Christians have been taught for many years that the prophecies of Jesus regarding “end times” are yet to be fulfilled.
When was “The First Resurrection”?
At the end of what we call the Old Covenant, the long history of sacrificial “ascensions” also came to an end. Along with this, all the Old Covenant saints ascended to heaven in what the Revelation calls “the first resurrection.” However, it seems to me that the sacrificial rites themselves indicate that the saints did not ascend in AD70 but instead just prior to the beginning of the Roman siege.
Satan’s desire was always to turn the “pruning” of circumcision into an ax laid at the root of the tree of Israel.
Continuing on the theme of martyrdom, an online friend rightly pointed out a little while back that the handful of treatments of the “massacre of the innocents” which see this bloodshed as the first of the New Covenant’s martyrs miss the point of Matthew’s use of the word “fulfilled,” rendering it as good as meaningless.
After describing to an older Christian friend what happened in Jerusalem during the Jewish war, he replied, “Why have I never been taught this?”
Without their Covenant context and historical bearings, the pointy words of Jesus become so “generalized” that they seem inconsequential. In the wisdom of God, the tragic events of AD70 were recorded that we might understand the consequences of ignoring Jesus. They nail the New Testament Scriptures to the ground.
For as in those days before the flood
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
until the day when Noah entered the ark…
The Oath/Sanctions section of the Revelation seems to have three parts. The judgment begins in the house of God (Temple bowls – Garden), then follows the revelation of the “mystery” of the Woman and the kings of the Land, and finally the judgment reaches out to the borders of the World (the oikoumene). This corresponds not only with the Garden, Land, World architecture of the nations in Genesis 1-10, it brings an end to the “intermarriage,” the compromise of the Priestly people with idolatrous kings. It is fitting that the third part of this judgment (chapters 18-19) culminates in a Red Wedding.
or Where Kenneth Gentry Is Wrong on the Revelation
Part 1 here.
I’ve been meaning to write this post since I wrote Part 1 (over two years ago). A friend’s recent question concerning Kenneth Gentry’s lectures on the Revelation encouraged me to bite the bullet and bust a gut and get it done. The question is this: Is the Revelation to be interpreted in the light of Josephus’ Jewish War, or in the light of the Bible itself?
The final vision of Ezekiel is one of the most hotly debated passages in the Bible. Since the structure described has never been built, those who take the passage as fulfilled in history believe it to be figurative. However, the building is described in such careful detail that common sense suggests that something else is going on. The precise measurements remind us of the instructions given concerning the Tabernacle and Solomon’s Temple for the purpose of physical construction. Is Ezekiel’s temple a false prophecy, or does it describe a third, and as yet unbuilt, Temple in Jerusalem?
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:38-39)
Most disputes concerning the meaning of the Scriptures are not due to a lack of trying when it comes to hermeneutics. They result from a lack of due process. By this, I do not mean the process of interpretation but the identification in the Scriptures of the processes of God.
An example would be the meaning of Christ’s words concerning the unpardonable sin, which have terrified many Christians unnecessarily. Blasphemy against the Spirit is unpardonable not because it is the worst sin. It is unpardonable because it is the last sin.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him… (Matthew 2:1-2)
An atheist recently declared to me that a cumulative reading of the Bible makes no sense, since the Bible is not a single book but an anthology. I agree, but this “anthology” is indeed a single work because it was compiled by God. Without that foundation, the significance of much of its detail appears redundant. A good example is the wise men from the east in Matthew 2.