Preterism vs Dispensationalism

Discussion in 'Bible Prophecy' started by Joshuastone7, Jan 19, 2021.

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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    Good evening, brother,

    I don't know that I ever settled on when the 70th week began, or understood all the different approaches to the ninth chapter of Daniel. I've seen many approaches to it, all valid from their point-of-view. I think my first introduction was from Scofield's notes, and that led to a variety of interpretations and applications.

    Here's a decent enough chart I found as I was trying to brush back up on the 70th week topic:


    Mind you, these are the four most popular methods to approaching Daniel 9 and there are a lot many others out there.

    All (excluding the Maccabean view) agree that the 70 years started with the Jewish exile into Babylon's captivity and ended with their release from captivity by Cyrus, who then commanded them to go and rebuild Jerusalem. I've read elaborations explaining Cyrus being an anointed one of God, and so on from there.

    On this, I think I agree that the 70 years began with Jewish exile and ended with their release from captivity.

    But that started the clock running on the matter Gabriel brought to Daniel. You refer to this matter as the 70 weeks, or seven sevens is the literal translation.

    This period of seven sevens likely would've called to Daniel's mind how Jehovah God had instructed Moses in this numerical system, when He was establishing the Year of Jubilee:

    "You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years." — Leviticus 25:8 English Standard Version ESV

    Based on Jehovah's timetable, Gabriel was informing Daniel of a period of 490 years, which can then be used alongside Daniel 9:24-27:

    1/2 week = 3.5 years
    1 week = 7 years
    7 weeks = 49 years
    62 weeks = 434 years

    Gabriel makes the matter clear:

    "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy." — Daniel 9:24 New International Version (NIV)

    Most Bible translations mishandle the original language here, or should render it more correctly as "weeks of years," since the link with the Year of Jubilee and the seven weeks of years numbering system was established within the Mosaic Law itself— both which would have resounded with Daniel.

    We have the following purposes and intent of this prophetic period of seven sevens (70 weeks of years or 490 years, or, arguably even milestones or markers to gauge the lateness of the prophetic hour):

    • to finish transgression
    • to put an end to sin
    • to atone for wickedness
    • to bring in everlasting righteousness
    • to seal up vision and prophecy
    • to anoint the Most Holy

    I'll stop there for now and let you add to or respond to what I've covered so far.

    Your brother,
    Timothy



     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother,

    I have a question: Why do you suppose the eunuch when baptized is not said to receive the Spirit, but Cornelius and his family did? (Acts 8:36).
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Here's a thought process for you, brother:

    What if a single prophecy can be proven to apply in our day? Would that open up the possibility for others as well?

    I submit for your consideration all prophecies pertaining to our redemption.

    "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer" (Mth 21:22, NIV).

    All Scriptures pertaining to our redemption and subsequent reward through Christ Jesus are prophetic, are they not? Therefore all prophecy can not have been fulfilled in and before the first century. In fact, prophecy must be fulfilled in each individual believer, does it not?

    Now, if this is the case, where does one draw the line in prophecy?

    AJ
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    I guess it would depend on one's definition of "prophecy" although I don't view Matthew 21:22 as prophetic.

    Here's why: Jehovah raised prophets when... ? It was when His nation, Israel, started going apostate in her unfaithfulness to her Husbandly owner. When the people were faithful as a nation, there was never any need for a prophet to rise up in Israel. Prophets called out the sins of God's nation, and it usually involved going into captivity for a while— until God ended the constant cycle of the nation of Israel and divorced the harlotrous wife which had killed every prophet Jehovah sent to her, and stamped the decree of divorce with the burning up of Jerusalem the harlot in the events culminating in 70CE.

    So, there's that.

    A second scripture that gives me pause as far as reading Matthew 21:22 as prophetic or a prophecy relevant in my day:

    "In many parts, and many ways, God of old having spoken to the fathers in the prophets, in these last days did speak to us in a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He did make the ages..." —Hebrews 1:1-2 Young's Literal Translation

    The prophets pointed to two things, as I presently am seeing: the arrival of the heir to David's throne, the Messiah, who would commence the Messianic Age. . . and second: the end of the Law of Moses, or, the Mosaic Age, as I usually refer to it. The time during which it was commensurate upon a person seeking to serve God to do so under the constraints of the Law.

    These two events— the end of the Mosaic Age and the start of the Messianic Age— are simultaneous fulfillments of the Law and the Prophets. It is self-evident that we as Christians are no longer bound to keeping the Sabbath as prescribed by the Law given through Moses— every day of our lives we rest from our fleshly works. I haven't ever felt I had to sacrifice an animal to offer a prayer to God. That requirement was already fulfilled on the Lamb of God, yes? And the other differences from life under the Law of Moses believers have been blessed with when it comes to not only the worship of our God but in enjoying a personal relationship with Him... well, the list has no end!

    Here's another scriptural example that comes to mind for me:

    "Do not suppose that I came to throw down the law or the prophets--I did not come to throw down, but to fulfil; for, verily I say to you, till that the heaven and the earth may pass away, one iota or one tittle may not pass away from the law, till that all may come to pass." —Matthew 5:17–18 Young's Literal Translation

    Jesus is here establishing that the Law of Moses remains in effect until all may come to pass— that is, what the prophets witnessed to Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, and the arrival of David's heir.

    Since all the prophets pointed to Jesus, as well as the absolute final destruction of Jerusalem, their role is complete in their fulfillment as a lasting testimony to all believers of every nation. Simply put: God ceased to send prophets once He sent His only-begotten Son, which goes back to Hebrews 1:1-2. Anyone claiming to be a prophet today... not scripturally they ain't.

    If Men won't even listen to His Son, then God help such Men, because there is no other. There will be no more prophets sent, no recourse or excuse. The stamp of the events of the first century are so indelibly engraved upon our history that it's unavoidable. We even mark the first century off from every century before it with BC/E and AD/CE year after year.

    For it is the time for the judgment to have begun from the house of God; and if from us first, what will be the outcome of those disobeying the gospel of God? —1 Peter 4:7 Berean Literal Bible

    A scary thought, falling into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31), yet down through the centuries Men continue to live in disobedience, do they not? And they perish. They cease to exist. A rare few might live on in reference books, but given enough time the most famous of men are eventually forgotten apart from the ancient believers such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob... Daniel, and Samuel, all who served from their youth up and didn't live to see the Promise in their lifetime yet maintained faith and faithfulness. We remember such ones, for sure, and others we meet in the pages of our Bibles.

    But if the verse you cited is prophetic in nature, it precedes us in its fulfillment since I presently see all prophecy as fulfilled in the events of the first century— as borne out by Hebrews 1:1-2 and Matthew 5:17-18. The Law and the Prophets are inextricably joined in the Hebrew Scriptures, and both had their fulfillment in events of the first century, so I cannot say that the Law has passed but not the Prophets (i.e. hoping toward a future fulfillment in relation to our present time), since Jesus establishes that the Law is not fulfilled apart from the Prophets ("till all [that is, all the Prophets' prophecies] may come to pass").

    Another example of the interconnectedness of the Law and the Prophets from the Teacher:

    "All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." — Matthew 22:40

    And Jesus' testimony in Luke's gospel account:

    "The Law and the prophets were until John. From that time the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone forces his way into it." —Luke 16:16

    There's other passages that can and should be considered, as well: Luke 24:27 and Acts 26:22, et al.

    I'll grant that Jesus' words recorded at Matthew 21:22 had their fulfillment in the acts of the Apostles as they engaged in miraculous works that we today read about in our translated scriptures.

    Did it also apply to other things they might have prayed for apart from instances like we read of Peter and Paul and the expression of God's holy spirit in their ministries and witness?

    Does it apply to us today? Some Christians place additional caveats on the written word: can't ask for a sports car, mansion, or a million dollars (I know, I know— there are preachers on the world scene who assert that you CAN ask for these things AND get them).

    Maybe one's spouse or their child has a fatal disease, but the family is otherwise a remarkable example of faith and charity in their neighborhood. Surely the other spouse or parents of said child would beseech our Father in earnest for the child's life, but if we use a verse like Matthew 21:22 to bolster that family's hope, surely we are doing them a disservice, and grave harm should death into that family and the remaining family member(s) are stumbled in their faith— after all, did not Jesus promise that anything we ask of God in Jesus' name we will receive!?

    Even so, we understand that the provision is not a blank check— that some sort of qualifier is in place. The qualifier is the ultimate Will of God. We may not understand the outworking of His Will, but we are beholden to say, even as Jesus did, "Yet not my will but Your Will be done."

    Having said all that, I read in Matthew 21:22 the promise that led to miracles and other spiritual gifts in the first century, but I also read in the same passage yet another facet of the wondrous new covenant we enjoy in this Age that provides the sure promise that God now listens to all of us (sans the high priest of the Law of Moses, for example) and wants only the very best for us— and is the God who is the source of salvation and relief from Adam's Sorrow, as it were, able to fulfill our every need and has prepared Eternity for us.

    Even as believers, none of us wants tribulations and tests of our faith, and our first impulse is to ask that God bring such trials to an end, make things easier again for us... when we should be following the example left for us by Jesus and the Apostles, who didn't pray to God that bad situations always be someone else's dilemma. No, they consistently prayed that God help them maintain their faithfulness in the face of hostility, tribulation, and even their own deaths, to serve as worthy vessels of light and witness to all who come after them that all things are possible with God, and fear no man who can only kill and destroy the body of flesh.

    Anyhow, I've ranted long enough, lol!

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    A fellow believer named Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother!

    Do you feel the same way about Noah, Moses, John the Baptist, Daniel, Jesus, etc.......? Were these all not prophets? I can't say they were sent to God's people because of their errors. They all had their own commissions as prophets and messengers of God, aside from the errors of God's people. Did they not?

    Curious: What purpose did Revelation play in the first century before 70 CE? (Of course, that is saying had Revelation been penned before then.) Is there any proof that the Revelation was utilized and deciphered in assistance to those in the first century?

    Curious: Is there evidence that every eye saw the Lord in the clouds?
    Revelation 1:7 NASB: "BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him."

    Does not all contextual indications point to a literal and personal-coming
    of Christ in that verse?

    Then, where is the promised deliverance from persecution that is associated with the Christ's coming? I don't see that in the first century either.

    And if you attempt an application to Christians, they suffered long after the first century. There certainly is no evidence they were delivered either.

    It seems to me the context in Revelation 7 shows our Lord comes to rescue his people when revealed in the clouds.

    Also, what would a localized judgment have to do with the seven churches in Asia? If you apply our Lords coming locally to Judea, then that does not include those seven churches of Asia.

    For instance, the promise to shield the Philadelphian church from judgment is meaningless if that judgment occurs far beyond the borders of that city.

    Then we have the two angels' comments at our Lord's ascension. Did they not say He would return in like manner as He left? The context of Acts 1:9-11 appears to me to be speaking of a physical return in the clouds, just as He left physically in the clouds. To say otherwise would be to contradict these two angels; would it not?

    What do you do with the inconsistency regarding the identity of “those who pierced Him,” “the tribes of the earth,” and “the land (or earth).'” Are they limited to Jews and their land, or do they include Romans and the rest of the world?

    One cannot limit "those who pierced him" to Jews only and elsewhere include the Romans as objects of Christ's "cloud coming."

    How can you limit "the tribes of the earth (or land)" to Israel only when Zechariah 12:10 speaks of their mourning as repentance, not despair? "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son."

    I could continue, but that's probably good for now.

    I would just say two things: One, the claim the book of Revelation was written before 70CE reminds me a bit like the Watchtower saying Jerusalem was destroyed in 607BCE.

    And the second thing is: God's Word is written in a futurist arrangement. It just doesn't make sense to gather the completed work into one manuscript only after everything had been fulfilled. Including I've seen no evidence that any prophecy of Revelation had been understood and utilized by anyone in any time in history.

    But anyway, brother, you've read my book, so you know how I stand on this subject. :)

    Peace and love through our Lord Christ Jesus, unto GOD...

    Joshua
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    Greetings brother!

    Apologies in advance, as I wrote this over the course of several days, so some breaks in thought may be found. :confused:

    Timothy Kline said:

    Jehovah raised prophets when... ? It was when His nation, Israel, started going apostate in her unfaithfulness to her Husbandly owner.​


    Do you feel the same way about Noah, Moses, John the Baptist, Daniel, Jesus, etc.......? Were these all not prophets? I can't say they were sent to God's people because of their errors. They all had their own commissions as prophets and messengers of God, aside from the errors of God's people. Did they not?

    I certainly don’t mean to over-generalize, but, at the same time, I should probably explain why I believe I am correct in Jehovah raising prophets when his nation, Israel, started down the path of apostasy/unfaithfulness to her Husbandly owner, not when Israel was faithful and abiding by the Law of Moses— the contract of marriage in that Age.

    We know that God had not yet made known which of the people/tribes of the earth He would retain for himself when Noah was raised up as a prophet. (2 Peter 2:4-5a) Even our Father’s promise to Abram to cause Abram’s descendants to be as numerous as the stars preceded Jehovah selecting the people through whom He would provide Salvation through the Second Adam who would live a perfect life before God, in accordance with the Law of Moses, or Mosaic Law, and then this Second Adam would give his own life and present himself as the Lamb of God which would take away the sins of those living under the system of things of his Age— that is, the kosmos and the kosmos that was mello (about to, imminently) come. (See Strong’s G2889 kosmos kos’-mos, orderly arrangement [heavens and earth, in our scriptures].

    The station of prophet as I presently understand it scripturally is valid here in his denunciation of the wickedness going on in the Noahic Age, and the imminent destruction of evil-doers (an action that also forced the apostate angels out of their physical form in the earthly realm where they were then confined to Tartarus):

    And during Noah's time, God did not have pity on the ungodly people of the world. He destroyed them with a flood, though he did save eight people, including Noah, who preached the truth. — 2 Peter 2:5 Contemporary English Version

    Based on this, I believe that God raised up Noah as a prophet (Greek: preacher, proclaimer) to issue that message of punishment that came through the flooding of the world in Noah’s Age. If humankind had been on the straight-and-narrow in the Noahic Age, Jehovah wouldn’t have destroyed that age in a Flood, wouldn’t have called upon Noah.

    Moses was placed in his station as a prophet to foretell precisely what would happen with the nation of Israel, foretelling their destruction:

    The LORD said to Moses, “You are about to die and join your ancestors. After you are gone, these people will begin to worship foreign gods, the gods of the land where they are going. They will abandon me and break my covenant that I have made with them. Then my anger will blaze forth against them. I will abandon them, hiding my face from them, and they will be devoured. Terrible trouble will come down on them, and on that day they will say, ‘These disasters have come down on us because God is no longer among us!’ At that time I will hide my face from them on account of all the evil they commit by worshiping other gods.

    “So write down the words of this song, and teach it to the people of Israel. Help them learn it, so it may serve as a witness for me against them. For I will bring them into the land I swore to give their ancestors—a land flowing with milk and honey. There they will become prosperous, eat all the food they want, and become fat. But they will begin to worship other gods; they will despise me and break my covenant. And when great disasters come down on them, this song will stand as evidence against them, for it will never be forgotten by their descendants. I know the intentions of these people, even now before they have entered the land I swore to give them.”

    So that very day Moses wrote down the words of the song and taught it to the Israelites. —Deuteronomy 31:16-22 New Living Translation, et al.

    This passage certainly convinces me that this was a foreknown and established outcome, not a conditional one (if they remained faithful, then this would never happen) that culminated in the end of the Jewish system of worship, with its Temple cult. What had been signalled from heaven when the curtain of the Holy of Holies in the Temple was rent at the death of Jesus was stamped on history when Jerusalem and the Temple lay in utter ruin and the people within its walls perished under unbelievably hellish conditions as the troops of Rome surrounded it a final time.

    Back on point, the apostle Peter offers additional bearing on the station of prophet:

    And all the prophets from Samuel and those who came after, every one of them, gave word of these days. —Acts 3:24 Bible in Basic English

    “These days,” as I presently understand them is referring to the last days of the Mosaic Age, during which the Law of Moses was still being observed through Temple Worship, sacrifices, etc etc. From Samuel onwards, every prophet’s declared what was now (in the Apostles’ lifetime) and finally coming to pass— and the heavy usage of those prophetic statements by every prophet before the first century by those living in the fulfillment of all that the prophets had declared, that the people of Israel had recited of the Song of Moses cited above, plays a significant role in my understanding of the station of prophet as it’s used throughout the scriptures.

    Ultimately, I am aware of no occasion in the scriptures where Jehovah saw His nation acting loyally and keeping the Law and then went and raised a prophet to go unto His people with a message. Quite the opposite, is my present understanding. Either God’s people already were in a dire situation (Babylonian captivity, for example) —or about to go into captivity (or, destruction).

    Noah, Moses, and John the Baptizer were not sent to preach to Gentiles (uncircumcised non-Jews) to call Gentiles to repentance, or salvation even. While Moses declared the defeat of Egypt’s gods AND the scriptures indicate that some among Egyptians joined Israel in its departure, his station as prophet was primarily for the nation of Israel.

    Daniel, likewise, was a prophet unto Israel, not Gentiles— once more illustrating my present understanding that God raised prophets throughout the history of Israel that had the nation of Israel in their sights when it came to Jehovah God sending blessings or curses contingent upon Israel’s repentance.

    Are there exceptions? Did Jehovah ever raise prophets specifically for Gentiles? Certainly! Jonah attests to this.

    But the Way and Salvation didn’t open for Gentiles until Cornelius, whom we read about in the Acts of the Apostles. And that’s the overarching point of everything, isn’t it? Restoring the personal relationship Adam and Eve once enjoyed but abandoned for a bite of a fruit and the decision that their will, not God’s, take place as they disobediently ate of the fruit of the verboten tree in the Garden.

    Again, not just for Jews, but for men of all the families of the earth. This was HUGE, considering Jehovah had handed all but Jacob’s people to angels (1)(2), having next to nothing to do with anyone apart from His chosen people:

    Remember the days of old; consider the years long past. Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will inform you. When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He divided the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob His allotted inheritance.… —Deuteronomy 32:7-9 Berean Study Bible

    This bringing of the Gentile (uncircumcised) up to the same level as the natural Jew before Jehovah was a theological earthquake in the first century, with those opposed to Gentiles until they underwent circumcision according to Mosaic Law were known as Judaizers, with their nefarious activities found in the opposition to the Good News carried on by both the Apostles (for the Jewish nation) and Paul (for the Gentiles).

    I know, I know… another digression. /facepalm

    Alright so what of first-century prophets?

    John the Baptizer was likewise a prophet— I see nothing to dispute here. His role was to both bolster the remnant faithful of Israel that their deliverance was imminent, and denounce the leaders of Israel for their corruption of the Law of Moses (among many other things), preaching their imminent destruction. His message as prophet was release from captivity and destruction of the wicked.

    Finally, Jesus himself was sent to the tribes of Israel— not to Gentiles (cf Matthew 15:24), although his ministry certainly touched the lives of certain Gentiles (cf Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:9). His prophetic denouncements were not directed at any Gentile nation— rather, the Gentile nations were indicated to carry out Jehovah’s punishment upon the nation that (just as Moses had been told by God they would do) had gone apostate.

    Prophecy in our Bible primarily is involving God’s people, is it not? A written witness and testimony and promise that when God says He will do a thing, it is done.

    I realize I meandered a bit above, so if I didn’t answer what you are asking, please let me know.


    Curious: What purpose did Revelation play in the first century before 70 CE? (Of course, that is saying had Revelation been penned before then.) Is there any proof that the Revelation was utilized and deciphered in assistance to those in the first century?


    From the very start, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, declares its purpose thusly:

    This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel to his servant, John, who testified to God's word, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw. —Revelation 1:1-2 World English Bible

    The internal time statements support the same, but for brevity’s sake I’ll omit those for now and rely on the opening claim of the Revelation.

    Accepting the Bible’s own written statement, I believe that the epistle was written to those living in the days when the contents of the letter would soon happen, or, take place.


    Curious: Is there evidence that every eye saw the Lord in the clouds?
    Revelation 1:7 NASB: "BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him."


    Does not all contextual indications point to a literal and personal-coming
    of Christ in that verse?

    To answer your question on whether this is a literal event, we can remind ourselves of apocryphal language throughout the Bible, of which the following is one example:

    This is the burden against Egypt: Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud; He is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt will tremble before Him, and the hearts of the Egyptians will melt within them. —Isaiah 19:1 Berean Study Bible

    Insofar as I know and presently conclude here, Jehovah did not literally ride on a swift cloud when He came to Egypt, neither did the idols of Egypt literally tremble before Jehovah nor did the hearts of the Egyptians literally melt within them. Instead, these are part and parcel to the symbolism and language of Biblical prophecy, which the Jews were intimately familiar with.

    Other expressions in the Revelation draw upon that vast prophetic backdrop and language as well, which would make sense in a written record of the fulfillment of all the prophets from Samuel down to the first century’s witness of John the Baptizer, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostles, both the twelve and Paul, who bore witness to the non-Jews of the Mediterranean world of that Age.

    Jesus masterfully and heavily drew on the prophecies, and thus prophetic language, as we see in Matthew and the other New Covenant (New Testament) writings through to the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

    From a prophetic perspective, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70CE was the end of an Age— the Age that was— the Mosaic Age. (Matthew 12:32; Ephesians 1:21). With the passing of the “heavens and earth” of that Age went the earthly Temple with its daily sacrifice, the genealogical records, and the priesthood under the Law of Moses, and soooo many lives!

    The destruction of Jerusalem is forever stamped on History, seen by believer and non-believer alike. Judgment began with the house of God. The prophecies were fulfilled as a lasting witness for every person who came after.

    The Bible plainly declares that while God once spoke to Man through prophets, He does so now (in this Age) by means of His Son. And if we will not listen to him, then we wouldn’t have listened to any prophets God would formerly have raised up, so it’s moot. Many have claimed to be prophets down through History since the ending of the Mosaic Age in the first century, but the Bible plainly states, again, that the only provision God uses in this present Age to communicate and have a relationship with us is Jesus the Christ and Messiah-King.

    From a different perspective: I expect no additions to the Bible under inspiration… do you? In that sense we both may be in agreement that the Bible as we have received it today is complete, bookended with the explanation for why we live in a life of struggle and hardship, loss and pain— and the Way back to our Creator, our Father (for who of the greatest of the ancients of the Bible ever called Jehovah “Father?” as we now enjoy as believers and have since the passing of the Age that was up until the first century?). Others believe the entire Bible encompasses the whole of Jehovah’s vindication as the One True God— but, again, they also hold that the Bible is a complete work and thus closed-book (pardon the pun).

    TLDR? I’ve got you covered: I don’t see a literal appearance of Jesus as being required, based on scriptural precedent of God’s coming / appearing in the Noahic and Mosaic Ages. The manifestation of Jesus’ appearance is seen by everyone who witnessed the events and who has lived since the destruction of Jerusalem, the ending of Temple worship, the daily sacrifice demanded by the Law of Moses, along with the genealogical records and Priesthood.

    [End of first part of response, as I hit the buffer limit of the editor evidently, lol!]

    --Tim
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    [Second part of the original response]



    Then, where is the promised deliverance from persecution that is associated with the Christ's coming? I don't see that in the first century either.

    And if you attempt an application to Christians, they suffered long after the first century. There certainly is no evidence they were delivered either.


    A couple observations, and I’ll try to be brief as I’ve prattled on long enough.

    First, there is the matter of John 16:33:

    “…While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.” — John 16:33b Contemporary English Version

    Is this true only of the Apostles to whom Jesus says this? After all, Jesus was only a moment before talking to them about how they would all scatter in his hour to soon come.

    Or, does it have application to all who would follow him in the days to come— you and me today, for example? We certainly live in a period where there is much change in the air with the ever-churning of events across the globe especially since last year.

    Contextually, these words appear to only be for the apostles, to encourage them for what was going to come to rest upon their shoulders in the last days of the Mosaic Age.

    That raises the valid question you ask a little further below and I would like to respond to it probably in a follow-up post since this one is already lengthy. The question is: Why do believers still face and endure hardships common to all men down through the centuries there have been men. If everything was fulfilled in the first century, why is the world and the planet in the state it’s in?

    Like I said, a valid question.

    We should also keep in mind that there is the matter of the people of God always being surrounded by the wicked, even when God’s people were living righteously and faithfully under the Law of Moses and the nation of Israel had better-than-your-average kings, including David and Solomon and Josiah. If we are to be beacons set upon hills for the world, then it’s reasonable to expect there to be a wicked world for which to be that beacon. (Matthew 5:14-16; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; Philippians 2:15)

    We’re told by Jesus at Matthew 10:28 that we are not to fear anyone who can harm us physically— which argues for the existence of such a one to potentially fear. Again, the Bible is clear that men dominate other men to their injury. Ecclesiastes 8:9, and centuries of historical evidence. Cain set that one into motion, killing Abel because his own works were unrighteous. Human nature, the world calls it. Fallen nature of Man is what I prefer to call it. Humans are capable of unbelievable, unconscionable evil and ways to harm other humans. Both as individuals and as masses of populations.

    They just won’t surrender to God’s Will.

    Let Your Will take place upon the Earth, even as it is in heaven, right?

    Do that and everything else would fall into place.

    But it isn’t like God hasn’t communicated with us. It just so happens that He sent His son, His only-begotten son, to humans. To His people, first, for the covenant was still in effect and remained unfulfilled. Then, the Gentiles to invoke Israel to jealousy.

    It goes back to Matthew 5:18, where Jesus points out:

    “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I didn’t come to destroy them, but to fulfill them, because I tell all of you with certainty that until heaven and earth disappear, not one letter or one stroke of a letter will disappear from the Law until everything has been accomplished. So whoever sets aside one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom from heaven. But whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom from heaven…” —Matthew 5:17-19 International Standard Version

    The obvious question for me is are we under the Law today? Do we live and worship in full compliance with the Law of Moses that was fulfilled in Jesus day, death, resurrection, enthronement, and carrying out God’s Judgment on Jerusalem and Judaizers who had been persecuting Jewish converts to the Way throughout Judea— often stirring Rome to carry out its dirty work?

    Are we not bound to abiding in the Law of the Christ, which surpasses the Law of Moses? Under the Law of Moses I could want to kill someone and not be guilty of trespassing the Law. Under the Law of Christ, how can we hate someone when we have become brothers and sisters through the Lamb of God that God sacrificed? Jesus called out several other failings of Mosaic Law, what we might call “technicalities” of the Law that were being exploited in the everyday lives of God’s people in the first century:

    “You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘You shall not murder’ and ‘Whoever shall murder will be liable to the judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone being angry with his brother will be liable to the judgment, and whoever shall say to his brother ‘Raca,’ will be liable to the Sanhedrin. But whoever shall say, ‘Fool!’ will be liable to the Gehenna of fire. Therefore, if you shall offer your gift at the altar, and there shall remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and first go away, be reconciled to your brother; and then having come, offer your gift.” —Matthew 5:21-24 Berean Literal Bible

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone looking upon a woman in order to lust after her already has committed adultery with her in his heart.” —Matthew 5:27-28 Berean Literal Bible

    It was also said, ‘Whoever shall divorce his wife, let him give her a letter of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever shall marry her who has been divorced commits adultery.—Matthew 5:31-32 Berean Literal Bible

    And he touches on oaths and love for one’s neighbor under the Law of Moses vs the Law of Christ that Jehovah was providing for the new covenant He was making with men of all the Earth, to adopt them as His sons and daughters and be the Father to them that Adam and Eve had forsaken when they decided that their will take place, not God’s.

    Even Death no longer holds a terror for believers today. Since the events of the first century, Death has been defeated. Humans no longer face an indeterminate wait in Sheol/Hades upon dying.

    Do we still die?

    Clearly, we die according to the flesh.

    The Bible tells me that as believers even human death— Adamic death— will continue forever, or at least as long as humans populate the planet:

    And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…— Hebrews 9:27 English Standard Version

    This is surely referring to Adamic death, is it not?

    Here’s how the New Living Translation handles the passage:

    “And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment…”

    This runs counter to the Watchtower organization’s claim that “Millions now living will never die” because Biblically we are all going to die. After that, the judgment.

    Adamic death was not expected to end for the writer of Hebrews. Jesus’ sacrificial death wasn’t an ending for Adamic death, but rather, to bring about our being able to enter into the presence of God as Adam and Eve had lost, although we are sinners. And have that relationship as sons and daughters, and Jehovah as our Father. Without offering up animal sacrifices!!

    The promised, new heavens with believers composing the new earth, serving as beacons set upon hills, vessels for the holy spirit lost to Adam and Eve, the same which bears witness with our spirit, right?

    And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever…”—John 14:16 Berean Study Bible

    “The Spirit Himself testifies and confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] that we [believers] are children of God.”— Romans 8:16 Amplified Bible

    Because to say or suggest that we are not now living in the new heavens and new earth is to assert that we even now, today, live under and must abide in the Law of Moses, because all things have not [yet] been fulfilled, thus the old heavens and earth are still in place with the Law of Moses.

    Yet today, we have a high priest in Jesus the Christ when we stumble in our walk as believers.

    Sound like the old heavens of the Mosaic Age and its Law to you? Or something which surpasses the old heavens?

    “For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses -- as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” —Hebrews 3:3-6 English Standard Version

    Which still begs the question Why do believers suffer today, and suffered down through the centuries since Jerusalem’s destruction?

    Contextually, the persecution that is referenced by your query is that of the Jews against those Jews who became followers of Jesus, as attested by the Acts of the Apostles, the apostolic letters, and the Revelation. Whether it was the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin, or the Roman forces carrying out the persecution, the target of that persecution was the first-century Christians. It is their persecution and suffering that was mello (“about to”) end— and did when Jerusalem and its Sanhedrin and Pharisees and other apostates of God were wiped out. The Judaizers did not persecute Gentile Christians as Roman citizenry prohibited, although they would come to face persecution at the hands of Rome in due course, as well.

    To lift the historical context of said persecution found through the first century epistles and the Revelation to our day or some future date is unnecessary and taking scripture out of its context. The persecutors here were those persecuting the apostles and the firstfruits of the men and women God was adopting as sons and daughters from among men.

    God did precisely what He said He would do— proving Himself Sovereign and the God Who Causes to Become. The Bible is our witness to this and how we respond sets everything else into motion because one day we are going to die and after that…? The judgment. In the twinkling of an eye we will find ourselves in God’s presence, or … nothing— just a gradual passing from existence as we are eventually forgotten by everyone who had ever known us, and then forgotten by Jehovah God Himself.

    No, we have nothing to fear as believers who still face Adamic Death.

    It’s the second Death that we want to avoid. Non-existence.

    I’ll stop here, though, as there is still some ground to cover with the remainder of your post/follow-up and I will try to address those separately.


    A fellow believer,
    Timothy
    __________

    Footnotes:

    (1) The scriptures also refer to a Divine Council in the heavenly realm— a fascinating scriptural examination. Link: https://www.truthortradition.com/articles/gods-divine-council

    (2) The Table of Nations; The Divine Council et al. .
     
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    Timothy Kline New Member

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    [Continuing response to remainder of your post…]

    It seems to me the context in Revelation 7 shows our Lord comes to rescue his people when revealed in the clouds.

    Also, what would a localized judgment have to do with the seven churches in Asia? If you apply our Lords coming locally to Judea, then that does not include those seven churches of Asia.

    For instance, the promise to shield the Philadelphian church from judgment is meaningless if that judgment occurs far beyond the borders of that city.

    [Luke 22:31; Amos 9:9, Revelation 2:17; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 14:13]

    Revelation 7
    is John of Patmos’ vision of the four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree preceding the sealing of the hekaton— which we generally see translated as “144,000”— sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel. Of course, that then leads to “12,000” and what does that mean, then? Is it literal, some ask? Personally, I get the impression that it’s symbolic and representing however many of each tribe of the sons of Israel constituted its complete number as determined by God or His appointed judge, Jesus enthroned:

    “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” —John 10:28-29 English Standard Version

    “And this is the will of Him Who sent Me, that I should not lose any of all that He has given Me, but that I should give new life and raise [them all] up at the last day.” —John 6:39 Amplified Bible

    For [that class of] persons whom God knew beforehand He also predetermined to become conformed to the [spiritual] likeness of His Son, so that He could be the firstborn One among [His] many brothers [i.e., so He could be the preeminent example to all His followers. See Heb. 2:11]. ——Romans 8:29 An Understandable Version New Testament

    And other passages can be brought into the discussion: John 18:9, not to omit this from Romans, too:

    “Who will bring an accusation against God’s chosen people? [Certainly not God, for] He makes people right with Himself. Who condemns [us]? Certainly not Jesus, for He is the One who died [i.e., to save us], and what is more, He was raised from the dead and is [now] at the right side of God. He also goes [to God] on our behalf [i.e., as we pray]. Who [i.e., what] can separate us from Christ’s love [for us]? [i.e., what unfortunate circumstance of life might suggest that Christ does not love us?] Would [it be] trouble? Or distress? Or persecution? Or inadequate food? Or inadequate clothing? Or danger? Or [even] death?” —Romans 8:33-35 An Understandable Version New Testament

    Or even death, declares the apostle Paul— and he re-emphasizes it a few verses later.

    And we all die. The Adamic death, that is. It’s the second Death that we take notice of: Everlasting cutting off into non-existence when we undergo our inherited Adamic death in the flesh, or becoming something so much more and enjoying the presence of our Father in the heavenly realm, never again separated from Him. If Paul says that we will never be separated again from God, even by dying, then I’m inclined to accept him at his word.

    The transition takes place in the twinkling of an eye, is how the apostle Paul described it, right?

    The whole of those Jews who became followers of the Way would come from all twelve tribes of Jacob— those that didn’t perished.

    The number “12” as we translate it today is seen throughout the Bible. Twelve apostles, twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob), twelve unleavened cakes of bread (Leviticus 24), twelve stones in the breastplate of the high priest, and “12” is found some 20 times in The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Some hold “12” to be a perfect number, representing various things relating to God’s power and authority and administration or the completeness of Israel.

    But, yes, I believe at this point that “12,000” is as symbolic as “144,000” is in this vision, and both symbolize perfect numbers in a heavenly, divine sense as well as Jewish sensibility of that time. It’s symbolic to denote a part of the whole number of Jewish Christians who received the seal on/in their foreheads. It conveys the sense that every single one of the Jewish Christians belonging to Jesus the Christ would be sealed and they would be drawn from all twelve tribes of then-living Jewish Christians (the Gentile Christians are addressed in verse 9). Not one would slip through God’s Hand.

    "For behold, I will command, and shake the house of Israel among all the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the earth.” —Amos 9:9 English Standard Version

    This is speaking of the great tribulation that would come upon Jerusalem and her inhabitants, but of particular interest here is “but no pebble shall fall to the earth” because we meet that pebble again in The Revelation:

    “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.” —Revelation 2:17 English Standard Version

    We meet this “144,000” from the sons of Israel again in the sixth chapter of The Revelation:

    When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

    Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. —The Revelation 6:9-11 English Standard Version

    During his ministry, Jesus touched on how this had been and was being carried out:

    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your fathers. You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the sentence of hell?

    Because of this, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and others you will flog in your synagogues and persecute in town after town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all these things will come upon this generation. —Matthew 23:29-36 Berean Study Bible

    I see this, then, as the persecution of Jewish Christians, especially by the Judaizers, some of this persecution we read accounts of in the pages of our Christian Greek Scriptures, but here we see them grouped with the prophets who had been persecuted in their turn during the history of Israel— “those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne” and the list goes all the way back to Abel— with Jesus holding even Abel’s death against them and their forefathers, suggesting that he’s speaking collectively of the sons of the devil:

    “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.”— 1 John 3:10-13 English Standard Version

    “You (those whom Jesus said this to) belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies.” —John 8:44 Berean Study Bible

    Deliverance from the persecution that Jewish Christians received at the hands of unbelieving Jews arrived with the events that climaxed by 70 CE, especially, and then the birth pangs were over and the Kingdom arrived. The unbelieving Jews suddenly had become the object of Rome’s anger, and thus had much bigger issues demanding their attention. The hunter became the prey. [See also: John 15:18-20; John 17:15-16]

    We know from the scriptural record that the Judaizers— who became the worst of the persecutors of Jewish Christians and also set their sights on Gentile Christians with their demands for circumcision— were present throughout the region in the first century. The apostle Paul was constantly running into them, so this included being in the vicinity of the various Gentile congregations (churches) that the apostle Paul established, which you refer to. (Matthew 24:9)

    But, again, Jewish Christian persecution by Judaizers ended with the events culminating in 70 CE, when the hunters (Judaizers) became the prey (of Rome). (Sidepoint: the Judaizers were, at least on one occasion, sent by James, the brother of Jesus, who was at the head of the Jewish Christian movement up until his death.)

    Concerning the seven congregations, Jesus caused John of Patmos to write to them, and, of them, certain of the congregations likewise faced judgment and destruction as was imminent upon Jerusalem, if they had not set matters straight in their midst by the Day that Jehovah had purposed that Jesus would conquer that harlot, Jerusalem— which had killed God’s only-begotten son. She’d filled her cup to the brim and it was overflowing.

    If judgment began with the house of God (national Israel), He certainly wouldn’t have withhold judgment from the satellite congregations if it was appropriate, and the respective congregations were put on notice.


    Then we have the two angels' comments at our Lord's ascension. Did they not say He would return in like manner as He left? The context of Acts 1:9-11 appears to me to be speaking of a physical return in the clouds, just as He left physically in the clouds. To say otherwise would be to contradict these two angels; would it not?

    [Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:31; 2 Corinthians 5:16-17]

    Scripturally, we can rule out a physical, literal manifestation/appearance of Jesus, based on the apostle Paul’s second epistle to the believers at Corinth:

    From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…” — 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 English Standard Version

    I think I referenced Isaiah 19:1, when Jehovah came to Egypt on a cloud, but that Israelites nor the Egyptians literally saw Jehovah sitting on a cloud… but I’ll cite it here for the discussion:

    The burden of Egypt. Lo, Jehovah is riding on a swift thick cloud, And He hath entered Egypt, And moved have been the idols of Egypt at His presence, And the heart of Egypt melteth in its midst. — Isaiah 19:1 Young’s Literal Translation

    This coming of Jesus “in like manner” is described this way in the Matthean account:

    “…and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” —Matthew 24:30 American Standard Version

    We should also consider the Hebrew epistle, which relates:

    “Therefore we also, having such a great cloud of witnesses encompassing us, having laid aside every weight and the sin easily entangling, should run with endurance the race lying before us…” —Hebrews 12:1 Berean Literal Bible

    In these and other instances, the use of the expression or term “clouds” is figurative, not literal, leading me to the conclusion that 1) we know Jesus no longer according to his fleshly existence and 2) Jesus will come in the same way as Jehovah did when Jehovah came to Egypt in fulfillment of Isaiah’s words.

    Does this contradict what the angels told the disciples? I would respond that this is only if Paul’s later words to the believers at Corinth are false when he says that believers in the first century were not looking for Jesus to return in a literal, fleshly sense.

    What do you do with the inconsistency regarding the identity of “those who pierced Him,” “the tribes of the earth,” and “the land (or earth).'” Are they limited to Jews and their land, or do they include Romans and the rest of the world?

    One cannot limit "those who pierced him" to Jews only and elsewhere include the Romans as objects of Christ's "cloud coming."

    [Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27; Matthew 16:27]

    Based on what Jesus says on this matter, it is the Jewish leaders who are held responsible and accountable for Jesus being put to death and the deaths of those whom Jesus would send to the Jewish leaders (Matthew 23:29-36, earlier cited). The apostle Peter re-affirms this:

    “Therefore let all Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!” —Acts 2:36 Berean Study Bible

    I don’t know of an instance where the apostles ever placed the blame for the death of Jesus or the persecuted Jewish believers of the first century at the feet of Rome and its soldiers— but if you know of somewhere in the Christian Greek Scriptures this is recorded pass it along.

    The expressions “tribes of the earth” and “the land (or, earth)” are limited to the tribes of Israel insofar as I can determine from its scriptural usage. [I can elaborate on my present belief in a separate post.]

    Having said that, your objection is that “One cannot limit “those who pierced him” to the Jews only” (who Jesus and the apostles DID limit this to) and “…elsewhere include Rome as objects of Christ’s ‘cloud coming.’”

    Again, I would refer you to the earlier instance of Jehovah coming to Egypt (Isaiah 19:1). Jehovah manifested this through the use of another people, did He not? Even so, there was no mistaking that Jehovah was behind this divine judgment upon Egypt, is there?

    In fact, Jehovah stated nearly from the start that the Jewish people would apostasize and face destruction by a neighboring enemy nation— which turned out to be Rome. (Cf Deuteronomy 31:16-22)

    Similarly, Jehovah sent the Jews into captivity by means of Babylon, where they lived in subjection to Babylon some 70 years. This divine judgment came from Jehovah, but was carried out using an earthly nation, or people— so there are reliable scriptural precedents for Jehovah’s “coming” involving enemy peoples. Having received all power and authority, Jesus doing the same thing in the case of Jerusalem makes sense scripturally.

    Sure, Rome probably thought they were acting of their own will as far as destroying Jerusalem and the Temple cult… but so did Babylon and other enemies of God’s people throughout history.

    TLDR: Believers in the first century were vindicated with the destruction of Jerusalem and their persecutors among the Temple cult and Judaizers. They knew Jesus was behind it; even the apostle Paul testified that Judgment began with the household of God— which, at the time of his writing this, was the Jewish religious and political leaders of that time.


    How can you limit "the tribes of the earth (or land)" to Israel only when Zechariah 12:10 speaks of their mourning as repentance, not despair? "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son."


    I believe that the occasion I referred to earlier involving the apostle Peter applies here, but let me cite the broader passage to provide the answer to your point made:

    “Therefore let all Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ!” When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise belongs to you and your children and to all who are far off—to all whom the Lord our God will call to Himself.” —Acts 2:36-39 Berean Study Bible

    The occasion here is the outpouring of holy spirit (spirit of grace and supplication) but it’s important to note also that the Johannine gospel declares that Zechariah 12:10 found fulfilment in the death of Jesus. (Cf John 19:37; See also Luke 23:27-30)

    I’ll end my part of this response here. You do go on to question any suggestion that The Revelation of Jesus Christ was written before 70 CE and reiterate your perspective that the Bible is written in a “futurist” arrangement, so maybe we can address when I presently believe (and why) The Revelation was written in a separate post in this thread?

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother,

    Was not John who penned the Revelation a prophet to the congregations in Asia? Is not the Revelation written to the congregations in Asia and not to the Jewish nation?

    (Saying for a moment the Revelation was written pre-70.) If that letter was addressed directly to the churches of Asia, how do you determine it was sent to Jerusalem or meant to be sent to the Israelites at all? Does it not seem clear that the Jewish leaders and rank and file congregants in Jerusalem would have ignored it; a Christian document? If that document was even found in the city, it would have been destroyed. Besides, the people only ever heard God's Word when read by the elders in the Synagogues.

    After all, all Christians were to flee Jerusalem years before its destruction, so who in Jerusalem would have the letter of Revelation from John anyway?

    I don't see a single evidentiary premise to state that John's letter to the churches in Asia would have been anywhere near Jerusalem and the unbelieving Jews.

    In a preterist view, everyone will die. In a dispensationalist view, some will never die at His return.

    "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26).

    All love...
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    Greetings brother,

    Timothy Kline said:

    I believe I am correct in Jehovah raising prophets when his nation, Israel, started down the path of apostasy​


    Was not John who penned the Revelation a prophet to the congregations in Asia? Is not the Revelation written to the congregations in Asia and not to the Jewish nation?

    I tried to find where I wrote or suggested otherwise, because I would certainly say I believe the opening passage certifies that the message John of Patmos was inspired to write at the behest of an angel sent from Jesus in heaven was itself being sent to the seven churches that were in Asia— seven frequently used as a numeric symbolism of completeness from a divine determination, so I’m inclined to conclude that the message was being sent to the complete number of churches, or congregations that were in Asia— not necessarily exactly (literally) seven.


    Timothy Kline said:

    Concerning the seven congregations, Jesus caused John of Patmos to write to them​


    (Saying for a moment the Revelation was written pre-70.) If that letter was addressed directly to the churches of Asia, how do you determine it was sent to Jerusalem or meant to be sent to the Israelites at all? Does it not seem clear that the Jewish leaders and rank and file congregants in Jerusalem would have ignored it; a Christian document? If that document was even found in the city, it would have been destroyed. Besides, the people only ever heard God's Word when read by the elders in the Synagogues.

    Again, if I wrote that the Revelation of Jesus Christ was sent to Jerusalem and its leaders, I apologize and misspoke myself. Its message of prophetic judgment applies to Jerusalem and its temple cult, but was written to the seven congregations to 1) acknowledge their suffering and tribulation and encourage them; 2) assure them that their persecutors would soon be dealt with and destroyed in fulfillment of what Jehovah’s prophets had been saying through the generations of Israel after the death of Moses.


    After all, all Christians were to flee Jerusalem years before its destruction, so who in Jerusalem would have the letter of Revelation from John anyway?

    I suspect that when the Roman armies first withdrew, that any of Christ’s followers living still in Jerusalem high-tailed it promptly, and this may be connected with the tradition of Christians fleeing to Pella.

    Any Christian believers who still hung around in Jerusalem and equivocated following the withdrawal of troops… well, they were destroyed with the unbelievers who were still in Jerusalem when the troops came back in 70 CE, when the city was already burgeoning with people due to it being the Passover festival. The winepress of God was due to be pressed, indeed.


    I don't see a single evidentiary premise to state that John's letter to the churches in Asia would have been anywhere near Jerusalem and the unbelieving Jews.

    And again, if I said that the Revelation of Jesus Christ was sent to the unbelieving Jews, I sincerely apologize because I misspoke myself. Whether word of the Revelation reached anyone at Jerusalem, I cannot say— but I suspect that Christians in and around Judea would’ve spread word of what was read to them from the letter that had been received of John, from the island of Patmos— given that Jews continued to observe the Mosaic Law up until the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple cult. Even the apostles did this, including the apostle Paul, who circumcised Timothy, as I recall and underwent rituals of ceremonial cleanness under Mosaic Law. [I’ll try to remember to come back to this point and insert some scriptural references.]

    [Continued in next post...]
     
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    [Continuing response...]

    Timothy Kline said:

    This runs counter to the Watchtower organization’s claim that “Millions now living will never die” because Biblically we are all going to die. After that, the judgment.​

    In a preterist view, everyone will die. In a dispensationalist view, some will never die at His return.

    "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26).

    Let me see if I can manage to respond in something shorter than a book here. LOL!

    Alright…

    What’s the context here? I’ll go ahead and start there:

    Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if [only] you had been here, my brother would not have died. And I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask Him for.”
    Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again [from the dead].”


    Martha replied to Him, “I know that he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day [i.e., the judgment day].”

    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; the person who believes in me will live on, even though he dies [physically]. And whoever goes on living and believing in me, will never die [spiritually]. Do you believe this?”

    Martha answered Him, “Yes, Lord, I have [already] believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” — John 11:21-27, An Understandable Version New Testament

    I want to take a moment now and provide some alternative translations’ handling of John 11:25, just to throw some additional light on the discussion:

    Jesus said to her: "I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life” — New World Translation

    Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.” — NLT

    Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live — King James Version

    Jesus then said, "I am the one who raises the dead to life! Everyone who has faith in me will live, even if they die. — Contemporary English Version

    And other translations similarly render the original Greek as the translations I’ve cited here.

    And what of that original Greek?

    ειπεν [SAID] αυτη ο [TO HER] ιησους [JESUS,] εγω ειμι [AM] η [THE] αναστασις [RESURRECTION] και [AND] η [THE] ζωη [LIFE :] ο [HE THAT] πιστευων [BELIEVES] εις [ON] εμε [ME,] καν [THOUGH] αποθανη [HE DIE] ζησεται [HE SHALL LIVE;] —Interlinear Greek New Testament


    As the Resurrection, Jesus was the key to those who, up until the first century, went into Sheol, where those hoping in a resurrection to life are described as going during the course of events we read about in the history of the Old Covenant Age. The faithful Jews “went to Abraham’s bosom” —I won’t cite those references for sake of brevity, but I can make them available upon request. ;)

    Jesus is claiming here in John’s epistle to be the very resurrection all had been awaiting from the start, and the apostle Paul supports the claim in his epistle to the believers at Corinth:

    Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.— 1 Corinthians 15:22 New Living Translation​

    For the sake of context here as well, I should note that Paul, just before writing this, wrote:

    “For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.” — 1 Corinthians 15:21 New Living Translation​

    This being a reference to the apostle Paul’s understanding of Jesus as the Second Adam, unless I’m mistaken.

    Adam’s sentence was a lifetime of toil until the day he breathed his last, when he would return to the dust he came from. (Genesis 3:17-19)

    It was the divine sentence for every descendant of Adam. We live, we suffer, we die and are forgotten.

    And we do this today.

    And we will tomorrow, at least until there are no longer any descendants of Adam.

    The sentence of Adamic death was an everlasting judgment, and for the wicked and unfaithful and faithless, they return to the dust and are forgotten, or perish.

    “But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And there will be no escape for them; And their hope is to breathe their last.” — Job 11:20​

    And there are numerous other such statements in the scriptures reiterating the same belief.

    We can make no mistake about Adam’s wickedness: he stood there watching the interchange between Satan and his wife, given him from Jehovah to be a help-meet, a companion and equal before God, connected at the hip— er, rib. Adam stood there watching this and said nothing and did nothing.

    Being a descendant of Adam, I’d guess that he was waiting to see if she did die if she ate from the tree, and when she didn’t and then offered him some of the fruit, he outwardly transgressed Jehovah by taking the fruit and eating of it. By this point, he had inwardly transgressed because he knew this was disobedience and he didn’t step in to prevent Eve from transgressing against their Creator.

    And, of course, they didn’t die that day— in fact, they lived long enough to see the results of their transgression as their children engaged in terrible activities, up to or including giving their human daughters over to the angels which transgressed with them, fostering a hybrid offspring called the Nephilim.

    Destroying that world and starting anew with Noah, transgression was still present and accounted for, starting with Noah’s own son— after everything he had witnessed to this point at the hand of Jehovah God! And spread like a conflagration throughout their descendants, all speaking the same language and… building a tower that would save them if Jehovah ever tried that method again (which, interestingly, reveals their faithlessness, since Jehovah promised never to destroy the earth by water for the sake of Man and marked that promise with the rainbow), and so they could ascend into heaven simply by building a tower there.

    Silly humans.

    Anyhow, in Adam we all die. Pretty hopeless, as the apostle Paul points out in his first epistle to the believers in and around Corinth:

    If the dead are not raised to life, "Let's eat and drink. Tomorrow we die." —1 Corinthians 15:32 Contemporary English Version​

    This is what then leads into the apostle Paul’s testimony of the resurrection:

    Some of you have asked, "How will the dead be raised to life? What kind of bodies will they have?"

    “Don't be foolish. A seed must die before it can sprout from the ground. Wheat seeds and all other seeds look different from the sprouts that come up. This is because God gives everything the kind of body he wants it to have. People, animals, birds, and fish are each made of flesh, but none of them are alike. Everything in the heavens has a body, and so does everything on earth. But each one is very different from all the others. The sun isn't like the moon, the moon isn't like the stars, and each star is different. That's how it will be when our bodies are raised to life. These bodies will die, but the bodies that are raised will live forever. These ugly and weak bodies will become beautiful and strong. As surely as there are physical bodies, there are spiritual bodies. And our physical bodies will be changed into spiritual bodies. The first man was named Adam, and the Scriptures tell us that he was a living person. But Jesus, who may be called the last Adam, is a life-giving spirit. We see that the one with a spiritual body did not come first. He came after the one who had a physical body. The first man was made from the dust of the earth, but the second man came from heaven.” —1 Corinthians 15:35-47 Contemporary English Version​

    I find nothing here which indicates that the resurrection would involve a physical body. We “plant” this body in the soil it’ll return to, and face judgment.

    The judgment is either everlasting cutting-off (which is the second death and from it there is no return) or everlasting life in the Kingdom of God. With Jesus having established that the kingdom he would be receiving was no part of this world, that leads me to the conclusion that he’s referring to a heavenly kingdom, right?

    His bride is the composite body of those believing Jesus to be the Christ, the living son of God, who now rules in the midst of his enemies, shepherding those given to him by his Father, Jehovah. His role as our High Priest opening the veil that separates us from our Father because of Adamic Sin, restoring us (“in the twinkling of an eye,” as the apostle Paul describes this change) after our earthly, physical life, into the presence of Jehovah Himself, as Adam and Eve enjoyed before their transgression, and something even greater— as spiritual brothers and sisters with the angels, working alongside them in the Kingdom of God. (Cf John 14:1-3)

    The apostle Paul does not see the resurrection as a physical one, and I’m inclined to agree with him on this. Paul’s argument is that the body we receive to dwell in the Kingdom of God won’t be made from dust: It’ll be a spiritual body. I’m inclined to agree with him on this, as well.

    Factoring that into my present understanding, it seems that the purpose of all resurrections in our scriptures wasn’t to demonstrate the nature of the Life which Jesus has opened the Way into, but rather the power of God over death. I may be wrong here, but I cannot recall a single occasion where anyone was ever resurrected by a power apart from God Himself. Can you?

    Nor are there any indications that the recorded miracles of resurrection resulted in atonement with God— which is accomplished through the death of Jesus, that then opening the Way for us into the Holy of Holies, the presence of Jehovah Himself, right?

    When Jesus, through the power given him by the Father, then raises Lazarus following Martha’s confession, was that the body the apostle Paul later describes as anticipating? If it wasn’t, then taking a position that the resurrection will be into a physical body makes less sense against the spiritual body which the apostle Paul relates during his missions to the Gentile believers across the then-Mediterranean world.

    The other resurrections that were performed throughout the Old Covenant portion of our scriptures resulted in a person being restored to life in the same body; however, they went on to die again, because that’s what we do since we are dust and will one day return to dust. (Genesis 3:19)

    What of the proposed assertion that the resurrection will be into bodies of flesh that will never grow older, never wear out, living forever in a paradise earth?

    Again, this then puts the apostle Paul on record as preaching a falsehood.

    Jehovah made the earth to stand forever, according to scripture, and in spite of Mankind’s captivity to Adamic sin, we are provided everything we need to live with sustenance and even experience fleshly joys. This planet is a paradise Earth, and we are gods over it— again, according to scripture. So, what happens to it— the flora and fauna, the waters— on our watch goes on our account before God.

    Hard to ignore is the “thistles and thorns” in our daily lives as believers in a world of non-believers and the pressures of whatever society or generational persuasions is in play when we are here. Our lives are brief moments on the scale that the Stream of Time operates on. These bodies are dust, and one day they will be planted in the ground from which they came, like a seed which then becomes something more than possibility— which is all the seed was before it was planted, right? Possibility. Potential.

    Again, I’m in agreement with the apostle Paul’s witness in this matter of our resurrection being with a spiritual body, whatever form that takes.

    Likewise, I’m in agreement with Paul that we have been appointed to die, and then the Judgment.

    The Judgment, as I presently understand it, is mentioned by Jesus on a separate occasion from that of Mary and Martha (above):

    And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.—John 3:19 English Standard Version​

    That judgment has been made at the time of physical death of every man, woman, and child since the end of the Mosaic Age in 70 CE.

    One either loved the light or one loved the darkness.

    Neither do faithful believers get a free pass when it comes to “time and unforeseen circumstances” or suffering or disease or anything that comes by way of trying our faith and testing our hope. We get cancer, we face financial hardships, we get in auto accidents, and we die like non-believers.

    The difference is that the believer has placed their belief in Jesus as Martha did. The non-believer— what do they have to look forward to when they physically die? Nothing except their vain attempts at legacies and renown, that their name (i.e. reputation) might live on. They perish and their works follow them. They’ve had their reward in their fleshly existence. (Cf Matthew 6:2)

    As believers, we still retain Adam’s nature— Adamic sin will continue to influence us as we resist its inclinations until the day we breathe our last and, in the twinkling of an eye, find ourselves in the Kingdom of God that Jehovah God prepared before the founding of the world.

    Those in Sheol were told their wait would be only “a little longer” —before all those in the "memorial tombs" would be come forth at the call of Jesus at his second coming, when he came to gather the firstfruits of those who would place faith in this wonderful provision from our Creator— a life that doesn’t end with Adamic Death.

    Whew! Okay, so, having said all that, I would like to circle back to your response:

    In a preterist view, everyone will die. In a dispensationalist view, some will never die at His return.

    "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26).

    Partial preterists, like Dispensationalists/Futurists, await a physical resurrection, but believe pretty much everything else has been fulfilled— if my memory serves me here. Kenneth Gentry is a partial preterist, and written extensively on the reasons for his present position.

    I agree with you that there were still some living when Jesus came in heavenly judgment of Jerusalem and the unbelieving Jews, including the Temple cult. The apostle Paul believed that those believers entered the Kingdom of God upon their physical death and has been the course ever since. We will one day enter into the Holy of Holies, brother, because Jesus’ death opened the Way through the curtain which separates us from our God since Adam and Eve’s transgression. The presence of God Himself.

    The one who believes in me will live, even though they die…

    I believe this, but I don’t know where anything I’ve said has contradicted Jesus’ words to Martha. Since the ending of the Mosaic Age, those belonging to God are brought into the Kingdom of God, and become a new creation with a spiritual body.

    Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.— 2 Corinthians 5:17 Common Edition New Testament 1865​

    This begins as a renewal of the spiritual man within us, as we battle the inclinations of our fallen flesh, and then becomes whatever it is the apostle Paul meant by becoming a new creation, a spiritual, heavenly being.

    whoever lives by believing in me will never die

    Again, I don’t know where I’ve contradicted Jesus in what I’ve expressed to this point. Like the apostle Paul, I believe that we are changed in the “twinkling of an eye” upon earthly death, into the Kingdom of God— immediately, since the end of the Mosaic Age in 70 CE (until then such ones remained in Sheol, or Hades, where they were to “wait a little longer” until their “full number” (Compare “144,000”) were likewise killed). (Revelation 6:11)

    Believers don’t die— they are changed into whatever the spiritual body is that our Father has in store for us. The fleshly body dies and returns to the dust. We “shed” the Adamic nature and assume the nature of Christ.

    Beloved, now we are the sons of God; and what we shall be has not yet been disclosed: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. —1 John 3:2 Revised King James New Testament​

    I, for one, am not expecting Jesus to return in some fleshly body or physical manifestation any more than I expect to see wind, electricity, magnetism, gravity, or any number of other elements in our physical world. We know these things exist because of their influence on those things we can see— and we already know the apostle Paul’s position on this because I cited it in my previous response:

    From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…” — 2 Corinthians 5:16-18 English Standard Version​

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,” writes Paul, “he is a new creation.” He writes that the “old has passed away,” speaking of the Old Covenant as far as believers before God, and the “new has come.” (Cf Isaiah 43:18-19; Isaiah 65:17; Ephesians 4:24; Hebrews 8:13; Revelation 21:5)

    Nowhere is this more convincingly evident than with the indwelling of holy spirit from God. Under the Old (Covenant), God’s spirit dwelled in the Tabernacle, or in the Holy of Holies once the Temple was built at Jerusalem. Under the New (Covenant), God’s spirit dwells within each of us as living temples! Bearing witness with our spirit that we are sons and daughters of God, even! (Romans 8:16)

    Our sacrifices are not at the cost of animal lives, but the fruitage of our lips in praise and testimony and witness— and of our hands in service to others.

    The access to God that we have since the passing of the Old Covenant Law of Moses has become so commonplace in our time that I think we take it for granted and think that it’s always been like this— but it hasn’t, and wasn’t before the Second Adam became the conduit of our Father’s ministry of reconciliation.

    I didn’t mean for this to be this long, and I’m sure my train of thought shifted rails somewhere above this point, lol!

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy, a fellow believer
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother...

    I'm not sure I understand the Revelation applying to Jerusalem but written to the churches of Asia. What's the purpose of it being written pre-70 at that point? I can't see a reason for that...

    It's written to the churches of Asia to show how their persecution would be lessened? I'm not sure I see that message in Revelation. Is that book not all about the destruction?

    The world run by the satan, is it not? Therefore our Lord's kingdom is no part of the world run by the satan, and the satan wasn't ruling the physical planet, but that of mankind.

    "Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out" (John 12:31).

    Tell me: Why is John spoken of as the greatest man born of women, yet the least of those in heaven?

    So are you saying: Jesus says, "The one who believes in me will live" is physical life, "even though they die?" Then those who, "will never die." is a metaphor?

    I guess I'll need a shorter answer brother. Your answer was spread out just too far to follow your answer.

    Thanks...
     
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    Timothy Kline

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    I'm not sure I understand the Revelation applying to Jerusalem but written to the churches of Asia.

    Hmm.

    Here’s what I read as the Revelation of Jesus Christ unfolds, and let’s see if I can better convey what I’m thinking and reading:

    The Revelation opens with:

    This is what God showed to Jesus Christ, so that he could tell his servants what must happen soon. Christ then sent his angel with the message to his servant John. —Revelation 1:1 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

    Are we in agreement that Jehovah God showed Jesus, so that Jesus could tell his servants, what must happen soon?

    This brings to my mind what Jesus had told his disciples:

    So also, when you see these things happening, know that He is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on your guard and stay alert! For you do not know when the appointed time will come. —Mark 13:29-33 Berean Study Bible (BSB)

    The appointed time had now arrived, evidenced by Jehovah now showing Jesus what was about to happen, that Jesus would then tell his servants that the appointed time was upon them. This was the generation that Jesus said would not pass away “until all these things have happened” — these things being the entire content of the thirteenth chapter of Mark, as he lays out for his disciples what he does know at that point— that being the destruction of the Temple the disciples had just been praising to him over. (verse 1)

    This informing of the servants calls to mind the words at Amos 3:7:

    Indeed, the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing His counsel to His servants the prophets. —Amos 3:7 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

    Jesus then proceeded to send an angel to John of Patmos, who then “told everything that he had seen about God’s message and about what Jesus had said and done.” (Revelation 1:2, CEV)

    Verse three reads:

    God will bless everyone who reads this prophecy to others, and he will bless everyone who hears and obeys it. The time is almost here.— Revelation 1:3 CEV

    “The time” is the final part of days leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, as Jesus’ words recorded at Mark 13 became an inescapable reality.

    John of Patmos has his audience as “the seven churches which are in Asia,” and we’ve touched on them earlier, I think.

    Since I presently believe the Biblical evidence favors a pre-70 CE composition, I surmise that most of the Jewish Christians had left Judea by the 60s CE as a result of the tribulation they endured at the hands of their Jewish kin who were non-believers, as they blended in with the Gentile believers in and among those “seven churches which are in Asia” when John of Patmos is writing all this down. This can be seen in the apostle Paul’s epistles, of course, as he counsels the new congregations of blended nationality (Gentile and Jewish).

    Those believers that lagged for one reason or another when the Roman army left off from its siege in 67 CE probably remained due to their indecisive faithlessness when the Romans came back about 3-3 ½ years later during the high festival of Passover, and regretted it.


    What's the purpose of it being written pre-70 at that point?

    To show Jesus’ servants the things which must happen soon. (Revelation 1:1)

    Soon cannot be 2,000 years and counting without doing violence to the inspired written words of the Revelation. Otherwise, the message meant nothing to the audience living in the first century as the proclamation of Jesus written in Mark 13 came to fruition. Not to mention the vast body of prophecies that flow through our “Old Testament” pointing to the events of the first century. Or, the abundant time statements found throughout the first century scriptural writings specifying the first-century fulfillment.

    The vindication was imminent for all those who had suffered for Jesus’ name, at the hands of Judaizers, Pharisees, and Rome itself, as they were produced as sport for the masses much like modern masses gather for a sports game or boxing match— burned alive or fed to lions or torn asunder for the entertainment of the masses.


    It's written to the churches of Asia to show how their persecution would be lessened?

    Not just lessened, but they would be vindicated!

    I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony they had upheld. And they cried out in a loud voice, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You avenge our blood and judge those who dwell upon the earth?” Then each of them was given a white robe and told to rest a little while longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers, were killed, just as they had been killed. —Revelation 6:9-11 Berean Study Bible (BSB)

    This calls to my mind Jesus’ words:

    As a result, this generation will be charged with the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, all of it will be charged to this generation. —Luke 11:50-51 BSB



    I'm not sure I see that message in Revelation. Is that book not all about the destruction?

    Certainly not! Or, at least I don’t view it as “all about the destruction.”

    It’s about the foretold destruction of Jerusalem, its Temple cult, constituting or symbolic of the unfaithful wife and harlot, Jerusalem (identified as Babylon the Great in the Revelation)— BUT the Revelation is also about the wedding symbolized within the New Covenant.

    I’ll break here to keep my post as short as practical.

    A fellow believer,
    Timothy
     
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    Greetings brother...

    Jesus said they "would be hated by all nations" because of Him. The Revelation cannot be to the churches in Asia and also apply to Jerusalem. That's just not what it says.

    To me there are so many blatant contradictions to Preterism that the only way around them is to constantly explain them away by proving Preterism through highperoble. One must choose for themselves when our Lord's statements are literal or metaphor, rather than allowing contextual precedence. This is how the Trinity is explained, by choosing for one's self the context. One can explain anything they wish when choosing for themselves literal vs metaphor.

    This is the biggest problem every Christian runs into when studying prophecy: Literal vs Metaphor

    I don't mean any disregard toward your belief structure brother, but continuing to point out holes in the Preterist view is starting to effect my own faith. In my view, if everything were fulfilled in the first century, there is no hope for anyone born after. I'm sure this isn't how you view things, but it is the final result of my view of Preterism. It's just as the apostle Paul warned against those who, like Hymenaeus and Philetus, teach falsely “that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:17–18). Regardless if you believe the resurrection happened in 70ce or not, why was it effecting their faith? Something to think about.

    All hope given to us from Christ Jesus for eternal life, and forgiveness of sin, would have to be fulfilled in the first century. Meaning, His words could not apply to anyone after, because that would make His statements futurist. And the whole thing collapses. It would mean to me that none of Christ Jesus words would apply to anyone born after 70ce.

    Regardless, it's enough for me to simply agree with you that Jesus words in Mathew 24 had a fulfillment in 70ce.

    Anyway brother, all love...

    PS: Again, I don't mean to sound forward, just affirming my own belief structure. After all, Preterism has been around since the counter-reformation... ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    I wish that I had did a better job of explaining what I'm seeing, and that the passages I cited contextually had illustrated why I have become convinced of what I presently believe. There are others who do far better than I ever hope to reach.

    Regardless, the expression "preterism" is better captured in the more descriptive and accurate term "covenant eschatology." The question is whether we are presently living under the Old Covenant (Age), and are thus bound before God under the Law and its sacrifices and festivals and cleanliness statutes, etc. If we are not, then we must be living in the New Covenant (Age) that was to come from the apostle's chronological perspective).

    Personally, I believe we are living in the New Covenant Age based on the simple observation that Christians do not take animal sacrifices somewhere to be sacrificed, nor are we bound by the legalism of the Old Covenant— rather, we are circumcised of heart, and we walk as emissaries of God and of Jesus, living, walking, breathing temples in which God's spirit dwells with ours in a way not experienced by Man since Adam chose to set his own will above God's Will and acted in disobedience. And so much more! We are empowered to overcome addictions and habits, and commission as ministers by our Exemplar through both word and deed, serving as a lamp set upon a hill in a world separated from its Creator. We develop lasting, loving relationships with other believers, as well and irregardless of nationality or race or whatever passes for divisions of Man.

    All of this we have enjoyed since the end of the Old Covenant Age in the first century, and do as I write these words.

    Who in the Old Covenant Age ever referred to Jehovah as "Father"? In the New Covenant, Jehovah promised it would be different. Once again, we had the freeness to approach our Creator as "Father," as Adam and Eve once enjoyed.

    Yet, as the apostle Paul explains, all of this is but a sampling of what awaits us— going into the very presence of our Father:

    For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. —2 Corinthians 5:1 NASB

    Or, as he explains in his second epistle to the believers at Corinth:

    For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. So while we are in this tent, we groan under our burdens, because we do not wish to be unclothed but clothed, so that our mortality may be swallowed up by life. And God has prepared us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a pledge of what is to come. —2 Corinthians 5:2-5 Berean Study Bible

    Covenant Eschatology: Are we living in the Old Covenant Age, or are we enjoying the blessings of the New Covenant Age? Are we down to this day sanctified through animal sacrifices demanded of the Old Covenant, or have we been sanctified through the Lamb of God and the New Covenant God has now once and for all time made with the sons and daughters of Adam, our sins forgiven, our consciences cleansed, and empowered to overcome those things in our given individual nature to bring it into subjection to the spirit of God? We are raised to life, and then receive a new body when we go into the heavens to forever live in the presence of the Father.

    And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you used to walk when you conformed to the ways of this world and of the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the sons of disobedience. All of us also lived among them at one time, fulfilling the cravings of our flesh and indulging its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature children of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved! And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus... —Ephesians 2:1-6 Berean Study Bible

    We were by nature children of wrath. Me. You. Every other believer.

    But no longer, and as a result of the New Covenant, we are free to approach our Father, and He is never far off from any one of us. That's magnificent and way more than I deserve.

    Brother, we can set this topic aside.

    Might I make a request of you, as your time allows: Would you give a view to a video that directly addresses the well-deserved question of "Where is my hope?" if everything was fulfilled in the first century??! I do NOT subscribe to everything Dave believes (He's a staunch Calvinist, for example, and a Trinitarian) but on this one I can find no fault or misappropriation of scripture.

    If you find such, would you mention them to me either here or privately? Only as your time allows, but it would mean a great deal to me because I think he did a commendable job of answering the question.

    Maybe open a topic on Repentance so we can expand on your videocast from Friday? :cool:

    A brother,
    Timothy

     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother...
    I think you did a fine job. I understand where you're coming from.

    Here in highlights the issue I have, brother. When I speak of the context of Scripture, I don't mean applying other scriptures from different locations to the text that are trying to be explained. That is the way one may explain anything they wish into the text. When I speak of the context of Scripture, I'm speaking of the context within that exact scripture and chapter, without the need to go anywhere else within the Bible.

    Case in point: "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die" (Jhn 11:25,26).

    I can apply scriptures from other locations in the Bible to explain our Lord's statement here and make it seem as though he's saying anything I like. However, the only way to truly understand what our Lord meant is to understand the flow of concept within the train of thought from that chapter. The Greek writers wrote in trains of thought and not through punctuation as we use today.

    Jesus was just speaking of literally living and dying concerning Lazarus in the two previous verses:

    "Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (Jhn 11:23,24).

    Therefore to say that any part of our Lord's very next statement is metaphoric is applying one's own belief structure into His words. Every word in His very next statement must be literal unless He specifically says otherwise.

    "Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life." (Literal) "The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;" (Literal) "and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (Literal) (Jhn 11:35,26)

    Applying one's own interpretation of what part of Jesus' words is literal vs. metaphoric is a common mistake in interpreting the Bible.

    I have come to recognize the original Greek writers wrote in streams of concepts, and that is the only way the original writings can be understood, not by handpicking scriptures from other locations to apply them in ways that support our own belief structure. People have been doing that for two thousand years.

    Anywho, that's where I have settled in the holy texts...

    All love...
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    Certainly that's one of the contexts we examine as students of the written word, but there are several layers of context that I feel should be considered in discussions of eschatology or in discussions like this: immediate textual context, historical context, social context, context of audience relevance, contextual relevance for us living today, context of God's overarching purpose and Will. And the list can probably continue from there.

    If one only considers the singular immediate context to the exclusion of any and all other passages which bear relevance, then the greater context of God's overall purpose is omitted from the discussion, as are any instances where the apostles or Jesus cited a prophecy as a way of establishing a fulfillment.

    I suspect we are at variance in the matter of metaphor and literal, as well. Where I am at a loss is in your writing "Applying one's own interpretation of what part of Jesus' words is literal vs. metaphoric is a common mistake in interpreting the Bible" as I have nowhere applied my own interpretation, and I have wholeheartedly attempted to demonstrate by citing passages bearing relevance, rather than snippits of verses, and you wouldn't have said this if you didn't feel that I was promoting a private interpretation here.

    Let's look at literal vs metaphorical...

    ...the Jews demanded, “What sign can You show us to prove Your authority to do these things?” Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.” “This temple took forty-six years to build,” the Jews replied, “and You are going to raise it up in three days?” —John 2:18-20 Berean Study Bible

    The Jews clearly seem to be thinking Jesus is referring to the Temple (literal), as did the disciples as they watched the exchange between Jesus and the Jews accosting him over his zeal in the marketplace of the Temple. It wasn't until sometime later after Jesus was raised to life again that they recalled what he said and that he was actually speaking of his body as the temple:

    After He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this. Then they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. —John 2:22 BSB

    Applying your rule of thumb as used at John 11, this is the result:

    Jesus answered, "Destroy this temple" (metaphorical of his body) and in three days I will raise it up again (literally, Jesus was raised to life in the flesh for a short while before ascending to God). The question is: Did Jesus himself raise up his body— which would be the prerequisite literal sense you said must remain in order to retain the singular immediate context. Did Jesus literally raise it up, or did Jehovah God raise Jesus to life? Or, was Jesus speaking metaphorically, as a figure of speech, when he said that HE would be the one doing the raising?

    Trinitarians would argue that since Jesus IS Almighty God, Jehovah, then he spoke literally here that HE raised himself back to life. What would you say here without referring to any other passages in the Bible?

    Note, too, that literally, the disciples did not believe the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken until he was raised from the dead, although we read the very opposite a few chapters later:

    "We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” —John 6:69 NASB

    Again, keeping in mind that to maintain the context (as you define it), one must be "speaking of the context within that exact scripture and chapter, without the need to go anywhere else within the Bible. Unless we step out of the immediate context, resolving an apparent paradox such as these two passages would prove quite... interesting: Did they believe, or didn't they? (I'm sure you have a response, as do I, but my point is that keeping these passages in isolation in order to maintain the context you are insisting on creates more issues than it seems to resolve.)

    Finally, the writer of the Johannine epistle was not Greek— He was Hebrew, and thus expressed himself via Hebrew thought, so your statement "The Greek writers wrote in trains of thought and not through punctuation as we use today" doesn't apply here, with the possible exception of the Lukan epistles (Luke, Acts).

    In closing, I'm still quite alright with setting this topic aside, as we'll both feel compelled to continue to respond and offer our counterpoints and I don't want to venture into contention or debating: I've only tried to explain where I'm at on Covenant Eschatology presently, addressing the questions you raised as they came up, and never starting new topics here on the board to promote Covenant Eschatology.

    In the spirit of the apostolic letter we have preserved for us at Acts 15:23-29, I want you to know that I do not rely on our disparate eschatological views to determine whether you are a brother or not, or whether one of us is right or not.

    In the end, would either of us be disappointed to find ourselves in the Promised Land which awaits us, if things turn out differently from what we are expecting or think we're square already on? I sure won't go "Oh man! But I thought---" Nope!

    A fellow believer, and brother in Christ,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Greetings brother... :)

    Please understand I mean no slight toward you. I am speaking towards the ideology that is Preterism itself, established during the counter-reformation. I will attempt to be a little more sensitive in my wording. Please understand I'm not thinking toward you, but that of a centuries-old ideology.

    Jesus was speaking metaphorically when He told the elders, "destroy this temple." Therefore obviously, His very next statement would be metaphoric as well, "In three days I will raise it again." The temple was metaphoric, and so was His raising it. He was speaking metaphorically that He would raise it because of His faithfulness.

    The principle stands...

    As you know, I use scripture from other locations to clarify when they clearly speak of the same matter. My book is full of them... However, when utilizing scripture from other locations, they only verify what is clearly stated by the flow of context within any given text.

    What this really comes down to ultimately is debating the Bible's own interpretation rules.

    I have seen that the flow of context within each chapter, or section, must speak for itself and apply this rule of conceptual context that I indicate, firstly and foremostly. If the flow of information is literal, it must remain literal until it clearly indicates it is not, and vise versa metaphoric as well. The flow of metaphoric contextual context must continue until clearly indicating otherwise.

    Another scripture can clarify another text if it clearly indicates it is speaking in the same verbiage but does not violate the first rule. If it does, then the first rule subverts it.

    Here's the problem, brother: Let's say I wanted to argue all prophecy was fulfilled at Jesus sacrifice and not 70ce, or still yet future.

    In Mathew 24, Jesus said regarding the temple, "Do you see all these things? Not one stone will be left upon another and not be thrown down." Now, Jesus' body was the temple he spoke about metaphorically that the elders would destroy. What makes us think Jesus was talking about the physical temple in Mathew 24? I could apply Jesus' words in Mathew 24 to His physical body and not the physical temple. Therefore I could argue Jesus was speaking of His body and not the physical temple. The original Greek in Mth 24:2 could read, "Do you see this whole man?' Or "Do you see all of these men," etc...

    Jesus is the cornerstone is he not? (Eph 2:20) So how do we know Jesus wasn't talking about himself when he said, "not one stone would be left upon another?" The disciples were described as stones like Peter the rock. Why do we not think Jesus was speaking about himself and his disciples being dispersed? Jesus said to remain in Him; the stones not remaining on another could represent the breaking apart of their group.

    Was not the sun darkened at His sacrifice? What did Jesus say in Mathew 24? The sun would be darkened.

    Jesus spoke of earthquakes in Mathew 24, and there was a great earthquake at His sacrifice.

    I say I could place every single prophecy from Mathew 24, having been fulfilled on the day Jesus was sacrificed simply by applying scripture just as the Preterist explanation connects them to 70CE. Again, I don't mean you; my mind focuses on the centuries-old Preterist view and the manner it uses to come about its interpretation. Because obviously, I believe either one of us wouldn't care in the slightest which one was right in the New Kingdom, just as you say.

    The way of approaching Scripture that I describe is the only way that keeps us out of the loop, brother. It is the only way to keep human interpretation out of God's Word. It does not matter what we think the Bible is saying; all we want to know is what it is actually saying, right? Which means, trying to get to an end result is not the way. The Preterist understanding came about during the Reformation to attempt to prove the Pope was not the Anti-Christ. That is an end result way of interpreting Scripture.

    There is no paradox. They lacked faith before and later gained it. Just because they didn't fully understand that He came to the earth to die while He was alive doesn't mean they didn't fully accept it and remember His words after His resurrection. At which point, their faith was strengthened by what they had heard and seen.

    Believing He was the Son of God, and yet not understanding he was destined to die is not a paradox.

    I meant all Scripture from Genesis to Revelation; Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, all Scripture is written in this fashion, in my humble opinion. After all, brother, this is the way we all speak. Only the one who says a thing knows its meaning. A lot of arguments in marriages come about because one person misunderstands another. A listener does not have the right to interpret the other person's statements however they like. When someone says, "What you said made me feel this way or that way," then they have already made a mistake. They take what you say out of context and make it okay to do so because they say that's how it made them feel. You do not have the right to turn someones words into whatever you think they mean or into something else because that's how they made you feel. Only the one who spoke has the right to explain their words. Only what the original speaker meant is what matters. How many arguments have there been because of this failure in human communication? I have found very few who understand this simplest of communication rules.

    I have been a student of human speech and psychology from before I could remember. Like you, I had a horrid childhood, and I learned a lot about why people say and do what they do through that experience.

    The Bible is no different. We must allow it to tell us what it is saying through the flow of context, not by applying our own end result to Scripture; otherwise, I could have all prophecy fulfilled in Jesus' sacrifice.

    All love brother...
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey brother,

    Out of curiosity, how does the Preterist interpret the last sentence of Daniel 9:27?

    "And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

    When was the end poured out on the one causing desolation in 70 ce?

    Thanks...
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    So sorry for the long delay, brother! Been non-stop for me the past week or so with offline life and responsibilities. But the delay did afford me a chance to see what the general consensus is among those who approach the Bible through covenant theology.

    It seems to be the prevailing view that the verse is referring to Jesus, with his cutting off being the middle of the Jewish week.

    When it comes to the book of Daniel and covenant theology (preterism), I'd refer you to Jay Rogers, who seems to have done a reasonable job taking his readers through Daniel and its fulfillment in the first century, culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple sacrifice. I think he's a partial preterist as far as eschatology, so he places the resurrection and return of Jesus as future if I understand partial preterism on that.

    His book's free if you have Kindle Unlimited (I do): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085N5QPRD

    I should add that it's voluminous but it's owing to his extensive use of documentation to support covenant eschatology's perspective.

    While not free, AD70 and the End of the World from Paul Ellis does a brilliant job and occasionally tongue-in-cheek in bringing both the preterist and futurist perspectives into a conversational style that shows each side's strengths and soft spots in an honest fashion, I felt. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XY7RC1R

    Very insightful coverage, I thought.

    I'll add my own thoughts later, though. Dinner is ready here.

    Your brother,
    Timothy
     

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