mistaken these things to be happening in a far future. It is up to us to start re-examining the “nature” of things beginning in Gen. 1 all the way through Rev. 22. This is happening in Genesis studies but still needs to be fleshed out in Eschatology. The classic A-mil and Dispensational (and Post-mil) world can’t stay consistent with themselves and the text at the same time, IMO, yet covenant creation combined with covenant eschatology is seamless and makes the entire Bible make complete sense.

(Have you read Beyond Creation Science)?

I hope that helps.

Blessings,
Micah



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