Revelation

HadAmazon.com: Triumph of the Lamb: A Commentary on Revelation: Books: Dennis E. Johnson a great men’s retreat last weekend with my church. About 50 men gathered in the crisp mountain air at PCCC to hear Dennis Johnson (professor at WSCAL and author of the acclaimed commentary on Revelation, Triumph of the Lamb) lecture on Eschatology. The teaching was excellent. Hopefully I will soon be able to point you to 4 hours of .mp3, but in the meantime, I can offer Dr. Johnson’s breakdown of the Three Mills, which is more succinct than Bahnsen’s, if not more accurate.

  1. Premillenial: Christ will return bodily (pre millenium, “before the thousand years”) to defeat and destroy the Antichrist, and then he will reign for 1,000 years over the present earth, partially purged of human rebellion and its toxic byproducts but still infected by the curse that started when Adam ate the forbidden fruit. After Jesus’ worldwide reign there will be a second rebellion against his rule and another war; then, finally, the new heaven and earth without the curse, suffering, sorrow, or death.
  2. Postmillenial: After the fall of Jersalem (or of Rome, or some other historical intervention of God) and before his bodily return, Christ extends his kingdom by the Gospel, so that most people in most nations are converted and their cultures redeemed, resulting in long life and social justice; then after this “millenium” (1,000 years symbolic of a long era), a final rebellion, to be put down at Christ’s return and the last battle, followed by the new heaven and earth.
  3. Amillenial: Through Christ’s death and resurrection Satan has already been bound, unable to hold the Gentile nations in ignorance and spiritual darkness, thwarted in his desire to gather a global coalition to destroy the church. The gospel now advances by the Spirit’s power, but in the face of constant and often violent opposition, while th emartyrs rule with Christ in heaven. Not long before Jesus’ bodily return, there will be a dramatic escalation of persecution against the church, but this final rebellion will be brief (“for a little while”), for Christ will return, hastening to the defense and relief of his besieged followers throughout the world, destroying their enemies once and for all, including the last enemy, Death, which will be erased in the resurrection of Christians. These climactic events bring an end to the “old” heaven and earth, stained as they are by human sin and suffering it has caused. In place of the old, the first, John sees a new heaven and earth, in which the church shines as the New Jerusalem, the spotless bride of the Lamb.
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109 Responses

  1. In his lectures did he discuss the “old heaven” you mention in amillenialism? If so, what is wrong with this “old heaven”?

    By wrong I mean has heaven itself been affected by sin? If so, how?

  2. I think you have a conflict in terminology there: “heaven” does not mean the usual concept of “setting of the spiritual afterlife, full of clouds and angels and harps”, so that “old heaven” implies that a place of perfection is currently tainted by sin — but “heaven” just means the extraterrestial portion of creation, i.e. the sky, stars, sun, moon, etc. And yes, that part of creation is also tainted by sin: “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” (Rom 8:22).

    So he did not address your question specifically, but he did make a short demonstration of the non-chronological nature of Revelations, by showing how the heavens are wiped out in Revelation 6:14, but are back in existence so that they can be 1/3 wiped out in 8:12, and wiped out again in 20:11.

  3. What about the Rapture? I thought we as Christians recieve a “get out of jail free” card to escape all the calamity?

  4. Rube & Daniel,

    Another way to understand “heaven” is “invisible/spiritual realm”. And as Satan and the fallen angels, demons, are part of that realm, yeah, that realm too is tainted with sin, and that’s why there’s a battle going on. This spiritual realm will not be made new (Rev 21) until after the beast is captured and thrown into the lake of fire, along with all those who worship him (Rev 19).

    That’s how I understand it, though admittedly, eschatology is by no means my strong suit.

    E

  5. Matt,

    The view that includes the Rapture was not the only view comprehended under premillinnialism, so that’s why that’s not discussed as being specific to that entire category.

    But anyway, Christ promised not that we wouldn’t suffer, but that we would suffer. But don’t worry, you shouldn’t conceive of a 7 year tribulation where the whole world comes under the control of someone like Hitler, and every Christian everywhere will be tortured to death. Don’t fear something like that happening. Maybe it will happen to a few here and there, as in Turkey recently, but it won’t happen to all of us everywhere. And besides, if you fear that, then you are fearing the wrong thing. Jesus said not to fear man who can destroy the body, but to fear God instead, who can destroy the body and soul in hell. Paul goes on to encourage us, saying that if God is for us, who can be against us?

    We’re all going to die someday. It might hurt when it happens. But when it’s over, it won’t matter anymore. So don’t be afraid, our hope is not in this world, but in the age to come, when we will no longer know what it means to want or have desires, because all of them will be fulfilled to a greater extent than our minds are even capable of comprehending.

    Besides, the vast majority of the world today has no stomach for torture. Even if some Hitler type did take over the whole world, and wanted to persecute Christians, he’d probably round us all up and put us into camps away from everyone else. Life would be hard there, but certainly you could handle it, especially if you keep your eyes focused on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    E

  6. On your particular version of amill, is it a real possibility that Jesus could come back any second?

    Btw, I’m not postmill, or amill, or premill. Definitely not pre, but undecided between post and a, or even if one needs to/or can decide.

  7. Sure, Jesus could come back any second. I suppose an argument could be made that we haven’t seen the great apostasy at the end of the Millenium yet (Rev 20:8), or the wholesale conversion of ethnic Jews (Rom 11:26), but in general I don’t think “behold, I come quickly” is intended to make us think only of A.D. 70, but to keep us in a mindset that Jesus could come back any second.

  8. I love the idea of a “wholesale conversion of ethnic Jews” except one thing. Is there really any such thing?

    I think i am getting conflicting reports here from Rube and Echo. Rube answered my “old heaven” question by thinking of the subject as referring to outer space or something. Echo seems to be more towards what I was referring to. The spiritual realms, how/why are they changed? Evidently the speaker didn’t talk about this so I’ll ask it in this forum.

    Do you see a “change” in the “spiritual realms” at the second coming? If so, why?

  9. This is probably persistently answering my question instead of yours, but the reason I interpret “heavens” as outer space etc., is because the Bible everywhere speaks of the sun, moon, stars, and sky (Matt 24, Rev 6:14, etc.)

    To answer your question, I guess I would say Echo’s response sounds good to me. The “spiritual realms” will certainly be “changed” for the better by the removal of Satan and demons. Or whatever Revelation 20:10 means.

  10. I think another way to ask this question is what’s the point of heaven as most evangelicals and Muslims think of it after the consummation has arrived. There ain’t gonna’ be any ‘heaven’ (or a better way to say it, is there ain’t gonna’ be any need for heaven) once the new Jerusalem comes down. At which point I will no longer be able to sin and my golf swing will be better than Tiger’s.

  11. I’m open to correction if I am wrong, of course. While you’re at it, answer me this: will procreation take place on the new earth? If not, why not?

  12. I love the idea of a “wholesale conversion of ethnic Jews” except one thing. Is there really any such thing?

    Depends on how you interpret Rom 11. Apparently there are even some Amil/Postmil who believe that there will be a revival among ethnic Jews. I am not convinced one way or the other, but like you, think it would be great for God to work wholesale conversion of [insert ethnic group here].

  13. my golf swing will be better than Tiger’s

    You mean exactly as good as Tiger’s? Or are you assuming Tiger is not elect?

    will procreation take place on the new earth?

    Do you mean having actual babies, or just doin’ it? In both cases, I think the answer will be no, since we will not be married or given in marriage, and our “Brideness” to his “Groomness” wouldn’t work like that. Also, I think that in the consummation, our mandate to be fruitful and multiply to fill the earth will have been fulfilled.

    I’m still wondering though, whether there will be animals. If not, then probably no plants either — no life except for us image-bearers. Some strange kind of wonderful New Earth that will be — all bare rocky hillsides, dirt plains, and empty oceans. It might also depend on whether you think our role in heaven will include any analogue to Adam’s mission to tend the garden. Will we still have vocation, even when we have entered into our rest, and are thus no longer laboring? The consummation should be just one long (eternal) Sabbath, right?

  14. Regarding the outer space thing I am in totally agreement that is commonly referred to as “heavens” and will indeed be changed I was simply passing over that part assuming it was understood and going with the spiritual understanding of heaven.

    much of the conversation here has already been discussed on my “ooh baby” post but what I am really interested in hearing is if there is a supposition of the “new heavens and new earth” referring to a physical AND spiritual realm eternally. Or are they one?

    As for the “ethnic Jew” subject I bring that up pondering the DNA of who is and who isn’t an “ethnic Jew” after all Jesus himself had gentiles as ancestors. Therefore how much “Hebrew” DNA makes you an ethnic Jew? Thus how can there possibly be a large conversion of this ethnicity?

  15. Bruce,
    Re:10

    I think we are pondering the same question here. Right now we all agree there is a spiritual and physical realm (I hope) and there is a difference between the two. Absent from body, present with the Lord.

    We also agree that at the 2nd coming there will be a receiving of resurrection bodies, new earth all that jazz. The question then is does there continue to be two realities i.e. one where our “physical” resurrected bodies dwell (new earth) and one where God dwells (new heaven)?

    such an idea (I think) seems contradictory to the “beatific vision” in that why would God create a “new earth” that we would be completely uninterested in as we are consumed with simply seeing Christ?

    see Spurgeon’s take on I John 3:2
    http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0061.htm

  16. I would be interested in the mp3 link. This is a subject that was one of my dad’s hobbies. I’m afraid I don’t completely fall into any of the particular camps here, either. I had the @$#%@ scared out of me as a child through viewing such classics as “A Thief in the Night” and all of its sequels, and I remember thinking of the 2nd coming of Jesus as a kind of “Christian horror flick” — “Jesus is coming kids, and He’s REALLY MAD!!!” I didn’t get a sense of the profound joy we should all feel at seeing our Savior face to face.

    Then I lived through the 70’s and 80’s, in which the coming of Jesus was seen as “right around the corner” — many songs and hymns spoke of it as immediate, and Chuck Smith even said, “I don’t think we will see the 90’s before Jesus comes.”

    When I arrived in Poway, Pastor Doug opened my eyes to the virtues of the amil position (he called it a “victorious revival eschatology), and answered many of my annoying questions. I remember Pastor George Evans preaching one Sunday on “double vision” — the tendency of evangelicals to see two churches (Israel and the Church), two 2nd comings of Jesus (one secret rapture and one victorious return), etc. I had always been skeptical of the “secret return” of Jesus for Christians idea, so that rung a bell for me as well.

    At present, I am on an eschatological journey, perhaps trying to embrace some elements several positions. Perhaps I will share more later.

    How did Johnson see the 7 churches in Revelation?

  17. Re: New Heavens, New Earth

    I like what Bruce says, surprise, surprise.

    But the thing is, the Bible was written by people who didn’t make a distinction between spiritual heaven and the sky. They thought the sky was where angels live – stars, and under the earth, in the waters under the earth (flat earth, and dig a hole, get water, surrounded by oceans, which was connected to the waters under the earth), lived the demons. Waters above, waters below. That was why the sky was blue, because of the water. So the waters represented the spiritual realm.

    Anyway, it’s all a bit confusing to us. But it’s anachronistic to try to place a Copernican world view on the Bible, because the human authors didn’t have that view, nor did their audience, so they weren’t speaking that way.

    But I still like what Bruce says. God will dwell with us. The spiritual and fleshly distinction between the realms will be done away with. The realms will become one.

    E

  18. Wacky,

    Re:6

    As a card carrying amillennialist I would say one of the best things about amillennialsim is that it is the only position that can consistently maintain an imminent second coming.

    The only think keeping Christ from returning today (that is assuming he doesn’t return today) is his patience. In other words he can come back any time.

  19. Echo,
    RE 17

    The point regarding a Copernican world view is well taken, but that doesn’t help anyone answer, “the realms will be one”.

    There are numerous verses that describe a “new heaven” and a “new earth” (in Isaiah, II Peter and Revelation)

    Why would there be a distinction if the implication is that they will be “one”?

    That’s confusing to me, but so is the idea that there would be two realities , One spiritual and the other a new kind of physicality.

    In Revelation 21 the glory of God seems to be that which has replaced the “heavens” (at least the sun and the moon). This surely doesn’t mean that God has changed/replaced/made new his glory does it?

    lets simplify the question…

    What is the “new heavens”?

    What is the “new earth”?

  20. The only thing keeping Christ from returning today (that is assuming he doesn’t return today) is his patience. In other words he can come back any time.

    Not to say that you’re wrong, but another perspective is that Christ is waiting for all of the elect to come in. I think “any/all” in 2 Peter 3:9 means “any/all of the elect”, i.e. “not wishing that any [of the elect] should perish, but that all [the elect] should reach repentance”, i.e. God is holding back judgment until we fulfill the Great Commission as he ordained. Of course, since we have no insight into our status regarding that metric, indeed from our perspective Christ could come back any time.

  21. Careful Rube, rather then feeling it necessary to reconcile your personal theology by adding words let’s just take the Word for what it says…

    The motivating characteristic behind the “delay” between his first and second coming is his patience.

    What’s wrong with that?

  22. Nothing is wrong with it, except it is possible to say more. Patience implies waiting for something. Is it controversial to say that “all of the elect to reach repentance” is among the somethings that Jesus is patiently waiting for, before he comes again (whether you think that 2 Pet 3:9 illustrates that or not)?

  23. LOL! Rube, you actually added words to Peter’s words to squeeze in your limited atonement grid. Wow!

    Smiling in Texas

  24. So God is delaying his promise until all men in all places and all times have repented? It’s gonna be a loooong time before the second coming then…

  25. Just commenting on how you couldn’t help giving Peter an assist there in the language he chose, to help bring him into line with Calvin. :-)

  26. Believe me, I am not trying to open up another can of C vs. A.
    Let’s just let the Bible speak for itself.

    How would it be if we quoted John 3:16 like this:

    For God so loved the elect that He gave his one and only Son so that when the elect believed in him they would not perish but have everlasting life.

    Let’s let the Bible speak for itself.

  27. Back to the topic, how does Johnson view the 7 churches in Revelation?

  28. Don’t know what you’re looking for with that question, so I’ll just say “don’t know” for now. If you can clarify, or summarize how you view the 7 churches, I might be able to guess how he views them…

  29. I don’t think there is any inherent assumption that Christ’s patience is so that all people everywhere will have an opportunity to receive salvation. I think the point the Peter is getting at is that there is a motivation behind the delay whether we realize it or not and that motivation is a character quality in our savior. The quality of Patience. Likewise we too should have patience in awaiting the second coming.

  30. Some people view the 7 churches as 7 periods of church history. Others view them as examples of the spiritual condition of various churches. Others view them as simply 7 existing churches during John’s day and nothing more.

  31. Well, Rube, what is it, can he come back any second or not? If it’s a *real* possibility then it also a *real* possibility that we are not in the millennium right now, the great comission is over, satan has been loosed, the great apostacy has occured, satan has been made a spectacly, the jews have came in, etc.
    So, is it a *real* possibility that an amillenialist is not in the millennium right now? Indeed, to say “we are in the millennium *now*” presupposes that Jesus could not come back any ole second.
    Likewise, when you preach or evangelize,in, say, Africa, aren’t you assuming that you can do this and will have success because the great commission is still in play? Satan is *currently* bound?
    If I said it was a waste of time to go to Africa, since the nations are once again decived, would you laugh it off? Then why not laugh off the idea that Jesus could come back at any second?
    furthermore, if the apostacy could happen today, or it *already* happened, spell out those details for us. Apparently Amillennialism thinks it won’t even be a blip on the radar (since it could have *already* happened). It’s fairly obvious that on a postmill scheme this apostacy would be noticable.
    Thus I think there’s some conceptual and practical problems inherent in the Amillennial position.
    As I said, I’m not saying I’m either. I have problems with the postmiller also.

  32. If you want to get down to the gnat’s nut, then I’ll go ahead and say that it is more than just a possibility: it is an absolute certainty that Jesus COULD come back any second, which just means that the ‘great apostasy’ could have already happened and we didn’t notice — probably because of not interpreting Rev 20 correctly and thus not knowing what to look for.

    If I said it was a waste of time to go to Africa, since the nations are once again decived, would you laugh it off?

    Yes. I don’t see why the great commission would become ‘out of play’ when Satan is once again given authority to deceive the nations. He was deceiving the nations for the whole time between the Fall and the Resurrection (Crucifixion? Incarnation?), and people still were still grafted into the invisible church, from starting points outside national Israel.

    One the points Johnson wanted most to make clear was that he saw Rev 20 as a call to missions. Rev 19:19-20 and Rev 20:8-10 (as well as Rev 16:13-16) are views of the same will-be-historical event, the “last battle”. If we didn’t have Rev 20, then the Church would be discouraged, like those addressed in various NT letters who were quitting their jobs, etc. because they thought the second coming would be within a few days, months, years, whatever. But the Millenium in Rev 20 is presented so that we should be prepared to live and work — and perform the great commission — for a long time.

    I didn’t explain that as well as he did, but I hope it at least makes some sense.

  33. Some people view the 7 churches as 7 periods of church history. Others view them as examples of the spiritual condition of various churches. Others view them as simply 7 existing churches during John’s day and nothing more.

    Johnson focused rather selectively on Rev 12 and 20, so he didn’t go into detail on these alternatives. He definitely realizes that they were 7 existing churches of the day, and I think he would agree that their conditions are quite likely to appear in churches throughout history, and thus the messages to the churches remain applicable right through to the second coming.
    As for 7 periods of church history, I doubt it. His outline of the whole book keyed on the distinction between “things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this“, and “things that are” are ch 1-4 (i.e. the letters to the churches), and Rev 4:1 relegates almost all the rest of the book to “things that are to take place after” (with the exception of Rev 12, in which the woman is a picture of Eve, Israel, and the Church).
    From that, I don’t detect any clue that he sees 7 historical ages of the church in the letters, but you’d have to read his book to find out for sure!

  34. ~about the new heavens and new earth~

    I think (and this is all that this is…my personal thoughts) that if we were created to be with God and commune with him then the old heaven was imperfect in the sense that it wasnt complete. In Hebrews we see that Jesus is said to have been “made” perfect…Is this because he was not perfect in the sense of holiness and righteousness? No, its that until he ascended to heaven, His work was incomplete. the word Perfect in this sense meens “whole” or “complete”, and from this is where I am pondering the idea that the “old heaven” was imperfect in the sense that it was unable to hold us as we were…SINNERS…but the “new heaven”, because of Christ’s work, is able to hold us and God in complete communion…

    …Just a thought…

  35. Hi Rube,

    If you want to get down to the gnat’s nut, then I’ll go ahead and say that it is more than just a possibility: it is an absolute certainty that Jesus COULD come back any second,

    Well, sure you can *say* that it’s an “absolute certainty,” but I highly doubt you could prove such a strong assertion. What, is the conclusion “deductively inferred from true premises in a valid way?” Let’s see the deduction. Further, even if you can offer a *valid* syllogism, that doesn’t mean the premises are true, or indubitable. So, I highly doubt you have the quan in the bank to back up this intellectual check.
    No doubt you’ll say, “But, it says Jesus will come back quickly.” But, unfortunately, this doesn’t entail that he could come back any second. Despite that there is no tautology here (quick doesn’t = second, it’s relative, actually), there are, of course, different interpretations of that passage (e.g., one is that this is talking about *how* Jesus comes, not *when.* It’s qualitative, not quantitative, that is.). You may disagree, but you see, that fact shows that the premises are not indisputable. That is, you don’t have infallible knowledge as to how those premises should be understood. In fact, given your admission below, maybe you’re not “interpreting those texts correctly”!

    which just means that the ‘great apostasy’ could have already happened and we didn’t notice — probably because of not interpreting Rev 20 correctly and thus not knowing what to look for.

    Sure, and this just grants my position – that the position that Jesus could come back at any *second* entails that the great apostasy would have already happened.
    And of course you can resort to the idea that we just aren’t interpreting the text properly. But how probably is this? An unnoticeable event (things certainly seem just as they were, if not better!) is called “great.”
    Next, there are more zingers. According to Ephesians 4, the “unity of the faith” will be achieved before Jesus comes back. Hence you must say that we are *unified currently* if you grant that it is an “absolute certainty” that Jesus could come back any second.
    Now, based on Paul’s writings, it seems that debates and division in the church presuppose an un-unified church. But here we are, debating! Hence it appears that debating me on this subject presupposes the falsity of your view. Oh, but perhaps we don’t know how to exegete and interpret Ephesians 4 as well. So, it appears that one could say that Hoagies and Stogies presupposes the falsity of your absolute certainty.

    Yes. I don’t see why the great commission would become ‘out of play’ when Satan is once again given authority to deceive the nations.

    Any standard reformed systematics textbook basis the great commission on the binding of Satan. Thus the parallels between “go to the nations” and “disciple the nations.” I mean, why do you think Israel wasn’t an evangelistic culture? The strong man wasn’t bound. So, though there could be *some* conversion even though Satan is loosed, the *great commission* is based on the presupposition of his *binding.* And, indeed, the *fullness* of the gentiles would have had to *already* came in! So, you must say that it is a *serious possibility* that the fullness has came in and “all Israel has been saved.” And, as Murray says of Romans 11, “it’s an exegetical nightmare to say that ‘Israel’ is not ethnic Israel.”
    And, as Amillennialist Carl Durham states in his paper on this subject,
    “Listen finally to Sinclair Ferguson, who sums up the victorious fruit of Christ’s present inauguration of His kingdom and His present binding of Satan as follows:
    1. The kingdom of God is here now. Live in it (even if things never get any better).
    2. The time to reach the nations is now because the deception of the nations is removed. Go to it.
    3. Christ is worth dying for in this world. Therefore, live for Him.”

    And, no less an Amillennialist as Anthony Hoekema states:
    “What is meant, then, by the binding of Satan? In Old Testament times, at least in the post-Abrahamic era, all the nations of the world except Israel were, so to speak, under Satan’s rule. At that time the people of Israel were the recipients of God’s special revelation, so that they knew God’s truth about themselves, about their sinfulness, and about the way they could obtain forgiveness and salvation. During this same time, however, the other nations of the world did not know that truth, and were therefore in ignorance and error (see Acts 17:30) — except for an occasional person, family or city which came into contact with God’s special revelation. One could say that during this time these nations were deceived by Satan, as our first parents had been deceived by Satan when they fell into sin in the Garden of Eden.
    Just before his ascension, however, Christ gave his disciples his Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19, NIV). At this point one can well imagine the disciples raising a disturbing question: How can we possibly do this if Satan continues to deceive the nations the way he has in the past? In Revelation 20:1-3 John gives a reassuring answer to this question. Paraphrased, his answer goes something like this: “During the gospel era which has now been ushered in, Satan will not be able to continue deceiving the nations the way he did in the past, for he has been bound. During this entire period, therefore, you, Christ’s disciples, will be able to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations.””

    Hence for the above reasons I think it is untenable to hold that Jesus could (given the decrees, that is. In another sense, he “could,” but I’m speaking as a compatibilist here) come back.
    I think Amillennialism unnecessarily commits themselves to some rather silly positions. It does appear that postmillennailism does have some more explanatory power here. But, that’s not to say that postmillennialism is without its problems too. In fact, I don’t think that Jesus’ coming back any second is *logically entailed* by amillennialism, and so one could hold on to amillennialism but some ideas usually associated with postmillennialism must be added. Note too that those ideas don’t presuppose a “golden age” and so perhaps something like a mixture between the two would work best. That is, in terms of explanatory power.
    anywho, I hope that was partially clear,
    ~Wacky

  36. Albino and Daniel,

    Re: 20-26

    Speaking of letting the Bible speak for itself…

    2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

    Now when it says “you”, who is it referring to? Is it referring to everyone in the world, or the people being addressed by the letter? Who? If he were speaking, it would be his audience. Since he was writing a letter, it is the addressee, the one whom he is writing to.

    If in this post I say, “you guys”, who do I mean? Oh, look at that, I’ve addressed my post to “Albino and Daniel”. So if I say “you guys”, that’s obviously who I mean.

    Well, “you guys” are telling Rube to “be careful” and laughing at him for saying what he’s saying, as if he’s trying to smash his Calvinistic grid into the Scripture, where everyone knows it surely doesn’t belong.

    But you apparently have given NO THOUGHT to who “you” might be referring to. It just so happens that Peter refers to who “you” is at the beginning of his letter:

    2Pe 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

    Perhaps you would have preferred if Rube had said it this way:

    2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward [those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ], not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

    But as the phrase “those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” describes the elect, I think Rube’s rendering is much more efficient.

    Rube was nice to you to let it go. Give him credit for it.

    E

  37. Albino,

    Re: 30

    7 churches that existed, representative of THE Church.

    E

  38. Anon,

    31

    At least pick some kind of name.

    Anyway, when Christ returns is when the Millennium ends. All these objections you’re raising presuppose some other position, like premill.

    E

  39. “Anonymous” was Wacky, if you couldn’t tell from the writing. I edited his handle in, since I’m sure he just forgot.

    when Christ returns is when the Millennium ends.

    The point I think he’s pressing is that Rev 20:7 places the great apostasy after, outside of, the millenium. And in any case, if you fudge the time sequence of that verse to “at the end of the thousand years, Satan will be released from his prison”, you’re still left with Christ’s second coming not happening until after the great apostasy.

  40. Well, sure you can *say* that it’s an “absolute certainty,” but I highly doubt you could prove such a strong assertion.

    You missed my point; by leaving ‘COULD’ in the sentence, it is irrelevant that half of the assertion changed to certainty. And yes, the possibility wedged into the ‘COULD’ is predicated on our misunderstanding of the preconditions which must be fulfilled before the second coming.

    An unnoticeable event (things certainly seem just as they were, if not better!) is called “great.”

    Who says things are better? I could argue that America is being pretty well-deceived over the last few decades, and Europe is getting more unchurched by the day.

    Any standard reformed systematics textbook bases the great commission on the binding of Satan. Thus the parallels between “go to the nations” and “disciple the nations.” I mean, why do you think Israel wasn’t an evangelistic culture?

    Because the great commission had not yet been issued. So if the great commission “is based on the presupposition of his *binding*”, and his loosing will be such a great event that it is not possible for anybody to be confused about it, or miss its occurrence, then are you saying that when Satan is loosed, churches across the world should recall their missionaries and preach the cancellation of the great commission?

    Murray says of Romans 11, “it’s an exegetical nightmare to say that ‘Israel’ is not ethnic Israel.”

    I agree — which is why Rom 11 makes me very uncomfortable. Somebody should explain to Paul that God has no further use for national Israel.

    Hence for the above reasons I think it is untenable to hold that Jesus could (given the decrees, that is. In another sense, he “could,” but I’m speaking as a compatibilist here) come back.

    I think I see where you’re coming from now — you see in the Amil position what you perceive as a persistent, wrongheaded insistence that “Jesus might return any second”. I was not aware that Amil is generally that dogmatic about this point — kind of like I am aware that the Postmil camp has a variety of positions about what characterized the start of the Millenium — the resurrection, or has it not started yet? (Johnson’s mention that some consider the Reformation as a possible starting point was new to me!)

    So a more nuanced form of my original answer (but not really different in substance, because a lot of stuff COULD fit inside that COULD) would be:

    It is absolutely certain that Jesus can return any second after all of the biblical preconditions are met.

    Which moves the discussion to what are the biblical preconditions, and how do we know whether/when they are met, which is apparently where you wanted to go anyways. However, I don’t want to go around saying “There is peace and security, because obviously the conditions for the 2nd coming haven’t been met”.

  41. Echo,

    Yes, it was me who posted that. I was at another computer and forgot that I had to write my handle in, as Rube said.

    Anyway, you’re wrong about the sequence since Rev 20 sez,

    20:7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison

    So, when the millennium is *over* … *then* Satan will be released, the great apostasy will happen…. etc.

    Furthermore, Ephesians 4 says,

    12. to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

    Notice that there’s a progressive *building* (v. 12). This is shown by the claim in v.13 that this building is *until* something. And it is completed when we “attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

    Now, obviously the first century church didn’t have this unity (the unity of the *faith* is not to be confused with the unity of the *spirit*). And I notice that people today are “tossed about by every wind of teaching (v. 15)” (FV, for one, Arminianism, Emergentivism, and, dare I say, old earth creationism! :-) ).

    But, on Rube’s (and I assume Echo’s) assumption, we must have attained this unity that the first century church – who didn’t have half the schismatic views as we have today – did not.

    And so therefore, to claim that Jesus could come back any second is to claim that the unity of the faith has occurred, the fullness of the gentiles has come in, all Israel has been saved, Satan has been loosed, the great commission over, the great apostasy happened, and the millennium is already past…. *right now.*

    Now, if you do not grant that “right now” portion, then you must deny that Jesus could come back “right now” (unless all those things could happen in *less than* a second).

    I’m not sure if Amillennialism logically entails the assumption that Jesus could come back “right now.” If it does, it has bigger problems then I thought. Some would say dire. If it does not, then surely the amillennialist must concede that there is much left in the eschatological future.

    And, think about this, if the unity of the faith is achieved, then Jesus high priestly prayer will have been answered. What is the effect of that? “That the *world* may believe.” Now, it is highly probably that this is a good and necessary inference that leads to *something like* a “golden age.” But, I don’t think this golden age *needs to be* theonomic. Perhaps the two-kingdom folks are right, and so that’s how society would be. And what is the nature of a “golden age.” Believers still sin, and so we’d still need laws and there would be crimes, etc.

    I don’t know how to work out all the above, that’s why I’m still undecided. But I don’t think either side has the slam dunk case they pretend to have.

    Oh, btw, Dr. Johnson is an elder at my church and I went to many of his Wednesday night teachings on the book of Revelation. So, I’ve been exposed to his great teaching just like Rube. I’ve read many Amillennialists as well. And, I’m sympathetic. I do not label myself postmill, but, however contradictory, optimistic amill. So, these concerns I’m raising do not come from a hostile, wild-eyed, theonomic postmillennailist. :-)

    ~Wacky

  42. You have uncovered one of, what I perceive to be, the weakest points of the ammil position: The belief that God has nothing left for the nation of Israel. I believe that we are grafted into Israel as Christians, and that Jews must accept Christ to be saved, but if “the gifts and callings of God are without repentance”, then God can’t totally wash His hands of the nation of Israel.

    I have already pointed out several problems with the premil position.

  43. dang even with special privileges I’m still being censored. Why can’t I COMMENT!!!

  44. whacky,

    think about the difference between what “he could come back at any moment” and “he will come back” yields.

    the former tends to yield a lot of speculation and sophomoric anticipation; the latter nurtures a more sober yet certain anticipation.

    “could at any moment” certainly comports under “will come back,” which is to say, if the latter is true the former has to be.

    but i think it makes a huge difference which one is emphasized. seems to me good covenant theology/amil’ism nurtures the latter while other systems tend toward the former, making for either more mature believers or more insipid ones.

    zrim

  45. AH,

    You’re gonna’ find that this issue about the so-called “nation of Israel” is one that is mostly germane to covenant theology and the degree to which it touches on the amil position is mostly incidental. The theocratic nation of Israel is caput – they’re SOL as they say, having served its purpose – (i.e. (a) foreshadowing the consummation period, (b) a republication of the covenant of works, (c) harbinger of Christ.

    Therefore as a nation Israel does not exist. The church is the Israel of God.

    BTW, if you sign up for this teaching, you’re one step closer to believing in infant baptism.

  46. Well since I can’t get my post to show up I am submitting a part of it in hopes you all can be edified by controversial statements…

    As for a large number of Jews coming in I maintain that there is no such think as ethnic Jews any more. It is a race that has been unchangeably mixed through thousands of years of captivity and exile that an “ethnic jew” is impossible to find. There are merely “religious jews” who are such by choice. and to consider God having a promise of converting a large segment of those presently rejecting Christ doesn’t seem right.

    It’s unpopular to say that there is no such thing as “ethnic jews” but think about it. From 70AD to 1948 there was no Jewish state. The entire Jewish population was based on those who accepted the rabbincal teachings. They were “religious” jews. Some ethnicities converted to Judaism while some jews converted to Christianity etc.

    Judaism is a religion not a race. That is until 1948 when Israel became a state. Now Judaism is a nationality, but that still isn’t that same as a race or an ethnicity.

    The HGDP (Human Genome Diversity Project) is currently trying to sort everything out and figure out what ethnicities there really are.

  47. Oh goody that worked.

    FWIW I am ZERO steps closer to accepting infant baptism. Sorry Bruce.

  48. here is the first half of my comment that couldn’t post as a whole…

    Wacky, help me out by stating exactly which holes you see in the amill position.

    Here’s what I have gathered…
    It seems like the two issues you have with the the amill position is that it holds to the opinion that Christ can return “any moment”. You can’t justify this concept because you believe the Bible teaches these two things will occur before Christ comes again…

    1) the great apostasy

    and

    2) A large conversion of ethnic Jews

    As far as a great apostasy is concerned you seem to be having difficulty rectifying this with the millennial age. That is you ponder how it would be possible that there could be a “rebellion” or a “great falling away” unless of course it is a Satanic deception. The problem is that you are applying Revelation 20:7-10 and II Thessalonians 2:3-12 as taking place at the same time.

    There is a clue in II Thess 2:7 to this conundrum. It says “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work” or “for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work”.

    The question now becomes can we maintain that “Satan is presently bound from deceiving the nations” (Rev 20) and that “Satanic deception is currently present in lawlessness”? Do we become contradictory with such statements and thus discredit ourselves?

    Many solid commentators will apply the II Thessalonians 2 chapter to Roman authority at that time. In other words Paul’s reassurance to the Thessalonians regarding the timing of the second coming is that it will not happen until Roman authority has been been revealed for what it is (satanically influenced). Thus II thess no longer has present application because that has been well documented.

    I agree that it was fulfilled but further use Rome as an example of the “world system” which still continues today. In Revelation the world system is called Babylon, and even though at the time the predictions were for immediate fulfillment against Rome and Jerusalem etc (Preterit interpretation of Revelation). They have continual relevance in describing the world culture that will not change until the last day when it is completely revealed/removed/judged as will all who are “believers” in it.

    This is (I think) all very easily reconcilable. Here’s how…

    The millennium is a millennial reign of Christ and his saints. It is what we are in now. But it’s only a millennium to those in it. I.e. only the church and those who are converted into the church benefit from it (believers and those who come to believe). We rejoice and labor in this “age”. Meanwhile to those who believe in the world system well they have their minds blinded by the god of this age (II Corinthians 4:4). They are still in the “present evil age” while we are “rescued” from it (Galatians 1:4).

    So it is quite reasonable for Satanic work to continue to deceive individuals while simultaneously the Church has authority to proclaim the gospel to all nations.

    This makes Revelation make so much sense because we are seeing heavenly victory throughout a time of earthly atrocities.

    When does this end? On the last day. The last day doens’t have to be a prolonged battle but rather a pronouncement of victory. It can certainly be immediate that is right NOW Jesus comes descending on the clouds and right NOW those in the Babylonian (world) system flee to their satanic deceptions rather then to the true gospel which those in the church simply hold on to. Right NOW Christ could pronounce his judgment seperating the sheep and the goats in one instant.

    Nothing is holding him back except his patience.

  49. Cool! Now that I finally got out what I wanted to say let me add there is a terrific little book called “The destruction of Jerusalem: an absolute and irresistible proof of the divine origin of Christianity” by George Peter Holford that explains how the events of AD 70 that destroyed Jerusalem are the END of God’s dealing with the “nation” Israel. This makes is a fascinating and necessary teaching completely absent in American Christianity. The interesting part about this book is that it was written in 1803. Long before the heretical dispensationalsim showed up polluting our brains.

  50. Here’s the link you don’t even have to buy the book

    http://www.bible.ca/pre-destruction70AD-george-holford-1805AD.htm

  51. FWIW I am ZERO steps closer to accepting infant baptism.

    Of course you’re not. You already have taken these steps, or so it would seem.

  52. Unfortunatley my posts don’t show up for some reason. I’ve wasted my time three times now.

    But, if this post gets through, there’s a distinction between the *nation* of Israel and *ethnic* Jews. I, Murray, and many others, defend the latter.

    To Daniel, it appears he didn’t even bother to read my posts. He quotes only *two* of the things I say must happen, claiming that’s all I said. And, he further implies motives to me that are not deducible from my posts. He tells us about what “I think.” But, this is not quoted. So, in interest of brevity, I’ll just tell Daniel to go back and do his homework, taking care to carefully read my post.

  53. the above was me

  54. There is a spam filter that isn’t all that discriminating. Maybe RR can investigate. RR claims some of his own posts that he makes while logged in are getting snagged by it.

  55. Wacky I thought understood your posts and i was trying to get you to clarify them so that we are NOT dealing with assumptions. That’s why I said, “help me out”. I want a clear cut situation I can respond to, so as to avoid you being offended by my assumptions. Nevertheless I dealt with what appeared (to me) to be two of your assumptions and you completely ignored those. Why?

  56. So wacky please answer this,
    “what is an ethnic Jew”?

    does it have to do with DNA?

  57. Unfruitful.

  58. I apologize about the spam filter — I did indeed find comments from many of you. Note that I released #41 of Wacky’s — as far as I could tell, the rest had eventually made it through.

    ( Dbalc, note that since you have admin priviledges, you can go to my dashboard->Comments->Akismet spam, and release your own trapped comments, and those of others if you recognize them)
    I can’t even find the spam controls to try to loosen them up anymore — maybe they removed them, believing that the filter works too well to need tuning?

  59. So Daniel, since we all came from Adam, and Adam probably was not a jew, then jews never had *pure* jewish dna, it was mixed. Hence, Mary was not a *pure* Jew, and hence Jesus was not either.

    Thus the absurdity of his position.

    Daniel, I suggest a few things:

    a) Read Murray’s commentary on Romans and show that you are familiar with some contemporary arguments.

    b) Re-read my post since it’s clear that I mentioned more than two. And, I didn’t deal with the two because you didn’t refute anything I said. I’m not obligated to refute your misinterpretations or speculations of my position.

    c) Engage in some critical thinking skills. On your assumptions, there were *never* any ethnic Jews.

    (At any rate, Israel in v. 25 is ethnic, and it is exegetically impossible to read vs. 26 as a different Israel than v.25.)

    d) My entire point is that you must admit, and you must, that if you think Jesus could come back one second from your reading this post, then you must admit that:

    i. the fulness of the gentiles has come in.

    ii. All Israel has been saved.

    iii. We have attained the unity of the faith.

    iv. The millennium *has been* over.

    v. Satan has been loosed.

    vi. The great commission is over.

    vii. The great apostacy has occurred.

    Now, there’s no commentary. Nothing. All I simply said is that if Jesus comes back one second from your reading this sentence, then (i) – (vii) are *past.* If you think it is a serious possibility that Jesus could come back one second from reading this sentence, then you must think it is a serious possibility that (i) – (vii) have already happened. The logic is inexscapable.

  60. Wacky,

    “the logic is inexscapable” Yes if Christ is to come back at any moment then everything that will occur before he comes back will indeed be fufilled. I agree with that. now…

    In regards to your statements regarding “pure” jews. This is my point. There isn’t a person who is ethnically jewish. The Hebrew “race” began with Abraham and pretty much ended with him as well. Making an argument that God has any further concern for ethnic jews fails to take into account history as well as scriptures. Therefore you aren’t arguing for a large number of “ethnic” Jews to be saved in the end but a large number of Religious or confessesd Jews (perhaps Orthodox Jews), or a large number of people living in Israel at the time Christ returns. If this is the case then at least you have legs to stand on, but to try to rationalize “all Israel” as having to do with a persons DNA is the height of absurdity

    I hope that made sense.

    Also it’s worth noting that the reformers understood “all Israel” to be referring to the church and it wasn’t until 60 years ago that the idea that God had interest in the Nation of Israel took off. That’s because there was no nation of Israel for 1900 years. So when you tell me that I need to go back to reading to understand “contemporary arguments” I think that’s pretty funny. What would make “contemporary arguments” any more relevant?

    That being said I have read Murray but I prefer Stott’s commentary on Romans.

    I think the key verse in Romans 11 comes in vs 32 where it says, “ for God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all”. Realizing that this verse is a sort of summary of what Paul has just said puts vss 25-26 into perspective. Paul is writing to the gentile believers saying, “hey don’t get too excited as though you are better then the Jews, nope, you’re just as sinful and disobedient as they are. God has made it so that everyone is bound in disobedience in order that they may all find salvation through one way, my way, Jesus.”

    As for your 7 precusors to the second coming lets see how many of those contextually have anything to do with the second coming…

    i. Romans 11:25… Hmmm not seeing anything about his second coming there..
    ii. Romans 11:26….Hmmm not seeing anything about his second coming there..
    iii. Ephesians 4:14…Hmmm not seeing anything about his second coming there..
    iv. Revelation 20:7… Interestingly enough this also fails to discuss the second coming.
    v. Revelation 20:7 see above.
    vi. I’m having a difficult time finding this one in scriptures; can you sight a text for me?
    vii. II Thessalonians 2:1-12… finally a passage that deals in its context with the second coming of Christ.

    Now I can see that your logic actually work in the reverse of the order that you listed. Ok, this makes sense to me…
    Because you haven’t seen the events described in II Thessalonians 2 (according to your interpretation) take place you reason that none of the other events have or could have occurred. I suppose I COULD conceivably deal with every possible fulfillment of each one of your previously listed precursors to the second coming but that would be tedious and refuted because you have already made up your mind that these things must look a certain way. It’s also unnecessary since only one of them is actually listed as an actual precursor to the second coming the rest are either doctrinal teachings on salvation, ecclesiology and missions. By trying to shoe-horn in tangible fulfillment from the human perspective you serve only to confuse yourself.

    Do you honestly believe you are going to have the ability to notice these events and intellectually affirm that they are indeed the fulfillment of the above stated passages?

    And further, if you are looking for a tangible fulfillment of your 7 points to mark off on your “end times calculator” why do you assume that they can’t all happen in a second, a flash, a twinkling? I don’t get it.

    My point is simply this; I don’t know what has and hasn’t been completed in God’s sovereign purpose. But I am not going to assume for a second that his delay is predicated on 1 or even 7 events that I will be able to mark down on paper. If Israel is destroyed today by a nuclear blast I am not going to say, “oh my, here he comes”. If Israel has a mass conversion and turning to Christ today I’m not going to say, “this is it.” If all of a sudden every missions work seems fruitless I’m not going to pack it in and say, “welp that’s the end of the great commission”. If Barak Obama gets elected president and requires 666 tattoos on every person and then rally’s every army in the world to join with America in attacking Israel I’m not going to be afraid.

    I’m going to encourage my fellow believers in reminding them that Christ is coming back and when he does we will be with the Lord forever. His coming could be any day, but it won’t at all be a surprise to us. We anticipate it.

  61. Yes if Christ is to come back at any moment then everything that will occur before he comes back will indeed be fufilled. I agree with that.

    And that’s ultimately all I’ve stated. Most people that I talk to, have a problem with that. Most people don’t really believe that (i) – (vii) above are already over. Seminary profs, pastors, elders, etc. People smarter than you or I. Now, if you’re comfortable saying that, say, the unity of the faith has been achieved, fine.

    In regards to your statements regarding “pure” jews. This is my point. There isn’t a person who is ethnically jewish. The Hebrew “race” began with Abraham and pretty much ended with him as well.

    How did I miss your point when I agreed with it! I’m just pointing out that it’s absurd, over-literal, and superfluous. The Bible assumes that there are ethnic Jews, but your position says that only Abraham was. Well, again, if you want to choke on that donut, be my guest. Oh, and furthermore, how was Abraham “pure” Jew? He had DNA from Adam and Noah. Were those people’s DNA the *same?* No. So, Abraham wasn’t a “pure” anything.

    On your view there are no Africans, Caucasians, Mexicans, etc.

    Making an argument that God has any further concern for ethnic jews fails to take into account history as well as scriptures.

    Well, unless my argument from Romans is correct. And, assuming that your rather ignorant point about people’s ethnicity is assumed, of course. But, of course, I don’t assume or grant those positions. So, check the mere assertions at the door.

    Therefore you aren’t arguing for a large number of “ethnic” Jews to be saved in the end but a large number of Religious or confessesd Jews (perhaps Orthodox Jews), or a large number of people living in Israel at the time Christ returns.

    Romans 11:1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

    Therefore you aren’t arguing with me, but with Paul. Paul says that there are “ethnic Jews.” Paul seems to not think that “it pretty much ended with Abraham.” And, whatever sense Paul means “a descendant of Abraham” that’s what I mean by “ethnic Jew.” And, I’ll add that they are professing Jews as well, like Paul and the Jews back then were.

    If this is the case then at least you have legs to stand on, but to try to rationalize “all Israel” as having to do with a persons DNA is the height of absurdity.

    Well, Paul said it had to do with “descendant of Abraham.” So, whether that has to do with “DNA” is another matter. Let’s not try to impose modern scientific categories on the Bible. Didn’t you say you’re a “pastor?” Have you learned how to avoid these basic exegetical fallacies? I mean, how about when Joshua made the “sun” stand still? Didn’t he know that it wasn’t “moving?” (That is, if you accept heliocentricism.) Or, how about when the Bible tells us that all types of people groups will be in heaven. Since there are no “pure” people groups, is the Bible mistaken? No, it is your interpretation that is absurd, I’m quite afraid.

    Also it’s worth noting that the reformers understood “all Israel” to be referring to the church and it wasn’t until 60 years ago that the idea that God had interest in the Nation of Israel took off.

    Hmmm, tell that to Beza, Charles Hodge, Ian Murray, B.B. Warfield, et al. Take this quote from a book which studies and contradicts the very claim you make:

    From Puritans, the Millennium, and the Future of Israel by Peter Toon:

    The Augustinian historicist approach…was modified by the inclusion of the doctrine that near the end of the age large numbers of Jews, or perhaps the whole Jewish people, would be converted to Christianity from Judaism, and by their conversion bring great spiritual blessing to the Church on earth. This…probably owed its origin to the influence of Theodore Beza’s Notes on the New Testament, in which he interpreted Romans 11:25ff. as meaning the future conversion of the Jewish people to Christ….The Puritans believed in a ‘latter day glory’ at the end of the age after the collapse of the Papacy and the conversion of the Jews. “Some people today call this postmillennialism but the Puritans themselves did not use this term. (Page 6)

    Zion’s glory will not necessarily be preceded by the literal return of Christ to the earth (page 38).

    In general we may say that from 1590 to 1660 most Puritans (using this term in its widest sense) believed that Paul in Romans 11:25 ff. spoke of some kind of large-scale conversion of Jews to Christ before the end of the age, that is before the Second Coming of Christ….Furthermore, a large proportion of those who took ‘Israel’ in Romans 11:25 ff. to speak of Jews, also taught that there would be a restoration of Jews to their ancient homeland in the Near East either after, or at the same time as, their conversion to Christ. (Page 126)

    I mean, sure, some Reformers, like Calvin for instance, did not interpret Romans 11 as referring to ethnic Jews. But, (a) so what? (b) that doesn’t mean “the ReformERS” did so, (c) and a case can be made that this was a theological overreaction to many “millennial groups” who existed at that time and were spreading bad theology based on a faulty interpretation of Romans 11. At any rate, these great reformed theologians who held to the view I’m referring to pretty much blow your non-historical claim that “Also it’s worth noting that the reformers understood “all Israel” to be referring to the church and it wasn’t until 60 years ago that the idea that God had interest in the Nation of Israel took off,” out of the water.

    That’s because there was no nation of Israel for 1900 years. So when you tell me that I need to go back to reading to understand “contemporary arguments” I think that’s pretty funny. What would make “contemporary arguments” any more relevant?

    Well, (a) the interpretation of Romans 11 that I’m proffering is based on EXEGESIS of Holy Scripture, and if Scripture says something, then there didn’t need to be a “nation” of Israel, now did there. The life of the biblical scholar committed to sola Scriptura is a walk of faith, not sight. Try to be a bit more reverent for the exegesis of Scripture.

    Next, I referred you to the contemporary arguments because I find those, like Murray, Moo’s, etc., to be cogent and strong. You’re acting as if you’re toally ignorant of the opposing position. But, as a “pastor” are you not supposed to “show thyself a workman approved by God?” So, sorry, today is not the day where mockery and laughter refute people’s arguments and exegesis.

    That being said I have read Murray but I prefer Stott’s commentary on Romans.

    Stott the annihilationist?

    I think the key verse in Romans 11 comes in vs 32 where it says, “ for God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all”. Realizing that this verse is a sort of summary of what Paul has just said puts vss 25-26 into perspective. Paul is writing to the gentile believers saying, “hey don’t get too excited as though you are better then the Jews, nope, you’re just as sinful and disobedient as they are. God has made it so that everyone is bound in disobedience in order that they may all find salvation through one way, my way, Jesus.”

    i) This is NO WAY disproves my interpretation.

    ii) The problem for you is that v.25 speaks of ETHNIC Israel – those who are descendant of Abraham (v.1), and hardened (v.7) – as being “hardened” and then IN THE SAME THOUGHT Paul says, “And so all Israel will be saved,”

    iii) Apropos (ii), you’d need to show where there is a CONTEXT shift between v.25 and v.26. This context is broader than the immediate. The proximate context and the covenant context both refer to ethic Israel:

    a) proximate: Paul is contrasting ethnic Jews with the church in v.11 – v.32. The church is arrogant, as you claim, thinking that they are better than the Jews. But, this hardening is in part v.25, and it will be broken once Israel is provoked to jealously by the Gospel blessings the Gentiles receive v. 11-12.

    b) the covenant context: The deliverer from Zion promised that more than just a “few jews” would be saved, Isa. 59:20-21, and 27:9.

    As for your 7 precusors to the second coming lets see how many of those contextually have anything to do with the second coming…

    i. Romans 11:25… Hmmm not seeing anything about his second coming there..
    ii. Romans 11:26….Hmmm not seeing anything about his second coming there..
    iii. Ephesians 4:14…Hmmm not seeing anything about his second coming there..
    iv. Revelation 20:7… Interestingly enough this also fails to discuss the second coming.
    v. Revelation 20:7 see above.
    vi. I’m having a difficult time finding this one in scriptures; can you sight a text for me?
    vii. II Thessalonians 2:1-12… finally a passage that deals in its context with the second coming of Christ.

    I didn’t say that they had anything to do with the second coming, but, rather, they had to do with what would happen in time before the second coming.

    i*) Hmmmm, in v.26 Paul uses the Greek word houtos which refers to the historical process that unfolds that unfolds in definite stages.

    iii*) Hmmmm, this takes place *before* the second coming since that’s why we have *pastors* and *teachers.* We won’t be having those *after* the second coming. So, by debating me you’re proving the disunity of the faith, and undermining a presupposition of your position. Call this the transcendental argument for Christ’s *future* return! :-)

    iv*) Hmmmm, again, things that take place *before* the second coming.

    vii*) Hmmm, I’m a partial-preterist and so think this is talking about something that already happened in the past, before and at 70 AD.

    Because you haven’t seen the events described in II Thessalonians 2 (according to your interpretation) take place you reason that none of the other events have or could have occurred.

    But I think those events *have* occurred.

    I suppose I COULD conceivably deal with every possible fulfillment of each one of your previously listed precursors to the second coming but that would be tedious and refuted because you have already made up your mind that these things must look a certain way.

    Well, I haven’t “made up my mind” and, if I had, it would be based upon the exegesis of Scripture. So, keep beating that straw man down, Daniel.

    I take it that the “unity of the faith” has not been achieved:

    Eph. 4:

    11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

    Now, the church under the Apostles didn’t have this unity. And, it appears to me that we have *more division* than the 1st century church had. And, as Charles Hodge says in his excellent commentary on Ephesians, “Until we all reach the unity can only mean, ‘until we are all united.’ There is no real difficulty here. Unity is a matter of degree. The church is now and will always be, one body, but how imperfect is their union!”

    The passage says that this is until we reach “maturity.” The Greek here is talking about completion. The church has pastors *until* it reaches it’s intended goal, a massive unity. And, should it not be so? Did not our Lord pray for this in his High Priestly Prayer:

    John 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

    Has Jesus’ prayer been answered? Is the church today the “one” that Jesus prayed for? And, if so, why doesn’t “the world” believe?

    So, as I said, I don’t just have some preconceived notions. I base my understandings on exegesis, study, prayer, and all other ordained means.

    And further, if you are looking for a tangible fulfillment of your 7 points to mark off on your “end times calculator” why do you assume that they can’t all happen in a second, a flash, a twinkling? I don’t get it.

    You don’t get it because you don’t want to. That’s why people came up with that saying, Daniel: “Ignorance is bliss.”

    Yes, you’re right, if, say, the unity of the faith has not happened yet, the fullness of the gentiles coming in has not happened yet, the great commission has not ended, the millennium has not ended, the great apostasy has not yet ended/started, then, yes, I don’t believe that those things will happen in “one second.” Call me common sensical, I don’t care. For instance, take the unity of the faith. This is said to be achieved by *pastors and teachers,* not magic transformations by in a second! hard work, Daniel. Faithful study of the Scripture. That you don’t see this, and think the unity is going to be achieved without means, and with a snap of the fingers, tells me we have longer than I thought until Jesus returns!

    I’m going to encourage my fellow believers in reminding them that Christ is coming back and when he does we will be with the Lord forever. His coming could be any day, but it won’t at all be a surprise to us. We anticipate it.

    Well, I grant I can’t compete with the *emotive* force of your words, but I’d just say that you need to make sure that you’re not just “feeding your sheep” the rest of the farms intellectual hogwash.

    The Lord is coming for all of us within 100 years! Every individual will see him when they die. Hence all of us should be ready. But, to say that he could come back bodily in the next second is subject to serious reductio ad absurdums. of course, on a premillennial scheme they can say that with a straight face. But, I was assuming that we that that position was ridiculous.

    best,

    ~Wacky

  62. Dear Wacky Fundamentalist,

    Why do you suppose dispensationalist are so confused regarding the 7 year tribulation. Some believe in pre/mid/post on the Second Coming of Christ.

    I am not a theologian just an average guy who wants to know.

  63. Colet,

    Well, on reason they’re confused is because the Bible doesn’t talk about a 7 year tribulation and a pre-trib rapture.

    Furthermore, since I’m a partial-preterist, I suppose the tribulation has already occurred. Hence, John saying that he is “your fellow partaker in the tribulation.” And, Jesus’ claim that the “tribulation would happen to this generation,” i.e., the generation he was speaking to.

    ~Wacky

  64. Wacky,

    My opinion, and it’s only that, but you come across as over analyzing. I suggest sitting outside in the sun with a nice cigar and an ice cold margarita, putting your feet up and taking it easy. This stuff isn’t worth this much stress. One day, Christ will return and usher in the new heavens and new earth, and we’ll be glorified. Yay! That’s our hope. How it will all play out is interesting, but there is a great danger of becoming obsessed with figuring it all out. I’m not saying you fall into that category, only you can know for sure if you do or not. All I’m saying is that that’s a danger, beware of it. Nothing more. The point we’re supposed to take away, I think, is to look to Christ as our hope, and to know that there will be a day when everything will be fulfilled, and we will rejoice forever. So sip a margarita and be happy. Worry about the gospel. Hope in Christ. Just my take. Don’t get mad and go about refuting what I’ve said, because I’ve said only my opinion, and you can’t argue with opinions. I’ve a right to them, as do we all.

    I tend to take my lesson from the Jews regarding the first advent of Christ. They had no idea what it would look like. They didn’t get it. None of them did. I don’t think we should ignore it, I just don’t think we can figure it all out. Not that you’re claiming that, I’m just saying…anyway. That’s all.

    E

  65. And if Echo says you’re overanalyzing…

  66. “I am firm. You are obstinate. He is positively pig headed.”

    “I am cautious. You can be nit-picky. He always ‘over analyzes.'”

    Anyway, exccuuuuussseee me for trying to think through things.

    I’d hate to be Dr. Johnson. Since he wrote a WHOLE BOOK on eschatology, I wonder what Echo tells him!

    ;-)

    The above is my opinion, so don’t respond :-)

  67. rube: nice. spoken like a true and simple amiller. the simple faith (contra simplistic) is great, ain’t it?

    wacky: geez, dude. if you don’t want the smoke and drink, just say so and pass it this way.

    zrim

  68. Wacky,

    I’m very glad to see that you don’t understand “all Israel will be saved” as haivng to do with everyone who has any DNA left from Abraham. That was what I was arguing against. Unless you think you can possitvley classify whom “all Israel” is referring to then it is unwise to use that as a measuring stick for the second coming (and along with that the “fullness of the gentiles” interpretation since they are connected).

    I am glad to see that you are a “partial-preterist” and believe the warnings to the Thessalonians have already found fulfillment. That being the only eschatological verse among your 7 preconditions I highly recommend you change your perspective on how the other 6 will be met. The difficulty you have with anticipating an imminent return of Christ is that you haven’t seen those things met. But here are some possible explainations…
    a) they will all be met immediately in a very brief period time at or before the second coming.
    b) they are not actual standards that will be “met” but rather verses intended for doctrinal instruction/correction etc. (i.e. the great commission MUST end before Christ returns; this would be contradictory to Christ own words, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” a brief examination of what happend as the “end of the age” only shows us the “final judgment” Matthew 13:39, 40, 49. Rather then say the great commision must come to an end *before* Christ returns; we should understand that the great commission comes to an end *when* Christ returns. Likewise You could say the unity of the Church is achieved *when* Christ returns. the millennium ends *when* Christ returns. “All Israel” is saved *when* Christ returns. Etc.
    hmmm I just noticed my second possible explanation completely blended with the first. Oh well, they are reasonable I’m sure you understand.
    c) They have been met without your noticing and in a different way then you expected. I don’t of course mean all of them but rather some of them. you yourself noted the possibility that the “great apostasy” has occurred. What about the possibility that “all Israel” has been saved? I’m not saying it is so I am just saying is it possible? Will it be a definite historical event that you or I can/will note?

    Just ponder those three possibilities and then decide if Christ second coming *can* be within the hour?

    All that being said my personal belief is that Christ isn’t returning this century or even this millennium. I believe he can, but I don’t think he will. I hope that doesn’t sound contradictory. My belief isn’t necessarily based on unfulfilled events but rather on the patience of the Lord.

  69. Daniel,

    Speculation and “what if” stoties doesn’t beat my arguments and exegesis. But, it makes for a good propagandaist for evolution! Perhaps you should switch trades? :-)

    Zrim,

    Since I’m a regular attendee at hoagies and stogies, you can’t pin the title of teetotaler on me!

    In fact, I invited Echo for a drink in a post that got erased, hence my more pithy post.

    And, on top of that, I just wrote a post on my right to get tattooed!

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2007/05/getting-inked.html

    So, no thanks, I’ll keep the beer and smoke to myself.

    I did say, though, that Echo seemed a bit anti-intellectual. So perhaps he should have a smoke and a drink as well a few books to go with it.

    ~Paul

  70. Wacky,

    Speculation and “what if” stories doesn’t beat my arguments and exegesis.

    Your “arguments” and “exegesis” are nothing more than “what if” stories.
    The crux of your (unnamed) position is that Christ CANNOT come back at any time. The Crux of the Amill position is that he can.
    If that’s the bed you’ve made you can go ahead and sleep in it, I for one am trying to help you out by giving you plausible explanations to the difficulties you seem to have. If you don’t accept them as such that’s fine, but that doesn’t make them irrational “what if stories”; it just makes them unpalatable to YOUR taste.

  71. wacky paul,

    he-he! well, my note wasn’t so much about any potential teetotaling, so much as an appeal to chill, that’s all.

    much as i loathe the a- and anti-intellectual strains in our day and time as much as the next thoughful and reflective guy, i do also think there is something to be said for laying the books aside for a spell and basking: “there is a time for everything,” no?

    zrim

  72. …same for you, daniel. it may be only a matter of time before wacky joins me in being an obnoxious liar.

    zrim

  73. Was it you whom I called an “obnoxious liar” Zrim? I had long forgotten about that quip. I didn’t realize that was such a hurtful comment I apologize for that.

    Nevertheless I don’t feel any angst toward wacky in this conversation, because I don’t feel like he is just trying to pick a fight. It seems to me that he is honestly asking for some insight from alternative view points. I’m trying to provide him with answers.

    Sure he’s said some condescending things towards me, but I reckon that’s a byproduct of his personality and that he truly does want some resolution to his eschatological confusion.

    But what do I know?

  74. yes, that was me. i could puff up and say i don’t care, but you are right…i have remembered it so it must have ben rather stinging…and why i have avoided certain corners of the blogosphere. oh well, whatever, no sweat.

    btw, i wasn’t looking for a fight in the context of that particular barb (nay, flat out name calling) either. i was laying down some very genuine perspectives…really, i was…and got side-swiped. it was really weird: i did my level best to simply be honest and avoid any temptation to let my baser thoughts even a hint of the light of day…yet it is not very hard at all here to detect some thinly veiled, yet just as provacative, insults between the two of you. i have spent more time in places where folks have very different views yet keep it all above board…which begs the question: why am i back here?

    i said it before and i will again, the internet is just so freakin’ weird!!

    best all,

    zrim

  75. QUESTION………

    RE:64

    Is that really Echo or is that Albino posing as Echo?

  76. Zrim, I am chill.

    In fact, I tried to get out of a response to Daniel, but he persisted. :-)

    Now, it may appear that I’m “all about eschatology.” But, what else should we talk about on a thread *spawned* by a book on eschatology. Perhaps beer and smokes?

    Eschatology makes up for about 5% of my dialogs and studies.

    I am and was perfectly chill. Good arguments don’t = uptightness. :-)

  77. Daniel,

    Well, your case is up for all to see, and so is mine. We can just let the readers decide.

    ~Wacky

  78. We all agree that John wrote this letter while being held captive on Patmos. Most of the book is written with references to O.T. prophecy and what not to get the recipients of the letters to understand what is being mentioned. A code you could call it.

    Is it a possibility that the “thousand years” is also code rather than literal? You say “eh yea… thats basically amillenial”. Hear me out for a minute.

    Unlike 1 Peter, we do not know exactly who 2 Peter was written to. could it be that the recipients of Johns letter might also be the same as those of Peters second? If so… is it a possibility that when Peter speaks of the day of the Lord in 2 Peter chapter 3 and how “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day” is it possible that John wants the readers to go back to Peters teaching on the day of the Lord? and rather than the 1,000 years in revelation being literal or symbolic for “a long period of time” could it be that the thousand years is only 1 day?

    In this, Satan would be bound and in that day the believers who are dead, are risen by Christ on that day. and the believers who are alive are caught up with Christ and the others in the sky and are gathered together… when all this is complete, Satan is released from his binding and immediately all who are left are gathered together to come against the church who are with Christ… and as they approach the “Camp” possibly the area under which we are waiting with Christ for them… they gather together in a great number when WAMO! they are all destroyed and Satan is cast into the lake of fire, which is followed by the judgment where all the wicked are also eternally damned along with Satan in the lake of fire while all of the believers dwell in the new heaven and new earth.

    Thoughts? Is it a possibility?

  79. Alex,

    Yes, it was really me.

    Wacky,

    Anti-intellectual? Based on what, exactly? I’m NOT saying, “Don’t think about eschatology,” or “you can’t know anything about eschatology.” Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. It’s “the revelation of Jesus Christ,” not “the revelation of exactly what’s going to happen in minute detail, so that everyone can have a glimpse into God’s crystal ball.”

    Take the crazy “Left Behind” folks, for example. They’re looking for the antiChrist, not Christ. They’re watching eagerly for Nicolae Carpathia, not for Jesus Christ. They’re fascinated with the UN and Israel, and they eagerly read their newspapers, and compare it to the book of Revelation and other parts of Scripture, hoping for some sign of how it’s going to all pan out. They use the Bible like a crystal ball. But that’s not the POINT of Scripture! The point of Scripture is for God to reveal himself.

    When we look back on the OT, this side of the cross, we can see how Christ was revealed there in type and shadow. In OT times, there was a great deal of mystery there. No one before the cross understood it as well as those after the cross. Even John the Baptist asked Jesus, “So, ummm…are you it, or is someone else coming?” I’m not saying that we can’t know ANYTHING. The OT saints knew as much as God allowed them to know, and it was sufficient. But we have a greater revelation now.

    In the same way, we on this side of Christ’s second advent can only guess about some things. Sure, it’s fun to wonder about whether or not there will be a mass conversion of Jews, or whether or not the UN really will take over the world in a tangible way, but that’s not the point of Scripture. The point of Scripture is to comfort us with the gospel, to point us to the gospel, whether through proclaiming the law or the gospel.

    When Christians sit around and speculate about these things, they always necessarily and inevitably end up missing the point of Scripture. Your discussion about the DNA of the Jews was a particularly apt example of this kind of thing. You’re wasting your time, straining at a gnat and missing the point. God doesn’t give us a crystal ball. He gives us word pictures, to point us to the greater realities to come. But he hasn’t laid everything out clear as a bell. Responsible theologians on all sides of the debates admit that some things just aren’t given to us clearly. They are given in type and shadow.

    So my point is, focus on what we can clearly understand, whether that has to do with eschatology or whatever. Don’t ask questions of Scripture that it doesn’t give the answers to. Were the resurrected saints of Mat 27 glorified or not? I don’t know; that’s not the point of the passage. The passage doesn’t answer that question. Stick with the POINT.

    That’s not anti-intellectual. Not even remotely.

    E

  80. [Clean says…] Thoughts? Is it a possibility?

    So you’re supposing that (a) the Millenium has not yet started, and (b) when it happens, it might be very short, instead of very long? And I’m confused about how the Christians can be gathered together in a camp to be attacked, if they have already been caught up in the sky?
    If you follow this link, you will find audio of a recent postmil vs. amil debate in which Gene Cook gives a very solid biblical defense of a two-age model; there is this current (evil) age (discussed by Jesus and Paul as already having started), and there is the age to come (new heavens and new earth), so it seems pretty clear (to me at least) that this age right now must be the Millenial age.

  81. Echo,

    You’re not anti-intellectual, just like I don’t “over-analyze.”

    I took the known biblical information and made a case, that’s all. It’s not over analyzing. In fact, I think my post makes it clear that there are things still left.

    I don’t have a “minute by minute” breakdown. In fact, for all I know, we could be here a few hundred thousand more years.

  82. Rube,

    I will check the link later on but as for the Christians being caught up in the camp… I meant our camp being in the sky. (I Thess 4:17) and as all believers come together in the clouds it is shortly followed by those who are left ON the earth gathering under us.

    If the thousand years could represent a day, then think of what “a short time” for Satan to be released could mean.

    Possibly very short.

  83. If believers are in the clouds, who is left on the earth?

  84. Rev 20:7-10

    Satan deceives the nations, those who are not the believers with Christ, and they march in an army to the camp of God’s people. the camp being where the believers are with Christ in the clouds. and as they are all gathered, they are then destroyed.

  85. they march in an army to the camp of God’s people. the camp being where the believers are with Christ in the clouds

    ?? Are there jet-boots involved, or is there a ladder, or a ramp of sorts, on which the deceived nations can march from the Earth to the camp in the clouds? Would that be accurately described as a Stairway to Heaven?

  86. Look back on what i said the first time Rube…

    “and as they approach the “Camp” possibly the area under which we are waiting with Christ for them…”

    they remain on the earth under the believers gathering in the clouds. It is at that point where they are struck down.

  87. Clean, you are badly misunderstanding the symbolic use of the people of Israel in describing the church.

    The entire book of Revelation must be read through the lens of the OT symbolism.

    The “camp of God’s people” reminds the original reader of how the Israelites wandered through the wilderness for 40 years before entering the promised land.

    That’s where the church is now. We are wandering the wilderness of the world awaiting the day when we will be given an eternal resting place a heavenly abode if you will. Likewise the promises made regarding the “city he loves” don’t refer to Jerusalem, but to what Jerusalem represented, the habitation of God’s presence. Or I prefer to understand it as “the ultimate manifestation of himself to bless”. Presently (on earth) that is found only in the church. after the second coming we will have that experience eternally and in greater fulfillment in heaven.

  88. Very true from a strong amillennial view.

    is it possible though that the church being “the city he loves” is “wandering” in the clouds together with Christ while those who gather from the nations of the earth come to meet their final doom?

  89. hey remain on the earth under the believers gathering in the clouds

    Aha! Are they down there shaking their fists up in the air? Maybe somebody else can address the original Greek, but don’t you think that Rev 20:9’s (ESV, NIV, NASB) use of the word “surrounded” (or KJV “compassed about”) is meant to imply imminent destruction for the camp?

  90. Wacky,

    You missed the point. Totally missed it. That’s so ironic that I was talking about how you miss the point, and you missed the point of my discussion about how you missed the point. Amazing.

    E

  91. E,

    Whatever.

    Aggain, you’re arrogant. I got your point. I just don’t care about it. The guy with the most posts and words per posts on Rube’s blog calling me an “over-analyzer” is like Adolph Hitler calling Martin Luther King a racist.

    You said,

    So my point is, focus on what we can clearly understand, whether that has to do with eschatology or whatever. Don’t ask questions of Scripture that it doesn’t give the answers to.

    I did. I CLEARLY understand those things I talked about. I cited reformed theologians who agreed with my interpretation as well. It’s not too hard to say we haven’t reached the unity of the faith yet.

    But, as the confession says, not all things are clear. So, should we not “focus” on those things? Well, I think we should. It’s not the Gospel, no, But, like many before me, I want to and have a desire to focus on the implications theism has for a full orbed worldview. Look, you want to be a pastor. Fine. You will tell your sheep to look to Christ every week. But, there are other who have other gifts. So, to call a Anderson, Cooper, Byl, Helm, Frame, Leftow, Oliphint, Plantinga, Sudduth, Tipton, or Welty some sort of disparaging remark, is ridiculous. I mean, Welty, who graduated from WSCAL, and got a Ph.D. from Oxford – who almost every professor at your seminary loves – wrote his dissertation on “Theistic Conceptual Realism.” Now, is that “clear” in Scripture?

    So, if you’re not an anti-intellectual, then don’t lord your gifts over others.

    So, (a) my posts were clear… at least to me and hundreds of other reformed theologians, and (b) even if it wasn’t, so what. We have the right and the duty to use the mind God gave us to figure these things out.

    At the end of the day, though, thanks for giving us all we need to silence you on future discussions. Critique theonomy: silence E, that’s unclear. Critique postmillennialism: silence E, that’s unclear. You’ve silenced yourself from these interesting discussions!

    Perhaps you’ll say (c) “no, those things are clear.” Okay, well ditto. I think my post made mention of some pretty clear data. Or you’ll say, (d) no we can indeed discuss things that are not clear. To which I say, “AH!, hoisted by your own petard!

    cheers,

    ~Wacky

    :-)

  92. I got your point. I just don’t care about it.

    Apparently, there’s enough arrogance for everybody to have plenty…

    As for your content, I also find it interesting that so many of my faithful (over)analyzers (Echo, Zrim, myself, …) have a sudden case of the “not interesteds” when it comes to this topic. I wonder if that effect is part of a larger pattern I’m not seeing? It’s not an aversion to pointless speculation altogether, as the lively discussion on this recent post demonstrates.

  93. Rube, that’s what I’ve been wondering as well. I keep thinking to myself, “am I on an island out here, why doesn’t anyone engage Wacky’s speculations but me?”

    Especially when we consider how adamant your other readers are about soteriology or even theonomy. For only 2 people to have any volleying on this subject is peculiar to say the least.

    almost as peculiar as echo’s “chill-out” post.

    I feel like I’m in the twilight zone.

  94. Speaking for myself, I look forward to Jesus’ return, if He should return in my lifetime, but debating how and when He will return isn’t one of my passions.

  95. Rube,

    It’s not arrogant to not care about utterly ridiculous comments.

    Anyone who reads my posts can see that I did not engage in speculation. I laid out biblical verses, as well as some minor exegesis, and made a case that THE BIBLE (not me) says that there are a few things that will happen before Christ comes back.

    Albino, I don’t debate “how” and “why” Christ will return. I simply point out that some things will happen. Even Jesus says “these things must happen” (though the context doesn’t exactly fit here since he’s talking about his coming in judgment, IMHO). And, so all I’m doing is pointing out that if you have an eschatology that says Christ can return *any second* (including the next one)

  96. ATT: Only half of my post got posted this time!!!

    This is truly a “wacky” combox Rube’s got going on here :-)

  97. Wacky, I don’t debate “how” and “why” Christ will return. I simply point out that some things will happen.

    That’s the point, without yous giving an idea of “how” these things will happen you will be seen as a pre or a post millenialist. they are the only ones who have drawn a picture of these things. A Pre has drawn a very dangerous picture (that leans towards a duel-covenant)and a post has drawn a very distant picture (that leans towards ‘impossible’). But then you buck all labels so it’s not clear what you think, except to say that Christ cannot come back any time soon, (which is the exact opposite of what he says).

    Now I know you didn’t say he “can’t come back soon” but there’s simply no other way to describe what is implied by you saying “these 7 things have to happen before he can return” and then expect them to happen in a way that will be clearly and comprehensively marked by all who are awaiting his coming.

  98. Daniel,

    That’s the point, without yous giving an idea of “how” these things will happen you will be seen as a pre or a post millenialist.

    I can’t be seen as a premill since I only believe in one resurrection from the dead, and Christ’s bodily return *after* the millennium. I really wish you were more cautious and careful. You might be viewed as an immature thinker.

    I didn’t know how Albino was using the term “how.” How will Christ return? In glory. Suddenly. Etc.

    But, my posts brought out things that *will happen* before he comes. This was not a mere assertion but a carefully argued exegetical position – as demonstrated above. Now, you may disagree with my arguments, but I’m the only one who has given any. You let a couple objection fly my way, and IMHO, I shot them out of the sky.

    You have not demonstrated that Christ can come back soon where ‘soon’ means ‘in the next second.’ If you cared to read an intro to logic textbook you might have learned how to avoid the use of relative terms like “soon.” “Tall” is another example. “Jim is tall when standing next to Susie, but not next to Igor.”

    So, is 100 years ‘soon?’ I think so. And, I think Christ *could* come back in 100 years. Which means I think he could come back ‘soon.’

    I’m saying that, given the decree, he “can’t” come back ‘soon’ where ‘soon’ means ‘in the next second.’ There are things decreed which must happen before he comes, as my arguments above demonstrated.

    Take one example. The church is unified IN TIME. It’s not in heaven, since we won’t have “pastors and teachers” in heaven. The unity of the faith is not the saame thing as the unity of the body. So, they are unified in one sense, but not the other. This unity is a “building up” and is done “until” a time. At this time the church will be “mature.” That is, “complete.” Fully developed.

    My argument, which I cited Hodge as agreeing, but I can cite numerous other scholars, shows that we are not unified now, and it is not something that is done in a second. Furthermore, the exegesis of the chapter shows that it is a *process.* And, since will not hold to all these various winds of false doctrine, I don’t see how, granting that there are many “winds” of doctrine in the church, this can be rectified in *one second.* Especially since it is rectified by the *teaching* of *pastors and teachers!*

    I don’t mind people disagree with me. But to treat me as I’ve just been offering mere opinion, and stating things which go beyond Scripture, is disrespectful of your interlocutor. I have shown that, even if I’m wrong, I’m holding my beliefs on the Basis that THAT’S WHAT I SEE SCRIPTURE TEACHING. So, to just dismiss me as someone who is putting forth vain speculation is to slander the facts.

    cheers,

    ~Wacky

  99. …and, perhaps I can clear up some ambiguity or vagueness in my post.

    Since I am a semi-compatibilist, I view the actions of others as following from the divine decree, hence our actions are pre-determined.

    So, I don’t hold to libertarianism and assume that people “can” do otherwise than the decree, where “can” is construed as the ability to actualize alternative possibilities, then if it has been decreed that Jesus would come back at time t1, Jesus “could not” come back at t2.

    But, had the decree been different, he “could” have come back at t2 rather than t1.

    But, there’s another sense of “could.” Actually, a few. Take Jesus’ bones. “Could” his bones have been broken?

    Well, if you’re orthodox, you’d say that they could not since it was prophecied that they would not break, and prophecy from God cannot fail to come true.

    But, in another sense, don’t we want to admit that his bones “could” indeed have been broken? Surely. Jesus was a human. He did not have metal bones like Wolverine. Human bones “can” be broken. Thus his bones were *metaphysically* able to be broken, but not logically… given the decree, that is. Not logically in the broadly logical sense. In the narrower one which includes the decree.

    And so that is why I say that Jesus “can’t” come back in one second. Here’s why:

    1. I believe that Scripture says there are things that will happen in history before Jesus returns.

    2. I believe this based on sound reason and biblically governed exegetical and hermeneutical arguments.

    3. The nature of these things are such that if they are not over now, they cannot be done in the next second.

    4. These things are not already over.

    5. Therefore they cannot be done in the next second.

    6. Since Scripture teaches these things, and I have good reason to believe it does based on (2) above, then Scripture declares that Jesus cannot come back in the next second.

    7. One is warranted in believing what Scripture teaches.

    8. I am warranted in believing that Jesus will not come back in the next second.

    And so, my position is not some idle speculation. To defeat it you must show that my arguments for those events are wrong, and so (a) either (1) – (7) could be already over, or (b) able to be accomplished in one second.

    I believe I have given strong arguments against both (a) and (b). No counter argument has been offered.

    So that leads to this argument:

    1. If one has an undefeated defeater, then one’s belief is not warranted.

    2. Daniel et al. has an undefeated defeater.

    3. Therefore Daniel et al.’s belief that Jesus could come back in the next second is not warranted.

    QED…. until my arguments are debunked.

    cheers,

    ~Wacky

  100. Wacky,

    I regret the degeneration of the discussion into name calling and other such tactics. I understand that you’re frustrated. Certainly I can understand how you feel.

    But when I say that you missed the point, the point I was trying to make is that when you lay down certain things that have to happen before Christ can return, and then declare that these things haven’t happened yet, I’m saying that you have made a claim that I don’t think is warranted.

    Let’s take, for example, your discussion of the unity of the faith. How do you know that that wasn’t fulfilled in the completion of the canon? How do you know that it wasn’t fulfilled in the Reformation? Or the writing of the reformed confessions? Or how do you know that this isn’t something that will only be fulfilled in the eschaton?

    You presume too much.

    How could Messiah have died? He was supposed to free us from the Romans, but now he’s dead!

    There are some who believe that the Bible must be translated into every language on earth before Christ returns, or at least that every tribe on earth must be exposed to the gospel, so that literally it can be true that people from EVERY tribe, tongue and nation can be brought into the household of faith.

    To that belief, I can only respond, well, maybe. We’ll see eventually, won’t we?

    I’m not encouraging you not to think about these things, but to perhaps temper your dogmatism a little. There are things to be dogmatic about, to be sure, but some things, well, the secret things belong to our God, but the revealed things belong to us.

    E

  101. E,

    I’m not frusterated at all. But apparently you are.

    Now, “how do I know the unity of the faith hasn’t been acheived?”

    Well, there’s different ways to take you. Do you mean, “Amn I absolutely certain in a catesian sense?” No, I’m not. But, to that I refer you to R.S. Clark’s arguments against the quest for religious certainty.

    Do you mean, “Do you ahve good exegetical reasons to believe as you do?”

    Well, yes, and I posted them above.

    Now, your little “how do you know it wasn’t done in X, Y, Z” states of history is probably best construed as placing an infallibilist constraint upon knowledge. But, of course, i deny said constraint and would ask that you justify it first before proceeding.

    Second, virtually all of the reformed commentors I read on the subject do not think it has been acheived yet. I cited Hodge as just one of them. Calvin also says it has not been achieved – though I would disagree with some of his comments on the passage. If it is fulfilled in the eschaton, why the need for *pastors* and *teachers?* They are the ones who “pefect” us and lead us into unity. Furthermore, there are passages which seem to imply this is before the new heavens and earth: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” And, lastly, Jesus prayed for this unity, and said by it the UNBELIEVING WORLD would believe.

    I presume no more than Hodge, Calvin, et al. But, as men like R. S. Clark say, “Don’t listen to my students. They get things wronmg all the time.” It should give people pause when intellectual children tell men like Charles Hodge that ‘they presume too much.’

    I’m not dogmatic. I’m simply putting forth what I find in Scripture.

    So, if you want to play the “what if” game, and the “maybe you’re wrong” game, two can play that. Is that what we’ve degenerated to? “Well you can’t know with infallible certainty that you’re right, therefore if you claim to know you’re either “presumptuous,” or “dogmatic.” Puh-lease.

    cheers,

    Wacky

  102. Wacky,

    I read your post.

    E

  103. Wacky,

    You’ve reached a new level of insanity with this comment…

    “You have not demonstrated that Christ can come back soon where ’soon’ means ‘in the next second.’ If you cared to read an intro to logic textbook you might have learned how to avoid the use of relative terms like “soon.” “Tall” is another example. “Jim is tall when standing next to Susie, but not next to Igor.”

    Your argument on my use of the word “soon” as illogical is a clear example that you have no interest in what scripture says but rather what you “exegete” scripture to say.

    If there is not an implied imminent action behind the word “soon” then it is an unnecessary redundancy being authored by the Holy Spirit in Revelation.

    Why, do you suppose, Jesus said, “behold I am coming soon (quickly)” when it would have better proved your point for him to have said, “behold I am coming.”?

    You’ve got a problem here, either Jesus was confused when he said “soon” or he was unable to perform his coming because we were inept in fulfilling his plans.

    Or you could acknowledge that he is describing his coming as one that will be without delay. Thus it is an implied imminence perfectly translatable and understandable to all successive generations who would await his return.

    Perhaps you could go through the New Testament and look for other uses of this word “soon”. How about Philippians 2:19-24 where Paul tells the Philippian church that he will be sending timothy to them “shortly” or even that he himself will hopefully come to visit them Shortly”. I suppose Paul could have said “I hope in the Lord to send Timothy to you.” But he didn’t he added a word, the word “shortly”. Just like Jesus added the word, “soon”.

    Now you may have a problem with me using this word, but the problem isn’t the relative nature of the word, the problem is that the Scripture uses it and it is fatal to your thesis. Let me remind everyone of your thesis now that you have finally and clearly stated it…

    “I’m saying that, given the decree, he “can’t” come back ’soon’ where ’soon’ means ‘in the next second.’ There are things decreed which must happen before he comes, as my arguments above demonstrated.”

    Your “things decreed” which started at 7 and now seems more like 1, have not been shown as tangible “things” at all except to say “things that I’m sure are not now.”

    How you manage to say you’ve “shot out of the sky” my objections is beyond my comprehension. How have you “shot down” my objections? By calling them “what if stories”?
    You keep calling on your “biblical verses” and you “minor exegesis” (post 95). But when I went back to try and find all of those “biblical verses” you were referring to all I could find was Romans 11:25, Ephesians 4:11-16 and John 17:20 (and in each case your ‘minor exegesis” can be summarized as “This hasn’t happened yet, because it I can’t see it.” Wow that is indeed minor). Ironically comment 60 demonstrates how I had to look up the verses for you and cite your texts. So stop trumpeting your “exegesis”. When it’s clear to any who is reading that by “exegesis” you mean your “opinion”.

    You are treading on dangerous ground with your insistence that Christ “can’t” return within the hour. You’re neglecting the clear teachings of Jesus’ when he answered the disciple’s questions, “what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age.” (Matthew 24:3).

    He told us,
    “no one knows about the day or the hour” (vs 36).
    But that it would be like the days of Noah, when people knew “nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them away.” (vs 39)
    By insisting that Jesus can’t return “soon” (imminently) you negate the warning of Jesus to “therefore keep watch, because you do not know what day your Lord will come.” (vs 42).
    You sound an awful lot like wicked servant who said, “my master is staying away a long time.” (vs 48). Or one of the virgins who fell asleep (25:5).

    Don’t blame me for imposing those characteristics on you, because THAT IS HOW YOU ARE COMING ACROSS!
    I don’t care about winning or losing a debate, I care about brothers in Christ who are missing the point of scripture.

  104. Come on, Daniel. Winning is better than losing. Like Winston Churchill famously said, “I know that the lion will one day lie down with the lamb, but I’d still rather be the lion.”

  105. Daniel,

    Unfortunately you’ve not shown that Christ said his second coming would be soon. If he did, then ‘soon’ means “2,000 +” years.

    So, either you think ‘soon’ can be “2,00o +” years, or you’ll deny your claim that Jesus said he would return “soon” where “soon” means “in the next second.”

    Unfortunately you totally failed to interact with my arguments. You failed at a fundamental level, but then went on and on about stuff that was based on his benightened failure at the get go.

    He then tells me that “I’m on dangerous ground.” Why?

    You are treading on dangerous ground with your insistence that Christ “can’t” return within the hour. You’re neglecting the clear teachings of Jesus’ when he answered the disciple’s questions, “what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age.” (Matthew 24:3).

    He told us,

    a) “no one knows about the day or the hour” (vs 36).

    b) But that it would be like the days of Noah, when people knew “nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them away.” (vs 39)

    c) By insisting that Jesus can’t return “soon” (imminently) you negate the warning of Jesus to “therefore keep watch, because you do not know what day your Lord will come.” (vs 42).

    d) You sound an awful lot like wicked servant who said, “my master is staying away a long time.” (vs 48). Or one of the virgins who fell asleep (25:5).

    I listed them with numbers for my answer:

    a*) I don’t know about the day or the hour also.

    b*) I agree. And that means it could be in the next second how, exactly?

    c*) Does ‘soon’ mean ‘in the next second?’ If so, then I negate it because the Bible does. Jesus is coming for all of us soon. You could die at any second. I’m not even saying it [the second coming] can’t happen in my lifetime, doubtful, but it’s a possibility. Look, based on my arguments, which you haven’t dealt with, all you’re doing is making Scripture contradict itself. If I’m right, your understanding of these verses are wrong. So, you can’t just ignore my arguments and then throw out verses based on your refuted assumption.

    d*) Unfortunately I’m not “getting drunk and beating my servants.” I’m not living in a way which says I don’t need to worry about Jesus’ return. Yours was an argument from analogy, minus the analogy. Not to mention you sound like a dweeb making claims like this: “you better watch out.” “You’re an evil servant.” WHatever Daniel. That someone has to resort to those kinds of tactics shows he has nothing left in the intellectual arena.

  106. Wow! Does anyone else smell that? It reeks of arrogance. I do not understand how this is any different from competing against each other in a game of chess or a UFC fight. Althought the subject matter happens to be the Bible I fail to see how this ego fest brings glory to God. State your beliefs, references, and then get your ego’s out of the way. If you can’t handle the fact that the other person still “fails to see” then maybe you should stop debating your “brother” and start debating the unregenerate.

  107. Wacky,

    Rev 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

    Rev 22:7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

    Rev 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.

    Rev 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

    What do all these verses have in common? They use the phrase “coming soon”, all speaking about Jesus’ second coming.

    Now, you might notice that it doesn’t say that he “will come”, but that he “is coming”. Every time. That’s not an accident. John does it in the gospel of John too.

    Joh 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

    I know the English here says “will come”, but that only helps to illustrate my point. In Greek it isn’t the future tense, it’s the present tense “I am coming”. It’s an idiom used for the second coming of Christ.

    Now ask yourself this question: why didn’t John choose to say “Christ will come someday”? Or why didn’t he say “Christ won’t come for at least another 2000 years.”? Isn’t that what he actually meant?

    No.

    No it’s not what he meant. He meant to convey the immanence of his coming. So emphatic about this point is he that he uses the present tense “is coming” rather than the future tense “will come”. He says that he is coming, as if to say he’s already on his way. This is a way of using the Greek present tense to denote immanence. Many Greek grammars refer to this as a “futuristic present”. That’s why the ESV translates it as “will come” in John 14 as I cited above.

    But really, this use of the present is supposed to convey a certainty that is so powerful, that it gives rise to immanence. It’s like highlighting it or putting it into italics. They didn’t have italics in those days.

    If they had had italics and boldness in their writings, I imagine that John would have said that he IS coming, putting “is” in italics or bolding it or something. He could have said he will come, but he didn’t. John, the apostle, chose to write “is coming”.

    This was deliberately to convey an idea of immanence, while also conveying that this event in fact will take place at some time in the future. Yet it is going to happen. Any minute now. That’s what John meant to convey.

    But there’s something inside you that says, no, John COULDN’T have meant that. He simply could not have meant to convey to his original audience that Jesus could come back any minute, because it’s been 2000 years, and he still hasn’t come back! That’s a long time! Not exactly any minute, John!

    This for you is a serious dilemma. In order to solve the problem, however, you have simply concluded that it doesn’t mean what most people say it means. It couldn’t mean that, or else John would be lying! So it just doesn’t mean that. And here we have a nice neat list of things that have to happen before the return of Christ, so as it turns out, his return isn’t immanent at all, but it’s probably still a long way off.

    I don’t think you’re making this exegetical decision because you want to live in sin, getting drunk and beating the servants. After all, you could die in a car accident any time you get in the car, so your appearance before God could happen very soon indeed. Since you are undoubtedly aware of that reality, since you know that Death looms over us all, because we walk our whole lives in its shadow, I don’t think your motivation is to pretend as if your own personal judgment before God is still a long way off. Only a fool would think this way, and you are surely not a fool.

    No, I think you’ve made this decision because you see that according to God’s eternal decree, Jesus’ return wasn’t immanent to the original audience of John’s letter, and therefore, if God, through the pen of John, were to say to those people that his return was in fact immanent, then he would be lying, because it wasn’t immanent.

    Since I am convinced that this is the problem you are trying to solve, let’s consider how Death looms over all our heads. We could all technically die at any moment. Right now, though I am sitting in my living room, a meteor could come crashing through my roof and kill me. I could get in a car accident on my way to church tomorrow and die. I could die in my sleep tonight in a fire. Or maybe someone will break into my place and kill me because they want to steal my stuff and I just didn’t want to let it go. Who knows? Our lives are quite fragile when we think about it.

    Yet I may live to be 100 years old too. Some people do. Probably not me, because I’m overweight and smoke cigars, but some people do. They really do.

    But if it is true, according to the decree of God, that I will live to be 100, does Death still loom immanently over my head? Is Death a real threat? Well, to me it is. Quite simply because I have no idea if I’ll live to 100 or not. I’d sure be surprised if I did.

    If I were destined to live to be 100, and you said to me that I could die at any time, would you be lying? Of course you wouldn’t be lying. It’s TRUE that I could die at any time. Death could be right there tomorrow. 5 minutes from now I could be dead. You never know.

    But now, what if God says to me that I could die any minute? Is he lying by saying that to me, since he knows I won’t die till I’m 100 years old? Does the fact that I am destined to live to be 100 change the fact that it’s possible that I could die at any moment?

    I don’t think so. And I don’t think I’m being unreasonable. John the Apostle was trying to convey to us much the same thing. He didn’t look up at the decree, the eternal decree about the return of Christ and then write what he did with that in mind. He did not and still does not have access to the eternal decree, and neither do you. We only know what has come to pass WAS decreed.

    But that doesn’t change John’s point. John’s point is that the return of Christ could be at any time. Be ready. Keep watch.

    The point is, YOU don’t know when he’s coming. That’s John’s point. As far as YOU’RE concerned, the return of Christ could be any moment, because YOU don’t know when he’s coming, only God knows, and he’s not going to tell you.

    So whether or not the return of Christ actually IS going to be in the next 5 minutes, we don’t know. But as far as we know, it could be. That’s what God is saying to us here through John’s pen.

    Now, Daniel cited some texts in (103) above, so I’ll talk about those.

    Rom 11:25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

    Ok, so in other words, all the elect have to be saved before Christ will return. Fair enough. For all we know, all the elect are going to be finally saved tomorrow. Maybe all the elect are already all saved, and Jesus is coming back tonight. We don’t know who’s elect and who isn’t. But no one who is elect will fail to be brought into the fold before Christ returns. This is meant to assure us, but also point out that unless we can peer into the decree of God, we can’t know when Christ is going to return. It could be any minute now, or it might be a long time.

    Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
    Eph 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

    If this is your proof text for saying that the church must attain some unity of perfect faith before Christ will return, you have literally no argument at all. I’m sure you have better arguments to offer, because this tells us that the proclamation of the gospel will continue until Christ returns, when we are glorified, and then attain to perfect unity. This is what Jesus is talking about here, the other passage Daniel mentioned above:

    Joh 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
    Joh 17:21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
    Joh 17:22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,

    Verse 22 is obviously speaking of glorification. We do not presently have the full measure of the glory that we will have then (see 1 Cor 15:54-57). So since we will be given more glory then than we have now, we can’t possibly have right now the glory that the Father gave his Son, because that would mean that when we are glorified, when we increase in glory, we will be more glorious than Christ, and that’s just silly.

    We will be one when we are glorified, we will be glorified when Christ returns. That is when the unity of the faith will take place and preaching will cease.

    Yet Paul too in Romans 8 talks about our glorification as if it has already happened. You know, he says those he foreknew he also predestined, etc…he also glorified. Past tense, right?

    Well, no, not exactly. In John 17, above, the glory that Christ gave to us is in the perfect. Past action with present, persisting effects. In Romans 8, however, Paul uses the Aorist. Most people understand this to be not a simple aorist, “glorified”, but a special kind of aorist that means “began to glorify”.

    But anyway, even though his glory is not yet fully manifested in us, we have been given his glory. We are identified with him, he is our covenant/federal head. We were buried with him and raised with him.

    So here’s what you’re left with. Either you can say that we ARE one, we who are united to Christ, because he is the glue that keeps us together, and since we are united to him, we are necessarily one with each other, though not yet fully manifested, OR you can say that our unity is not true until it is complete in the eschaton when we are glorified.

    Either way, there is no way to prove that there is some as yet unattained unity of the faith that must take place in the church before Christ will return. This is Scripturally unfounded. If you want to make a better Scriptural argument, go ahead, but I don’t think you’ll find it.

    And frankly, I really don’t care who you cite that thinks there IS such a thing, because whoever they are, they have made a mistake, because the Scripture doesn’t support that view. The best theologians can make mistakes. That doesn’t mean that we throw out their writings altogether, it just means the final arbiter of all matters of doctrine is the Bible itself. Unless I see it clearly portrayed in Scripture, I don’t care how many theologians you cite. This is what Scripture says.

    E

  108. E,

    “Rev 3:11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

    Rev 22:7 “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

    Rev 22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.

    Rev 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

    What do all these verses have in common? They use the phrase “coming soon”, all speaking about Jesus’ second coming.

    That’s right, and I interpret those preteristically.

    Glad to see that you think ‘soon’ means “over two-thousand years.” Yeah, Jesus told a 1st centru church, made of real people, that he was coming in their lifetime… but he really meant over 2,000 years… after they all died and the real 1st century church was non-existent.

    “Ok, so in other words, all the elect have to be saved before Christ will return. Fair enough. For all we know, all the elect are going to be finally saved tomorrow. Maybe all the elect are already all saved, and Jesus is coming back tonight.”

    Right. And all I’ve claimed is that if you believe this then you must believe that ethnic Israel has been provoked by the Gospel blessings the Gentiles have received and so a large majority of ethnic Jews have been saved.

    You must also believe that the great commission is over, the millennium is over, and Satan has been released and caused the great apostacy.

    Furthermore, if you’re not a preterist, you must believe that the anti-christ is here, and that you know who he is (since John implies that his readers know the identity of this man).

    ” Either you can say that we ARE one, we who are united to Christ, because he is the glue that keeps us together, and since we are united to him, we are necessarily one with each other, though not yet fully manifested, OR you can say that our unity is not true until it is complete in the eschaton when we are glorified.”

    I, and the Bible, make a distinction between the unity of the Spirit (or body) and the unity fo the faith. The two are different.

    Wacky.

  109. Wacky,

    You’re assuming that I believe that a large number of ethnically Jewish people will be saved before Christ returns. You’re also assuming that I believe there is or will be one man called the anti-Christ. You’re also assuming that I believe that there is anything that comes historically between the cessation of the proclamation of the gospel and the eschaton.

    That’s a lot of assumptions. I frankly have no idea if a large number of ethnically Jewish people will be saved before Christ returns. Good solid honest theologians who have spent more time thinking about it than me go both ways, and I don’t think the Scripture is definitive on this as I see it. I really don’t know what to make of it. But if Jesus returns tomorrow, and a whole host of ethnic Jews don’t get saved first, well, that’s alright by me. My point is that there’s nothing in Scripture that definitively proves that it will happen that way. There are multiple ways to interpret whatever proof texts you might provide for it.

    As for the Antichrist, again, any proof text you could cite could be interpreted legitimately in at least two ways. One way is that there will be one man, a Caesar so to speak, who will take over the entire planet. The other way to interpret it is that these texts refer to a spirit of Antichrist, with many manifestations. So Hitler is an Antichrist, and the Caesars, and the Pope, and Muhammed. There isn’t only one, but many manifestations. That’s a perfectly legitimate way of interpreting it.

    As for the end of the great commission, and the unbounding of Satan, and a great apostasy, etc – well, I don’t believe in the elaborate timeline you suppose. I believe Christ returns, judges the living and the dead, and the eschaton ensues. This great apostasy you’re referring to, well, with as rare as the true preaching of the gospel is these days, I have no problem saying that that very well could be referring to our present age. There’s over a billion people who claim to be Christians, and yet how many of them even understand the concept of being saved by grace through faith? Most of them are trying to earn their salvation. Why? Because that’s what’s being preached to them. I have no problem saying that the Roman Catholic Church is one big organized apostate organization. And I furthermore have no problem seeing an unrestrained Satan behind that. And since I’m amillennial, I don’t really worry too much about whether the millennium is over or not.

    The Antichrist, apostasy, the unbounding of Satan – these are things that characterize the age we are living in. But it’s not exactly unique to our present age, but has been going on. Perhaps when the end has finally come, there WILL be one man who takes over the world and outlaws Christianity. But since I don’t see the Scriptures demanding of us that we believe that, I’m not prepared to say that Christ will not come back until that happens.

    Now, even after all of that, you might still not be satisfied that I’m not being logically fallacious, and I’m sure you’ll continue to bristle at what you are calling a fallibilist view of knowledge. I’m sure you believe that every passage of Scripture has only one correct interpretation, and since God gave the Scriptures to us, therefore we ought to demand of ourselves that we discover this interpretation, and never compromise it. Well, I believe every passage has only one correct interpretation, but I do not affirm that we are necessarily able to grasp that. There are some things in Scripture that no one has ever been able to fully understand. That’s just how it is. Not many things, but some things. Maybe we’re just tainted with our traditions, but look, there are even some Hebrew words that simply no one knows for sure what they mean. No one. They have a pretty good idea, but they aren’t positive. What do you think of that? How do you react to that? Well, however you react to it, make sure you begin by accepting it, because it’s true.

    For that matter, different manuscripts of the Scriptures are a little bit different. There’s a different letter here, a different phrase there. And in many cases, no one can say for absolute certain which is right, even people who dedicate their lives to studying this stuff. They usually have a pretty good idea, but for a lot of things, they just don’t know for sure. What do you think about that? What do you think about the fact that there are some small variations in the various texts that we have, so that we can’t be absolutely sure which way is inspired and which way represents some scribe who wasn’t paying close attention to the text when he was copying? Does that mean that we don’t have epistemic access to the Word of God?

    E

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