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Defense in the Major Case Against Christ, Christianity, and the Bible
By John Noē
One of the best, best-selling Christian books over past 2 ― years is The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel (Zondervan, Sept, ’98). It received “The Gold Medallion Book Award” from the Christian Booksellers Association. In October 2000, Zondervan released a sequel titled, The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity. In both books, Strobel functioned as an investigative reporter and sought out experts to provide answers to his tough questions.
Both books have received a number of endorsements from high-profiled evangelicals and commendations from the scholarly community. The major criticism, however, centers on a journalistic deficiency. As one Amazon.com reviewer of Strobel’s first book noted, “Strobel does not show us any direct interview with critics of Christianity.” He termed this omission a “glaring deficiency.”
Another reviewer, Jeffrey J. Lowder, put it this way:
Strobel did not interview any critics of Christian apologetics, even though he attacks such individuals in his book . . . . For example, Strobel devotes an entire chapter to his interview of Greg Boyd (an outspoken faultfinder of the Jesus Seminar), yet Stobel never interviewed a single member of the Jesus Seminar itself! Likewise, he repeatedly criticized Michael Martin, author of The Case Against Christianity, but he never bothered to get Martin’s responses to those attacks . . . . This hardly constitutes balanced reporting on Strobel’s part; indeed, on this basis, one is tempted to dismiss the entire book.
But there is a “major case” against Christ that Strobel’s widely acclaimed first book neither mentioned, presented, addressed, or defended. In his sequel, Strobel named and addressed what he called “‘The Big Eight’ objections to Christianity.” As the book’s subtitle states, these are billed as “the toughest objections to Christianity.” Amazon.com’s Editorial Reviews for the book terms them “the eight most convincing arguments against Christian faith.” They are:
1) If there's a loving God, why does this pain-wracked world groan under so much suffering and evil.
2) If the miracles of God contradict science, then how can any rational person believe that they're true?
3) If God is morally pure, how can he sanction the slaughter of innocent children as the Old Testament says he did?
4) If God cares about the people he created, how could he consign so many of them to an eternity of torture in hell just because they didn't believe the right things about him?
5) If Jesus is the only way to heaven, then what about the millions of people who have never heard of him?
6) If God really created the universe, why does the evidence of science compel so many to conclude that the unguided process of evolution accounts for life?
7) If God is the ultimate overseer of the church, why has it been rife with hypocrisy and brutality throughout the ages?
8) If I'm still plagued by doubts, then is it still possible to be a Christian?
Of course, these are tough questions and objections, and Strobel addresses them. But conspicuously missing from this list, and both of Strobel’s books, was any recognition of, or defense against, the main argument used by liberals and skeptics, alike, to discredit the deity of Christ and the inerrancy of Scripture.
The Major Case Against
During the past two centuries, critics, skeptics, and liberals have made a major and strong case against Christ. They have attacked the Christian faith at its weakest point—i.e. the many embarrassing statements of Jesus to return and fulfill all things within the lifetime of his contemporaries. In the same vein, the apocalyptic expectations of every New Testament writer are accused of failing to occur. This so-called “problem of nonoccurrence” has been the most damaging evidence against the deity of Christ, the inerrancy of the Bible, and the inspiration of every New Testament writer. To date, no effective defense has been provided. Most, if not all, Christian apologists have left Christ in the jaws of his liberal/skeptic prosecutors. Even Josh McDowell’s classic book, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, did not address this.
Consequently, in America, especially over the past 50 years, denomination after denomination, seminary after seminary, church after church, as well as, believer after believer have fallen victim to the liberal/skeptic attack on the Bible and on the integrity and deity of Christ. It is called the “battle for the Bible.” The focal-point of this attack has been and continues to be the eschatological statements of Jesus and the imminency expectations of the New Testament writers.
In the first chapter of his book, Jesus and the Last Days, George R. Beasley-Murray cited example after example of liberal scholars attacking the supposed failure of eschatological events to occur within the lifetime of Jesus’ 1st-century generation as the “fundamental error” which “shows that his [Jesus’] system is discredited.”
R.C. Sproul concurred:
Sproul has termed this two-century-old assault by liberal scholarship on the Bible and on Jesus Himself “one of the most critical issues that the Church faces today.” He further related that “I have never been satisfied that the evangelical community has dealt with the problems of the time-frame references that are set forth in the New Testament about the near-term expectations . . . things that were to happen within the first century.” In his recent book evaluating preterism, Sproul warned that “we must take seriously the skeptic’s critique of the time-frame references of New Testament prophecy, and we must answer them convincingly.” According to Sproul, we evangelicals have not answered them convincingly.
Fact is, Jesus made clear, concrete, future predictions about his coming in glory that seemingly did not come to pass, or so we have been told. Liberal criticism, especially, concentrates on that point. They are more than aware of the dilemma which nonoccurrence presents for the Christian church and the impossibility of escaping it without being disloyal to Christ. Their weighty criticism, truly, should be a “cause for pause” for anyone who believes in the inspiration and authority of Scripture. The integrity of Christ and all the New Testament writers is at stake.
Robert P. Carroll, for example, in his book titled, When Prophecies Failed, discussed “the phenomenon of disconfirmed expectation.” He charged that this tendency was not “particular to Marxian thought or limited to modern political structures.” To the contrary, it went “back much further in time and thought to the early centuries of Christianity when various Christian communities struggled to come to terms with the failure of the parousia . . . .” This then “gave rise to the need for interpretation of the traditions so as to justify them in light of what had not happened.”
Kurt Aland first confirmed that “it was the definite conviction not only of Paul, but of all Christians of that time, that they themselves would experience the return of the Lord.” Later, he disclosed that “around the middle of the second century . . . the Shepherd of Hermas thinks he has found a solution . . . the Parousia—the Lord’s return—has been postponed for the sake of Christians themselves . . . . At first, people looked at it as only a brief postponement, as the Shephard of Hermas clearly expresses. . . . But soon . . . it was conceived of as a longer and longer period, until finally—this is today’s situation . . . .”
Brian E. Daley rationalized that eschatology is often seen as a “by-product of failed eschatological hope – a way of coping intellectually with the non-fulfillment of first-century apocalyptic fantasies.” And since “the fulfillment of their early hopes was surely delayed,” it “required” a “reorientation of the time-line of its eschatological hope.”
Jaroslav Pelikan saw it this way, “When the consummation was postponed,” this necessitated “the reinterpretation of biblical passages that had carried eschatological connotation . . . toward a more complex description of the life of faith . . . in the development of Christian eschatology.”
Atheist Bertrand Russell, in his book Why I Am Not A Christian, discredits the inspiration of the New Testament:
Russell reasoned that it would be fallacious to follow a religious leader (such as Jesus) who was mistaken on so basic a prediction as his parousia.
Liberal Albert Schweitzer, in his 19th-century book The Quest of the Historical Jesus, Schweitzer summarized the problem of “Parousia delay” as follows:
Jewish skeptics contend that Jesus didn’t complete the whole mission of the Messiah within the time frame their prophets had predicted. They allege that Christians invented the idea of a “second coming” off in the future to cover up Jesus’ failure to return as He promised. This is the Jews’ primary excuse for rejecting Jesus and belittling Christianity.
Prominent orthodox rabbis and Jewish scholars have written:
The idea of a second coming is a pure rationalization of Jesus’ failure to function in any way as a messiah, or to fulfill any of the prophecies of the Torah or the Prophets. The idea is purely a Christian invention, with no foundation in the Bible.
This two-fold misapprehension of Jesusūthe nearness of the kingdom of heaven and his Messiahship perpetuated his memory and created Christianity. Had not the disciples expected his second coming Christianity could never have come into being: even as a Jewish sect. . . . The Jews as a whole could not, however, follow after a belief based on so slight a foundation. . . . Yet again, through the preaching of his messianic claims, after he had failed to manifest himself to the world again, in his power and glory, he became, in spite of himself, a “sacrifice,” a “ransom for many.”
The success of the Christian claim or its failure rests to a very large extent on the theory of the second coming. . . . The Jews never had the concept of a second coming, and since it was the Jews themselves who first taught the notion of a Messiah, via the Jewish prophets, it seems quite reasonable to respect their opinion more than anyone else’s. . . . the theory of the second coming is not based on Jewish tradition or sources, and is a theory born from desperation.
Muslim skeptics paint Christianity as a failed and false religion. They acknowledge that Jesus was a prophet, but discredit his divinity and destroy the credibility of the Bible by pointing out alleged errors and inconsistencies concerning his perceived non-return (among other things). They rightly recognize the logical implications of the Bible’s time statements as having a direct bearing on the messianic and divine claims of Christ. In spite of this, “Muslims have great respect and love for Jesus. . . . He is one of the greatest prophets of Allah.” Therefore, they believe that either Jesus never spoke any time-restricting words concerning his return or the Apostles lied about his imminent return, and other eschatological matters, and corrupted the New Testament by adding words to this effect. These arguments naturally seek to undermine the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible and open the door for the acceptance of the Qur’an and Islamūthe fastest growing religion in the world, the second largest in the world, and soon, if not already by some estimates, the second largest in America.
One of many Muslim web sites expresses their view thusly:
“. . . . ” Matthew 24:29-34. How many generations have passed since?
“. . . .” Mark 13:23-30. How many generations have passed now?
“. . . .” Matthew 10:22-23. They have not only gone over all the cities of Israel,
but have dispersed throughout all of the Earth and we are still waiting.
“. . . .” Matthew 16:27-28. Are there any of those who were standing who are
alive to this day? Is this not further proof of mankind’s tendency to put
words in the mouth of Jesus (pbuh) which he never said?
At first, the Christian community expected an imminent return of Christ. . . This hope carried on in the second century. When the second coming failed to occur, the church organized itself as a permanent institution under the leadership of its bishops. This, however, did not stop the predictions of “the second coming”. . . . Muslims too believe in the second coming of Jesus (pbuh). However, Muslims are told that Jesus (pbuh) was not forsaken by God to the Jews to be killed, rather, he was raised by God and it was made to appear to those present that he was crucified (Jesus’ apostle Barnabas tells us that it was Judas the traitor who was taken to be crucified) [see Qur’an 4:155-157]. Muslims are also told that he will not return to earth until just before the end of time, and not that he will return before the death of his own generation, as stated above.
Paradoxically, the view most prevalent in Christian evangelical circles regarding the timing of Christ’s supposed “second coming” is more aligned with this Muslim statement/view than with the numerous biblical references to Jesus’ return being within the lifetime of his contemporaries. Likewise, most Christians are unaware that the Bible never mentions an “end of time”—the time for Christ’s return also held by both the amillennial and postmillennial views. The Bible only mentions a “time of the end” (Hab. 2:3; Dn. 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4, 9). There is a big difference!
For these reasons and more, Muslims believe that the current Bible is not all of the true word of God and has been corrupted. The Qur’an along with other Islamic sacred texts are more accurate testaments, make more sense, and are absent of contradictions:
The first generation of Christians were convinced that Jesus would shortly return in glory. Despite the fact that this did not happen in their lifetime, the belief that he would return for the final judgment lingered on and became enshrined in the creeds. Throughout the history of the Church this belief has been the subject of renewed speculation during times of social and political upheaval. . . . The Qur’an itself does not explicitly refer to Jesus’ return but the classical commentators detected allusions to it in 4:159 and 43:61 and occasionally elsewhere.
In tradition, Hadith, the basic body of religious sources second to the Qur’an, Islam lives in the vivid expectation of Jesus’ second coming, ushering in the realm of peace and justice at the end of time, in which Muhammad plays no part. At the end of time, Jesus will descend . . . to slay the Antichrist. He will go to Jerusalem, perform the prayer at dawn in Muslim fashion and rid the world of all unbelievers and their symbols. All peoples of the book will believe in him, forming only one community, Islam, and the reign of justice and complete peace will set in. The reign of Jesus, God’s glorified servant, will last forty years, followed by the ‘Hour’, the end of the world on the day when God alone will sit in judgment at the universal resurrection.
It is the prophetic role of Muhammad . . . to witness the truth of Christ’s Second Coming which alone can bring into being the “universal Messianic reconciliation” . . . of Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Even the venerable C.S. Lewis, whom John Warwick Montgomery termed “unquestionably the most influential orthodox Christian apologist after World War II,” in 1960 called Matthew 24:34 “the most embarrassing verse in the Bible” and “an exhibition of error.”
Do you hear what these critics and even C.S. Lewis are saying? They are saying Jesus was literally wrong when He made numerous time-restrictive predictions and statements regarding his coming, his return. Perhaps, the embarrassment belongs to C.S. Lewis, et al. But this perceived weakness was, and still is, the crack that let the liberals in the door to begin their systematic criticism and dismantling of Scripture with its inevitable bankrupting of the faith.
These informed critics of the Christian faith have had no trouble seeing though the postponement theories, biblical inconsistencies, and poor scholarship of conservative attempts to cover-up for Jesus’ predictions to return within the lifetime of his contemporaries. Not only have cover-up attempts directly contradicted the teachings of Jesus and the no-delay declarations of Scripture (Hab. 2:3; Heb. 10:37), they just added ammunition to numerous claims against Jesus’ divinity and the inerrancy of the Bible.
How can conservative evangelicals “answer them convincingly,” as R.C. Sproul has admonished? Certainly, it’s not with the postponement theories of the past, or by changing the meaning of commonly understood and normally used words, or by any of the other side-stepping techniques we have been forced to employ. Nor can we continue to ignore these attacks hoping they will go away. They haven’t and they won’t.
Perhaps the most obvious solution has been staring us in the face all these centuries. The only solution to the problem of “nonoccurrence” is occurrence! It’s the only biblically consistent solution and inerrant defense that can stop the liberal/skeptic attack dead in its tracks. Without it, conservative evangelicals are left with no credible response. Truly, exactness in the form of timely fulfillment is the most Christ-honoring, Scripture-authenticating, and faith-validating of all the various end-time views in the historic church. It is an inerrant defense and the ultimate apologetic.
An Inerrant Defense
The only effectual defense that can be waged in this major case against Christ, Christianity, and the Bible must be based on an amplification of the 9.5 Theses for the Next Reformation document. It is the only defense capable of turning back the liberal/skeptic attack. This document is signed by thirty Christian pastors and ministry leaders. It was first presented and distributed at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in November, 2001. Page one of the document’s two pages reads as follows:
9.5 Theses for the Next Reformation
We the undersigned, out of love for the truth and a desire to see all Christians honor and acknowledge all that God has revealed in his Word, submit these 9.5 Theses* for your prayerful evaluation and participation with us in calling for further reform. May these theses be the spark that ignites the next Reformation of Christianity.
1. Everything Jesus said would happen, happened exactly as and when He said it would—within the lifetime of his contemporaries.
2. Everything every New Testament writer expected to happen, happened exactly as and when they expected it would—within their lifetime—as they were guided into all truth and told the things that were to come by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:13).
3. Scholars across a broad spectrum are in general agreement that this is exactly how every NT writer and the early Church understood Jesus’ words. If they were wrong on something this important, how can we trust them to have conveyed other aspects of the faith accurately, such as the requirements for salvation?
4. No inspired NT writer, writing twenty or more years later, ever corrected their Holy-Spirit-guided understanding and fulfillment expectations (Jn. 16:13). Neither should we. Instead, they intensified their language as the “appointed time of the end” (Dan. 12:4; Hab. 2:3) drew near—from Jesus’ “this generation” (Mat. 24:34), to Peter’s “the end of all things is at hand” and “for it is time for judgment to begin” (1 Pet. 4:7, 17), and John’s “this is the last hour . . . . it is the last hour” (1 Jn. 2:18).
5. Partial fulfillment is not satisfactory. 3 out of 5, 7 out of 10, etc., won’t work. Partial does not pass the test of a true prophet (Deut. 18:18-22). Again, Jesus time-restricted all of his end-time predictions to occur within the 1st-century time frame.
6. God is faithful (2 Pet. 3:9) and “not a man that he should lie” (Num. 23:19). Faithfulness means not only doing what was promised, but also doing it when it was promised.
7. 1st-century, fulfillment expectations were the correct ones and everything happened, right on time—no gaps, no gimmicks, no interruptions, no postponements, no delays, no exegetical gymnastics, and no changing the meaning of commonly used and normally understood words. Such manipulative devices have only given liberals and skeptics a foothold to discredit Christ’s Deity and the inerrancy of Scripture.
8. What needs adjusting is our understanding of both the time and nature of fulfillment, and not manipulation of the time factor to conform to our popular, futuristic, and delay expectations.
9. The kingdom of God was the central teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, is a present but greatly under-realized reality, and must again become the central teaching of his Church.
9.5. We have been guilty of proclaiming a half-truth—a partially delivered faith to the world and to fellow Christians. We must repent and earnestly “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). If Christianity has been as effective as it has by proclaiming that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, came, died for our sins, bodily arose from the dead, and ascended to Heaven “at just the right time” (Rom. 5:6; Dan. 9:24-27), how much more effective might it be if we started preaching, teaching, and practicing the whole truth—i.e., a faith in which everything else also happened “at just the right time,” exactly as and when Jesus said it would and every NT writer expected (Jn. 16:13). Dare we continue to settle for less?
Surely today, the words of Martin Luther, as he stood in defense before the Diet of Worms in 1521, are still applicable and compelling for the “always reforming” Church:
Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures . . . and my conscience is captive to the Word of God . . . . I cannot do otherwise.
The 9.5 Theses for the Next Reformation document outlines an effective defense of, a most-compelling argument for, and the ultimate apologetic supporting the deity of Christ and the inerrancy of Scripture. But two major problems hinder its acceptance.
First, most scholars, theologians, pastors, and lay persons, alike, have never seriously considered the possibility of this defense. They have only theorized that Jesus (et al.) must have been mistaken, deluded, never said certain words; or that other meanings must be applied to these commonly used and ordinarily understood words; or that God postponed/delayed the completion of his plan of redemption.
Secondly, and as Basil Mitchell accurately points out, “in politics, as in religion, men become committed to positions which they will not readily give up and which involve their entire personalities. On neither of these subjects are differences easily resolved by argument.”
But clearly, the Church lacks a unified voice and is trumpeting an uncertain sound in the area of eschatology (1 Cor. 14:8). No one, in my opinion, has better epitomized our current eschatological situation and a hope for a solution than Frances A. Schaeffer with these words:
The history of theology is all too often a long exhibition of a desire to win. But we should understand that what we are working for in the midst of our difference is a solution—a solution that will give God the glory, that will be true to the Bible, but will exhibit the love of God simultaneously with his holiness.
I propose that the 9.5 Theses for the Next Reformation document is a starting point for a solution—but not the finishing point. In dramatic contrast, I further suggest that these 9.5 theses are more Christ-honoring, Scripture-authenticating, and faith-validating than the popular “postponement,” “delay,” or “we-just-can’t-know” notions which dominate consensus in this field today. Let us carefully and prayerfully consider, Is it really so unfathomable or unbearable to believe that everything happened exactly as and when Jesus predicted it would and every New Testament writer expected? After all, they were guided into all truth and told the things that were to come by the Holy Spirit Himself (Jn. 16:13).
In summation, one thing is sure. These 9.5 theses lay out an inerrant defense that every Christian should know and be able to articulate. What do you think?
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
John Noē, Ph.D. (c)
Prophecy Reformation Institute
 Publishers Weekly magazine reported that its sales in 2000 topped 500,000 copies and that its sales were second only to Zondervan’s NIV Study Bible at 600,000 copies—“Earnings Jump Despite Flat Sales at Zondervan,” Publishers Weekly Magazine, 8 October 2001, 10.
 Nuno Neves, Reviewer of The Case for Christ, Amazon.com website, October 29, 2001.
 Jeffery J. Lowder, “The Rest of the Story (1999),” www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/strobel.html, 2. – originally published in Philo 2 (1999), pp-89-102.
 Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith (Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan, 2000), 20, 23, 247.
 Strobel, The Case for Faith, 20.
 George R. Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Last Days (Peabody, MA.: Hendrickson, 1993), 11-12.
 R.C. Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Books, 1998) 14-15.
 R.C. Sproul, “Last Days Madness” presentation, Ligonier Ministries’ National Conference 1999. Cassette.
 Sproul, The Last Days According to Jesus, 203.
 Robert P. Carroll, When Prophecies Failed (New York: A Crossroads Book, 1979), 2.
 Kurt Aland, A History of Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), 87.
 Ibid., 91-92.
 Brian E. Daley, The Hope of the Early Church (Cambridge, MA.: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 3.
 Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of Development of Doctrine (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1971), Vol. 1, “The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition,” 123-124.
 Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian (New York: A Touchtone Book by Simon & Schuster, 1957), 16.
 Albert Schweiterzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (New York: The Macmillan Company, eighth printing, 1973), 360.
 Aryeh Kaplan (orthodox rabbi), “Jesus and the Bible,” in The Real Messiah (reprinted from Jewish Youth, June 1973, Tammuz 5733, No. 40), 57.
 Pinchas Stolper (orthodox rabbi), “Was Jesus the Messiah Let’s Examine the Facts,” in The Real Messiah (reprinted from Jewish Youth, June 1973, Tammuz 5733, No. 40), 46-47.
 Joseph Klausner (scholar), Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, Times, and Teaching (New York: Macmillen, 1925), 405.
 Samuel Levine (educator and debater). You Take Jesus, I’ll Take God: How To Refute Christian Missionaries (Los Angeles: Hamoroh Press, 1980), 15, 23, 49.
 Badru D. Kateregga, Islam and Christianity: A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980, re. ed 1981), 131.
 Robert A. Morey, The Islamic Invasion: Confronting the World’s Fastest Growing Religion (Eugene, Or.: Harvest House, 1992). Wendy Murry Zoba, “Islam, U.S.A.: Are Christians Prepared for Muslims in the Mainstream?,” Christianity Today Magazize, 3 April 2000, 40.
 Answering-Christianity.com, “The Ultimate Test of Jesus: Jesus’ second coming and ‘grace,’” (accessed 20 March 2000); available from http://www.arabianebarzaar.com/ac/second.htm; Internet.
 Hava Lazarus-Yafeh, Intertwined Worlds: Medieval Islam and Bible Criticism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992), 19-20.
 Neal Robinson, Christ in Islam and Christianity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991), 78.
 Hans Kung and Jurgen Moltmann, eds., Islam: A Challenge for Christianity (London: SCM Press, 1994), 108.
 Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and Wadi Z. Haddah, eds., Christian-Muslim Encounters (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1995), 433.
 John Warwick Montgomery, Faith Founded on Fact (Newburgh, IN.: Trinity Press, 1978), 231.
 C.S. Lewis, Essay “The World’s Last Night” (1960), found in The Essential C.S. Lewis, Lyle W. Dorsett, ed., (New York: A Touchstone Book, Simon & Schuster, 1996), 385.
* Based on Martin Luther’s famous “95 Theses” that were posted on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517 and empowered and propelled the Protestant Reformation.
 Basil Mitchell, The Justification of Religious Belief (New York, NY.: A Crossroad Book, 1973), 1.
 Frances A. Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster (Wheaton, IL.: Crossway Books, 1984), 176-177.
What do YOU think ?
Can't wait to hear the response on the Muslim treatment of Jesus. - Todd
Why expect unbelievers to understand what happened in the first century if believers don't understand? Here are the spiritual facts: In the moment of Christ's resurrection the temporary natural Israel was born again as the eternal spiritual Israel (Christ and the church), and in the moment of the resurrection of the dead in Christ at his parousia (on the last day of the true first century) the temporary natural world was born again as the eternal spiritual world of Rev. 21,22, spiritual Israel's eternal dwelling place on the earth, the only world in which righteousness dwells. Those "bad things that happen" occur in the old, natural world of the unsaved that will be destroyed at the end of this present, symbolically described "thousand years," just as the old, natural Israel was destroyed at the end of the 40 years AD 30-70.
Noe is proposing a highly problematic solution to an objection to the Christian faith that was satifactorily anwsered over two hundred years ago. I invite Noe to read Jonathan Edward's "The objection concerning the apostles’ apprehensions of the second coming of the Christ answered." at http://www.thingstocome.org/edwards.htm . Edwards, unlike Noe, answers the very same objections while remaining faithful to Christian orthodoxy. Also unlike Noe, Edwards does not agree with the legitimacy of this objection to the Christian faith. Why grant so much ground to the enemies of the faith? Why choose a heretical solution when there is a much more satisfactory and BIBLICALLY FAITHFUL orthodox solution? Noe's position makes a very weak foundation for a new "reformation."
Poor old Edwards obviously was unable to understand that Christ's second presence on the earth in the first century was spiritual, not natural, and permanent, not temporary. Nor did he understand that the resurrection of the dead in Christ at his parousia was a spiritual resurrection. Noe's error involves the date of those spiritual events. The natural, Christ-rejecting Israel was judged SPIRITUALLY in the moment of Christ's resurrection in AD 30 and the natural, Christ-rejecting world was judged SPIRITUALLY in the moment of Christ's parousia on the last day of the true first century. Christ's coming in the clouds was a multi-year spiritual process (fulfilling a typifying OT natural process) that culminated in the moment of Christ's parousia.
In Edwards "things to come" link he began by twisting scripture. He starts off in error and there is where he ends. Edwards was a great theologian but he missed this one. He tries to make the text say that they which were asleep refered to all those who would die up until Christ's parousia, which he thought was "X" amount of uears off in the future, while at the same time placing himself in this catagory. However, by Paul's words he was showing the probability that he would be alive until Christ's Parousia. This is where edwards fouled up.
First-century Jerusalem is described as spiritual Egypt (Rev. 11:8) because the spiritual bondage inflicted on the Israelites by Satan's spiritual taskmasters, the wicked religious leaders of Jerusalem (Jn. 8:44), was the fulfillment of the natural bondage inflicted on the Israelites in Moses' day by Pharaoh's natural taskmasters in natural Egypt. Preterism's claim that the first-century Israelites were freed from that spiritual bondage by Titus, the son of the Roman emperor, in AD 70 rather than by Christ, the Son of God, in AD 30 is outrageous.
"Mr. Typology" is a broken record. No evidence. merely statements without foundation...
god exists he gave us test of faith and if we prevail though our demise we shall be received in heaven. These test are the greatest of all the test of dought and the qustion why only through faith and true belief can you prevail do not dought the word of god!!!
Wow, Unbelievable. The only thing i am convinced of is that You never TRULY studied the origins of Christians. another Sensationalist.
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