O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Hi everybody, a new member with the same old questions here. I have been aware of preterism for a couple of years now and though I find much of it appealing I however have challenges with primarily 2 issues, one being the resurrection and the other being the end of the old covenant. These may even be the same question. Searching for discussions about these issues has led me here, Im sure it will be beneficial, so just bear with me guy.
How is 1 Cor 15:12-13 " Now if Christ is preached that he hath been raised from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither hath Christ been raised" to be understood
I would like to exercise a reply with hope of not stepping in anything too badly. I haven't read all 50 pages.
I believe there are two main ages, even though the old had many ages in it. The two we are concerned with are the human ages with Adam as head and the new and more potent image of God age with Christ as head. I am intrigued with the idea of ages to come. The age of Adam had preliminary ages and ages within: Noahic and Mosaic are obviously two post-adam examples. The body that Jesus resurrected is sometimes called the body of Moses or it may be referenced as the body with Adam as head. Jesus is called eschaton Adam and He put the old man to death on the cross individually and in AD70 corporately. I do wonder where we can and will go on Earth from this time forward. In the old covenant God always used individuals to make His progress.
Even though I was born into the kingdom age where Satan no longer rules the Roman empire, I was still born and raised spiritually dead in the seventies with the secular 'spirit of the air' being what is was. I am now being raised up into heavenly places. If evil and chaos ever ceased to exist here then we could just as well grow up in heaven. But we evidently need more limitations as children. Babies are born highly dependent, awkward, prone to make mistakes and very very weak. If they were born full strength and independent then we could never hope to raise them up. Not that I believe we have no choices in heaven but the new city of God is kept incorruptible and is presently extending to earth to raise up us fragile and dependent newbies.
The "recycle bin" is earth; unregenerate people seem to simply die like animals. Hades was a holding tank awaiting future judgement. Eternal souls at conception is a Greek myth. Jesus has the eternal human soul; planted as a seed in His children and guaranteed to be viable.
Of course we will be embodied in heaven. A body implies activity, usefulness, limits and recognition. To be everywhere or nowhere is to be without a body. Even in Hades people had location and needs and recognition. After leaving this earthly physical body we corporately join the incorruptible body we already belong to with a new and incorruptible individual body. A spiritual body is one able to commune with God. We have on as soon as we are born from above even though it is destined to decay. Your eternal dwelling place is made sure before you burn off your biological body.
I'm with you with Lazurus being alive at the time of the new covenant consummation and not dying a second time. With Hades gone there is no place left to go except destruction or heaven, but our bodies are living sacrifices designed to burn up and be left behind. The high priest always burned up the sacrifice before entering the Holy of Holies. Even the metaphor of science has us burning off our bodies if we literally ascend out of this atmosphere toward heaven.
Earth may end someday as you say. Science says we are winding down. But according to science the Earth was 'terraformed' for millions of years with progressively advanced creatures before we were able to live here. Science goes back billions of years before us and extends billions of years now that we have been here for merely thousands of years. The end in this has no real meaning to us. Who knows how much we will advance in the rule of creation materially or governmentally. On the other hand the end of my world is always immenent. Because my 'tent' is so fragile and immortal and technology now poses a threat to this incredibly resilient and 'everlasting' planet that is at the center of the attention of God's creation.
IMO the two resurrections were those who were being prepared to stand at the wedding whom the second death held no threat and two: those who rejected the messiah who were in the old covenant or were in Hades (generally speaking) but not everybody who ever lived or died. The second resurrection was for judgement and destruction. The first resurrection was for the transition from old to new. Today all individuals are born spiritually dead and then some are born again from above. They are raised in the family of God with a new mom and dad; that is Christ and the church. The church is the married to Christ city extending from heaven to raise us up. So the only prophecy to be fulfilled is the never-ending ages to come. It is incredibly fascinating and exciting to think about. Even after I leave this biological body I may participate from the heavenly grounded city.
The posts by Patricia Watkins and Eohn Rhodes are very good posts. Very much in them of what I agree with. But we must keep in mind WHY there was an ending of one Age (Mosaic) (and the 'Ages' before) and 'Age' that the OT in one passage that I have read says would Have No End...and the Full Consummation of the Messianic Age coming (which never ends, old fulfilled to the new). The People OF GOD (All Israel) were given the Commands of Torah and Israel (Sons of Jacob) Did Not (or could not) keep those commands and so The Judgments of Leviticus 26 were to Fall on THEM, ALL... (we are The Children of 'the' THEM in this NC Age). The Blessings and Curses of The Sons of Darkness and The Sons of Light (all were sons of Israel/Jacob) ended/began and the Judgment to where All Israel (The true Remnant) found and were given the true 'Hope of The Fathers', (Redemption/Resurrection/Salvation), as Apostle Paul brings forward in Romans 9 when talking of All Israel being only then The Sons of Light. After The Cross, Gentiles could come into the New Covenant Blessings. But it was not the 'Gentiles' that caused Armagenddon, it was OC Israel not Keeping Torah.
I must agree that your post adds much needed balance and clarity to the subject of resurrection; the Life is now here and the dead ones who rejected it went to second death. We only get life from life: the living body of Christ who gave His O.C. life to raise the believing O.C. Jews from their O.C. body of death. And God characteristically or neccessarily works through long processes. We got our life from that same resurrected living body that they got life from, but it starts as a seed or a breath that matures. From the first breath of God into first Adam to the full image of God in Eschaton Adam took thousands of years, then the resurrection into the new covenant took 40 more years. Wouldn't it seem cruel to put me through this lifetime if God could snap his fingers and accomplish the same thing in a moment; let alone send His Son to become the fully realized human through natural birth and then die to become the new merciful high priest if he could have just accomplished the same thing by snapping his fingers?
Speaking of life, I would like to clarify that I don't believe in spontaneous evolution, which would amount to a spontanious self-obtained life. The Cambrian age is called the Cambrian explosion for the same reason they call the original creation the Big Bang; they both suddenly appeared from nothing according to science and they can't be explained without a special creation. True science backs up true soteriology even though the literary formats are diverse.
Responding to your last comment from this past Friday...and please excuse the length of this, but you did ask me to do some exegesis, which tends to dig in deeper. I'll try not to be boring.
You mentioned that you are currently in agreement with Don Preston's view that resurrection is all about coming out of the water at baptism. Awww, please don't tell me that Don Preston believes in baptismal regeneration and that you are following him down that works-based salvation road. I will be so disappointed. How is that even possible from the I Cor. 15 text, with the "trumpet shall sound" taking place at that time of change? Typically, from the OT, that trumpet sounding was a call for the entire camp of Israel to be on the alert for either war, or a gathering of the people for worship, or an announcement to the people, etc. In other words, a massive, group event. Or, as the I Cor. 15:51-52 has it, ALL the saints are changed together simultaneously, in a single moment, with a change for ALL the saints that takes place in the twinkling of an eye. Our individual baptisms are on a case-by-case basis. Are you saying that there is a symbolic trumpet sounding every time a person is baptized?
Personally, my spirit was granted a change several years BEFORE I was ever baptized in a public testimony of it in front of my small church family. From 14-16 years old, my high school years were all quite painful ones in my experience, and I definitely remember leaning heavily on my Lord, begging Him for His help. I would set my alarm to wake up long before my siblings, and I would go up to the attic into a little "prayer closet" I had set up for myself so that I could read my Bible and pray before school. I remember weeping over the book of James especially. It touched my heart and became my favorite book at the time. God was very real to me during those years, and I wasn't baptized as a believer until 16 years old. So I can't ascribe to the "resurrection at baptism" theory that you say is spoken about in I Cor. 15.
The only memorable part of baptism at 16 for me was in finding a solid place to keep my footing in the squishy mud of Lake Keowee's shoreline, and the double layer of blue jeans top-to-toe that my mom made me wear for modesty. Talk about heavy - it's a wonder I could heave my waterlogged set of jeans out of the lake afterward.
Fast forward 4 years, and my husband decided that my baptism didn't count because the pastor who performed it didn't meet with his approval as a "proper" administrating member of the clergy. So, at his insistence, back into the water I had to go again with a different small church family watching from the bank - this time in February in a fast-flowing, ice-cold countryside river that literally knocked the breath out of me, it was that cold. It satisfied the husband's criteria, but I think God must have been shaking His head at the unnecessary repetition. I still remember the hymn of dedication and encouragement that church sang before my husband and I waded into midstream..."Brethren, if your hearts be warm, Ice and snow can do no harm..." The church members took some literally "cool" pictures to commemorate the event. So, the question would be at which of these baptisms would I have actually been "resurrected" in your view? If the fruit of the Spirit is evidence of eternal life already implanted, then in my experience, that was in place several years BEFORE I gave any public witness of it in baptism.
Doug, one of your questions asked why the bodily resurrection is really all that important. That is because it's part of the entire package that makes up who we are as individuals. In I Cor 6:19-20, Paul insisted that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost which is IN US as a gift from God, and that our bodies are not our own, but belong exclusively to God who paid for them. These bodies are "bought with a price" which means Christ exchanged His blood as payment for everything that makes us human - body, soul and spirit.
That blood-price includes a value put upon these flesh forms of ours, which we are not to treat with disregard by dishonorably using God's purchased property in fornication, gluttony, neglect, abuse, etc. It goes against all logical reason for God to care deeply about what we do with our bodies while on this earth, but to casually dump those same "vessels" after death as something inconsequential, or even repugnant. It doesn't compute.
In I Cor. 15:42-44, the same "it" body that is sown - the "seed" which has the germ of God's sanctifying touch of ownership (I John 3:9) - that same "it" may be laid in the dust to disintegrate over millennia into dust itself again, but that same "it" will also be raised again because "known unto God are all His works". And our bodies are without doubt "the work of His hands".
Job said that after he was laid in the ground in death, he would wait until his "change" came (Job 14:11-15). At that "appointed time", he would "live again" or would be "made (genomai) again" as the LXX puts it. "Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee; thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands." God desires to raise our physical body forms - that "work of His hands" - so that we can live again in His sight in the completed sense of it. Until then, we have the "earnest" (the down-payment) of our assured inheritance (Eph. 1:14) within these earthly vessels until the redemption of these purchased body forms. Our complete resurrection package is what distinguishes the eternal destiny of the saints from the wicked whose bodies, souls, and spirits all perish, so that none of these exist any longer in their resurrection to damnation.
True, our raised forms that will have the ability to change appearance or even be invisible will not be sustained by blood pumping through them, (because the life of the flesh before our physical death is in the blood). But God intends to change the original substance that composed our earthly form and equip that same form to become like that of His First-begotten Son. As "joint heirs", our inheritance is the same as that of Christ (Rom. 8:17).
It's also true as you say Doug, that we ARE alive already in a sense, having passed from death unto life by the implanted Spirit within. That's the "earnest" of our inheritance from Eph. 1:14 above. But in a just fulfillment of God's promise, these innocent body forms that have had to be the host for an unclean sin nature MUST pass through the physical death process as a result of that contamination by association. Our human body forms are the "innocent bystander" affected by the presence of a sin nature inherited from conception. God not only implants the "seed" or the germ of eternal life within us now, but He intends to eventually erase the ravages of sin's effect on the human body forms of His children. It's an incremental process with an assured outcome. Our complete "salvation package" is even now "nearer than when we first believed" (Rom. 13:11), just as it was for those of the first century with their upcoming AD 70 resurrection. What God did for them, He will duplicate for us in a third resurrection, for which you asked me to give some exegetical evidence, as follows:
As for proving 3 resurrections, I've already introduced the comparison of 3 resurrections to the 3 required OT harvest feast celebrations, at which no one was to attend "empty" with no gift to offer (Deut. 16:16-17). Those OT "gifts" offered in the temple during those 3 harvest feast celebrations provide the comparative type for the good works saints have done in Christ's name while on earth. Even if it were no more than offering a cup of cold water to a disciple, we will in no wise lose our reward at the judgment (Matt. 10:42).
The idea of a bodily resurrection is to receive a reward for the things done while in that body (I Cor. 3:12-15). The pattern for this rewards ceremony is put forth in scripture as a group event timed to occur at a coming of Christ; not a case-by-case reward as we each individually die and have our spirit return to God who gave it. This group event of a "rewards ceremony" in a judgment is presented in Isaiah 62:11, Isaiah 40:10, Rev. 22:12, Re. 20:12-13, Rev. 11:18, Matt. 16:27, and I Cor 3:11-15.
Now, most of these verses above speak of the soon-coming AD 70 arrival of Christ in a judgment of the living and the dead. The living / or "quick" were judged (II Tim 4:1) in the Great Tribulation period lasting from AD 66-70, when God would "bring to corruption" (they physically died) "them who corrupt the earth" (Rev. 11:18b). The dead were judged (again, II Tim 4:1) and rewarded for their works on the day Christ appeared for the resurrection in AD 70.
As I Cor. 4:5 says, "Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts" (PLURAL) - this is a group event) "and then shall EVERY MAN have praise of God." Now, if the AD 70 event was a GROUP rewards ceremony with all the dead, small and great standing before God together, then the pattern is established that we also in this NC Age must have our own GROUP rewards ceremony. This necessitates another mass resurrection - i.e., a 3rd one for those who have lived under the conditions of the New Covenant Age.
As for the wicked dead up till AD 70, I'm not so sure they were part of this "standing before God" rewards ceremony in Rev. 20:12-13 when God judged the dead. We have Psalms 1:5 saying that "...the ungodly shall NOT stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous." Those wicked dead up until the AD 70 judgment - we are told that these were thrown in the Lake of Fire to perish forever. It was Jerusalem the city's AD 70 Lake of Fire that eventually led to the "second death" of the city since its first death by fire in the 586 BC Babylonian invasion. Somehow, God used Jerusalem the city's second fiery death to incinerate all the wicked dead and all the demonic evil as well. Angels, too, have a certain form of "celestial flesh" (I Cor. 15:40) that can turn to dust by the fire of the Lord annihilating them.
The Lake of Fire does not accompany a 3rd resurrection event when the wicked are thrown in that Lake of Fire afterward for eternal torment. The Lake of Fire was specifically Jerusalem the city's second death since 586 BC, after which it would never be rebuilt with any spiritual significance in God's eyes. This is a truth also believed by some on this DID site. The 3rd resurrection to life is very much one that the saints will participate in, but in our future.
As I have presented before, the "First Resurrection" event (Rev. 20:5) was of Christ and the 144,000 "First-fruits" Matthew 27 saints raised with Him, which obviously took place at the Passover feast celebration. Next, the second resurrection (according to the terms of fulfillment for the Daniel 12:11-12's prophecy falling on the 1,335th day) took place on the May 31st Pentecost day of AD 70. If you, Doug, or anyone else wants to see the breakdown proving that one particular Pentecost Day of AD 70 as the day of Christ's second coming and the second resurrection, the following link spells this out at comment #19:
Since both these first two resurrection events fell precisely on the time of year for the first 2 harvest feast celebrations of Passover and Pentecost, the only one of the 3 required feasts left for us is the Feast of Tabernacles in the 7th month, just as Zechariah 14:16-19 emphasizes for the post-AD 70 Age.
I also see the second and third judgment-comings of Christ found in Luke 12:38 (YLT). "And if He may come in the second watch, AND in the third watch He may come and may find it so, happy are those servants." Christ here promises a blessing for all those who are found watching when He comes in both the second and third watch. Peter wanted to know if Christ spoke this double promise just to themselves, or if it would apply "to all". Christ's answer was generic, directed to whoever was a wise and faithful servant before His coming(s) - plural. That would appear to also apply this blessing to a generation future to us, in the later "third watch" coming of Christ.
I also see a pattern of second and third resurrections pictured in two wedding feasts (for resurrected believers of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant) found in the type of the Leah and Rachel marriages to Jacob. Ruth 4:11 tells us that it took both Leah and Rachel combined "which two did build the house of Israel". That complete "house of Israel" is comparable to the "Israel of God" (with both Jew and Gentile composing the "One New Man").
Rachel, as the first-chosen, beloved sister who died giving birth in Bethlehem, corresponds to the Jewish nation of the Old Covenant, beloved and first-chosen to receive the oracles of God, and which also participated in the Old Covenant AD 70 resurrection and marriage supper of the Lamb - even though the Jewish nation died as a chosen people in the process of the "birth pangs" of the AD 70 New Covenant Age.
Leah, as the originally-rejected sister who was blessed to produce many more children for Jacob than Rachel did, corresponds to the Gentile nations. These as nations were originally rejected; but once the mystery was revealed that these were accepted in Christ, in the long run they have produced even more sons and daughters of God for the kingdom than the Jewish nation ever did. Leah - not Rachel - was buried with Jacob, just as we are buried with Christ in the baptism of the New Covenant Age.
This theme of Jacob's double-marriage to two sisters is also echoed in the Greek term for PLURAL wedding feasts (gamous) found in Matthew 22:2,3,4,9 (YLT) and Matthew 25:10 (YLT). Also in Luke 12:36 (YLT). Here's the Matthew 22:2 text for example: "The reign of the heavens was likened to a man, a king, who made marriage FEASTS (PLURAL) for His Son." That means more than one wedding banquet to me, with the AD 70 event being the first marriage supper with another to follow, according to the multiple marriage feasts listed above for the Son of the King. Does it bother me that polygamy is used for the illustration of the two final resurrections? All I can say is that God seems to have picked the fallibility of man to illustrate His truths. Not going to argue with my Maker on that.
Here's another idea that confirms a culmination point for human history in a third resurrection event. Remember, the Rev. 10:4 verse spoke of 7 thunders uttering their voices, which verbal prophecy that they gave was sealed up and not written down, because it was reserved for fulfillment during the New Covenant Age following AD 70's end of the Old Covenant Age. I am not expounding on the details of what those 7 thunders spoke, but I find it significant that the number "7" symbolizes the spiritual quality of fullness and completeness, as in almost every case that the number "7" crops up in scripture. It's a finite number - which shows that the New Covenant Age that their sealed prophecy was about does not represent an infinite age with no ending.
What if the number of "7" thunders is intended to represent the completed record of 7 millennia of human history? (And I do see a clear division of human history into 7 "ages" of 1,000 years each where God's actions in each of these 7 millennia corresponds in imitation of His creative acts on each of the 7 days of creation week.) God would then wrap up human history as we know it today by a final judgment at the end of the 7th millennium that cleanses the planet of any remaining human evil. His "long-suffering" with evil would be over at that point.
A planet with nothing but purified, immortal, resurrected saints having dominion over it would then begin an 8th millennium - which is symbolic in scripture of renewal, dedication, and new beginnings. (Think of 8 souls coming out of the ark, circumcision on the 8th day, and so on.) I don't see any predicted annihilation of the planet scheduled, as we have evidence of in scripture. For example, in Ecclesiastes 1:4, "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever."
And here's one more text that aligns with the "3 harvest feasts = 3 resurrections" paradigm, which I first introduced on this "Resurrection" post a couple dozen pages back. James 5:7-8 compares the husbandman (which is actually God - John 15:1) waiting with "long patience" for the "precious fruit of the earth" (which is the resurrection of His saints from the dust.) The husbandman would wait until the early and latter rain periods would bring each of the harvests to a ripened state.
As you probably know, Doug, in Israel's agricultural year, the barley harvest was the first one at the time of the latter rain in the spring (Joel 2:23) near Passover. Wheat harvest was the second harvest near Pentecost, 50 days later. The rest of the fruits of Israel (grapes, figs, olives, etc.) were gathered in a third harvest about 5 months later before the early rains started in the Fall.
Any Jewish farmer from the Exodus generation onward witnessed annually this living enactment of 3 harvest feasts, illustrating the timing for 3 total resurrections of humanity out of the earth. God, the "husbandman" waits patiently through the seasons of the "year" until He has harvested ALL the "precious fruit of the earth". The death of the saints is "precious in His sight" (Psalms 116:15), because it is the one intervening step before God harvests that "precious fruit" out of the ground in a resurrection to an immortal life for the bodies of His children.
The James 5:7-8 text urged the first-century saints to exercise the same patience a husbandman would practice in waiting for the timing of both the early and latter rains, because Christ's coming at the AD 70 resurrection on Pentecost Day after the latter rain period was very close at that time. We today also need to exercise patience in waiting for the resurrection at the close of the harvest "year" - the one just before the early rains start in the Fall. Christ will return again in the 7th month at the end of the 7th millennium, I believe, in the third resurrection harvest for the saints of the New Covenant Age.
I could also bring up some further symbolic pictures of the leaven parable illustrating an actual ending point to the New Covenant Age, and the commandment about the fruit trees being "unclean" for three years until the fourth year illustrating the first 4 millennia of human history, or about the fig tree not producing for three years that was left alone for a fourth year also illustrating the first 4 millennia of human history...but I've already gone way too long as it is.
Okay, Doug, that's about as exhaustive a comment as you would probably care to ever read in your life...sorry about the length again. And as for those Matthew 27 resurrected saints walking around clothed or not? I wouldn't worry about that. After all, Mary looked at the risen Christ and presumed He was the gardener. I don't suppose it was a habit for first-century gardeners to walk about undressed. Likewise, the Matthew 27 saints are those under the altar in Revelation 6:9-11 who were each individually given white robes and told to rest for just a "little season" (from AD 33 - AD 70) until they were joined by their fellow-servants and brethren who were ABOUT TO BE MARTYRED (under Nero's persecution) in the same persecuting manner that those under the altar had died.
I suppose that the individual "white robe" for each of those under the altar also signifies the "righteousness of the saints" (Rev. 19:8), but since the two messengers on the Mount of Olives were also described as being clothed in "white apparel" (Acts 1:10), it would seem that clothes are not a problem for the resurrected saints that remained on the earth during the ending years of that Old Covenant Age.
Brother Les, you have also said that the 144,000 Firstfruits saints (of Rev. 14:4) came into the picture at the end of the Mosaic age. That's not possible, because then they would have to be called the "Secondfruits" instead, since Christ's and the Matt. 27 saints' resurrection was the Firstfruits. That "Firstfruits" title means something definite. There actually was a judgment that took place when the 144,000 Firstfruits came into the picture, but it was the judgment of Satan (John 16:8-11) when he was judged and cast out of heaven unto the earth after Christ's first ascension (Rev. 12:10-11) on the day of His AD 33 resurrection. The next resurrection at the end of the Mosaic age was the AD 70 one on that year's Pentecost Day. During all that time from AD 33 until AD 70, those 144,000 Firstfruits resurrected saints were SEALED - an assurance of protection until they finally joined all the newly-resurrected saints in AD 70, and were all together "received" unto Christ, so that where He was, they could be also (John 14:3).
None of this above is written with any anticipation of changing your mind, Brother Les, because you are clearly set in your beliefs already. I provide it in case anyone reading this exchange might think there is no reasonable biblical response to what you have written.
For those Saints that came out of their Tombs at the time of The Cross, you are pointing to Rev 14:4 to make the very big assumption that there were 144,000 of them (minus Dan???) and that these coming out of the Tombs were 'the First, Firstfruits.. Revelation is the prophecy's of John/Lazarus of things that were Shortly to Come to Pass Rev. 1:1-4 . Written to seven churches and NOT to Jerusalem. What was 'shortly coming to pass', were The Judgments of the Old Covenant Contract. Judgments of Blessings and Curses.
Hi Brother Les,
To address your first objection: that Revelation is written to 7 churches, NOT to Jerusalem, and that it was describing things "shortly coming to pass" in the judgments of the Old Covenant Contract. I've no argument with that as you have written it. I wouldn't be a Preterist if I didn't recognize all the terms of imminence within Revelation and the way those Revelation judgments match the promised Old Covenant contract terms of judgment for God's people.
But not all of Revelation is prophetic of near-future events. A lot is historical record, in order to provide the background setting for those soon-coming judgments.
Wouldn't you agree that Antipas' martyrdom is an example of a historical event in Revelation 2:13? "Thou hast not denied my faith" (a past period of the Pergamos church's faithfulness) "even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr who WAS slain among you, where Satan dwelleth" (a historical event - not prophetic).
How about the Woman and Child motif in Revelation 12? Most would agree this is a picture of the Jewish nation's 12 tribes symbolized by the 12-starred crown, laboring through the centuries as that nation waited for their Messiah's birth from the tribe of Judah. Christ's birth as the Man-child is Christ who was caught up to God and to His throne at His ascension, who in John's days was "ABOUT TO RULE all nations" with an unbreakable shepherd's staff. Christ's birth and ascension is a matter of historical record as of John's writing - NOT a future prophetic event, yes?
And this one, too, is past history from Revelation 17:8: the Scarlet Wilderness Beast that "WAS" in existence before the days of John's writing, then it "IS NOT" in existence when John was writing, but in the very near future to him was "ABOUT TO ASCEND out of the bottomless pit..."
And how about the five kings of Revelation 17:10 that had fallen before John was writing? These are past events - not prophetic, but are necessary inclusions to the prophecy so that we can understand the background setting of these events in John's near future, and exactly which entities are being described who would perform those soon-coming actions.
There are more than just these few samples of Revelation past events. The war in heaven and the Revelation 12 casting out of Satan from heaven to earth are other past events which had occurred at the crucifixion and ascension of Christ in AD 33 (according to John 12:31).
The binding of Satan from Revelation 20 is also a past event, since Satan, the "strong man" of necessity was "FIRST" put into a bound condition long before Christ and the disciples were "spoiling his goods" during Christ's ministry.
Also, the thrones of Revelation 20:4 were those 12 thrones that the disciples had been given Christ's authority to sit upon as they made decisions for the infant church after Christ's regeneration and ascension in AD 33 (as Christ promised them in Matt. 19:28).
This enthronement of the 12 disciples during the days following Pentecost helps to date that Rev. 20 surrounding context. This same context of post-ascension thrones being occupied by the living apostles as they rendered decisions for the operations and doctrines of the early church is the contemporary context that explains what the "First Resurrection" is, as well as the "remnant of the dead" coming to life again at that "First Resurrection. That post-ascension context demands that this is speaking of the time when Christ the "First-fruits" had been raised along with the 144,000 "First-fruits" who were the "remnant of the dead".
This can only be speaking of the comparatively small number of Matt. 27 saints raised with Christ. Compared to the entire amount of OC saints raised later in AD 70, the 144,000 is a relatively small amount. And this "First Resurrection" in AD 33 is not a prophetic event for John - it's historic as of John's writing. But the historical setting is needed so that we can see how Satan's biography and his prophesied soon-coming destruction fits into the first-century picture in relation to these other past events. However, if you can't recognize the "First Resurrection as being the event when Christ the "First-fruits" and the 144,000 "First-fruits" were raised, then none of this will make any sense to you. First means first.
Your second objection: that you can't see how I connect a casting out of Satan from heaven with a past judgment for him in John 16:8-11. Jesus gives us the timing for when Satan had been given judgment in this context. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would convince the believers that Satan had already been judged once that Comforter had been given to the apostles.
The chronological order of this is...
#1 the war in heaven between Michael and Satan's forces while Christ was in the grave for 3 days / 3 nights
#2) Christ resurrects Himself and ascends that 3rd day. At that time, His blood sacrifice in heaven as our established high priest makes Satan unable to accuse the brethren any longer, so he is judged and cast out of heaven to earth for a "short season" between AD 33 and AD 70.
#3) Christ returns to earth that morning and visits the disciples that evening, breathing on them, and giving them the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
#4) 40 days later after teaching the disciples, Christ "departs" and "goes away", promising that the Holy Spirit will be with them always, to comfort them and bring all things He taught them to their remembrance.
#5) Pentecost day delivers the gifts of the Holy Spirit in power, "convincing the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment", because at that point, the "prince of this world" had already been judged at his casting out of heaven unto the earth those 50 days earlier. The spirit would convince them of these past things, but He would ALSO show them "things to come" in the future (John 16:13).
To respond to one of your last points, of course I understand that Jesus was "manifested" to take away sin. But I also can't ignore that we have need of a continuing "advocate" (I John 2:1). If any man does sin, we can confess that to our high priest (who is still in His "Son of Man" form in heaven). This gives us restored fellowship with our Father through the intercession of the God-Man, His Son. There is nothing at all I can see in the I John 3:4-9 text you supplied that shows me that Christ went back to what you refer to as "His first natural state". Is that a textual reference typo, perhaps? I'm not getting that point.
You've also said there is no supporting matchup in scripture of OT unto NT when it comes to the resurrections. Look again. Colossians 2:16-17 says this: "Let no man judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of an holy day, or of the NEW MOON, or of the SABBATH DAYS; which are A SHADOW OF THINGS TO COME;" or, as the Interlinear has it, "the coming things". Hebrews 10:1 also calls the law the shadow of the "coming good things".
As Ezekiel 46:1-3, 8 tells us, on these "Sabbath days" and on the "new moon", the people were supposed to worship at the door of the eastern gate of the post-exilic temple. This eastern gate was reserved only for the Prince, and was to be kept shut except for the Sabbaths and the new moon. This was showing us a picture of the time and the location when Messiah the Prince would enter and leave by that gate. It is my understanding that this was to be fulfilled by the Zechariah 14:4-5 verses that have Christ physically returning to Jerusalem's Mount of Olives on that side of the eastern gate to gather all the saints from that location in the AD 70 Pentecost Day resurrection. His "First Resurrection" also took place after His Mount of Olives crucifixion (which I believe is the true Golgotha location), and we know that His borrowed sepulcher was in the same place nearby (John 19:41-42). That means the earthquake broke open the tombs on the slopes of that mountain, and the Matthew 27 saints who rose with Christ 3 days later walked from there into the city to be seen of many.
It is not a stretch to say that everything without exception in the rituals of the OT was a picture in one way or another related to Christ's redemptive actions on our behalf. Christ, our "Passover Lamb" is only one of the more obvious type / anti-types. But everything in the tabernacle and the temple, even down to the very furniture spoke a message for us in the language of metaphoric rituals. I would have to deliberately turn a blind eye to avoid seeing the connection between the 3 OT harvest festivals and the matching times for the 3 resurrections. The "First Resurrection" and the second resurrection in AD 70 used the new moon's appearance and the occasion of a Sabbath that determined the time that these resurrections took place.
One scripture that tells me that we in this NC Age will share the same type of resurrection experience as the saints in the first two resurrections of AD 33 and AD 70 is the verse Acts 15:11. On that occasion, Peter was establishing the truth that Gentiles and Jews - even Jews from the ancient days of the fathers - were all to be saved in the same manner: through the grace of the Lord Jesus and by faith. "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved" (the believing Jews) "even as they" (the believing Gentiles). This was a future stage of salvation for the Jewish believers that they were expecting to come: i.e., the final stage of glorification of their redeemed bodies which they were anticipating (as in Romans 8:23-25). The Gentiles shared in this same future hope of a salvation that was "nearer than when they believed". This final stage of their salvation occurred in AD 70 - and it was the same type of final salvation for the ancient fathers of the faith as it was for the believing Jews and the believing Gentiles.
Why would God not extend the same type of complete salvation experience to us New Covenant believers if our fellow-believers of the past all shared the same type of glorification in a complete salvation package that included their resurrected bodies? God is not inconsistent in the "wage" He pays to His "laborers". They each and every one receive a "penny", regardless of which time of the day that they labor in His "vineyard" (according to the parable of Matt. 20:1-14). That identical "wage" received by all I understand to be the gift of eternal life of the body, soul, and spirit for all of God's children. The end of the "day" in this parable symbolizes the culmination point of human history.
And we are told that "we must ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (II Cor. 5:10). We of the New Covenant Age are also included in a required appearance before Christ.
As to your statement that scripture is silent on an end to human history as we know it, I've done a study on this subject and collected verses from the OT and NT that show this culmination point for human history, though I don't find references to an end of the planet itself or an end of time either. I may put those collected verses in a separate post, since it's off-topic here. Another good post would be the collection of a couple dozen or more texts that refer to the Matthew 27:52-53 resurrected saints. It would be good to compile them and present them together on one post instead of scattered here and there.
I woke this morning to your long post and enjoyed it immensely. I try to start my day with scripture and/or meditation, so you helped supply me with that. Thank you .
You have certainly done lots of homework in this, and most of it is excellent. There are a few things I either disagree with or want more clarification, so if you will indulge me, I would appreciate it.
First, can you expand on what you mean regarding a "bodily resurrection". There are lots of subleties in the term "bodily". For example, Jesus was resurrected with a "body", but it certainly was drastically different from the body he had prior to death. I presume He couldn't walk through walls with his pre-death body, etc. Now, one could argue that He couldn't walk on water either, but He did! So what was different in His body between pre-death and post-death? Scripturally, the only thing seems to be that the new body lacked blood. Jesus told Thomas specifically that a spirit doesn't have flesh and bone. So, since we are told we shall be like Him when we die, it is clear that in some way that is true. The question I have, and most preterists have, whether IBD or CBD, is how, exactly, the post-death body is manifested. I suspect that there has to be some common ground that both IBD and CBD folks can agree on, and I also suspect that BOTH positions, as they are now, are wrong on small points. I can see strong cases for both arguments.
Just to be clear where I stand on this, I do believe that resurrection happens at baptism, since I believe in "once saved always saved", and that our "new life" begins the moment we are born again. I believe we are given immortality at that point, so in a metaphysical sense we are indeed resurrected at baptism. Nevertheless, I would be dishonest if I ignore all the physical references to resurrection there are also in scripture. So at the moment, I think we are indeed resurrected at our conversion, symbolized by baptism. But I wish to understand better how it is that we are given bodies when this physical life is over. If we are in God's kingdom right now, what need is there for a "physical" body when we die? We know without doubt that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, as Paul says. So what need is there for a body in heaven? I am willing to be convinced, but there is still a disconnect that hasn't reconciled both sides of the argument.
There are a couple of other things I have issues with what you wrote, but they aren't major, so I won't dwell on those right now. Yet one thing I think you need more clarification on is this statement:
" It is my understanding that this was to be fulfilled by the Zechariah 14:4-5 verses that have Christ physically returning to Jerusalem's Mount of Olives on that side of the eastern gate to gather all the saints from that location in the AD 70 Pentecost Day resurrection. "
Are you saying that there were saints still in Jerusalem when Jesus returned? Many would dispute this, since Jesus told those still in Jerusalem when the troubles were happening to flee. Please expand your thinking.
OK. that's enough for now. Thank you.
Much gratitude for your kind words. I know I must be causing several of you guys to itch by my alternate views, but I pray you will indulge my verbalizing these things. Since I left the church, where my husband still attends, because of disagreements about speaking on these topics, there is literally no one with whom I can carry on a discussion of biblical matters. Whether you all agree or not, any interaction you are willing to engage in is most appreciated. God never intended us to exist as isolated orphans in Christ's family.
As for the IBD or CBD views, I am not really great on the labels thing, but apparently I don't fit in with either one of them exactly. I believe that presently, our bodies upon our individual death must wait in the dust of the grave (like Job did under the OC Age in Job 14:14) until the final culmination point of the New Covenant Age, when all the bodies of the NC saints who will have died since the AD 70 resurrection will be raised together to an immortal life. Each will rejoin their individual soul and spirit which will have been with the Lord in heaven for all that time.
Ever since the "First Resurrection" in AD 33, the destination for a dying saint's soul and spirit was to be "absent from the body and present with the Lord", as you have quoted Paul. That is the reason for Revelation 14:13 saying "FROM HENCEFORTH" (from a certain point in time going forward), that those who die in the Lord would be blessed. That particular point on the calendar (dated from the context of Rev. 14:14-16 which discusses the first sickle-harvest resurrection of the 144,000 First-fruits, Matt. 27 saints) marked a turning point in the destination of the saints' souls and spirits after death. It dated from the time of the "First Resurrection" of the "First-fruits" to any time subsequent to that, including our New Covenant Age.
Before that particular point in AD 33, the saints' souls and spirits went to Paradise - NOT to heaven where God reigned (which is shown to us by Christ's promise to the thief beside Him at Calvary). After that particular point in AD 33, instead of going to Paradise, the saints' souls and spirits were escorted directly to the Lord's presence in heaven after death, since He had legally made those souls and spirits vicariously pure and able to exist in God's presence. In other words, their "works" could "follow them" (Rev. 14:13) and be considered acceptable in God's sight by Jesus' imputed righteousness covering those human works with His own holiness. Before that blood sacrifice had been applied, though, legally the works of the saints did not have the official stamp of Christ's imputed holiness on them in real time yet. Satan was still able to actively be "the accuser of the brethren" until AD 33 when he was "kicked out of court", as it were, after the war in heaven (Rev. 12:10).
The "subtleties" of a bodily resurrection, as you describe it, are all exemplified in the type of body Christ assumed - and kept - after His resurrection (as well as the examples of the Matt. 27 saints). During those 40 days, He manifested His glory to certain chosen ones before His Mount of Olives ascension (Acts 10:40-41). All we need do is put Christ's post-resurrection body type under the microscope, so to speak, and we will see exactly what we, too, can expect for our own inheritance as "joint heirs" with Him.
Pastor David Curtis' website at the Berean Bible Church website once had a sermon transcript by a church member who went into some detail of what characteristics Christ's post-resurrection body possessed. He may have since taken it down, but I remember thinking that it was a very thorough treatment of the subject, and exactly on target. Some of those points included the following:
#1) As you have noted, Christ's body was not operating on a blood-infused system anymore after His resurrection. When you have the Spirit animating your frame completely, blood isn't a necessary ingredient to sustain life anymore. Yet it WAS a flesh-and-bones form that could be touched and perceived by ordinary men (Luke 24:39, Matt. 28:9).
#2) Christ could and did both eat and drink as an option after His resurrection, but not a necessity (Acts 10:41 - Luke 24:41-43).
#3) Christ's body could be VISIBLE OR INVISIBLE, to whomever He wished to reveal Himself. Especially since "the things which are not seen are eternal...", then a body that can disappear at will proves that it is an eternal one (Luke 24:30-31 cp. II Cor. 4:18). This is a critical point to remember when it comes to understanding why Christ's bodily return may not have been visibly perceived by everyone without exception when He stood on the Mount of Olives at His physical return prophesied in Zechariah 14:4-5. After all, on the road to Damascus, Christ was heard, but not seen by Paul's traveling companions (Acts 9:7).
#4) Christ's body could CHANGE APPEARANCE at will, as evidenced by Him showing Himself in "another form" (a hetera morphe) on the road to Emmaus (Mark 16:12).
#5) Christ's body could travel to other realms, such as heaven, in no time at all, since He ascended to God's throne to offer His blood sacrifice on the morning after His resurrection, yet returned almost immediately afterward to encounter the other group of women who held Him by the feet and worshipped Him (John 20:16-18 cp. Matt. 28:9). Perhaps the ability to travel at the speed of thought would be the way to describe this.
#6) Christ's body could levitate, so gravity is a law that can be suspended or not, at the discretion of the resurrected person (Acts 1:9).
#7) Christ's body form could never pass through the death process again (Acts 13:34, and Rom 6:9-10).
#8) Most important of all, Christ's resurrected body had full face-to-face access to God's presence in heaven. This was what earned Him the title of the "First-begotten" of all the other "First-fruits", because His resurrected body was the very first one to stand before God in heaven. As the "First-begotten" standing before God's presence, Christ "opened the matrix" for all His siblings to follow in like manner later on. No other resurrections performed on earth before then had taken this final step yet, and wouldn't do so until AD 70.
On that morning after His resurrection, it wasn't enough that He made it above ground in that resurrected body - He had to take that raised form with Him directly into God's presence in heaven, which is why the Psalms 2:7-9 prophecy specifically said, "THIS DAY have I begotten thee..." - speaking of the day that Christ went to heaven with that resurrected body form and was established as our high priest (Acts 13:32-33). THAT DAY was when Christ became the "First-begotten" one of that "First-fruits" group that were raised with Him. Those other Matt. 27 "First-fruits" - all 144,000 of them - had to wait and "rest" for a "little season" (Rev. 6:11) on the earth in those resurrected bodies from AD 33 until AD 70, but they eventually experienced in AD 70 that same completed aspect of their salvation - eternal life in heaven with their immortal bodies, souls and spirits in the presence of God. On that Pentecost Day in AD 70, every one of the resurrected saints bodily left the earth together to join Christ in the air as He "received them unto Himself" and went to heaven with them all (I Thess. 4:16-17, John 14:3).
Doug, you asked "what need is there for a body in heaven?" Let me deflect sideways with that question and ask you this: "What need is there for the angelic host to have "celestial flesh" bodies in heaven either? Surely they do not NEED these to serve God, do they? But yet they are equipped with these celestial-flesh forms in heaven, as Paul tells us in I Cor. 15:40. God just decided that He wanted created beings with different types of flesh forms with various capabilities to exist. His choice, not ours.
Also, He wanted these different types of flesh forms to stay within their own "kind", which is why Genesis 6 was a display of open revolt for the celestial-fleshed angels of heaven to unite in marriage with the terrestrial-fleshed forms of the daughters of men. Those fallen angels brought corruption among their "kind" by marrying those daughters of men and begetting unclean-spirited hybrid children who became giants. Ordinary mankind in Adam also messed up their "kind" by disobeying God's command and bringing death upon the entire race of terrestrial-fleshed mankind, which God had forewarned them would happen.
God chose to go into the renovation business for mankind - not angel-kind. There were "many sons" He desired to "bring unto glory" (Heb. 2:10) to save them from a fate of total destruction of their body, soul and spirit. Incrementally, He has provided for a step-by-step process to redeem the bodies, souls, and spirits of His adopted children (and all of those elements are included).
The entire process will take up all of those 7,000 years of human history to achieve a total eradication of evil from this planet, with God equipping the bodies of His children with immortality so they can inhabit it. "He created it not in vain" (speaking of the planet). "He FORMED IT TO BE INHABITED". I see no reason why God will not make this earth our "playground" after the 3rd final resurrection, with the resurrected bodies of His totally sanctified children having a righteous, restored dominion over this globe, and the option of either staying here or freely traveling with Christ to whatever realm in which He happens to exist. Speculation? Not really, given our understanding of the nature and capabilities of Christ's physically-resurrected form, which we will be duplicating.
Doug, your other question was "...were saints still in Jerusalem when Jesus returned?" Yes, there was a "camp of the saints" inside it, as "Gog" in the person of Simon Bar Giora and his army was surrounding Jerusalem with that "camp" inside it in AD 69. That "camp of the saints" (Rev. 20:9) was composed of some of the evangelistic members of the 144,000 resurrected "First-fruits" saints. Possibly there were even some who the Matt. 27 "First-fruits" saints witnessed to and converted while they were operating in the city up to the very last moment before Christ returned on the May 31st Pentecost day in AD 70.
I covered this point in a comment I posted on Adam Maarschalk's "Pursuing Truth" site. He posed the question "Did All of the Judean Christians Flee to Pella?", and I gave him some thoughts to consider on that topic. By comparing the historical body counts of the casualty lists that Ussher's "Annals of the World" supplied for the Jewish Roman wars in this era, I calculated that about 1 1/4 million people, more or less, heeded Christ's warning to leave Judea and the city of Jerusalem, and flee to the mountains.
But some saints "remained" in the city - a "remnant" that were called "holy angels" (messengers) in Revelation 14:10. In other words, those "angelon hagion" were some of those resurrected Matthew 27 "First-fruits" saints, still hanging around, and still evangelizing. When Christ finally returned on the Mount of Olives opposite the eastern gate of the temple, that eastern gate provided the portal through which all the gathering Old Covenant resurrected saints passed to join Christ standing on the Mount of Olives, and to return to heaven with Him. This is the significance of the people of Israel's post-exilic worship at that particular eastern gate in the sabbaths and the new moon (Ezekiel 46:1-3).
That Mount of Olives location truly has been an epi-center of great spiritual and physical import in past ages, it seems. And the landslide rubble from two earthquake events are still lying on the slopes of that mountain from King Uzziah's day and from the AD 70 presence of Christ on that mountain, blocking up the valley as far as Azal, just as Zechariah 14:4-5 (LXX) foretold it would happen.
Luke 13:25-29 describes the weeping and gnashing of teeth that would occur when the citizens of Jerusalem literally saw the prophets and the patriarchs coming from all points of the compass to sit down in the kingdom of God, with themselves "thrust out". Just as pictured in the "Lazarus and the Rich Man" parable, they could witness the patriarchs across the "great gulf fixed" between them (the Kidron Valley), but as besieged citizens in Jerusalem, they could not pass over to them.
If Christ's return was not to be a physical, bodily one with a physical location for gathering all these bodily-resurrected Old Covenant saints, then why was there such a HEAVY emphasis on the "sacred" direction of the EAST all through the Old Testament? I believe the answer is that God was telling His people by that emphasis on the EAST that this was the direction and the location in front of Jerusalem's EASTERN gate that He would return for them at the close of the Old Covenant Age, as the Zechariah 14:4-5 verses show us.
Doug, if you are interested in checking into that other post on the subject of the Matthew 27 saints as the "camp of the saints" inside Jerusalem, here is the link for it, with my 3 comments at the very end of the comment section:
Patricia, my Sister.
Do you do this on purpose of writting a biography of your belief/rebuttal's in one post, in order that it can not be debated or a good flow of dialog? Your message/points get buried in so much clutter that it turns most of it into a huge question mark.
You've also said there is no supporting matchup in scripture of OT unto NT when it comes to the resurrections. Look again. Colossians 2:16-17 says this: "Let no man judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of an holy day, or of the NEW MOON, or of the SABBATH DAYS; which are A SHADOW OF THINGS TO COME;" or, as the Interlinear has it, "the coming things". Hebrews 10:1 also calls the law the shadow of the "coming good things". )))
Brother Les writes:
My point is that there is no distinct OT, OC references to THREE different MASS Bodily Standing up out of 'The Grave' of The Death (Resurrection), that match up in any way to the NT, NC, Types vs Anti-types, Shadow vs Real. How did you miss that (or did you just want to write a bunch of stuff about the tenants of the Mosaic Law.
Also, (in reference to the Saints coming out of theirs tombs at the time of The Cross), They were all still under the Death Cloud. None, no not one, could ascend to full Presence of God until the Judgments had happened that were dictated by the Law of Moses. I am not sure why you do not comprehend this either? Israel had profaned the Law and had spilled innocent blood and until The Judgments upon The People, Place and Law, had happen, all were under The Death Cloud.
Hi Brother Les,
You'll have to forgive me for inundating you with too much information in these comments. It's just as I told Doug above, there is absolutely no one in my world for me to converse with about Preterism, so you gentlemen are the unfortunate bystanders that get dumped on. If it's any consolation, I pile up equally-cluttered posts on two other websites, so you guys are not the only ones suffering my verbal barrage. It's not personally directed against you guys.
Now, brace yourself, because I actually agree with a lot of your last paragraph. It's very true, as you say - "None, no not one, could ascend to full Presence of God until the judgments had happened that were dictated by the law of Moses." I do indeed comprehend this, and agree with that statement totally. You didn't list your scripture text to prove this, but the verse you might have had in mind that says this is Rev. 15:8. "And the temple" (the one in heaven from Rev. 15:5) "was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from His power; And NO MAN was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled."
This means that no resurrected, glorified human bodies of the saints ascended to heaven until the last, 7th plague judgment had been poured out. Not Elijah, not even Enoch had ascended yet. Now, we know that there had been souls and spirits of the saints that had ascended to be "present with the Lord" (II Cor. 5:8) ever since the "First Resurrection" of AD 33, as Paul said was true even in his day. But that didn't include the final stage of any saint's salvation yet (the glorification of their human forms that were in the dust, rising to stand in God's presence in heaven) until that Pentecost day of AD 70 when the second resurrection occurred.
Daniel 12:11-13 is very specific about this 1,335th day when Daniel himself would be resurrected. This Pentecost Day would have been May 31st of that AD 70 year, when we count 1,335 days backward to the day armies first surrounded Jerusalem in AD 66, combined with a season of time when a daily sacrifice had been eliminated. The date which started the countdown to the last 1,335th day was October 4, of AD 66.
All those 144,000 "First-fruits" Matthew 27 resurrected saints I'm bringing up were NOT allowed to be bodily present in the "full presence of God", (as you have described it), until that 1,335th day, when the 7th last plague had been poured out. Meanwhile, until that 1,335th day came, these "alive" ones "remained" on the earth to serve the spread of the gospel (the description that I Thess. 4:15,17 gives of them).
You're a good sport, Brother Les, to bother with exchanging comments with me. I thank you for that, even though we are divided on this issue.
I sincerely hope you will accept the following in the spirit of brotherhood in Christ.
Brother Les and I have been as subtle as possible in pointing out why it is so hard to respond to your missives. You do a great job of creating a worldview (and heavenview if that is a word), but because you throw so much mud at the wall hoping some will stick, it becomes impossible to address all your points. Please consider changing the way you write, since no one I know has the time to respond to every point you make. If I were to try, I would get buried, since responding to one point leaves 75% of all your other points unresponded, but then another ton of responses comes from just the one comment I might have responded to! It becomes a morass and I can't possibly have an intelligent discussion under those conditions. Consider that "discussing" something is a give and take. It isn't just piling on the "proof" until the other person concedes!
That said, I will give you a compliment. You do know scripture. But I will warn you from my own experiences in "church". I spent more than 20 years in what could be called a cult. It was a "Jewish/Christian hybrid" church that wrote extensively about all kinds of topics, and it was common to explain what they called "difficult scriptures" through a labyrinthine process that they considered good exegesis. But it was really ISOgesis, in which they just tried to justify pre-existing assumptions. Once you go down that rabbit hole, you can't get out because you are so far from the trunk, you really do "major in the minors".
After I left that church, I joined a mainstream evangelical church. It was a seeker church, and for many years I listened for a hint of deepness in their messages. It never happened.
I totally agree that the gospel message is all about Christ, so I have no beef with the evangelical church, or with the idea of providing answers for seekers. But the main problem with today's church, by and large, is the absence of good solid exegesis of the scriptures, meaning ALL scriptures, not just cherry-picked ones that are a mile wide and an inch deep.
All that said, it is entirely possible to go to one extreme or the other. Having experienced both extremes, I am somewhere in the middle. I think I identify with Brother Les' style. Lot of times, 'Les is more' (hahahah)
Of course, I do sympathize with your dilemma of having to leave your church. It is painful to have your spouse not on board. In fact, that is my own situation. My wife doesn't know of my preterism ideas. It's because when I have probed her thoughts, she outright rejects my ideas and won't even listen, shutting me down right out of the gate. So I have no one either who I can discuss this with.
All that said, I would encourage you to learn to write in an abbreviated style, covering only one point at a time. Maybe learn to use bullet points and limit it to maybe two at most.
Then, it will be possible to respond to your ideas. But at the moment, I cannot possibly put an entire cosmos of ideas into my responses. To do that, I would have to write 10 books, and I cannot. My life isn't long enough! I suspect Les has the same dilemma.
Again, please accept this criticism in the the spirit in which it is given. Peace...
Hi again Doug,
Trust me, I am not offended in the least by your very accurate assessment. This is nothing that I have not cautioned myself against many times. Unfortunately, the very nature of the self-employed custom drapery business I run doesn't easily lend itself to the type of back-and-forth discussion venues such as any Christian forum is based upon. Work orders for me come in tsunami waves that bury me for months at a time. It's "feast or famine" usually. In between, I can have stretches of nothing at all for months also, which accounts for my spurts of posting copious amounts at a sitting.
For example, right now I am looking at a mountain of custom work for the entire home for two high-end clients - who both want theirs completed before Thanksgiving - and we won't even talk about Christmas deadlines.
These intermittent levels of activity tend to dictate the way I post, so that I end up flooding you guys for a time, but then disappearing into the workroom for several months to satisfy designer's ASAP deadlines. Wish it could be otherwise, Doug, I really do. But after almost 29 years of seeing the same work flow pattern for this business, it's not likely to change. So carry on guys! I do check all my favorite forums daily, and I thoroughly enjoy reading you all exchanging thoughts between yourselves.