SOME DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES OF SYSTEMATIZED
It is important to keep in mind that many ideas and doctrines
full preterism appeals to - such as the complete end of the Old
Covenant world in AD70 - are by no means distinctive to that view.
Many non HyPs believe this as well, so one need not embrace the Hyper
Preterist system in order to endorse this view. Following
are exceptional doctrines which, so far as I've seen, are only taught by
adherents of Hyper Preterism.:
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY STANDARD
All Bible Prophecy was Fulfilled By AD70
Atonement Incomplete at Cross ;
Complete at AD70
The Supernatural Power of Evil
Ended in AD70
The Spirit of Antichrist was
Destroyed in AD70
"The Consummation of the Ages"
Came in AD70
"The Millennium" is in the Past, From
AD30 to AD70
Nothing to be Resurrected From
in Post AD70 World ; Hades Destroyed
The Christian Age Began in AD70
; Earth Will Never End
"The Day of the Lord" was Israel's
Destruction ending in AD70
The "Second Coming" of Jesus
Christ Took Place in AD70-ish
The Great Judgment took place
in AD70 ; No Future Judgment
The Law, Death, Sin, Devil,
Hades, etc. Utterly Defeated in AD70
of the Dead and Living is Past, Having Taken
Place in AD70
The Context of the Entire Bible
is Pre-AD70 ; Not Written To Post AD70 World
DISTINCTIVE DOCTRINES TAUGHT BY VARIOUS FORMS
Baptism was for Pre-AD70 Era (Cessationism)
The Lord's Prayer was for Pre-AD70
The Lord's Supper was for Pre-AD70
The Holy Spirit's Paraclete Work
Ceased in AD70 (Cessationism)
The Consummation in AD70 Caused
Church Offices to Cease (Cessationism)
The Resurrection in AD70 Changed
the "Constitutional Principle" of Marriage (Noyesism)
Israel and Humanity Delivered into
Ultimate Liberty in AD70 (TransmillennialismTM)
The Judgment in AD70 Reconciled All
of Mankind to God ; All Saved (Preterist Universalism)
Adam's Sin No Longer Imputed in
Post AD70 World ; No Need to be Born Again (Preterist Universalism)
When Jesus Delivered the Kingdom to
the Father in AD70, He Ceased Being The Intermediary (Pantelism/Comprehensive
The Book of Genesis is an
Apocalypse; is About Creation of First Covenant Man, not First Historical
Man (Covenantal Preterism)
A Letter To My Dad
Regarding the Teachings of J.N. Darby
By Ward Fenley
I know it has taken a long time for me to respond to the article on Romans 11 but there have been a lot of things going on with studies and other things that involve our fellowship which I believe God views as priority. But thanks for being so patient.
First, I will examine the various passages which Darby uses to support his position and then try to examine them within their O.T. context since the majority of the passages cited are taken from the O.T. In the case of the N.T. where the O.T. is quoted I will then observe the N.T. context and then the O.T. context.
Considering the timing of the events, which of course is the main issue of contention, the first disagreement I had with D. is on page 267. He quotes from
Romans 11:26-28 "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. 28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes."
"Here we have Godís ways toward them clearly set forth: partial blindness for a time, during which the church, the fulness of the Gentiles, is called; when that is closed, their Deliverer comes out of Zion."-J.N.D.
I agree with D.ís placement of most of the events in the redemptive outworking of God. I believe however that he is in error with his timing of the phrase "for a time, during which the church, the fullness of the Gentiles..." etc. You and I would both agree that there were fulfillments of the prophecies of Christ even within the N.T. writings. e.g. Prophecy-Matthew 24:5 "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." Fulfillment- 1 John 2:18 "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." Matthew 24:2 we would agree, was definitely referring to 70 A.D. I believe that Darbyís phrase "for a time, during which the church, the fullness of the Gentiles...", is found as fulfilled within the N.T. writings. e.g.
|Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world (oikumene) for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. ||Romans 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (oikumene)|
|Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. (ethnos)|| |
|Romans 16:25-26 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations (ethnos) for the obedience of faith:|
|Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, (kosmos) and preach the gospel to every creature.|| |
|Colossians 1:5-6 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world (kosmos); and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: |
|Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (ktisis)|| |
|Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature (ktisis) which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;|
|Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (ge)"|| |
|Romans 10:18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: "Their sound has gone out to all the earth (ge), And their words to the ends of the world."|
These prophecies and fulfillments, to me, are very convincing, especially in light of Christís prediction in Matthew 24:14 that, after the proclamation of the gospel to the nations and the world, the end would come referring to the end of the age which the disciples associated with the destruction of the temple. Some dispensational scholars say that the disciples were mistaken when they associated the destruction of the temple with the end of the age. However this would present a problem with Matthew 13:36-51:
Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." 37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 "The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 "The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. (i.e. Jewish age) 41 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! 44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 "who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48 "which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. 49 "So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 "and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth." 51 Jesus said to them, "Have you understood all these things?" They said to Him, "Yes, Lord."
If the disciples were mistaken in their understanding of Jesusí explanation of the parables and the end of the age, one would think that Jesus would have corrected them, especially by the time He delivered the Olivet Discourse.
It is when D. quotes Romans 11:26 ("And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob"); and applies it to the future that I believe he is misinterpreting the O.T. prophetsí eschatological outlook especially when the O.T. prophets are affirmed as declaring the truth by the N.T. prophets. We both agree that the O.T. prophets did NOT know how that salvation and deliverance would come (i.e. Christís death, resurrection, and Parousia.) but they certainly declared that it would be within the same timeframe. An example of this would be in 1 Peter 1:5-13:
"...who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith; the salvation of your souls. 10 OF THIS SALVATION the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come TO YOU, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the GLORIES THAT WOULD FOLLOW. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, BUT TO US they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into. 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon THE GRACE THAT IS TO BE BROUGHT TO YOU at the revelation of Jesus Christ"
The questions arise: What deliverance was it for which these first century saints were looking? What grace was it that would be brought to them that was "ready to be revealed in the last time"? What did Peter mean by "this salvation"? Paul, after declaring that the gospel in fact had been preached to all the world in Romans 10:18, later said in Romans 13:11-12
"And that, knowing the time that now it is high time (gk-hora=hour cf. 1 John 2:18 above), to awake out of sleep: for NOW is our salvation NEARER THAN WHEN WE BELIEVED. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."
D. quotes Romans which quotes from Isaiah 59:20 "And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD." The mistake he made was not observing the next verse: Isaiah 59:21:
"As for me, this is my covenant (see above verse) with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever."
Paul tells us in Galatians in no uncertain terms that there are two distinct covenants with which the Galatians were dealing: the Abrahamic and the Mosaic covenants. According to Isaiah 59:21 the prophet tells us that this covenant will be an everlasting covenant. There is only one Everlasting Abrahamic Covenant: Hebrews 13:20-21:
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
also, Matthew 26:28:
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
My question to D. would be; "If you take Isaiah 59:20 as an unfulfilled prophecy then are we really under the bond of the Everlasting Covenant?" Also I would ask: "Are we living in all the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant now or not? If not, then to what was the apostle Paul referring in Galatians 3:6-9?:
"Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham."
The fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant is by faith in Jesus Christ for justification. The important phrase is "justify the heathen through faith." The justification of the heathen by faith, the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, and the New Covenant in Christís blood are inseparable, as is proven in Galatians 3:13-14:
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles THROUGH JESUS CHRIST; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
Paul explains the two covenants and clearly defines the geography ("for lo, the kingdom of God is within you") of each in Galatians 4:23-28:
"But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to JERUSALEM WHICH NOW IS and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise."
"Jerusalem which now is", which was, before 70 A.D., Paul declared to be in bondage with her children which were the children of the kingdom of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 8:12:
"But the children of the kingdom (physical Jerusalem under the law) shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
He contrasts the two covenants plainly by saying "Jerusalem which is above is free", which is why Paul in the very next chapter says:
Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
The question may be asked: "How could this be if Christ had not come yet? After all, this epistle was written before 70 A.D." True. This is where the book of Hebrews solves that problem.
Everything in Hebrews points to the contrasts between the two covenants, from the very first two verses of chapter one; Hebrews 1:1-2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the ages (Old and New Covenants) all the way to 13:20 which was cited above.
It is however in chapter 8 that the then present status of the fading Old Covenant is contrasted with the incoming New Covenant. A question that the amillenialist and premillenial dispensationalist must answer is: If the first covenant was completely done away at the cross (as the two positions affirm), what was it in Hebrews 8 that was in the process of vanishing away? i.e. Hebrews 8:1-13:
"Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. 4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; 5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain." 6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them (the first), He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. 10 "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 "None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." 13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
In this last verse, what did the writer mean by saying "what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away", when Jesus had already been dead and resurrected for 38 years? How could it be growing old and becoming obsolete if it had already been completely abolished at the cross? The answer becomes manifestly clear when we look at the O.T. passage to which the writer was alluding. Isaiah 51:1-9:
"Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, You who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug (Death under the law of the first covenant). 2 Look to Abraham your father (the Everlasting Covenant), And to Sarah who bore you; For I called him alone, And blessed him and increased him." 3 For the LORD will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody. 4 "Listen to Me, My people; And give ear to Me, O My nation: For a law (Christ and the New Covenant) will proceed from Me, And I will make My justice rest As a light (Christ) of the peoples. 5 My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands (Gentiles) will wait upon Me, And on My arm they will trust. 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,(the Old Covenant) And look on the earth beneath (Jerusalem). For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner (Judaizers and Pharisees who had held on to the sacrifices); But My salvation (life in Christ under the New Covenant) will be forever, And My righteousness (which is imputed by faith) will not be abolished. 7 "Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men (Judaizers- hence the Galatian heresy), Nor be afraid of their insults. 8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, And the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation."
It is obvious that the writer of Hebrews uses distinct phraseology to bring the Jewish mind to their own prophets. We see this especially when comparing Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the heavens will vanish away like smoke, The earth will grow old like a garment, And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;, And My righteousness will not be abolished. & Hebrews 8:13 "In that He says, ĎA new covenant,í He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
|Isaiah 51:6||Hebrews 8:13|
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath.
In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete.
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke
ready to vanish away
The earth will grow old like a garment
Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is...
But My salvation will be forever
Hebrews 13:20 that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
1 Peter 1:10-12 "Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven; things which angels desire to look into."
Also in regard to Isaiah 51:8 "For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness (Christ and the New Covenant) shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.", we see a parallel passage in Isaiah 50:6-9:
"I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 8 He is near that justifieth me (1 Timothy 3:16..."He was justified in the Spirit"); who will contend with me? (John 8:46 "Which of you convinceth Me of sin?) let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up. (The Jews who rejected Him cf. Matthew 21:37-40 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? also Matthew 23:33-36 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation."
After sufficient use of cross references we see that God clearly uses highly figurative language to contrast the two covenants. This gives us a better understanding of what the writer of Hebrews was describing even at the beginning of the book. Hebrews 1:10-12:
"And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."
The phrase "in the beginning", might present a problem at first glance without examining "in the beginning" of what!? As we both know, similar themes are frequently addressed in all the epistles. I believe the theme of the beginning of the age is one of those themes. We see this especially in Ephesians 3:4-9:
"Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs (heirs of the Abrahamic covenant), and of the same body, and partakers of his promise (the Abrahamic covenant) in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world (gk. aeon or age i.e. the Jewish age) hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"
This interpretation may not seem plausible to some, however when we examine another passage dealing with the same motif, (that is, the Jewish age vs. the promise of the Abrahamic covenant) we see the performance of this Everlasting Covenant executed in the "day" or time of Christ. (4 B.C.-70 A.D.) The passage is Luke 1:67-76:
"And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world (aeon) began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 To PERFORM the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;"
Zacharias was obviously familiar with the Abrahamic covenant and declared that he was now in the time when God would PERFORM it. When D. quotes a passage like Isaiah 59:20:
"And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD,"
We should be very aware that these types of restoration passages are inseparable from the Abrahamic covenant. Did Christ perform what Zacharias said He would perform or is He tarrying to perform the Promise. Hebrews 10:36-37:
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, YE might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry."
D. makes this bold statement "that these prophecies (regarding the restored kingdom of the Abrahamic covenant) have never been accomplished, (PERFORMED) the passages themselves will prove." Up to this point it has been clear that what was prophesied has been fulfilled in Christ. There is however more that D. has mentioned that needs to be refuted.
D. states on page 268 these words regarding the beginning of Christianity: "Further, when Christianity was introduced, not only was Jerusalem destroyed in judgment, but the Gentiles were in full glory and triumph." First D. admits that Jerusalem was in fact, "destroyed in judgment" with which we are very much in agreement. However the very book that describes that 70 A.D. judgment he dismisses as yet to take place (Revelation). Here would be appropriate to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that MYSTERY BABYLON THE HARLOT is Jerusalem. It is obvious that the O.T. clearly depicts Israel as a harlot: cf. Isaiah 1:1-4,13-15,21 Ezekiel 16:2,3,15-17,20,22,25,26,28-37; Jeremiah 2:18-20;3:1-3,6-8;13:27; Hosea 1:1,2;2:2-7,10-12;4:10-18;5:3,4;6:10. These are just a few passages that prove her harlotry. However to prove this from the N.T. might convince those who otherwise would contradict 70 A.D. as the Great and Notable Day of the Lord. In Revelation 14:6-8 we discover a phrase used that can begin to clear up the problem identifying the HARLOT.
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that GREAT CITY, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
The term GREAT CITY is also used in Revelation 11:1-8 and makes it very clear that there is only one GREAT CITY:
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. 3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the GREAT CITY, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
The text speaks for itself and chapter 14:8. Since the GREAT CITY is MYSTERY BABYLON THE HARLOT which is Jerusalem, we can stop assuming that this false religious system is the Catholic Church, Arminianism, the Charismatic Movement etc. It is true that these and many others are false religious systems and harlots for that matter, nevertheless this does not justify identifying them as MYSTERY BABYLON THE HARLOT. Further proof that Jerusalem is unquestionably the HARLOT is seen when a comparison is made between Matthew 23:29-38 and Revelation 17:1-6,18;18:5,10,16,18-21,24.
Matthew 23:29-38 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Revelation 17:1-6 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
Revelation 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Revelation 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Revelation 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Revelation 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
Revelation 18:18-21 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. 20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
Revelation 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
The only way to make good sense of these passages is to compare them side by side.
|Jesus to the Pharisees||Identity of the HARLOT|
|Matthew 23:32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.||1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.|| |
Revelation 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Matthew 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
Matthew 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
Luke 13:33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.
|Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. || |
Revelation 17:5-6 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
|Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. || |
Revelation 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
|Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.|| |
Revelation 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
|Revelation 11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (Jerusalem) || |
Revelation 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
|Revelation 18:10,16,18-21 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. 16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! 18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. 20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.|
The statement by D. that "Jerusalem was destroyed in judgment" is true, but where does he find his information that it was truly judgment if he maintains a future coming. Though there are many sources outside the gospels in the N.T. which predict the 70 A.D. judgment upon Jerusalem, the sources primarily used by dispensational premillenialists are those in the gospels. (i.e. the Olivet Discourse). Regarding the destruction of the temple, Jesus said in Matthew 24:2
"And Jesus said unto them, ĎSee ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.í"
Most scholars including dispensationalists would agree that this is a prediction of the 70 A.D. destruction. Jesus confirms this in verse 34
"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
We have further evidence that the final coming in judgment was also before that generation would pass by using the parallel passages. For example Luke 21:20-32:
"And when YE shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (cf. Revelation 11:1,2). 25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. 29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise YE, when YE see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled."
Also in Hebrews 10:25 the writer makes it very clear to his audience that the Day of the Lord was drawing near:
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the Day approaching."
Even puritan John Owen in his monumental commentary on Hebrews writes of this Day, "It is not such a day, such a motive, as is always common to all, but only unto those who are in some measure in the same circumstances with them....Wherefore this day was no other but that fearful and tremendous day, a season for the destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, city, and nation of the Jews, which our Saviour had forewarned His disciples of, and which they had in continual expectation." Unfortunately, Dr. Owen was inconsistent in that he held to a separated future judgment which is very destructive to the redemptive outworking of Godís plan, especially as it pertains to the passing away of the Old Covenant.
Secondly, D. declares that at this time "the Gentiles were in full glory and triumph." Obviously his definition of full glory and triumph is vastly different than what most scholars think "full glory and triumph" to be. I believe he is absolutely correct when he says the Gentiles were in full glory and triumph, but probably not in the sense that he intended. In defining what eternal glory is, there must be an understanding of the contrast between the two covenantal glories. Paul makes a clear comparison of the two glories in 2 Corinthians 3 as it pertains to resurrection life, which is sadly overlooked by the majority of evangelicals. In 2 Corinthians 3:3-11 we read:
"clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if WHAT IS PASSING AWAY was glorious, what remains is much more glorious."
The phrase "what is passing away" is very important as we look at the changing covenant worlds. The verb is a present passive participle which simply means it was occurring in the actual time that Paul wrote the epistle. Those who try to maintain that the Old Covenant had passed away completely at the cross find the same problem in Hebrews 8:13:
"In that He says, ĎA new covenant,í He has made the first obsolete. Now what is BECOMING OBSOLETE and GROWING OLD is READY to vanish away."
"Becoming Obsolete" is also a present passive participle. This is not the only stumblingblock for the futurist. As we noted before, the book of Hebrews is a book of covenantal contrasts, which is precisely the aim of 2 Corinthians 3. There is no difference. The same goal is in mind. In order to convince the readers that they are experiencing the change from the Old Covenant world to the New Covenant world, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:18:
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."
It should be obvious that the covenantal change which Paul and his readers were experiencing was not a "physical" change but rather a spiritual change that is in accordance with Christís words to the Pharisees in Luke 17:20-21:
"Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God DOES NOT come with observation (outward show-NKJV); 21 "nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."
This is exactly why the author of Hebrews writes, in Hebrews 12:22-28:
"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but NOW (at this time) He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." 27 Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."
The phrase "receiving a kingdom" is once again a present active participle indicating that this was taking place at the time the author was writing it.
In order to fully understand the fulness of glory which the saints were about to experience, we must keep in mind that the light of Christ is the fulness of glory. This is why the apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:14:
"Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light."
This is a partial quotation from Isaiah 60:1 which is perhaps the most conclusive chapter in Isaiah that correlates the light of Christ with the glory of His people. Glory is stated in the first and second verses:
Isaiah 60:1-22 "Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising."
If we are to comprehend the glory of Christ and His saints, there must be a clear understanding of the timeframe regarding "the Light of the world." An astounding passage that relates the timing of the believerís glory and the mystery of the Gentiles is Colossians 1:21-27:
" And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
The phrase "hope of glory" had its fulfillment with Christ consummating the marriage relationship in 70 A.D. This is seen even more clearly in Galatians 4:19:
"My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you"
We see then that the "hope of glory" for which all saints were waiting, was, "Christ in them" who at that time was being formed in them. This corresponds in perfect harmony with John 11:25-26:
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
The themes of marriage, light, glory, and salvation cannot be disconnected. We see clearly in Revelation 19 after the HARLOT ("Jerusalem which now is") is destroyed that marriage to the Lamb plays an integral part in the glory and salvation of the Bride.
Revelation 19:1-7 "And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."
This happens immediately after the destruction of the temple, which indicates the significance of the temple in relation to the Ministration of Death that was still existing but growing old.
When Christ was incarnated He declared that spiritually He was the fulfillment of all the Abrahamic promises. Paul explicitly states in 2 Corinthians 1:19-20:
"For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us."
This is indisputably evident if we examine the "I am" statements that Christ made and then find the appropriate O.T. passage from which Christís statements are drawn. See below:
|46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I AM that bread of life. |
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the WAY,
|Isaiah 35:8-10 And an highway shall be there, and a WAY, and it shall be called The WAY of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. 9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.||Isaiah 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a WAY that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.||Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a WAY in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.|
|Jeremiah 33:6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and TRUTH.||Zechariah 8:8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in TRUTH and in righteousness.||Micah 7:18-20 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20 Thou wilt perform the TRUTH to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.|
|Isaiah 25:7-9 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up DEATH in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. 9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.||Isaiah 26:19 Thy dead men shall LIVE, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.||Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O DEATH, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.||Psalms 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. |
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
John 6:32-35 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE: HE THAT COMETH TO ME SHALL NEVER HUNGER; and HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME SHALL NEVER THIRST.
|Psalm 107:1-21 esp. Psalms 107:9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the HUNGRY soul with goodness.||Isaiah 49:10 They shall NOT HUNGER NOR THIRST; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.||Ezekiel 34:29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with HUNGER in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.||Isaiah 65:13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall EAT, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed|
After taking a detailed look at the context of each of these O.T. passages, including the references to time, Paulís conclusion that "all the promises of God in Him (Christ) are yes and amen" makes much greater sense both covenantally and contextually. A concept that can help in our understanding of the "New Heavens and New Earth" is that the New Testament books are all books written during a transition from one covenant to another. This may sound elementary at first, but when we start observing the Old Covenant as the Old Covenant "world", or "the First Heaven and First Earth", the idea of changing from glory (Old Covenant) to glory (New Covenant) becomes much more profound and rich. The glorification of the saints is obviously a subject of concern considering the popular view of glorified "material" or a glorified "physical body." But before trying to identify the constitution of the glorified state, we must first identify the timing of the glorification as it relates to Christ fulfilling all Abrahamic promises.
In Haggai 2:6-9 we see a passage which at first seems to refer to the rebuilding of the temple after the Babylonian captivity.
"For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. 9 The GLORY OF THIS LATTER HOUSE shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts."
However, upon the commentary found in Hebrews, we see that God had something completely greater in mind than the "physical" rebuilding of the Old Covenant House. The writer of Hebrews explains the "Yet once more":
Hebrews 12:27-28 "And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things (Old Covenant & kingdom) that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken (New Covenant & kingdom) may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear."
Both passages are declaring the comparison between the two "houses", as does the passage in 2 Corinthians 3. As Isaiah 51 and Galatians make clear, the Old Covenant and "Those who dwell therein shall die in like manner." It is very interesting that ALL the passages which futurists use to support a physical destruction of the universe and earth are making comparisons between the two covenants. (cf. Psalm 102; Isaiah 51, Hebrews 1; Revelation 21). In Hebrews 3:1-6 the writer begins the "house" motif.
Hebrews 3:1-6 "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. 5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (i.e. the end of the Jewish age or house)
The "house" over which, Christ is the Son, is definitely the "greater", more "glorious" house of Haggai. The urgency of the phrase "if we hold fast...to the end" is carried throughout the entire book, however it is important to note that the same idea of continuing in the faith is directly related to entering His rest in Chapter 4. This rest is none other than the glorified position of the saints in the new "house."
In Psalms we have a definite time statement about the appearing of Christ in His glory.
Psalms 102:16 "When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory."
When "Zion" and "house" are used synonymously in relation to the New Covenant 1 Peter 2 comes to life, as he knew that "the end of all things was at hand" (4:7), when he says:
1 Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
Continuing the theme of glory, in light of the changing of house and covenant, the passages in the O.T. concerning the Abrahamic Covenant have much more significance regarding glory and its relation to the covenantal transition. We also see the specific timing of this glory as it pertains to the fulness of the Gentiles during the transition. i.e. Isaiah 60:1-14:
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee (Israel). 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, (glory) and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. 5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together (Jew and Gentile cf. "He has made of the two one new man and broken down the middle wall of partition"), and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.(cf. "and the fowls of the air [Gentiles] lodged in the branches of it" [early Jewish church]). 7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will GLORIFY THE HOUSE OF MY GLORY. 8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? 9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. 10 And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote thee, but in my favour have I had mercy on thee. 11 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually cf. Revelation 21:23-27:
"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."
"they shall not be shut day nor night"
If the New Jerusalem and New Heaven and New Earth are in fact "physical" and they are supposed to be perfect; then two questions need to be addressed 1. Why are the gates open continually?ģ
- that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
- 2. Who are these that were outside of the gates and from where did they come?)
12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. 13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. 14 The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Hebrews 12:22 "But YE ARE COME unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.
Revelation 22:14-15 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may ENTER IN THROUGH THE GATES INTO THE CITY. 15 For outside are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Finally, to show the relation between light and glory, Isaiah concludes the chapter with these words that are virtually identical to that in Revelation 21,22.
Isaiah 60:19 "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God THY glory."
This is covenantally exclaimed by Paul in Ephesians 5:14:
"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."
We see then that glory, light, and rising from the dead are interchangeable terms in relation to the New Covenant.
To expound upon this light motif I have formulated a chart to show the relation of light and glory as it pertains to the believer in Jesus Christ in the New Covenant aeon.
- I. THE LIGHT OF "I AM"---(I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD)
|Old Testament||Old Testament||New Testament|
|Psalms 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.||Isaiah 51:4 Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.||Ephesians 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.|
|Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.|| Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.|| Luke 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.|
|Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.|| Isaiah 60:3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.||John 1:4-5 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.John 3:19-21 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world and men|
Isaiah 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.
| Isaiah 60:19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.||loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.|
|Isaiah 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.|| Isaiah 60:20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.||John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.|
When D. makes the statement that all restoration promises have yet to be fulfilled, I believe he makes a dangerous error, in that redemption, cleansing, washing, and holiness are now coming from two separate events separated by at least two thousand years. This may not seem very serious at first glance, but when the integrity of Jesus Christ is at stake in regard to fulfilling His promises of restoration within the allotted time He had given, the problem becomes much more serious. That is, if Christ did not fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant when He said He would, (at the end of the age) then the only option would be to resort to two totally separate redemptions, kingdoms, washings, cleansings, resurrections, purgings, and New Heavens and New Earths.
D. quotes from Isaiah 4:2-4 and lumps this with the rest of what he would say is unfulfilled prophecy.
Isaiah 4:2-4 "In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. 3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: 4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning."
The phrase "in that day" plays an integral part in the recognizing the complete fulfillment of redemption in Christ. First, the phrase without a single doubt specifies a certain timeframe. Jesus Himself recognized that His "day" had come, but more importantly He associated it with the Abrahamic Covenant.
John 8:56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad."
The question is: Of what "day" was Abraham rejoicing? Why was he glad? The only possible answer, scripturally, is the Everlasting Covenant. God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations: hence ("I will give you Canaan for an everlasting possession.") How would he become the father of many nations. Through his physical seed? Quite the contrary. It is clear just exactly how he is a father of many nations in Romans 4:11-16:
- "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all."
According to the passage in Isaiah, the culmination of redemption results in the branch of the LORD being beautiful and glorious. Paul gives us clear statements to prove to his readers that they are in the "generation" upon whom ALL the Abrahamic/New Covenant blessings would come. In Romans 15:8-16 He tells of the certainty that Christ is in fact the absolute fulfillment of Everlasting Covenantal blessings:
- "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. 14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. 15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."
It is interesting to see Paul use the very passages which dispensationalists use to prove a literal, future thousand year reign on the physical earth, to prove the reality of the prophetic consummation on the generation in which he was living. The problem for the futurist, whatever their view, is that Paul says that those O.T. prophetic passages are complete in the time of Christ. For Paul, knew perfectly well, being the minister to the Gentiles, that the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant was then coming upon his generation. D. however is convinced that the time of the Branch of the lord as beautiful and glorious has not yet come to pass. But scriptures conclude otherwise. i.e. Paul quoted three passages in Romans 15 that were clearly intended in the O.T. to speak of the kingdom of God. This is obvious because of the clear references to the Gentiles coming to the Branch. D. overlooks the fact that Paul quotes from another passage that speaks of the Branch of the Lord being beautiful and glorious. Specifically, he quotes that the time of the Gentiles coming to trust in the root of Jesse was being fulfilled. The problem for the futurist is that Paul is quoting from Isaiah 11 which is, without a doubt, a whole chapter devoted to the same timeframe. This is made very clear by the prophets use of the phrase "in that day." This may not seem convincing until one looks at the rest of the context:
- Isaiah 11:1-16 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 10 And IN THAT DAY there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. 11 And it shall come to pass IN THAT DAY, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. 14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. 15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. 16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt. (that is, freedom from the bondage of sin)
The references of "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb" etc. have almost always been interpreted by the futurist to refer to a time of perfect "physical peace" on a physical earth. This view however becomes inconsistent with Paulís use of Isaiah 11:10 as being a confirmed fulfillment in his time. Where is the justification for assuming that between any of the verses, a two thousand year separation may be interjected, especially when Paul and Luke (Luke 1:68-76) have exclaimed that Christ is the performance/confirmation of the Everlasting Covenant? We need to look at the Cross and the Parousia as one event identified by Christ Himself as "my day." We also need observe that His "day" was the changing from the Covenant of Death to the Covenant of Life (2 Cor.3;Gal.3,4).
The Gentiles coming to His rest is paralleled with Christís words "come unto me and I will give you rest." Because the futurist position is one that is focused on physical blessings rather than "spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus", they overlook the basic gospel which, if obeyed, brings one into the gates of the kingdom, thus, the "gospel of the kingdom." This is why the Baptist and Jesus declared without a doubt that the Kingdom of God was at hand.
Since the book of Isaiah is essentially a book about the coming kingdom, grammatically we can understand that once again the prophetís use of the phrase "in that day" is imperative to understanding the New Covenantal reality in Christ. We also see that this New Covenantal reality is one and the same with the New Heavens and the New Earth. This is seen when comparing Paulís statement in Romans 15:15-16:
- "Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."
In verse 16 we have an irrefutable confirmation that the fulfillment of the New Heaven and Earth was taking place in the time of the apostle. In following an historical, grammatical hermeneutic, this is better understood when the O.T. prophecy from Isaiah is put along side Paulís understanding of His ministry in the New Covenant.
- Isaiah 66:19-22 "And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. 20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD. 22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain."
|Isaiah 66:20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.||Romans 15:15-16 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, 16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.|
When these passages are correlated Colossians 1:24-27 comes alive:
- Colossians 1:24-27 "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: 25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, TO FULFIL THE WORD OF GOD; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, BUT NOW IS MADE MANIFEST TO HIS SAINTS: 27 To whom God would make known what is THE RICHES OF THE GLORY of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY:"
The correlation of Romans and Isaiah will make clear the "mystery of the Gentiles" passages as "confirmation" (Romans 15:8) and "performance" (Luke 1:72) of the Abrahamic Covenantal blessings upon the Gentiles through faith.
- Ephesians 3:1-9 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That THE GENTILES SHOULD BE FELLOWHEIRS, and of the same body, and PARTAKERS OF HIS PROMISE IN CHRIST BY THE GOSPEL: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
The mystery according to Paul was now transparent. The Gentiles are fellowheirs. The question is: fellowheirs of what? Partakers of what PROMISE? The Bible is clear that there is only one PROMISE in which the Gentiles would be "blessed with faithful Abraham", and that is, the Abrahamic Covenant. This fulfillment is what is described by Paul as "the unsearchable riches of Christ." How are they made partakers?:
- Ephesians 3:6 "That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ BY THE GOSPEL"
Being "fellowheirs" and "partakers of his promise" are synonymous with "entering in through the gates of the City" Revelation 22:14.
- D. being forced to be consistent with his eschatological perspective has to say that vs.4 of Isaiah 4 is also yet unfulfilled.
- Isaiah 4:4 "When the Lord shall have WASHED away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have PURGED the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning."
In order to say that this passage remains unfulfilled D. cannot affirm that any washing and purging or any other type of cleansing for that matter has been imputed since New Covenant age began. Virtually the whole book of Hebrews would have to be viewed as a book of unfulfilled prophecy, and any other passage that declares the washing of Godís people.
- Hebrews 1:3 "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high"
Hebrews 9:14 "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"
Hebrews 10:22 "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
John 13:8 "Peter saith unto him, ĎThou shalt never wash my feet.í Jesus answered him, ĎIf I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.í"
1 Corinthians 6:11 "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
Revelation 1:5 "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood"
At this juncture one may ask the question, "These truths in the Christianís life were fulfilled before 70 A.D. so if the final coming had not yet taken place, how could the N.T. writers say that these things had already happened to them?" First, this question does not address the problem D. and the majority of futurists have with the obvious statements in the N.T. regarding the fulfillment of purging. Second, we must remember the status of the Old Covenant/Ministration of death which at the time of the writing of Hebrews was "becoming obsolete and growing old and was ready to vanish away." This was the purpose of the encouragement by Paul to the Ephesians regarding the sealing of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1:12-14:
- "That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Earlier in the chapter Paul writes:
- Ephesians 1:7 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace"
When analyzing the word "redemption" one must ask, "Are there two New Covenant redemptions or were there two aspects of one redemption? Peter in the book of Acts delivered a sermon in which he observed the two parts of one redemption together and obviously within a certain timeframe:
- Acts 3:18-26 But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ (to whom?), which before was preached unto you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things (The New Covenant), which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world (age) began. 22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, (Jews) like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. (Jews) 24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of THESE DAYS. 25 YOU ARE THE CHILDREN of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless YOU, in turning away every one of YOU from his iniquities.
Even the false accusers of Steven knew that Jesus and Steven had predicted the destruction of the Temple to "change the customs"
- Acts 6:13-14 "...And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: 14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, AND shall CHANGE the customs which Moses delivered us."
Was Peter or Paul or any of the N.T. writers for that matter writing anything that was not written in the O.T. scriptures? Paul in his defense before King Agrippa said this was not the case:
- Acts 26:22-23 "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses DID SAY SHOULD COME: 23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles."
Peter also intimates the same thing before his passage concerning the dissolution of the Old Covenantal system:
- 2 Peter 3:1-2 "This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour"
These affirmations of the O.T. scriptures should direct us to the O.T. scriptures to which they were referring. What redemption were the N.T. apostles accosting? The scriptures teach two redemptions: one out of Egypt, and the other out of the bondage of sin. If it is addressed in the O.T. prophecies as something yet future but after the Exodus then we can be assured that it is prophesying of the time and redemption of Christ. Here are some passages that speak of Christís redemption, some of which associate judgment, and the Kingdom of God:
- Isaiah 1:26-28 "And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. 27 Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. 28 And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
- Isaiah 35:1-10 "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. 3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. (cf. the Gospels and Acts) 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. 8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, (cf. John 14:6) and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. 9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion (cf. Hebrews 12:22)with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." ("surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows")
- Isaiah 44:22-23 "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. 23 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel."
- Isaiah 51:11 "Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away."
- Isaiah 52:6-10 "Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God."
- Isaiah 62:11-12 "Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 12 And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken."
- Jeremiah 31:7-14 "For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. 8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. 9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. 10 Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. 11 For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. 12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. 13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. 14 And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD." (cf. 1 Peter 2:9)
Both Zacharias and the men on the road to Emmaus understood the redemption as a whole event to be accomplished by Messiah, including the establishment of the Kingdom of God:
The O.T. scriptures are clear that the coming redemption was a singular redemption that was to be fulfilled in the time of Christ. The N.T. scriptures say nothing more than the fact that the writers were apart of the "generation" on whom the fulness of redemption would come.
A most important element in understanding the completion of redemption is recognizing that from which the people of God were redeemed: namely the law of sin and death or "the curse of the law":
- Galatians 3:13-14 "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
Paul demonstrates that the purpose of the redemption "out of" the curse of the law was to bring the Abrahamic promise to Abrahamís seed (both Jew and Gentile), not to secure half the redemption and then thousands of years later bring the promise to the seed. He makes clear the fact that the completion of redemption was to swallow up death in victory i.e. "the Ministration of Death" which Paul said in 2 Corinthians 3:11 was "passing away", or as Hebrews says, was "growing old and ready to vanish away." Hebrews 8:13 This would explain how Peter relates the crucifixion with the consummation of the Jewish age in 1 Peter 1:18-20:
- "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest IN THESE LAST TIMES for you."
Peter, Paul, and all the apostles understood very well that the prophets and the Lord Himself made it clear that the Cross and the Parousia were two aspects of one redemptive event. Which can be demonstrated no more perfectly than Hebrews 2:10:
- "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in BRINGING MANY SONS UNTO GLORY, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
The next passage that D. quotes as an unfulfilled prophecy is from Jeremiah 32:39-42:
- "And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. 41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. 42 For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them."
In verse 40 we have the phrase "the Everlasting Covenant", which as we have previously discussed is nothing more than the accomplished redemptive purpose of Christ. As we recall Hebrews 13:20:
- "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant..."
and, Matthew 26:28:
- "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
D.ís statement that this has yet been fulfilled is an extremely dangerous position to hold, for it denies the fundamental truth in the believerís life; namely that the Everlasting Covenant has been established. This is shown, using once again the book that describes the transition between the two covenants:
- Hebrews 7:21-25 ("For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."
Under the Old Covenant it was impossible to have an eternal high priest because of death. Under the New Covenant (the Everlasting Covenant) Christ is that eternal High Priest and performs His intercession eternally as that High Priest. If, as D. believes, we are not under the Everlasting Covenant, then we do not have an eternal high priest ever living to make intercession for us. Neither is there a high priest unto whom, wretched sinners are brought to save them to the uttermost. But contrary to D. Hebrews declares, Jesus was "made a SURETY of a BETTER Testament."
One may say, "Yes, Jesus was a surety, but He was a surety of good things TO COME." This observation would be correct if understood with the first century mindset. However the writer clarifies the certain imminence of those "good things to come":
- Hebrews 8:13 "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away."
- Hebrews 10:36-37 "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry."
With the passing Old Covenant in mind, the surety takes on infinitely greater significance.
- Hebrews 9:11-17 "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building (the physical temple); 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, THEY WHICH ARE CALLED MIGHT RECEIVE THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL INHERITANCE. 16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament IS OF FORCE AFTER MEN ARE DEAD: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth."
It would be inconceivable to think that the very God who willed the eternal inheritance (the Abrahamic Covenant) to His people, would not give it to them after He died. But what saith the scripture? "FOR A TESTAMENT IS OF FORCE AFTER MEN ARE DEAD," This promise to the Hebrew mind, seeing the Day approaching, knowing they were about to receive the eternal inheritance promised to Abraham and his seed, would definitely be regarded as "good things to come!" With these facts in mind, Paul could say with certainty, "all the promises of God in Him are yes, and IN HIM Amen, unto the glory of God by us."
In 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 Paul assures his readers not with just facts of the presence of the New Testament, but that they are actually the ministers of this New Testament:
- 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
The whole contrast between the letter and the Spirit is that one (the letter) produced the "death" from which every Old Testament saint desired redemption (cf. Romans 8:18-23). The other (the Spirit) produced the "life" for which all saints groaned. Paul was simply encouraging these ministers in the privilege of administering the Covenant of Life. In 2 Corinthians 6:4 Paul told these same hearers:
- "But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses"
That they were the "ministers of God" is an obvious fulfillment of Isaiah 61:6:
- "But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in THEIR GLORY shall ye boast yourselves."
This is reiterated by Peter when he announces the N.T. saints as "a royal priesthood." But in order to see the deeper fulfillment of these realities in the Christian life the whole context of Isaiah 61 (which is clearly Abrahamic) must be seen.
- Isaiah 61:1-11 The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. 4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. 5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers (Gentiles). 6 But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. 7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. 8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed. 10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
The futurist must say that these unfulfilled promises will unfold in some literal thousand year period on the physical earth or in what some would describe as a "physical New Heavens and New Earth." This does not harmonize with the distinct realization that Peter, Paul and their hearers were experiencing.
It is to be observed that there remains a perfect contextual continuity between the last verse of Isaiah 61 and Isaiah 62. Notice the other events that take place during the consummation of redemption:
- Isaiah 62:1-3 "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. 2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. 3 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God."
Peter and John assure their readers that these are promises that are fulfilled in their generation:
- 1 Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones (royal diadems), are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
1 Peter 5:4 "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
Revelation 3:11-12 "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."
The fact is, that Isaiah 62 falls into the same identical context as Isaiah 61. Our conscience would not cease to burn if we were to interject an imagined two thousand year gap between any of the verses within this context. We need to utilize an hermeneutical principle that will confirm N.T. inspiration and not pervert it. Likewise, it is imperative that context is our authority and not a telescopic imposition; something which NONE of the N.T. writers even suggested. In examining the statement of D. that the Everlasting Covenant is a hope that is somewhere in the future, it is manifest that the scriptures contradict his view and approach.
Next D. brings the context of Ezekiel 34 to our attention. He tells us that God is speaking in "unsymbolical language." We will dissect what D. calls "unsymbolical" or what most futurists define as, "LITERAL."
- Ezekiel 34:23-31 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. 25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. 28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. 30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. 31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
We have already concluded that Christ was the fulfillment of what the Pharisees interpreted would be a physical kingdom. i.e. Christ affirmed, "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Light of the world. the Bread of Life, the Living Waters", etc. Now let us determine from those N.T. passages exactly to what the O.T. prophets were referring. First, Ezekiel uses the phrase "He shall feed them." Immediately we should be drawn to the text of John 6 where Jesus delivers His discourse on the "flesh" and the "blood."
- John 6:32-35 "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you THE TRUE BREAD FROM HEAVEN. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never HUNGER; and he that believeth on me shall never THIRST."
Knowing that His audience would certainly be informed of the Abrahamic Covenant Jesus appeals to the Covenant and tells them that He is that fulfillment. He goes on to relate the faith of the elect of God (vs.37,44) as the means by which one would never hunger nor thirst. He describes this as eating His "flesh" and drinking His "blood." Should we interpret this literally? If so then we must incorporate the blasphemous doctrine of transubstantiation into our worship services. This is a major problem with interpreting the "feeding" of Ezekiel 34 as literal. Christ clarifies this "feeding" with His words to Peter in John 21 by telling him that his true love toward Jesus would be demonstrated by "feeding" His sheep. Paulís words to Timothy demonstrate this:
- 1 Timothy 4:6 "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained."
also from Peter we read:
- 1 Peter 5:2 "Feed THE FLOCK of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind"
From where did Peter get this highly symbolical language? Likewise, from where did Christ get His? Was it not from the numerous passages including Ezekiel 34 that speak of feeding the flock of God? These passages unequivocally substantiate the timing and fulfillment of Revelation 7:17:
- "For THE LAMB which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."
When Ezekiel speaks of David the Prince this is obviously referring to Christ coming from the tribe of Judah (Matthew 1:1;20:30;21:9;Mark 12:35,36) We this especially in Luke 1:32-33:
- "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
Here in Luke there is no mistaking the angelís words that the reign of God was about to begin. He also makes it clear that this Ruler is "David the Prince."
When Ezekiel tells us that God will "cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land" it may seem like it would be impossible to prove from the N.T. that this would be fulfilled within the N.T. apostleís lifetime. One might even ask, "How can evil beasts be symbolical?" Our immediate text proves this. We read in verse 28:
- "And they shall no more be a prey to the HEATHEN, neither shall the beast of the land devour them"
The references in the O.T. often can be referring to men, usually Gentiles. Here are several examples of this:
- Isaiah 43:19-21: "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. 21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise."
Jeremiah 31:27-28 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. 28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD."
Isaiah 46:9-11 "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it."
An example in the N.T. using the term "beast" to describe men is found in Titus 1:12:
- "One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies."
also 2 Peter 2:12:
- "But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption"
In the N.T. we find examples of the term "beast" referring to the demonic realm. e.g.:
The O.T. also uses "beast" to describe the non-elect in the eternal aeon:
- Isaiah 35:8-10 "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. 9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
These passages provide strong support to show that the word "beast" can definitely be referring to men and/or demons.
The phrase "cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land" is a phrase of utmost importance as to the fulfillment of this promise. The phrase "out of the land" is used in the same context of Abrahamic fulfillment in Zechariah 13:1-2:
- "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. 2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass OUT OF THE LAND."
This passage is distinctly commensurate to the material in Ezekiel 34. We also must note the time reference as pertaining to the "fountain" which plainly speaks of the only "fountain for sin and uncleanness", and that is the Cross. Significantly, it is "in that day" that the unclean spirit would be cast out of the land, the very phrase used in Ezekiel 34 which D. contends, remains unfulfilled.
"Dwelling safely in the wilderness" is a phrase used to describe the safety of Godís people within the land of the Gentiles. This is especially seen in the O.T.ís use of the word wilderness:
- Isaiah 32:13-18 "Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: 14 Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; 15 Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. 16 Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. 17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. 18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places."
Here, in connection with the "wilderness" we see the "land of My people" bearing "thorns and briers" rather than becoming a fruitful field. This reference is to none other than physical Jerusalem and Israel at the time of Christ. This becomes more evident in the parable Jesus delivered to the Pharisees in Matthew 21:33-45:
- "Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto THOSE husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, THE KINGDOM OF GOD SHALL BE TAKEN FROM YOU, AND GIVEN TO A NATION BRINGING FORTH THE FRUITS THEREOF. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, THEY PERCEIVED THAT HE SPAKE OF THEM."
Notice the abundantly clear reference to the destruction of the Jewish nation, and the contrast with the Gentiles bearing fruit in the kingdom which had been given to them. In Hebrews 6:7,8 the same contrast is shown as in Isaiah 32 and Matthew 21 in regard to bearing fruit.:
- Hebrews 6:7-8 "For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned." cf. Isaiah 32:13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers..."
Jesus told His disciples the result of being Godís chosen people in John 15:16:
- "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
The theme of "dwelling safely in the wilderness" is inseparably linked with bringing forth fruit as is seen in Ezekiel 34:25-27:
- "And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them."
Isaiah 35:5-7 conveys this same promise:
- Isaiah 35:5-7 "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes."
When we examine the gravity of the subjects of bearing fruit and springs of water, the words of Christ to the woman at the well become filled with richness:
- John 4:14 "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."
Isaiah, even though he "searched diligently of the salvation that should come" wrote of the importance of the role that the word played in bringing forth fruit by the will of God.
- Isaiah 55:10-13 "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."
D. has not delved into the riches of Ezekiel 34 because he has misunderstood the "showers of blessing", the very thing which he unfortunately ascertains as an unfulfilled hope to the believer in Christ. But the apostle Paul does no such thing. Rather Paul encourages and assures his readers of the fulness of blessing and redemption:
- Ephesians 1:3-11 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS (i.e the showers of blessing of Ezekiel 34 which are not physical) in heavenly places (not earthly places) in Christ (rather than in a physical land) 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 IN WHOM (Christ) also WE have obtained an inheritance (the fulness of the Abrahamic Covenant), being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."
The "showers of blessing" are clearly defined in the N.T. as "Christ in us, the hope of glory," and it is because of those "showers" that the people of God are now bearing fruit in the kingdom which was "given to a nation which will render its fruit" after Christ "miserably destroyed those wicked men" of the physical kingdom of Israel (cf. Matthew 21:33-46).
Still, in relation to "bearing fruit" is the scriptureís portrayal of men as "trees." As D. quoted from Ezekiel 34:27: "the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase." Primarily the prophets use this metaphor as distinctly referring to men. "Planting" is also associated with the theme of bearing fruit.
Isaiah 41:17-20 "When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. 18 I will open rivers in high places, and fountains (Christ, the Living Water) in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. 19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: 20 That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it."
Isaiah 60:11-13 "Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. 12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. 13 The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious."
Isaiah 61:1-3,11 "The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. 11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations."
Jeremiah 24:6-7 "For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."
- Ezekiel 17:22-24 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent: 23 In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all FOWL of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell. 24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it."
Hosea 2:18-23 "And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. 19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; 22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. 23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God."
This last verse in Hosea 2 solidify the fact that not only are the "tree" passages referring to men, but also that ALL of the prophecies came into fulfillment during the time of Christ (i.e. His birth to His Parousia). This is verified by the indisputable N.T. quotations of Hosea:
|Hosea 2:23a "And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy..." || 1 Peter 2:9-10 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but NOW have obtained mercy."|
|Hosea 2:23b "...and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God."||1 Peter 2:9-10 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but NOW have obtained mercy."|
|Hosea 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.||Romans 9:24-26 EVEN US, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.|
Continuing the quotation which D. cites from Ezekiel we read:
- Ezekiel 34:27 "And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them."
When the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities were in effect the prophets described these times of captivity as "yokes." However knowing that all these things were physical types of spiritual reality we can see that the prophecies of any kind of yoke that would be broken as it pertains to the Abrahamic Covenant refers to the yoke of the law, which the Pharisees imposed upon Godís people. e.g.:
- Matthew 23:1-4 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Acts 15:8-11 "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."
Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with THE YOKE OF BONDAGE."
These make plain the invitation of Christ:
- Matthew 11:28-30 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Thus, these N.T. scriptures are the fulfillment of Ezekiel 34:27:
- "and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them."
- Jeremiah 30:7-10 "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. 8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. 10 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid."
Then, from Ezekiel 34 the prophet exclaims in verse 29:
- "I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. 30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD."
The "Plant of renown" is plainly describing Christ and His living water flowing in and through His saints:
- John 7:37-39 " In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, ĎIf any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.í 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"
Paul emphasizes the result of faith in Christ with the metaphorical language:
- Romans 6:21-22 "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
Romans 7:4-5 "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death."
Colossians 1:5-6 "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:"
This corresponds harmoniously with Revelation 22:1-2:
- "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
A question I always had while I was a futurist was, "Why would there still need to be healing for the nations if this is within a so-called "perfect physical New Heavens and New Earth?" The texts in the O.T. are clear as to the use of metaphors to describe what only those to whom the mystery has been revealed can understand, as the spiritual Kingdom of God:
- Matthew 13:10-11 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables 11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Next D. takes us to Ezekiel 36. Here is the passage with D.ís commentary:
- Ezekiel 36:24-30 "ĎFor I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.í --Then the heathen would know that this restoration was Jehovahís doing. This last point, which we find more than once in Ezekiel, is an important element in the re-establishment of Israel, and (like others, and especially their occurrence at the same time) HAS NEVER YET BEEN FULFILLED." -J.N. Darby--Lectures on the Second Coming of Christ/Romans 11 p.275
Verse 25 should be very evident in its relation to the cross of Christ. We see the same language used in Hebrews 10:22:
- "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
How can D. say that this has never been fulfilled? This is a strong text which refutes everything for which D.ís eschatology stands. Yet there is more:
- Hebrews 12:22-24 "But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
1 Peter 1:1-2 "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."
Ephesians 5:25-27 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."
1 John 1:7-9 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
This last passage tells us that some distant future cleansing is foreign to the mind of the first century Christian. But the prophet Ezekiel yet gives another promise that D. maintains is unfulfilled:
- Ezekiel 36:26,27 "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Even a futurist would declare that God has given His people a new heart; at least, most of them. We find this confirmed fulfillment in N.T. scripture.
- Romans 2:29 "But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God."
If in fact the heart is circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, is this not the "new heart" of which Ezekiel prophesied? Do we not as Christians have this promise fulfilled?:
- 2 Corinthians 3:3"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."
We end up taking away the salvation of the believer if these truths are not being experienced by the believer but are unfulfilled hopes to be received in the future. By the way, does D. interpret this to be a physical new heart? After all, he makes it clear on page 274 that all these Abrahamic promises are UNSYMBOLIC. It is important to recall as we look at the N.T. scriptures that the apostles were living in the transition from one Old Covenant glory to a greater New Covenant glory. The Old Covenant was "becoming obsolete", "growing old", "passing", and "ready to vanish away." While this was transpiring, the apostles were "receiving" a New Covenant Kingdom which could not be removed. This is why the apostle Paul closes the compact discourse on the "Ministration of Death" with these words:
- 2 Corinthians 3:18 "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are BEING TRANSFORMED into the same image from glory (Old Covenant) to glory (New Covenant), just as by the Spirit of the Lord."
This passage answers conclusively to the apostleís UNMISTAKEN expectation that he and his hearers were about to be completely transformed into the image of the heavenly, which has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with a physical transformation. "For the Kingdom of God does NOT come with OUTWARD SHOW, ...for lo, the Kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU."
This is seen clearly in the apostleís analysis of the resurrection body in
- 1 Corinthians 15:42-49 "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption (the Old Covenant/Ministration of Death); it is raised in incorruption (New Covenant/Ministration of the Spirit): 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body (Old man under the law); it is raised a spiritual body (New man under the spirit). There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy (under the law): the second man is the Lord from heaven (the new Man). 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear THE IMAGE of the heavenly."
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are BEING TRANSFORMED into THE SAME IMAGE from glory (Old Covenant) to glory (New Covenant), just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
This same transformation motif is carried through Romans 8 especially in vss.29,30:
- Romans 8:29-30 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
In light of all the promises which the Scriptures teach are clearly fulfilled under the New Covenant, it does despite to the word when we interpolate an imagined two thousand year gap between the "justification" and the "glorification." Many scholars like to assume that the "natural body" is referring to the physical body. This however finds no scriptural justification. The word "natural" used in 1 Corinthians 15 is the Greek word "psuchikos" which Strongís defines as "sensual or animate" as compared to the "natural brute beasts" of 2 Peter 2:12 in which the Greek word "phusikos" is used which is the word for "physical." If Paul wanted to say that the body was sown a "physical" body he most definitely would have used the word "phusikos." Therefore we conclude that 1 Corinthians is referring to the "old man" under the law. This is testified in verse 56:
- 1 Corinthians 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
The prophecy which D. quotes from Ezekiel 36 now brings us to vs.28 in which God promises: "Ye shall be my people and I will be Your God." This is of course implicative of Revelation 21:1-5:
- "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."
In 2 Corinthians 6 Paul gives his readers a warning to separate themselves from the sinful Judaizers with these words:
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-18;7:1 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye ARE the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Paul quotes from Isaiah 52 which we have quoted before, and in light of 2 Corinthians 6 the timeframe becomes exceedingly clear:
Isaiah 52:1-15 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean (cf. Rev.21:27;Isa.35:8,9;Isa.60:18). 2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck (cf. Gal 5:1), O captive daughter of Zion. 3 For thus saith the LORD, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money (cf. Gal.4:4,5). 4 For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them (cf. Mat.23:1-4) make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. (cf. Rom.2:17-24) 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! 8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion. 9 Break forth into joy, sing together (cf. Isa.44:23; 49:13; 54:1-3; 55:12; 58:8; 65:14; Jer.31:7,12; Hos.2:15; Zeph3:8-20), ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God (cf. Rom.10:18;16:25,26;Col.1:4-6,23). 11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD. 12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward (cf. Isa.40:1-11;Mat. 16:27,28;Rev.22:12) 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
Either we are the temple of God or we are not. Either we are His people or we are not. When we read in Revelation 21:4-5:
- "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful."
This should remind the believer of his status under the bond of the New Covenant. Either we are new creatures or we are not. If we would stop to ponder one of the Christian verses that has almost become a clichť, the full New Covenantal promise would ring very clear to the citizen of heaven:
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
Paul is merely explaining the status of the believer under the New Covenant as John explains in Revelation 21.
By far the most deliberate and bold of D.ís despairing comments on eschatology is found on page 276 in which D. says these words of Amos 9:14,15. "Here we get what has clearly never been fulfilled, while it applies to temporal blessing in the land":
- "And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God."
As we have seen, the N.T. identifies the timing of the coming Kingdom and the fruit that would be born in it. It was also proved that the planting of the Lord is directly associated with the time of Christ. As we look at this last passage in its entirety (part of which D. has dreadfully taken out of its context, we will see not only the relation of this passage to the rest of the O.T. prophecies of the Abrahamic promises, but we will also see the clear N.T. quotation of this passage as fulfilled under the New Covenant.
- Amos 9:8-15 "Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom (Israel), and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob (His elect), saith the LORD. 9 For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. 10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.
We see this fulfillment in Acts 6:10-15 during Stephenís monumental sermon
"And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: 14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth SHALL DESTROY THIS PLACE, AND SHALL CHANGE THE CUSTOMS which Moses delivered us. 15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel."
continuing in Amos,
11 IN THAT DAY WILL I RAISE UP THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID THAT IS FALLEN, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I WILL BUILD it as in the days of old: 12 THAT THEY MAY POSSESS THE REMNANT OF EDOM, AND OF ALL THE HEATHEN, WHICH ARE CALLED BY MY NAME, SAITH THE LORD THAT DOETH THIS. 13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God."
It has been copiously demonstrated that the prophecies of this passage are in direct correspondence with all other prophecies which concern the Abrahamic Covenant. However to fully refute any contradiction let us look at the quotation by James in the book of Acts during the conference of elders at Jerusalem concerning the Judaizers:
Acts 15:13-17 "And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 16 AFTER THIS I WILL RETURN, AND WILL BUILD AGAIN THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID, WHICH IS FALLEN DOWN; and I WILL BUILD again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 THAT THE RESIDUE OF MEN MIGHT SEEK AFTER THE LORD, AND ALL THE GENTILES, UPON WHOM MY NAME IS CALLED, SAITH THE LORD, WHO DOETH ALL THESE THINGS."
There are only two tabernacles: old and new. James is plainly declaring that God is building the second. The context and timeframe of Amos is to be left unaltered. So are the rest of any Abrahamic promises that have been prophesied.
D. has proven himself and the rest of dispensationalism and any futurism to be filled with error, and apostasy. The doctrine of an unfulfilled redemption is an extreme heresy, and denies that the plan of Christ to burn his enemies and save His people was accomplished. Tradition is on its way out, thanks be to God. When the true elect of God that are still in bondage to futurism are faced with the truth of Godís glorious Kingdom, they will turn to the truth and believe it. For Jesus has said:
John 8:47 "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."
Dad, I hope this has stimulated you to study this further.
What do YOU think ?
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