RE: The Station of Prophet

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Timothy Kline, Feb 22, 2022.

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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    RE: The station of prophets

    Christian greetings, brother Joshua,

    This discussion began, as you know, in a separate thread and after spending time researching and composing this response, it seemed appropriate to create a new thread specific to the station of prophets in its role within the Mosaic Law, or Law of Moses— considering that the station of priests was to instruct the people in the Law and carry out their priestly duties and responsibilities. The complement to the station of priests under Mosaic Law and the former covenant were the prophets, who were to let the people know when the Law was being transgressed (which meant the priests weren’t fulfilling their duties and responsibilities) and what Jehovah God would carry out if the people continued in their course of disobedience.

    Anyway, apologies if I go off on tangents during the course of this reply to you, brother, or, worse, repeat myself! Which tends to happen when I take this long to finish a missive to you (or anyone, probably), lol!


    Whereas my present understanding is that John was the last of the prophets that our Father sent to the nation of Israel; although the biblical record provides statements that other people thought John the baptizer to be Elijah— John himself never declared this to my recollection.

    As to the identity of the Elijah who had been foretold to come, the Matthean gospel beautifully records:

    Meanwhile John heard in prison about the works of Christ, and he sent his disciples to ask Him, “Are You the One who was to come, or should we look for someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the one who does not fall away on account of Me.”

    As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? Otherwise, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Look, those who wear fine clothing are found in kings’ palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:

    Behold, I will send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You.’

    Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subject to violence, and the violent lay claim to it. For
    all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come. He who has ears, let him hear.” —Matthew 11:7-15 Berean Study Bible (BSB) (See also Luke 7:19-30)

    The disciples asked Him, “Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not recognize him, but did to him as they wished. The Son of Man is also going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist. —Matthew 17:10-13 BSB

    Which leaves me to disagreeing with your view that John wasn’t the one to come (that is, Elijah)— unless I’m overlooking something here. The disciples understood that John was the Elijah to come at this point.

    Where this leads me is to the cessation of the station of prophet— and subsequently any prophecy they voiced from Jehovah God— with John the Baptizer, keeping in mind the Matthean record: “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John.”

    This is affirmed in the opening words of Hebrews:

    On many past occasions and in many different ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets. But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.— Hebrews 1:1-2 BSB

    I can’t help but conclude that after Jesus’ arrival in our first century, as the Messiah in fulfillment of both the Law (as the Lamb of God) and the Prophets (as the Messiah-King over God’s people taking up the throne of David as foretold), who, within the same generation, was also the one appointed to carry out Jehovah’s judgment against the harlot— Jerusalem, bringing to an end the Mosaic Age some 40 years later (mind you, a human pregnancy is 40 weeks, so the symbolism isn’t lost on me, that’s for sure!).

    Again, what I’m reading and seeing here is that our Father no longer speaks to His people through prophets— He speaks to us by His Son, and if we don’t listen to him, then there no longer remains a sacrifice for the sin inherent in all Men, who sin.

    Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. —Hebrews 10:26, The Living Translation

    Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. —John 14:6,Amplified Bible

    For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” —John 18:37b Berean Study Bible

    There may be other references, but I hope these are sufficient to show some of the scriptural reasoning behind my current biblical perspective that the station of prophets has been superseded by the station of Christ, who is our Exemplar as well as our High Priest and King. I’m seeing no scriptural support to the idea that after sending His Son, Jehovah would resume sending prophets again to speak to His people.

    This is especially evident to me in the parable involving a vineyard:

    And he gave them teaching in the form of stories. A man had a vine-garden planted, and put a wall about it, and made a place for crushing out the wine, and put up a tower, and let it out to field-workers, and went into another country. And when the time came, he sent a servant to get from the workmen some of the fruit of the garden. And they took him, and gave him blows, and sent him away with nothing. And again he sent to them another servant; and they gave him wounds on the head, and were very cruel to him. And he sent another; and they put him to death: and a number of others, whipping some, and putting some to death. He still had one, a dearly loved son: he sent him last to them, saying, They will have respect for my son. —Mark 12:1-6 BBE​

    Of course, [they] ended up seeing that Jesus, the beloved Son, was put to death, as well, but the point of notable interest here is that there is no indication that the owner of the vineyard would then go back to sending servants again— the servants here being the prophets Jehovah God sent to His people and then were themselves put to death, scourged, and a number of other abuses by God’s own people. Would it even make sense?

    On the other hand, there has been an endless stream of false prophets since the final prophet from Jehovah God was beheaded and served up on a platter at the request of a wicked, petulant daughter prodded by her even worse mother, who hated John because he called her out on a matter (the issue eludes me at the moment, sorry). Josephus mentions a few of these false prophets in his writings and the early centuries following him seem to have their share, as well; the records are readily available through well-respected sources online and in the local library.

    As far as religious organizations and movements go, the Watchtower organization has certainly demonstrated a remarkable history of false prophecies over it's entire existence as a body of believers— while openly declaring that it wears the mantle of prophet by making such utterances, with no room for discussion or debate.

    The Catholic Church doesn't get a pass here, either, when it comes to false prophecies.

    Adventists? Nope. They have a history as well in this matter. Baptists: same. Lutherans: same.

    It's a thing, and its been a thing for a long, long time. Headline-driven prophets and their prophecies continue to result in the loss of faith of countless numbers of believers, especially since Darby. Miller’s “The Great Disappointment” was a big deal in its day, and a disastrous number of people lost their faith in its wake. Today, I continue to see believers given to headline-driven dispensations and interpretations of the signs and the times, preaching “Soon!” with varying waves of fervor that seem to flow with the ebb and tide of the media outlets churning out their constant headlines of fear, uncertainty, and death to the masses.

    I’ve probably digressed to a fault at this point, sorry.

    Getting back to the transfiguration: Are we both of the conviction that before Jesus died and was raised back into life by Jehovah God, Moses and Elijah were both awaiting resurrection? That would preclude, for me at least, this being Moses and Elijah actual, even though the disciples see Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus according to the written account. For one: What? They then returned again to Sheol/Hades to await resurrection, which could only follow the resurrection of Jesus? And how did the disciples know what Moses and Elijah looked like? No graven images to record their semblance. No anything. It was a divine vision they were blessed that day to witness, no question about it for me. They knew supernaturally through Jehovah God. Inspiration. A vision of Jesus in his glory, when he would truly speak with Moses and Elijah, no doubt.

    And who, after all, to best represent the Law which Jesus was about to fulfill, if not Moses himself, the “lawgiver.” And who but Elijah best represents the long line of prophets Jehovah God would raise up throughout the Mosaic Age to warn the wayward, even apostate children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they were unfaithful to their owner and the covenant.

    The Lord solemnly warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and all the seers, “Turn back from your evil ways; obey my commandments and rules that are recorded in the law. I ordered your ancestors to keep this law and sent my servants the prophets to remind you of its demands.” But they did not pay attention and were as stubborn as their ancestors, who had not trusted the Lord their God. They rejected his rules, the covenant he had made with their ancestors, and the laws he had commanded them to obey {via the prophets}. They committed themselves to doing evil in the sight of the Lord and made him angry.

    So the Lord was furious with Israel and rejected them; only the tribe of Judah was left. Judah also failed to keep the commandments of the Lord their God; they followed Israel’s example. So the Lord rejected all of Israel’s descendants; he humiliated them and handed them over to robbers, until he had thrown them from his presence. He tore Israel away from David’s dynasty, Finally the Lord rejected Israel just as he had warned he would do through all his servants the prophets. —2 Kings 17:13-23, The NET Bible [Excepted for brevity only]​

    The prophets cannot be separated from the Law, neither can the prophecies which they bore witness to Israel and Judah. These would include those prophecies giving an account of the destruction of Jerusalem, the idolized Temple, and their supporters at the end of the Mosaic Age in the first century.

    I mean, what’s also not lost on me here is that the scriptural account records Moses encountering Jehovah God on the mountain in a fiery bush, and Elijah encountering Jehovah God as a “small, still voice” on the same mountain (1 Kings 19:11-13) —and now, here the disciples are, on a mountain on this occasion, encountering Jehovah God’s own Son glorified before them, coming into his kingdom … and then they encounter Jehovah God:

    While Peter was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” —Matthew 17:5 Berean Study Bible

    I’d say they were in pretty good company that day.

    The apostle Peter himself remembered that day for the rest of his life:

    For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. —2 Peter 1:16-18​

    Jesus declared the fulfillment of the prophets (which, logically and reasonably means, then, the cessation of prophets and prophecies, surely!) during a post-resurrection appearance among his disciples:

    Jesus said to them, “These are the words I spoke to you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

    And He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and in His name repentance and forgiveness of sins will be proclaimed to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

    And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But remain in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.

    When Jesus had led them out as far as Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was carried up into heaven.” —Luke 24:44-51 Berean Study Bible

    Again, everything includes prophetic references to his Davidic/Messianic reign, surely! Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses as the Lamb of God, and he fulfilled the prophets by becoming the heir of David’s throne, and ascending to the throne to first carry out Jehovah’s judgment upon Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple and then to reign over those whom Jehovah gives to Jesus, until every enemy is destroyed, including death. And to shepherd those whom his Father gives him, which really goes without saying.

    The Messianic age is concurrent with the new covenant between men and their Creator, a heavenly covenant mediated by our High Priest and King, Jesus, son of Jehovah God and the second Adam. In the new covenant under which you and I live— unless I’m mistaken— we come into a personal relationship that those living under the Law of Moses never had. Under the former covenant if one approached Jehovah God, you offered a burnt sacrifice first. Along withhundreds of other requirements demanded of the Law.

    You and I, we do not live in the Mosaic Age during which this was how someone approached God. We now have a personal relationship with our Father, do we not? No animal sacrifices or seasonal pilgrimmages. He is with us. And where two or three are gathered in his name, Jesus will be found.

    We’re in pretty good company, I would say.

    But the only way it’s possible for us to have this relationship with our Creator that Adam lost for us is if we are living under the new covenant, since the new covenant is the restoration of what Adam lost in his disobedience to his Creator. Indeed, isn’t this what we havealbeit imperfectly on this side of the Veil because of the inclinations and limitations of our flesh, and thus our need for an intercessor or mediator for the stumbles and falls.

    In short: I can discern no age (no period of time) between the passing of the old covenant (Law of Moses established how one is to worship and sacrifice unto Jehovah God) and the new covenant (Law of the Christ both fulfills and supersedes the Law of Moses in worship and becomes about living sacrifices)— A covenant defines not only our relationship with Jehovah God, but our proximity to Him throughout the covenant’s duration.

    The old, former covenant, under the auspices of the Law of Moses, kept a wall, a distance between Jehovah God and His people. Sure, it set the nation of Israel apart from the nations surrounding them, but it also made evident the separation there was between God and Man because of Adamic sin. This is especially well-illustrated with only the high priest being able to enter the Holy of Holies, coming into the very presence of Jehovah.

    What a contrast to life as a believer under the new covenant, wherein Jehovah is not only never far from each of us, being all things to all sorts of men, but we call Him Father because He adopted us to become sons and daughters of the Second Adam.

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

    [Note: I still need to respond to the remainder of your message, but figured this is lengthy enough to post alone.]
     
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    Joshuastone7

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    Greetings brother,

    It is a common perspective that John fulfilled Mal 4:5.

    And, as you know, John denied being the Elijah to come.

    "And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”" Jhn 1:12

    I know you see John's words as perhaps attempting to protect himself, or just not excepting that he was the prophet to come or whathaveyou; however, I prefer a different approach to understanding the biblical narrative.

    I believe we must consider the Bible in its entirety with the view there are no contradictions. I understand if someone views scripture as contradictory they may see room for interpolation; however, I prefer to combine all instances discussing each subject in a process of eliminational reasoning.

    Such as with John's connection to Elijah. I start by asking the reasons for the questions posed to John. What were the priests and Levites actually asking him?

    -------

    First, though, let me address a question John posed to Jesus.

    "Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Mth 11:3

    Was John asking if Jesus was the Messiah? This will highlight how I reconcile biblical narratives, and how I come to the conclusion of John's connection to Elijah.

    John had already declared Jesus the messiah.

    "The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Jhn 1:29

    Now, instead of just assuming John was lacking faith, I combine all of his words to garner the answer. I believe God's Word interprets itself through the process of elimination. This is the same reason people believe Jesus doubted when He prayed 'this cup to be removed' from Him. Even though Jesus turned His back on Peter and said such thinking was from the devil, people still believe Jesus was praying He wouldn't have to go through what was coming. This type of approach to biblical interpretation is contradictory and only leads to endless paradoxes. One can't just assume...

    If we simply infer someone else's meaning in their words, we will always be assuming. Only the speaker has the right to define their words. This is what happened in the Garden of Eden. How many times has someone twisted your words into meaning what you didn't intend to be saying? This is the very core of the issue; communication skills. That in itself is the single most important skill to have in biblical understanding; communication skills. (Well, and word comprehension, and the ability to see patterns in chaos, and computers help. Who wants scrolls opened all over the house, right? lol) But you get the idea...

    -------

    And Jesus' response tells us exactly what John was asking Jesus. Jesus answers as to what was occurring.

    "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them." Luk 7:22

    So, if we combine the fact that John knew Jesus was the Messiah previously, then through the process of elimination, John could only have been asking if Jesus was the one who was to come that would bring the end of this system of things. We know this because of how Jesus' responds. Jesus would have known John's true intent in his question. And the way Jesus answers shows John was asking about actions to come. Jesus answered as to what would be occurring.

    -------

    So then, Is John the Elijah to come? As you pointed out, Jesus said he was.

    "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah has come already," Mth 10:13

    But, Jesus says Elijah "is coming" to restore all things, even though He says Elijah had already come in John. Is Jesus contradicting Himself here? No...

    It's probable John was asking Jesus if He was the Elijah to come that would restore all things because John knew he wasn't that one. And herein lies what the priests and Levites were actually asking John.

    "He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”" Jhn 1:20,21

    These priests and Levites were asking if John was the one coming before the great day of Jehovah in fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy. John 'did not deny' saying he was not the Elijah.

    "“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes." Mal 4:5

    Now, through the process of elimination, John says he is not that one but asks Jesus if He is. Jesus says there is an Elijah coming, but that John was Elijah as well. Putting this all together tells us that John fulfilled an Elijah type, but that there still is an Elijah to come before Armageddon that will restore all things.

    With a view that prophecies do not repeat, combined with a preterist view, with also a view that scripture can contradict itself, this approach will present confirmation bias' to those who hold such views. However, this process I have laid out filters out all paradoxes. This is the process of elimination approach.

    As you are aware, it is my understanding Hebrews 8 and 9 tell us the Mosaic Age ended the moment Jesus fulfilled the High Priest role when 'returning' to His Father. (Or presenting Himself before His Father for all those non-pre-existent Christ backers. ;))

    This is obviously tied completely into the Preterist view of course... :) A Dispensationalist will understand prophets to come.

    Weren't there prophets all throughout Hebraic history, despite Jehovah being the only way? I don't see the fact that Jesus is the only way having anything to do with Him not having His prophets on earth just as He always has. Unless of course, you hold to a Preterist view, then you must reconcile this view with future prophets. A Preterist will see all of Christ's words as saying there are no future prophets, as confirming bias'.

    So, just because there have been many false prophets, that means there can't be true prophets in the future? I would say that interpretation of the facts is flawed. No matter how many false claims, and failed predictions there are, that has nothing to do with whether a true prophet of God could still be to come, such as a future Elijah.

    Look at the Elijah of old who faced the false prophets. Just because there were hundreds of false prophets, that did not exclude the fact that there was a true one coming; Elijah himself. The absence of something and the abundance of false information in a system does not disclude the possibility of a future true discovery. Humanity searched for particles in accelerators for years before discovering them. Just because we haven't seen them, but rather have seen many false hits, does not say anything to future probabilities. And biblical narrative shows us that many times there was a single prophet up against countless false prophets that had permeated God's people over an extended period of time.

    We are in agreement here. These two were not the literal patriarchs.

    This all comes back to Hebrews 8:13 and 9. Since I believe once Jesus fulfilled the High Priest role, all prophecies pertaining to the temple, God's people etc, all were found in Christ. Therefore, no prophecy was fulfilled in 70CE. In fact, I don't even believe anyone in that city was a Jew unless they didn't listen to Jesus and get out. Simply put, a million apostates died, not Jews. We are Jews...

    So, the core of our differences is tied to Hebrews 8 and 9.

    As always brother, I speak to understandings and beliefs, not to you personally. I know I tend to write very forward, and I assure you that I hold you in the highest regard and Christian love through our Lord Christ Jesus.

    All love...

    Joshua
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    [Eeek! I crossed the 20,000-character limit with my response, so I had to break my response into two posts --Timothy]

    You wrote:
    Such as with John's connection to Elijah. I start by asking the reasons for the questions posed to John. What were the priests and Levites actually asking him?

    -------

    This is taking us Off-Topic, as far as the station of prophet itself, but I felt I needed to offer a few considerations from my present perspective:

    You write:

    First, though, let me address a question John posed to Jesus.

    "Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Mth 11:3

    Was John asking if Jesus was the Messiah? This will highlight how I reconcile biblical narratives, and how I come to the conclusion of John's connection to Elijah.

    John had already declared Jesus the messiah.

    "The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Jhn 1:29

    Now, instead of just assuming John was lacking faith…

    When you write “instead of just assuming,” to whom are you addressing the assumption?

    If me, specifically, I would like to ask you a question in turn, and then expand on my thinking on this account by providing scriptural precedence to illustrate why I’m where I’m at in this.

    What impact would it have on your faith and your hope toward our Father if John was discouraged at this point in his serving as prophet?

    I ask, because I would have been, in his situation. Maybe long before then, when my staple was to be bugs. o_O

    First, there is incontrovertible scriptural evidence that John the baptizer knew Jesus to be the Messiah. He leapt whilst still within his mother’s womb in the presence of Mary, who would bear Jesus. And they were second cousins, as well. Again, as established by the scriptural accounts. Being Jews, they would have likely seen each other in their youth during the pilgrim festivals as tribes and families made the journey together to Jerusalem.

    Second, just because John recognized Jesus to be the Messiah does not preclude a later discouragement or even wavering of faith. John was a mere human, and only Jesus made it to the end without even wavering in faith or sinning. To say this equally of John is to put John on a pedestal next to Jesus, wouldn’t you agree? Which infers that John, like all men, candid falter in their faith. Even today.

    Take Elijah, for example. Quite fitting, since I understand John the baptizer to be the Elijah that had been foretold would come, the final prophet from Jehovah God before He provided the Messiah-King in Jesus of Nazareth.

    Ahab told his wife Jezebel what Elijah had done and that he had killed the prophets. She sent a message to Elijah: “You killed my prophets. Now I'm going to kill you! I pray that the gods will punish me even more severely if I don't do it by this time tomorrow.”

    Elijah was afraid when he got her message, and he ran to the town of Beersheba in Judah. He left his servant there, then walked another whole day into the desert. Finally, he came to a large bush and sat down in its shade. He begged the Lord, “I've had enough. Just let me die! I'm no better off than my ancestors.” —1 Kings 19:1-4 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

    After everything that Elijah had borne witness to up to this point in his life, he is afraid of Jezebel’s sworn oath to see him killed. Is it a stretch to think that John the baptizer maybe had his own Jezebel in Herodias— another portion of his role as the Elijah to come in the last days of the Mosaic Age?

    The apostles sure did an about-face when they were consumed by fear upon Jesus’ arrest. After all the miracles they had witnessed first-hand! Peter, who had sworn to Jesus’ face he would never deny Jesus— only a short time later was lying through his teeth, denying that he had anything to do with Jesus as Peter joined the onlookers following Jesus’ arrest, until the cock crowed and he remembered what Jesus told him, and then it hit him, didn’t it?

    And the devastation all of Jesus’ followers surely experienced when Jesus breathed his last, naked to the world, bruised but not broken. The whole universe held its breath at that point in human history. What would happen next? Nothing. Jesus’s body was laid to rest with his forefathers as had all the Patriarchs, Prophets, and other men of God recorded in the writings behind our Bible. The apostles and all of Jesus’ followers went to bed that night and woke up the next morning facing the disappointment and uncertainty cascading over their every thought which came back to the same thing: Jesus was dead. Buried.

    Their joy wasn’t renewed until Jesus came to them, restored to life— the firstborn of many sons and daughters whom Jehovah would henceforth adopt into His heavenly family. His manifestations to his disciples and followers surely was a dose of unimaginable encouragement to them, empowering them for what they would go through for the next forty years as the last hours of the last days of the Mosaic Age fell upon that last generation living under the former Covenant.

    I find nothing unscriptural in sensing in John’s words a sense of discouragement and fear like Elijah, the apostles, the prophet Jeremiah, and other faithful ones of God have all experienced at some or various points of their life. Abraham believed Jehovah’s promise, in the face of Sarah’s manifest barrenness yet became afraid and made his own wife lie to protect him not once, but twice! And there are other instances, as well— but the bottom line is that only Jesus proved faithful unto his death, which means that it’s within the realm of probability that John the baptizer would experience a lapse and need encouragement and reassurance as he faced his certain end as a prophet of Jehovah.

    I’ve certainly had my own difficult moments and times where I was discouraged in my faith, questioning what to believe, and even at one point determining that I had nothing to say to Jehovah since He wasn’t … well, I won’t weigh down this already-lengthening letter back to you with details.

    Suffice it to say that I’ve come through a great many trials and challenges in my life that, when I look back, establishes beyond any doubt for me the undeserved kindness and grace of our Father in my life. And I’ve seen our Father’s powerful work in my marriage. The changes He has wrought in me as He chiseled away at me across the years of my life, and continues to.. . . I can take no credit, not for any of it. But it’s shaped me into a better man than I would’ve been, had I no awareness of my spiritual need. That’s a fact.

    But am I personally making an assumption here as to why John’s asking this question at this point in his life, and sensing that he may be wavering after everything he’d recently been through— especially factoring in his facing his certain execution— that he wants and might need a dose of encouragement?

    Isn’t an assumption a conclusion in the absence of facts? What better facts than a long line of previous faithful believers who had their own moments as imperfect humans? Elijah, who had decided he just wanted to die, was encouraged to know that Jehovah had preserved 7,000 faithful ones in Elijah’s day, and John was, I am suggesting— based on Biblical precedents, including Elijah— encouraged by the message Jesus sent back via the disciples John sent after receiving a report of Jesus’ activities.

    Allow me to interject with this excerpt from Pulpit Commentary which covers two prominent perspectives on this:

    Verse 19. - And John calling unto him two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? What, now, was in John the Baptist's mind, when from his prison he sent his disciples to ask Jesus this anxious question? Disappointed in the career of Jesus, possibly himself partly forgotten, accustomed to the wild freedom of a desert-life, suffering from the hopeless imprisonment, - had his faith begun to waver? or was the question put with a view of reassuring his own disciples, with the intention of giving these faithful followers of his an opportunity of convincing themselves of the power and real glory of Jesus? In other words, was it for his own sake or for his disciples sakes that he sent to ask the question? Generally speaking, the second of these two conclusions - that which ascribed the question to a desire on the part of John to help his disciples (which we will call B) - was adopted by the expositors of the early Church. A good example of this school of interpretation is the following quotation from St. Jerome: "John does not put this question from ignorance, for he himself had proclaimed Christ to be 'the Lamb of God.' But as our Lord asked concerning the body of Lazarus, 'Where have ye laid him?' (John 11:34), in order that they who answered the question might, by their own answer, be led to faith, so John, now about to be slain by Herod, sends his disciples to Jesus, in order that, by this occasion, they who were jealous of the fame of Jesus (Luke 9:14; John 3:26) might see his mighty works and believe in him, and that, while their master asked the question by them, they might hear the truth for themselves" (St. Jerome, quoted by Wordsworth). To the same effect wrote SS. Ambrose, Hilary, Chrysostom, Theophylact. Among the Reformers, Calvin, Beza, and Melancthon contended for this opinion respecting the Baptist's message to Christ, and in our days Stier and Bishop Wordsworth. On the other hand, Tertullian among the Fathers, and nearly all the modern expositors, believe that the question of John was prompted by his own wavering faith - a faltering no doubt shared in by his own disciples. This conclusion (which we will term A) is adopted, with slightly varying modifications, by Meyer, Ewald, Neander, Godet, Plumptre, Farrar, and Morrison. This way - (A) generally adopted by the modern school of expositors - of understanding the Baptist's question to Jesus, is evidently the conclusion which would suggest itself to all minds who went to the story without any preconceived desire to purge the character of a great saint from what they imagine to be a blot; and we shall presently see that our Lord, in his answer to the question, where a rebuke is exquisitely veiled in a beatitude, evidently understood the forerunner's question in this sense. It is thus ever the practice of Holy Scripture; while it tenderly and lovingly handles the characters of its heroes, it never flinches from the truth. We see God's noblest saints, such as Moses and Elijah (John's own prototype) in the Old Testament, Peter and Paul in the New Testament, depicted in this book of truth with all their faults; nothing is hid. Only one flawless character appears in its storied pages - it is only the Master of Peter and Paul who never turns aside from the path of right.​

    I will say that both sides of the question have compelling points worth considering. I also found it interesting that defenses of John’s faith (as not faltering) have to do with maintaining a blot-free John… a sainthood, of sorts. Only Jesus was perfect in his faith and obedience to God under the Mosaic Covenant. It would follow, then, that John the baptizer was not. Faith can weaken, hope can dash. In my opinion. :)

    You then went on to write:

    I combine all of his words to garner the answer.

    I thought that this is what we were doing, both of us.

    For example, we know that John the baptizer’s faith was still solid when his disciples came and told him that Jesus and his disciples were baptizing people and that everyone was going to Jesus and his disciples for baptism, instead of John— who was still baptizing those who came to him out in the wilderness.

    John replied:

    No one can do anything unless God in heaven allows it. You surely remember how I told you that I am not the Messiah. I am only the one sent ahead of him. At a wedding the groom is the one who gets married. The best man is glad just to be there and to hear the groom's voice. That's why I am so glad. Jesus must become more important, while I become less important. —John 3:27-30 Contemporary English Version (CEV)​

    Again, this account does not preclude a later lapse of faith and faithfulness— as attested by the consistent accounts of other men of God throughout the Biblical record. We all need spiritual encouragement at points in our lives, and John was not the exception— Jesus was, and I want there to be no mistake about that in the discussion.

    You continue:

    I believe God's Word interprets itself through the process of elimination. This is the same reason people believe Jesus doubted when He prayed 'this cup to be removed' from Him. Even though Jesus turned His back on Peter and said such thinking was from the devil, people still believe Jesus was praying He wouldn't have to go through what was coming.​

    I’m not sure I understand you correctly: “the same reason people believe” is “through this process of elimination” —that Jesus doubted… ? It reads: “I believe God's Word interprets itself through the process of elimination. This is the same reason people believe Jesus doubted…” so that’s why I ask.

    You wrote:

    This type of approach to biblical interpretation is contradictory and only leads to endless paradoxes. One can't just assume…

    How is it an assumption that Jesus was fully human, and thus had to consistently bring under his charge and control every urge and inclination the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve live with? (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Job 2:3-5)

    Is it an assumption to read the account as it’s written...

    Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And in His anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.… —Luke 22:42-44 Berean Study Bible (BSB)

    ...And accept it at face value? Even Jesus needed to be encouraged… strengthened in the home stretch and did not falter. Am I to think or believe that John the baptizer, facing his own imminent death, somehow did better?

    John was in prison, not anguish!

    And the account records that an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Jesus. First of all, if Jesus is God in human form, then why would an angel need to come and strengthen God? Even God needs a helping hand?

    Second, I don’t want to confuse faith with sin— in case that’s happening in this exchange between us.

    In other words, I see a distinction between John the baptizer’s faith-based question to Jesus as to whether Jesus was the Messiah or whether someone else would come that everyone should be looking for— and Jesus’ trial in Gethsemane when the angel comes to strengthen him. John’s was an issue of faith, whereas Jesus’ was submission of Adamic will beneath Jehovah’s Will. There had to be the possibility for Jesus to disobey yet his remaining obedient even to a blameless death as the Lamb of God. That an angel came to him to strengthen Jesus conveys to me the immense struggle against Adamic will and inclination Jesus was going through in his final hours.

    And not a single disciple stayed awake, awaiting his return from prayer and his time alone with Jehovah.

    I do think there are believers who believe it was impossible for Jesus to sin because he is God in His human form. Trinitarians, for example, hold to this view toward Jesus. But for Jesus to fulfill his role as the second Adam, he had to be the equivalent of the first Adam to re-balance the scale again and restore the relationship between God and Man. The only difference being: Adam was formed from the dust of the ground, whereas Jesus was formed within the womb of Mary. I’ll leave any arguments and debate over whether Jesus had any of Mary’s genetic material within him (God simply providing the male genetic material to fertilize one of her eggs) to others but admit that my faith doesn’t require it to have been, since irregardless he was born of a descendant of David, just as prophesied.

    You went on to write:

    If we simply infer someone else's meaning in their words, we will always be assuming. Only the speaker has the right to define their words. This is what happened in the Garden of Eden. How many times has someone twisted your words into meaning what you didn't intend to be saying? This is the very core of the issue; communication skills. That in itself is the single most important skill to have in biblical understanding; communication skills. (Well, and word comprehension, and the ability to see patterns in chaos, and computers help. Who wants scrolls opened all over the house, right? lol) But you get the idea…

    I hope that, to this point at least, I’ve offered a sufficient backdrop of scripture to defend against any suggestions that I’m making baseless assumptions.

    You continued:

    -------

    And Jesus' response tells us exactly what John was asking Jesus. Jesus answers as to what was occurring.

    "Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them." Luk 7:22

    So, if we combine the fact that John knew Jesus was the Messiah previously, then through the process of elimination, John could only have been asking if Jesus was the one who was to come that would bring the end of this system of things. We know this because of how Jesus' responds. Jesus would have known John's true intent in his question.

    “Jesus would have known John's true intent in his question” — this is an assumption, I want to point out. At least as written by you.

    Might I suggest an old adage of writers: show, don’t tell.

    Instead of writing “Jesus would have known John’s true intent,” perhaps walk your reader through the scriptures that might lead them to why what you wrote is not a mere assumption. Other occasions when Jesus could discern intent in someone, reading hearts.

    You note that “John could only have been asking if Jesus was the one who was to come that would bring the end of this system of things” but I can’t decide whether you are making an assumption of your own or not, since you use the term “this system of things” and I know you’re referring to the world around us since the first century (correct me, if I am mistaken). In that sense, you are imposing your eschatology on the written account— putting words into the mouth of John the baptizer.

    John, like everyone else, expected the Messiah to be a conquering king. Even the disciples didn't comprehend that Jesus had to die, because this ran against everything everyone believed concerning the Messiah.

    [Continuing in next post...]
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    [Continuing from previous post...]

    Let me bring Elijah back into the conversation:

    Elijah became convinced that he had failed in his mission (1 Kings 19); John may have been asking Jesus, having started feeling like he might have been wrong in his faith (he was actually only wrong in his expectations as to the Messiah, just as Jesus’ own disciples were— and all Jews around them).

    I can’t speak to his heart’s intent or inclination, but in accepting the written record John was asking Jesus if Jesus was the Messiah, or if the Messiah was yet to come that they should instead be looking for.

    And Jesus told John’s disciples to relate to John what they saw: Jesus was healing the lame and sick, the blind were made to see, and he was even restoring some to life.

    These things would take place in the last days of the Mosaic Age, according to the prophets. They were such strong evidence that the end of the Mosaic Age was imminent that Jesus himself noted that if Sodom had seen these things done, its population would never have been destroyed! (Matthew 11:22-24)

    You continue:

    And the way Jesus answers shows John was asking about actions to come. Jesus answered as to what would be occurring.

    I’m not following you here, as far as Jesus telling John’s disciples “what would be occurring” since Jesus is clearly speaking to the miracles he had just performed and was performing:

    When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are You the One who was to come, or should we look for someone else?’ ”

    At that very hour Jesus healed many people of their diseases, afflictions, and evil spirits, and He gave sight to many who were blind. So He replied, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard… —Luke 7:20-22a BSB​

    There is no indication here that I’m seeing that Jesus is speaking in future tense. He spoke to what he had just done, in answer to their question to him being the one (the Messiah).

    After John’s disciples left, Jesus then speaks to the crowds, telling them that John was Elijah as foretold by Malachi who would come to announce the arrival of the great day of Jehovah God, and to preach repentance.

    You continue:

    -------

    So then, Is John the Elijah to come? As you pointed out, Jesus said he was.

    "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah has come already," Mth 10:13

    But, Jesus says Elijah "is coming" to restore all things, even though He says Elijah had already come in John. Is Jesus contradicting Himself here? No…

    Like you, I see no contradiction here.

    But I’m happy that you brought Matthew 10:13 up because here, again, assumptions can play a role in understanding what Jesus told his disciples.

    I want to cite this in some context, as this comes up following Peter, James and his brother John have a vision of Jesus’ transfiguration:

    As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Do not tell anyone about this vision until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

    The disciples asked Him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”

    Jesus replied, “Elijah does indeed come, and he will restore all things. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him whatever they wished. In the same way, the Son of Man will suffer at their hands.”

    Then the disciples understood that He was speaking to them about John the Baptist. —Matthew 17:9-13 BSB​

    The problem I’m perceiving here is if we are artificially imposing something here to match our pre-determined eschatology and hear Jesus saying, “Elijah does indeed come, and he will restore all things,” and, just like that, we’re expecting another coming of Elijah. Not because Jesus said this, but because we hear him saying what we are expecting him to say. We already have concluded that Elijah is coming again, so Jesus is obviously backing our foregone conclusion.

    Again, taking the written word at its word, Jesus is affirming what the scribes say concerning Elijah, since that is what the disciples asked him. He did the same thing on another occasion we’re both familiar with, as recorded at Matthew 5:21-48, when he cites certain Laws of Moses as conveyed by the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 5:20) and proceeds with “But I say to you” or “But I tell you” and then offers a different teaching from that of the scribes and Pharisees. (Matthew 7:28-29)

    This is made clearer when we recognize the telltale “But I tell you” immediately after Jesus cites what it is the scribes say of Elijah.

    The scribes declare that Elijah comes, Jesus declares that Elijah has come but that the scribes and Pharisees preaching Elijah’s coming before the great day of Jehovah God did not recognize Elijah and did with John as they wished… and would soon do the same with Jesus as the Lamb of God. (Cf 2 Corinthians 4:3)

    The account tells us that the disciples understood that Jesus was speaking to them about John the baptizer. There is no mistaken understanding on their part, that somehow they were wrongfully understanding Jesus and that there actually would be another Elijah some two thousand years later— that somehow the disciples had wrong or false expectations on this.

    To suggest otherwise is to, as you expressed it, create a contradiction where there is none to be found.

    You continue:

    It's probable John was asking Jesus if He was the Elijah to come that would restore all things because John knew he wasn't that one. And herein lies what the priests and Levites were actually asking John.

    "He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”" Jhn 1:20,21

    These priests and Levites were asking if John was the one coming before the great day of Jehovah in fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy. John 'did not deny' saying he was not the Elijah.

    "“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes." Mal 4:5

    Now, through the process of elimination, John says he is not that one but asks Jesus if He is. Jesus says there is an Elijah coming, but that John was Elijah as well. Putting this all together tells us that John fulfilled an Elijah type, but that there still is an Elijah to come before Armageddon that will restore all things.

    If it’s okay with you, I want to walk through this account at John 1:19-28…

    And this was John’s testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?” He did not refuse to confess, but openly declared, “I am not the Christ.”

    Pretty straightforward. The priests and Levites ask John who he is, and John tells them that he isn’t the Christ (or, Messiah).

    Then who are you?” they inquired. “Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.”

    Again, pretty straightforward. These same ones ask John if he’s Elijah, and John tells them no, he is not.

    Your question, if I’m understanding you correctly here, is: Aren’t they asking John if he is the Elijah to come?

    If John answers no -- but is Elijah, then he’s lying here.

    However, it’s just as possible that the writer of the account makes a distinction regarding the question of John being the Christ, wherein the author points out that John isn’t denying being the Christ, but that he isn’t the Christ— end of story.

    When they then ask him if he is Elijah, they do not ask if he is the Elijah to come (to suggest/argue otherwise is to read into the inspired text, assuming). Neither does the author here say that John the baptizer denies with his answer, but rather John says “I am not.”

    Was John lying, since Jesus plainly tells his disciples that John is the Elijah whom the scribes spoke about as coming?

    How you seem to be reconciling this alleged contradiction is by imposing additional words into the written account:

    ““Then who are you?” they inquired. “Are you [the] Elijah [who is to come before the great day of Jehovah God]?””​

    Again, this is an imposition on the written account, forcing words into the inspired record in accordance with your current eschatology.

    In asking whether he was Elijah, the indication is that they are asking if he is, literally, Elijah himself. Are you Elijah?

    Keep in mind that the scribes taught that Elijah would come (a teaching confirmed by Jesus himself), but Jesus told his disciples that the scribes and Pharisees didn’t recognize John as the prophesied fulfillment of Elijah’s return before the great day of Jehovah God. And Jesus certainly was neither lying nor mistaken!

    I posit, then, that just as Jews were expecting a literal, earthly king and ruler who would throw off the yoke of Rome, they likewise were in expectation of Elijah himself returning before the Messiah-King— as written of by Malachi some 400 years earlier.

    In other words, John isn’t lying when he answers the question they’re asking. He isn’t denying here, either. He’s answering their question: he’s not Elijah.

    This has the convenience of bearing no contradiction that then needs to be explained away.

    The same can be discerned in their asking John whether he is the Prophet (asking the same thing again, in a different way, since Elijah and the Prophet are one and the same, unless I am mistaken).

    TLDR: John is the Elijah whom Malachi wrote regarding, not the Elijah which the scribes were looking for— just as they were looking for a conquering Messiah to defeat Rome’s hold over Judea.

    I don’t know that I’m seeing humility with John’s answering his questioners, in not laying claim to his serving as Malachi’s Elijah, either. Like I said, the simplest, most straightforward conclusion I’m finding with this is that John’s replying that he is not their expected Elijah, and that Jesus confirms this when he says that the scribes and Pharisees didn’t recognize John’s role as Elijah.

    I could go on, expanding further, but ten pages into this response, I figure I’d better just wrap this one up and get it on its way to you.

    For your perusal and consideration,
    Your fellow believer, Timothy
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    Actually, in re-reading this, I think I'm mistaken as to Elijah and the Prophet being one and the same. I'd have to double-check to be certain, but I think I remember the Prophet as being associated with the Essene movement which was underway at this time, of which John the baptizer has been linked with by various scholars and historians (as a recognized prophet by the Essenes, but not a member of the movement insofar as I've ever been able to establish when I research the subject).

    If correct, then the scribes who came to John asking him if he was the Prophet would have originated with their knowledge of the Essene movement in that time period— it was, after all, one of three major sects in Judea, with the other two being the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees. The Prophet that the Essenes favored centrally to their movement was Isaiah, which suggests that the scribes were asking John if he was Isaiah, then, if he wasn't Elijah. [https://www.worldhistory.org/Essenes/]

    Alright, returning everyone to their regularly-scheduled program...

    --Tim
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2022
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Absolutely none... All I care about is accuracy. In fact, it wouldn't even matter to me if these events actually occurred or not. My faith is based on the Bible as a whole, not on how people reacted within.

    But that was my point. If we want to understand the truth, it doesn't matter how we would have reacted. If I imprint how I would react to any circumstance, I will be bias. Again, just because you might react a certain way, doesn't mean that's how John would have reacted.

    Hey, I wouldn't have yelled out in a crowd of people and called out Herod's infidelity. But hey, John chose too... So...

    One is a fact; the other is an assumption. We know for a fact John understood Jesus as the Messiah; the assumption is that John later doubted that He was. There is no biblical text discussing John had doubted Jesus was the Messiah. That doesn't mean he ever didn't doubt. All I care about is what the biblical narrative is saying. I prefer to infer the facts we have into John's words rather than assume.

    I'm not arguing that John never doubted Jesus was the Messiah. What I'm arguing is what the text is saying. If the text never indicates Johh doubted, that doesn't mean he never did; it just means it is never discussed. And I do not believe anywhere in the text is John ever depicted as doubting. Again, not that he ever didn't, but simply the text does not include those moments.

    That's just how I see it. You may disagree...

    Jesus put John on a pedestal next to Him.

    "Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist." Mth 11:11

    Jesus was born of woman, wasn't He? One could take His words at face value here too.

    I do not believe Jesus would have said this of John had he just been doubting. Is this an assumption? No, I believe Jesus' reaction to all who doubted around Him is proof. Jesus didn't praise, but rather admonishes those who doubted.

    There is no instance in the text where John is ever said to have doubted or feared. He had no fear knowing his words would likely get him killed when calling out Herod. The point is there is nothing in the text indicating John doubted therefore wouldn't you consider that to be the definition of an assumption?

    Again, just because it doesn't say he ever doubted doesn't mean he never did, but that's not the question we're asking. We're asking why John asked the question he did. Should we look on it how we would react in his circumstance?

    How does the Bible define itself? That's what we're discussing here.

    But that is always the issue with biblical interpretation. Or interpreting anyone's words, for that matter. If we look at things as how we would react, we will never understand others. Just because we would react a certain way does not mean that is how someone else might. Just because we say something for a certain reason doesn't mean that everyone who says that says it for the same reason we do.

    I would say yes. Saying John was doubting with his question is an assumption given all of the factors. But that doesn't mean my disagreement with you has anything to do with anything...lol We simply disagree.

    We disagree more on the text than we agree. That's always been the case. That doesn't mean I don't choose to learn from our discussions. I learn more from studying opposing views rather than to be stuck in my own mind...

    Again, just because one person would react a certain way does not mean all will.

    And just because the text never indicates Noah ever doubted, that doesn't mean he never did. It just simply means it never discusses it. And that's what I'm arguing with John.

    I disagree. I don't see a single question by John posed to Jesus as determining John's faith. It was one question. We are debating what John meant by one question. To me it's nothing more and nothing less than that. One question from John does not indicate whether he was a saint or not. Again, it was one question...

    It has nothing to do with my faith or his, for that matter. I am only interested in what John actually was asking Jesus.

    Can you share another instance in the text where John was doubting? If you can't, then does that mean you are assuming he was in his question to Jesus, despite the fact we know he did know Jesus was the Messiah?

    John asked, "Are you the one coming, or are we to expect another?" You say taking that at face value means John was talking about the Messiah. But that would contradict John's previous statements. Therefore you infer John must be doubting. That is the assumption.

    Now, if I take John's words at face value, then John knew Jesus was the Messiah, and was asking if Jesus was the one that would return the kingdom to Israel at that time, as prophesied hundreds of years previously. (The conquering king.) Therefore my view does not contradict John's previous words but rather shows his great faith. Hence Jesus' praise of him.

    So, your view has three assumptions and contradicts John's previous words. While my view has only one assumption and no contradictions. Your three assumptions are that John was asking if Jesus was the Messiah, and the second is that he doubted. And the third is that he was contradicting his previous words.

    My only assumption is that John was asking if Jesus was the one to return the kingdom to Israel at that time. There are no further assumptions in my view, nor are there any contradictions associated with it.

    That's why I choose my view over yours... That's just me...

    I believe the Bible interprets itself through the process of elimination.

    However, the same approach one takes to believe John doubted is the same approach people use when saying Jesus doubted.

    To claim Jesus was just doubting, and then to say the cup was the events to come, are two assumptions. You assume the cup means the events to come. There is nothing anywhere in the text to say a cup was the events to come. Then you assume Jesus was doubting. Then you make a third assumption saying Jesus was contradicting His own words to Peter.

    This is the same exact way you interpret John's words.

    However, my view has no contradictions and no assumptions. Jesus said the cup was His blood that same night, and probably within that very hour! To say He was speaking of a different cup is the assumption. I say He's speaking of the same cup He was just speaking of earlier. So asking the Father to remove the cup from Him meant His blood. We know from the OT that the blood contains our life force.

    Jesus turned His back on Peter when he suggested this wouldn't happen to Him. So your view says that Jesus was thinking thoughts of the satan.

    My view does not contradict His words to Peter, and makes no assumptions. And hey, it makes a whole lot more sense to me too. Is my faith based on whether Jesus doubted or not? No, and I'm not sure why you would ask such a question. Would your faith be hindered if you found out Jesus never doubted? Would your faith be shaken if you found out you were wrong?

    Again, this discussion has nothing to do with my faith; it only has to do with what is actually meant by what is said in the text. That's why I can separate my faith from understanding what the text is saying.

    Yes, in my opinion, that is an assumption that is not based on scriptural fact. Jesus turned His back on Peter when he suggested these events would not come upon Him, and said Peter's thoughts were the satan's. To assume Jesus later decided to think just like Peter is to say that Jesus was thinking like the satan.

    Sorry, but I believe the text is clear. And I believe saying Jesus was praying to get out of what was coming is an assumption that contradicts the text. The cup was His blood. He had just said that earlier that night.

    But this is just me. Your faith isn't based on whether I agree with you or not, right? :)

    The term GOD, God, god just means ruler. Jesus being GOD, God or god does not have anything to do with His nature, His abilities etc... It just means He is a ruler.

    In this, we are in agreement.

    It's not an assumption in my opinion given what is written about Jesus' abilities.

    "But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?" Mth 9:4

    "How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Jhn 1:48

    "An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side." Luk 9:46

    To keep from writing a long post, I consider my audience. If I am sure you know what I'm talking about, I prefer not to write out every thought and scripture as if the other had no knowledge of the subject.

    That's just me.

    No, my understanding of John's intent has nothing to do with my eschatological beliefs. One could still believe all prophecy was fulfilled in 70ce and still see John's words as I do.

    "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes." Mal 4:5

    It all comes down to what you believe the "awesome day of the LORD" is. I happen to believe that is still future, and you believe that has passed. That has nothing to do with the fact that I believe John was asking Jesus if He was going to return the kingdom to Israel at that time.

    And that is why I believe that was the content of John's question. After all, that is how Jesus answered. That is the answer Jesus gave John. Jesus didn't say anything about His being the Messiah or not. What in Jesus' answer would indicate He was answering as to His being the Messiah that John had not previously heard?

    John's disciples had already told John the things Jesus was doing before they even left John. Before John's disciples left to go ask Jesus John's question, they told him all the things Jesus was doing. John had already heard all of the things Jesus was doing.

    "They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jhn 7:16-19

    So, you're saying Jesus told John something he already knew? It makes no sense to answer John with something he already knew unless John was asking something else. John was asking if something else was going to happen other than what was already reported to him. And that's why Jesus answered the way He did. He was telling John not to expect more than what had already been reported to him.

    And that's what I see toward you. You see things that back up your eschatology belief structure.

    There is nothing in the text to indicate either way what the disciples thought about Jesus' words. Other than what we both already know, Jesus was speaking of John as the one they did not recognize.

    I'm not inserting or assuming anything. Where did the Levites get the question? They got it from Mal 4:5. Therefore they were asking John if he was the one spoken of in Mal 4:5, which means everything that is written about the Elijah to come. That's where their question came from brother...

    And why would they ask this question? Because of what is written in Mal 4:5. Right?

    And I disagree.

    But you know, it doesn't matter. Our discussions aren't about convincing the other; they are simply about sharing our current understanding. When you share yours, I am well versed in the Preterist ideology. It allows me to confirm or deny my own understanding.

    While we disagree, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate you sharing, brother...

    Joshua
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    We're still off-topic here, of course, but I'll do my best to respond to the points you've raised...

    Accuracy is important, of course. Essential, even. But it is going to be relative to what we know at any given point. Or understand, for that matter.

    Let me give an example here: The understandings you've had about scripture and prophecy throughout your life have changed and matured, have they not? Yet at any given point or stage in your walk as a believer, were you not of the conviction that what you believed was accurate, that you had studied on the matter and arrived at a conclusion tantamount to certainty? And out of conviction, did you not argue and promote your certainty about having the accuracy on such-and-such subject or matter to others? Yet what you once felt you had it right about isn't what you've come to believe, in spite of earlier convictions that you were right then.

    This is no judgment or criticism on my part, either, because I have certainly witnessed my own understanding change through the years to the point where I look back at my old posts on Pathways Online and wonder what I was thinking back then. But I spoke and wrote as though I had it all accurately, that's for sure!

    I, too, believe the things written and have faith in the promises therein. And I have faith that what has been written is true, as well. I appreciate the Bible for its candor, I want to also add.


    I'm not sure that truth is limited to what we literally read. It seems to have as much to do with our response to what we read. We become a part of the overarching truth witnessed through the written Bible. The Bible's accounts are able to affect us in diverse ways, and we respond to its truths, becoming living witnesses to the power of God in our life.

    Is it bias to imagine and empathize with Jesus as he enters the final days and then hours and finally moments of his life, impaled a hot, searing sun, naked and exposed before all who passed by, condemned alongside two thieves? Is it bias to imagine the deep love Jesus had for Lazarus and to imagine the sorrow he felt as he wept over the loss?

    These, too, are truths, and we can relate to them, can we not? Who isn't moved when Jesus restores the young girl to life? Or when Jesus eases the distraught father's misery over his son's possession by a demon that compelled the son to hurt himself in fire?

    There is also truth to be found when we look in the divine mirror of God's written word, the Bible. We are compelled to examine our hearts and confess that we are no better than even the greatest men of the Bible who at times stumbled in spite of their deep and confident faith in God.

    But you're right that it doesn't matter how we would have reacted in so-and-so's place. We cannot know that unless we find ourselves in the same predicament, although we can try to decide and determine beforehand. Our flesh is weak and beggarly and is just as likely to betray us, and this should definitely keep us humble on such matters.


    What I was bringing out in the post was one school of thought as to the passage and John the baptizer's message which he gave to his disciples whom he sent to Jesus. It's a line of reasoning I've come across during my time on the internet , and it continues to be a prevailing view among believers today, whether it's accurate or not.

    I'm actually of an alternative view, and I'll get to that in a moment. But I do want to mention if I haven't before that it's my understanding that an assumption is a conclusion in the absence of facts. Thus, assumptions are baseless conclusions.

    Is it a baseless conclusion to suggest that John the baptizer was asking his question in a moment of doubt? This seems to be where our disagreement enters into the discussion: your position is that since the text doesn't state that John was asking out of doubt, this was not some crisis of faith the baptizer was having.

    However, neither does the text state that John was asking from a position of faith, or asking a rhetorical question.

    The text, or passage, itself simply doesn't tell us what was the cause of John's question. Neither does it record John's disciples returning to him, so do we conclude that they didn't report back to John?

    Since the text doesn't say they did, they must not have, according to the ruler you are measuring with.

    John wasn't asking out of doubt, and his disciples never returned to him. Lazarus was raised from the dead by Jesus, but the Bible doesn't say that Lazarus later died again. (After all, doesn't scripture tell us that it is appointed for men once only to die?) This is a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into, Stanley.

    I think the one thing we can establish is that it's possible, since the text doesn't say either way. Then, it becomes a matter of whether it's probable that John was needing some encouragement? While I presented the position of those who think so in my previous post, I'm actually thinking it's not probable, that it's unlikely. But it's important to consider the opposing conclusion for the sake of discussion, and weigh its merits. Whether I'm writing that from opinion or personal experience, I'm not certain.

    But I better keep moving... your response was lengthy, too. :)


    Except that the text itself doesn't tell us what motivated the question from John as he sat in prison, so it looks like we have to draw an inference and engage in eisegesis.

    In other words, you are utilizing Jesus' words about John that Jesus said to the crowds, praising John in his role as a prophet (the final prophet God would send to Israel, I'll add), as your proof that John was not having some doubts as he sat in prison. This is based on your predetermined view that Jesus would never praise someone who doubted.

    What I see happening here is a conflation of John in the station of prophet (his actions in his ministry) with his human side, which can experience sadness, hunger, isolation, and even fear.

    Maybe the issue here is the word choice. Maybe it isn't that John doubted, but rather, he may have been feeling discouraged. Personally, I believe it was highly improbable that John was doubting Jesus in his role as the Messiah. I was presenting the argument in support of this view simply because it needed to be discussed from the supporting view's perspective since it is a view held by many believers today.

    But to shorten things up here, let’s look at the account again…

    When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" — Matthew 11:2-3 NIV​

    We know from the previous verse that Jesus had just gone on to preach in the towns of Galilee after a session with his disciples.

    So, he sends his disciples to Jesus, and they are to ask Jesus the question.

    Here’s where I hope you’ll bear with me.

    If you’ll recall, there was another occasion involving John the baptizer’s disciples, and that was when Jesus came to be baptized by John:

    The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!" When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. . . Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. —John 1:35-37, 41-42 NIV​

    John the baptizer, on another occasion, spoke with his own disciples when they complained to him about Jesus drawing bigger crowds:

    Then a dispute arose between John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the issue of ceremonial washing. So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Look, Rabbi, the One who was with you beyond the Jordan, the One you testified about—He is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him.” —John 3:25-26 BSB​

    I gather from the text that they’re speaking about Jesus, since John 3:22 says as much. To my knowledge this is also the only place where Jesus performed baptisms, confirmed by the disciples of John’s report to their Rabbi— but please feel welcome to correct me.

    Continuing:

    John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but am sent ahead of Him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom stands and listens for him, and is overjoyed to hear the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must increase; I must decrease…” —John 3:27-30 BSB​

    Again, he’s telling this to his disciples who had just come to him from Jesus.

    He continues...

    The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The One who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what He has seen and heard, yet no one accepts His testimony. Whoever accepts His testimony has certified that God is truthful. For the One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” —John 3:31-34 BSB​

    First, this establishes who “the One” is that John later sends his disciples to ask about when he’s imprisoned.

    I think it reasonable to believe that even in prison his disciples found a way to get to John, that he might receive word of what was going on with Jesus and his followers. And I think it reasonable to believe that John, even as he sat in a dank, miserable cell as a prisoner, was looking out for his disciples’s best interest, sending them to Jesus.

    The difference I think worth noting is that John told Andrew and the unnamed disciple of John who Jesus was and they immediately responded by becoming followers of Jesus, and Andrew even going to get his brother, Simon Peter. With these disciples he sent to Jesus, he sent them with a question.

    I’m inclined to believe that the question was for the disciples who had come from John, not for John. He was sending his disciples to Jesus because he knew his days were numbered. He was to decrease even as Jesus increased.

    I like how the Berean Study Bible handles the translation:

    Then John’s disciples informed him about all these things. So John called two of his disciples and sent them to ask the Lord, “Are You the One who was to come, or should we look for someone else?” —Luke 7:18-19 BSB​

    “...He sent them to ask…”

    I just don’t think the question was for him. It was for them.

    And they didn’t get it, just as John had told them previous, He testifies to what He has seen and heard, yet no one accepts His testimony.

    Luke’s account reads:

    At that very hour Jesus healed many people of their diseases, afflictions, and evil spirits, and He gave sight to many who were blind. So He replied, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.

    Jesus is here quoting from Isaiah 35, of course, where we find:

    Then the eyes of those who are blind will be opened, And the ears of those who are deaf will be unstopped. Then those who limp will leap like a deer, And the tongue of those who cannot speak will shout for joy. For waters will burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. And the redeemed of the LORD will return And come to Zion with joyful shouting, And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away. —Isaiah 35:5-6, 10 BSB​

    More importantly, the disciples of John don’t recognize Jesus as Andrew and the other disciple did. In fact, they are recorded as returning to John, at which point Jesus speaks to the crowd, presumably to report again.

    There does seem to be one part of the message Jesus gives John’s disciples which must’ve been encouraging for John to hear, and that’s this:

    Blessed is the one who does not fall away on account of Me. —Luke 7:23 BSB​

    Was Jesus aware of what John had told his disciples some time before this, when John was explaining to them that he must decrease even as Jesus increased?

    Regardless, Jesus is clearly sending a blessing back to his cousin, John, for his faithfulness and humility. At least it’s clear to me, because then proceeds to issue a public blessing of John’s fortitude and faithfulness to the crowds, as the account goes on to relate.

    The disciples of his who had come to ask Jesus if he was the one they were to expect, who then witnessed a series of miracles in that very hour (Luke 7:21), and it affected them nada. Completely the opposite from Andrew and the other disciple of John’s. They went back and reported to John. They just weren’t seeing the truth that was right there in front of them as Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus.

    I have to pause, however, so I’ll at least go ahead and post this before I hit the site’s word limit again, lol!

    Submitted, as always, for your perusal and consideration,

    A fellow believer, Timothy
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    I think I mentioned in my previous reply that I have been presenting a popular view of the passage, and am inclined to agree with you as to the question not stemming from some doubtfulness on the part of Jesus' cousin, John— and am inclined to believe that he had sent these disciples that they might follow Jesus, knowing his fate as a final prophet to the nation of Israel, and what Israel did to all the prophets sent to her. Unlike Andrew and another unnamed disciple (John 1:35-37, 40-41), these two evidently returned to John rather than recognizing who they had encountered.

    Having said that, I want to note that we're never told 1) where they went upon leaving (we infer that they returned to John with what Jesus told them to tell John), or, 2) John's response to the message they (presumably) told him upon their return— in any of the synoptic gospels nor the Johannine gospel account.

    Like you pointed out, all we have is what Jesus says to the crowds after the disciples of John left. The issue that arises is that we still don't know what happened when John's disciples returned to him. Without that, I don't think we can establish with certainty whether this is an account of John the baptizer needing a booster shot of faith or not after receiving word that people were declaring Jesus a prophet (Luke 7:16-18) or he was sending his disciples to Jesus even as he did Andrew and the unnamed disciple previously, or some other reason.

    Nor do I believe we can utilize what Jesus says to the crowds about John to establish what happened when John's disciples returned to John the baptizer and John's response— which would've given us the missing variable in what prompted the question by courier from prison by John in the first place.

    Why?

    Well, at face value, the account reads that John is even greater than Jesus ["I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John." This certainly includes Jesus himself, born of Mary!] Are we to infer, then, that John the baptizer's faith was greater even than that of Jesus, to prove that John didn't dispatch his disciples to Jesus from a place of uncertainty?

    Secondly, there is nothing I can find in what Jesus says to the people who were there when John the baptizer's disciples left that speaks to John's present state of faith— only what the people's expectations were when they went out to John and were baptized by him, Jesus's confirmation of their expectation including fulfillment of Malachi's prophecy in John serving in the station of the final prophet from Jehovah God, and his instruction about those in the kingdom of God, now imminent with the appearance of the promised Messianic King-Priest.

    Regardless, we're not told what prompted John's question nor his response to what his disciples returned to tell him. All we know is that Jesus told them to return to John and share what they had witnessed, following Jesus' performing miracles (Luke 7:21-23) when they came to Jesus with the question [from John].

    You asked something along the lines of: Would Jesus praise John to the crowds if John had some doubts after hearing that people where declaring Jesus a prophet from God?

    Since Jesus was speaking to the crowds about John in the station of prophet (or anyone, taken at face-value) and how those in the kingdom of God will be greater than even John, the greatest person born of woman— there's nothing to be established here in the matter of the motivation behind John the baptizer's question for his disciples to ask Jesus.

    Further, there is nothing I'm seeing in the parallel accounts to indicate any condemnation by Jesus whatever the reason for the question, which is consistent with other occasions where someone's faith needed reassurance (Cf. Mark 9:24; Luke 22:61:62, 1 Corinthians 15:5).

    Jesus only ever condemned sin and wickedness, to my recollection. Did he condemn Peter when Jesus first appeared to his disciple, for Peter's stumbling in his faith? Or the distraught father because his faith needed bolstering?

    Does our Father in the Heavens condemn us when our faith at times weakens, viewing this a sin and therefore under condemnation?

    The writer of Hebrews was inspired to record:

    "But without faith, no one can please God, for whoever is brought near to God must believe that he exists and that he is the rewarder of those who seek him." —Hebrews 11:6 Aramaic Bible in Plain English

    None of which proves that John the baptizer sent his disciples with the question because of a chink in his armor of faith, but it doesn't preclude it, either. We're not told the Why? of it.

    That leaves inferences, assumptions, and similar attempts to provide a premise for certainty where certainty can't be established. A certainty that isn't really necessary since Jesus establishes that John the baptizer is the prophesied final prophet to Israel (Luke 7:27; Malachi 3:1), as well as the fulfillment of Simeon's prophetic words concerning Jesus. (Cf. Matthew 11:6, Luke 7:23 with Luke 2:34-35a)

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    You know, brother, there is a regular identifiable feature to your perspective in the text. Each interpretation aims to prove a premise or apply a preconceived notion to the biblical narrative. Your Preterist ideology comes first in your approach, and everything must coincide with this understanding, rather than allowing the text to breathe itself out through the process of elimination on its own merit.

    I hope we always speak openly and without concern about stepping on one's toes because I prefer that from others toward me. However, I hope you understand I never intend any attack on your person. I speak to understandings that are not unique to you, dear brother.

    If John is asking if Jesus is the one to restore the kingdom to Israel at that time, that would say there would still be a prophet to come after Jesus. And this fly's directly in the face of the Preterist ideology. You know yourself that if you approach a subject trying to prove an already preconceived notion, you are most likely going to interpret it through confirmation bias. You know this...

    Believing John was sending his disciples to Jesus so that they would follow Him isn't supported in the text.

    However, we know there was an ongoing question in the people's minds and Jesus' disciples.

    "As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately." Luk 19:11

    "So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6

    Through the process of elimination, the only thing John could have been asking was if Jesus was the one to restore the kingdom to Isreal at that time. And Jesus' response shows that John was asking about Malachi's prophecy of the Elijah to come that will restore all things. That's why Jesus connects John to the prophet Elijah because that is the question John was asking. John was showing great faith that Jesus was going to understand what he was asking. John knew he wasn't the one that was going to restore all things, and Jesus tells John through messengers not to expect more than what had already been reported to him. Therefore, the kingdom was not coming to Israel at that time.

    Even though John fulfilled an Elijah role, there was another to come that would restore all things. I know a Preterist will discount this perspective; however, in my view, there is a reason the letters Pre are in Preterist; it is a preconcived approach to interpretation. ;) -Snarky humor- One must apply all scripture to conform to that view, rather than allowing scripture to form one's view.

    This approach is not unique to Preterism, however. The trinity and every other ideology carry the same bias baggage. I have spent the last several years attempting to rid myself of all bias and only allow the text to bear out what it wants to portray. Not that I always succeed, but this is my approach. I don't want to have an ideology to support and only want to know the facts. Not that this is not your approach, but as you know from all of those around us, there are bias levels.

    All love...

    Joshua
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    I hope nobody ever has the idea that anything I write is unique! And I certainly claim no special understanding or insight, nor originality. I'm nobody, in the big scheme of things.

    You are mistaken, however, in writing that "[my] Preterist ideology comes first in [my] approach."

    Preterism, as I presently understand it, is an eschatology, with its conceit being that all of the Law and all of the Prophets were fulfilled in the first century. Millennialism is an eschatology with its own conceit being that all of the Law has been fulfilled as of the first century, but not the Prophets— certain prophecies remain unfulfilled, but are about to be fulfilled at any given moment.

    I suppose that technically these are ideologies, but wouldn’t it be more accurate to identify eschatological views for what they are: eschatological, studies of "last" things.

    Not to be confused with our theology. Our study of scripture and where it leads us in our growing as believers, what we can know, believe, and trust when it comes to our Creator and, since the events of the first century, brought us as close to our Creator as Adam and Eve once had, and moreso! since nowhere in the written word is there indication that Adam and Eve perceived Jehovah God as their Father. Creator, Maker, yes. Beyond that, the record is silent and one would need to turn to extra-Biblical writings to get an idea of how the Jews filled in that blank.

    Yet here, today, in this very moment, He has become Father to us… for us.

    Because of what went down in the first century.

    The rest is… details. And there’s a popular saying about details and who you’ll find in those.

    Our theology and our eschatology are not necessarily interchangeable, although they will inevitably intersect with one another.

    I'll admit: Maybe I’m overthinking it, but the inescapable fact that centers me when it comes to eschatology is that something went down in the first century. Something so significant that man’s calendar is engraved with a division of Time itself, marking the birth of Jesus of Nazareth (although off by some years) in every nation which believes Jesus was born to become the Messiah. Before Christ and After Christ. Non-believers prefer Before Common Era and Common Era, but that division is still right there between the periods in the stream of time, right?

    And maybe I’m mistaken, but the simple fact that we can call God “Father” in our daily lives as believers establishes— for me, at least— that we are no longer under the former Covenant, the Covenant established through the Law of Moses.

    What Covenant was follow the former? The Law of Christ, and the New Covenant, as I presently understand what I read in the scriptures.

    I can see no scriptural reference to any intermediate Covenant that would replace the Mosaic Covenant, until the New Covenant promised in scripture arrived. Do you?

    Speaking candidly here: I, for no reason I can think of, used to separate the Law from the Prophets— this in spite of Jesus plainly saying that he had come to fulfill both the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17-18)

    And, after all, what was the role of the prophets in the Bible? Was it not to call the people and or their leaders out on their transgression of the Law (of Moses), and deliver stern words of warning and judgment from their God? Prophets didn’t come to praise, they came with warning and condemnation.

    Yet the nonsense was still going up to the first century! And it had reached time for things to change, and our Creator reached into our very existence and divided Time into a time before and a time after.

    A new age had come, just as promised.

    And therein is where I was mistaken, because I was looking forward to the Prophets being one day fulfilled for most of my life, and told by others that it was just around the corner. I spent years expounding the very same eschatological views.

    I’ve come to appreciate that the Law [of Moses] and the Prophets are inseparable in scripture. If one passed, then so has the other— since there came to no longer be transgression of the Law of Moses with its passing, the need for prophets to serve as the nation’s God-given conscience, if you will, and warn of divine judgment likewise passed away.

    The writer of Hebrews declares this when they wrote:

    On many past occasions and in many different ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets. But in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. —Hebrews 1:1-2 BSB

    This was written during the events of the first century, was it not?

    Jehovah no longer used prophets to speak to Man, because He speaks to us by His Son, Jesus. And has ever since the first century.

    I guess I’m not seeing how what I just wrote is a result of any “preterist bias."

    It’s a matter of difference in our perspective as we look at these words that inspire us with faith.

    Why would Jehovah revert to sending prophets again after the first century? The writer of Hebrews rules it out because God had spoken by His Son, Jesus.

    If one doesn’t listen to Jesus, what good, then, a prophet from God? It doesn’t reason out for me. (Cf Acts 4:11-12; Acts 10:43; 1 Timothy 2:5)

    Thus my motivation for opening the discussion on the Station of Prophet.

    All this blathering of mine is simply my way of trying to avoid a misunderstanding because you seem to hold the view that I first approach any scripture [nowadays] as it having been fulfilled, when I actually approach the Bible (bias, yes-- but bias is a two-edged sword, I’ve lived long enough to understand. For and against something) from a Covenantal perspective.

    Simply put: are we under the Law of Moses, or Mosaic Covenant— or under the Law of the Christ, our Messianic King-Priest, the Messianic Covenant? Man cannot have any level of relationship with God outside of a Covenant which establishes the terms of that relationship.

    Are we under the Law of Moses?

    Simple.

    If we aren’t, then we are under the Law of the Christ and the Covenant it established. As I alluded to earlier, I know of no intermediate covenant between the two.

    I do want to say this, though: It continues to impress me how The Law of Moses was committed to the memory of Israel. They memorized the Torah verbatim and often. They could recite it from memory! How far can you and I get beyond the Ten? o_O

    Committing it to one's memory didn’t stop God’s people from sinning, but it did identify sin and its legal consequence under the Torah and its massive body of laws and regulations. Some transgressions led to death by stoning!

    What a difference, the Law of Christ!

    The Law of Christ is committed to the heart. Our Father writes His Word upon our hearts now, and our lives begin to change in ways that could never come of the Law of Moses— which could only point to what was promised by Jehovah God.

    All because of what went down there in the first century, as the Age of Moses came to an end; and, we read of those last days of that Age in the words preserved for us in the “New Testament,” with the emphasis on new.

    And this seems to be where we have different perspectives, yet we cannot ignore the fact that there have been no new and inspired writings since the closing of the Christian Greek Scriptures, or “New Testament,” in the vernacular.

    Nor do I expect any to arise. Again, why? Because I believe that the Word is now written upon our heart, not on parchment. And thanks to our Father for granting us an awareness of our spiritual need, because we are surrounded by many who no longer or never were aware of any spiritual need in their lives. Praises to our Father not for a conscience granted by fallen self, but a God-given conscience that comforts us in our righteousness and convicts us in our wickedness. The promised Helper to see us through the tough challenges we seem to invariably and inevitably face during our lives as we walk according to Christ’s example.

    Like you even now, I did formerly continue to await and anticipate something I've come to appreciate we have already been given— certainly and foremost by the observable evidence of what went down in the first century, that divine division of Time itself between two ages: the Age of Moses and the Mosaic Covenant, and the Age of Christ with its Messianic Covenant.

    It's true: I did previously continue to await and anticipate the fulfillment of the prophets’ words, when I seem more clearly now that they, too, found their fulfillment in the events of the first century, inaugurating a new Age, the promised Age to come. The Messianic Age.

    Our Father speaks to us by means of His Son, not by Prophets— which would require a restoration of the Law of Moses, the milieu in which they were sent forth to Israel.

    The difference, I gather, is in our perception of both the words contained in our scriptures and in what we observe and experience in the world around us.

    For, if all of Revelation was fulfilled in the first century, as I write of, then what about this, that, and the other in our present-day lives?

    If Jesus is reigning as Messiah and King-Priest, then something’s obviously wrong because the world around us continues to be a mess. Thus, Revelation remains unfulfilled to some extent, surely!

    Aren’t the events taking place across the globe and its various nations proof that not everything that the prophets prophesied has yet been fulfilled?

    And what about the dead? We still build cemeteries and dig tombs and mourn the loss of our loved ones to death. Revelation’s unfulfilled, if one just opens their eyes and looks around.

    We’re still mean to one another, and bear grudges, and even murder.

    None of this will be happening when we’re in the Messianic Age. That's the conceit of those still looking for what we've already received, and what yet awaits us when we shrug this wasting vessel off, having finished our own course faithfully.

    What about all that, and more? I get it.

    Not to mention it’s been over two millennium when the Messianic Age was to last only one— another epic failure if I’m correct in what I’ve been writing: that everything written by the prophets has been fulfilled, and the station of prophet is obsoleted by the New Covenant and it’s provisions— namely, God now speaking to us by His Son, and our God-given conscience that works alongside our self in our daily lives and guides us in the way of Christ, our Exemplar.

    As I mentioned, it just appears as though we’re looking at the same information and arriving at two different perspectives.

    Oh, and those pesky questions, of course. :)

    But the bias you speak of…? Its basis is because I believe there is sufficient evidence to establish we are no longer under the Law of Moses, which follows that we must, then, be under the Law of Christ. Not because of my eschatological views (preterist), but my theological views (covenantal).

    I take Jesus at his word when he said that he had come to fulfill the Law and the Prophets.

    The former things have passed away, brother. Both the Law of Moses and the words of the Prophets, because Jehovah God sent His Son. (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16)

    Again, that is my theological view, not my eschatological view— which goes into how that came about, bringing the Mosaic Age to its end in our first century, and the beginning of… well, therein lie the differences as our individual perceptions comes into play, I’m afraid.

    Submitted for your perusal and consideration,
    A fellow believer. Timothy
     

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