O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
It has been a long time since I have posted here, but this is the first place I came to in order to learn from the 'horses mouth' what full preterists truly believed (after being warned against it by partial preterists for a couple of years prior): Everyone here was so gracious to answer my questions and had me convinced of the truth of fulfillment within a few hours of my arrival here!
It has been a wild year of discovery to say the least! I have spent most of my time in Facebook groups learning from some of the leaders of Full Preterism and Covenant Creation as well. I can now go back and reread some of the earlier postings I made here, as well as some of the others I followed back then but had very little true grasp of some of the concepts, and follow much better today.
I get the feeling the learning will never cease and neither will the need to continue to throw off strongholds of old thinking that still clouds my vision at times, but I am happy to say I still have my faith in Christ, though much of my understanding of the bible itself has changed.
I am here just to update and thank those of you who helped me and who might remember me from back then, but also to ask for some guidance on the one issue that gives me the most concern, and which I can not seem to come to a clear understanding of (not that it is the only issue I am not clear on, but it is the only one truly concerning me at this time):
That is the issue of soteriology Post AD70... how do we today relate to the body of Christ (for example are we offspring of the heavenly union of Christ and His Bride, the church?) and how do we know we have eternal spiritual life after physical death? I have been exposed to the Israel Only view (nothing for us after AD 70 as far as eternal life goes), the Universal Redemption view, and of course a Covenantal view requiring a belief in Christ much like was required in the transition period of Gentiles at that time (some with and others without the need for baptism), as well as a view of salvation being found in the Law of Love (so that all who love as Christ taught as the Way are in Christ, even if the name and work of Jesus is not known precisely to that person). Of course all of this in the context of either an Individual body view or a Corporate body view as well.
I realize that maybe there isn't enough told to us in scripture to say for sure what is necessary for eternal life after physical death or what even that exactly entails, but I would be interested to get a run down of the various views some of you hold to on this site. Thanks so much!
Great questions there.
While I am not a preterist I will give my thinking anyway :)
IF all things are fulfilled (including judgment) and sin is done away with then there is nothing separating people from God hence there is no real "salvation". Man was saved when sin was done away with and judgment passed. As such there are no really lost people nor is there any pending judgment. The only thing that happens is that people get an understanding of God and start enjoying it. Since they were never really in sin, I see no reason for baptism as baptism was cleansing from the old sinful life (which no longer exists).
Im not sure about being offspring of Christ and the Bride, Im not sure about the difference between being the bride and being the offspring of the bride. But I see no practical difference between the redeemed and the beneficiaries of redemption in terms of their standing before God.
Eternal life is the communion we have with God, its not primarily afterlife. Im not sure if and what the Bible teaches about the afterlife but if there is such a thing then ours is secured because sin has been dealt with.
But then, was sin Israel's problem? Did it originate with Israel or was it a problem of the whole human race? Where and when did sin originate?
IF it was only a covenant people problem, then who knows how the answers would be.
Answers depend on the underlying assumptions and holding them consistently but whether those assumptions/premise are true is another thing.
Jesus Is Risen,
I believe you are right only if Adam was the first man created rather than the first to be called out, to bear the image of God. If he was one among a pre-existing population then people are still being called out of the pre-existing population to be brought up into the image of God. The covenant image bearer is no longer Adam but Christ. Adam was the one that sinned in the first covenant. Jesus will never sin. Not everyone was in Adam's covenant then and not everyone is in Christ's covenant today. What is fulfilled is the image of God in the temple. It is an ongoing creation as far as God's image now being created in new people. Adam himself was saved and his sin was done away with. Judgement to destruction was passed on those who tried to remain in him. Judgement to life on those who joined the new covenant people.
Typically the nation Israel became the Eve corporate or the mother of all the living. The nation was the bride of Adam. Within the nation individuals married and raised children. The nation was also called God's firstborn to be called out of Egypt. You can't turn metaphors into science. Jesus didn't start over with a single individual as a bride. He released the whole nation of Israel from the side of Adam while he was in a deep sleep on the cross.
When you say human race that technically means the progeny of Adam. It is like saying the Adam race. But by the time Christ arrived the whole world had become Adamized through the diaspora. They generally understood what it meant to be human just as most of the world does today. That understanding causes some proud and stubborn people like Nero to act more like animals. So generally anyone today can be called to join God's family. If they don't then they are not in it. Then they die like animals do. That is the 'salvation' today. We get to keep existing and enjoy true life if we join the family of God. But there is only one covenant as far as I know. It is the one Christ heads up not Adam. From AD 30 - 70 there was two because the old man, first born covenant was in the process of being destroyed.
I don't want to appear pedantic I am trying to clarify this to myself.
What is the image of God?
Given what your explanation (assuming Adam was called among many), it would appear that sin was not the problem with humanity that Jesus came to deal with AS sin (and judgment) would be limited to the covenant people. Nevertheless by dealing with the covenant people's problem of sin (salvation) this allowed those outside the covenant an opportunity to bear the image of God (what ever that is). But there is no danger of judgment (hence no need for salvation) for those who do not yet have the image of God, just the loss of having that image (kinda like settling for sugar when you can have honey). Am I following?
The image of God is, don't murder me and I won't murder you. You know the commandments. We can't live together forever without it.
I believe those who aren't born into the family of God cease to exist so there is a lot to lose still. I don't think they go to hell to burn forever though.
Yes you have it - we just have to trust God and live by faith.
But I don't think we should limit God and believe that only those with a relationship with God now will live on after physical death. Doesn't it make more sense that all who are born and live physically will live on after death and come to have a relationship with God then? Remember what Jesus said about those in Sodom and Gommorah? Matthew 10:15 "Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." This would indicate that in the "next life" all unbelievers will come to know the truth and suffer shame and guilt from their sinful actions in the physical life
As I am new to this site I wasn't able to help you with your transition but I am glad you made the exodus. I love the realization that we don't have to wait for Jesus to come surfing on the clouds to have full access to the tree of life. I have been exposed to the the no afterlife view also by a guy who's been a preterist longer than I've been alive. When we were talking over coffee and he asked if I would live my life different if I gave up my belief in the afterlife I said that no I wouldn't. And it helped me realize that what we do here on earth is very important. Of course he said the Sadducees were right but I couldn't give him that. See I view the Septuagint as the bible that the Apostles used and Jesus quoted from and the Septuagint has other books in it that have varying views on the afterlife. I like what Jeff Turner says about the bible-
"Ecclesiastes, for instance, flat out denies any sort of postmortem (afterlife) existence, and suggests that we simply live life to the fullest, since, in the end, the good and the bad end up in the same place. The writer (who was not Solomon, by the way, though the later added intro would have you believe it was) seems angered by this, and calls all of life a vanity, since, in his view, one can live a perfectly righteous life and still get stuck with what, in traditional Jewish thought, only the wicked deserved. The Proverbs, however, reflect a very different view, in which good people are repaid with good in this life, while bad people are repaid with bad. Later on, writers like Daniel introduce the concept of resurrection, where, in the postmortem world, the good finally get the good that never reached them in life, and the evil get repaid with the evil that never reached them in life. These are not three incomplete, but ultimately agreeing voices, but three very different views of life, suffering, and the afterlife experience."
So Ken Schenck a scholar on second temple period writes about a misconception about the Sadducees.
So on the Septuagint,
Ken quotes N.T. Wright as saying
"All the indications are that those who translated the Septuagint, and those who read it thereafter... would have understood the key Old Testament passages in terms of a more definite 'resurrection' sense than the Hebrew would necessarily warrant"
So if you want to stick with the Hebrew OT (more specifically the Masoretic) because you think that the Hebrew helps us understand Hebraic thought then you are probably going to lean more towards no afterlife. However, the way that the NT was written and the way they borrowed Greek terms like Tartarus and Hades in their discussion of the afterlife means they had no problem with some of what was assumed in that Greek culture. I admit that it was wrong for some of the early church fathers to claim that our souls are naturally immortal (a Platonic view of the afterlife) but disembodied souls that end up with a body is something that the early Church didn't shy away from for good reason. Yes there also were a lot of monists in the early church but that was only cause they didn't understand that the resurrection had already happened. Does that provide a view you hadn't heard about of the views on the afterlife?
As for soteriology I find the covenant model to make the most sense. Children in the covenant are free to leave (and become agnostic or worship another god) but at the same time a simple belief is all that is needed to be a child. What is interesting is all other religions believe that you can do things to get more in the afterlife (like Mormonism) but I think whenever Christian's say you can do things on earth to get more in heaven they are only trying to mix paganism with their Christianity. Everything for eternal life has been done by our High Priest. We will find out what it is like I guess.
Also Peter Enns does an interesting study on the Wisdom of Solomon in part two of this paper
Thank you for the question. I also struggled with it, but have come to terms. For me, the origin of this question comes out of futurism, in which it is always easier to put things out there, in the future, when the "good things" will happen. Futurism subtly, but strongly, suggests that we have to suffer now so that the future will bring the good things "when Christ returns"
The return of Christ is at the heart of most of christianity nowadays, and because of that one thing, people are willing to put up with suffering since they believe that when this life is over, all will be well.
While that is true, (that all will be well in the future), futurism makes suffering now to be the hallmark of true christianity. This is because a "good" christian is one who suffers now, in this life. But the bible tells us that all people, rich or poor, suffer on this earth, but the real mark of suffering (biblically speaking) is to suffer for the cause of Christ.
There is a verse in the bible that says "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12
I don't know about you, but futurism is a "hope deferred" kind of dogma. It keeps telling people that "in the sweet by and by" things will be better.
But preterism tells us that we are citizens of heaven, even now, right now, all the time.
How then should we respond to this? We do indeed suffer, in this flesh, just as others suffer. So what we see in this life can certainly make one heartsick with the evil all around. On the surface, preterism seems to deny a future, since all the "real christians" existed before 70 AD, and that since Christ came, He might have "snatched away" all those others so that He could go and live in Heaven. Its easy to get in this frame of mind, but I should remind you of a few things:
"Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." Rev. 2:7
"…9"I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11"I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.…" John 10:10
"…10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;…" Rom 10:11
As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame." Rom. 9:33
"1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him." 1 Jn 5:1
"1 John 2:23
No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
1 John 2:29
If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
1 John 3:9
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.
1 John 4:2
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
1 John 4:15
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
Does this help? It helped me!
Smile, Your reward is in you. Eternity awaits you!
Hello Joy A,
I had to look up the word soteriology to know something of what you were asking, and have read all the replies, to clarify. If I've got it right, that means is there eternal life after AD 70? It certainly stretches the thought processes of those who have never thought of that, and grieves my spirit.
May I be simple enough to introduce a couple of scriptures to this question.
Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. Plus James 1:18 This is just as the first covenant people were in the beginning the fristfruits to God.
If the first converts of Jews and Gentiles, were the first fruits of the spirit, doesn't that imply there is still a greater portion left that are spirit believing and in the hope of redemption of the body to eternal life?
Just because this scripture may refer to those of that time, does that exclude those who have become their spiritual fruit offering to God, in the future?
Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Wasn't this promise given before Adam, or Israel?
James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Are we to ignore, 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:, as if it means nothing to us today? Else why have a bible or any belief?
There are several scriptures that tell us there are levels of heaven or eternal life, or heaven and hell or by any other name. I'm sure you all know them, but just as a quick reference I will list the ones that come to mind. Daniel 7:10, Matthew 23:14, Matthew 11:24, 2 Corinthians 12:2, Revelation 20:12
In Daniel's vision of the great throne of judgment he saw the books opened, Daniel 7:9.
In John's vision of the great throne of judgment he was books also, but there was added another book, called the book of life, Revelation 20:12.
All the dead were judged by their works, that were written in the books, not the book of life. In the end whoever wasn't found written in the book of life was cast into hell, (whatever that is).
May I offer that what was judged to be righteous acts of the dead may have been added to the book of life. From there I can only speculate, but I leave that to you also. I base my offering on the righteousness of Christ that He taught and coves us with.