Preterist Q&A

This is an effort to answer some questions from a conversation in another location.
**Disclaimer: Instead of reiterating this too often throughout, I will state this here at the beginning so it can be noted that everything that follows is my personal view as I’ve studied the Bible with the Holy Spirit. There may be some cognitive dissonance associated with reading this. Take what is pertinent to your walk and lay aside what you feel you must. Overall, do not take my word alone, but research for yourself to find the deeper truth relevant to your personal walk with God. **
Does corruption and evil continue forever?
Evil and corruption continues in the physical realm due to man’s free will. This corruption doesn’t exist in the kingdom Jesus rules, but that kingdom isn’t of this physical world as we know it. Generally, it’s our own desires that keep us from living in the kingdom now. What would happen if we lived like the world could continue indefinitely? Are we living out love like Jesus did (all that love your enemy type stuff)? Do we really believe Jesus’ way of love can change the world or are we just holding out until Jesus shows up someday? Jesus showed us the way and Father sent us the Holy Spirit to empower us to remake the world through love (as opposed to law).
Where do the “unsaved” go, Sheol forever?
First, I wanted to mention that I’m not qualified to make the decision of who is saved or not—only Jesus is able to make that call. However, we can get hints of how Jesus made those calls by looking at his ministry in the gospels. Often, it seems the religious leaders were the ones furthest from the truth because their doctrine of heaven worthiness was based on the letter of the law. Throughout his ministry, Jesus turns this thought process on its head.
So, those that don’t make it into heaven, according to what I personally understand, would have indeed gone to what was known as Sheol (at least until the end of the 1000 years) which has been translated into other names in the Bible—death, the grave, the outer darkness (where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth), Hades (which originated as a Greek/pagan concept), etc…but not to be confused with Gehenna. In Revelation, death (Sheol) and Hades (the Greek version of afterlife punishment) are destroyed in the lake of fire, which is called the second death. As Paul states, death (Sheol, captivity to the grave) is the last enemy to be destroyed.
Now, there is another assumption of eternal torment as translated from the words “aionios kolasis.” As I’ve researched these words, they seem to have more of the meaning of “an age of corrective punishment.” See this post if interested. This may have application to us today, but I believe the original context was directed at Israel and a continuation of the Olivet Discourse (denoting Israel’s destruction). In other words, the lake of fire may very well be this “aionios kolasis.” To state it another way, why would Sheol and Hades be destroyed if they were already eternal separation from God and/or burning punishment, just to put into place a different environment of eternal torture and separation? This is going a bit off subject, but if interested in my other thoughts on this, see this post and the bottom of this post about fire.
Is there no apocalypse?
The apocalypse happened in the first century when Rome destroyed Jerusalem and went throughout Judea killing any Jews who didn’t “flee to the mountains.” There isn’t a future (to us) apocalypse denoted in scripture though humanity seems to have developed the capacity to destroy themselves.
What about every eye seeing him?
The verse referred to here is Revelation 1:7. I would like to point out how one small word choice here can vary the meaning of a passage significantly:
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen.
Looking at a concordance, the “even” in this verse can also be translated as “namely.” This verse then has the meaning that those, namely the ones that pierced him, will see him in the clouds.
Additionally, the word “peoples” is better understood as “tribes” (and is translated as such in some versions of the Bible). Tribes most often referred to the tribes of Israel.
The words world and earth have various understandings depending on context. In some translations, the end of the world is actually talking about the end of the age (aion – which often denotes the OT kingdom age and the full substantiation of the NT kingdom). In other instances, the heavens and earth are speaking of Israel. For example – in the OT, God calls Israel the heavens and earth (Isaiah 1:2). Additionally, we see that OT destruction didn’t always happen literally in the physical realm as described. Compare Isaiah 13:10&13 to Matthew 24:29. When Babylon was destroyed, we know that the physical earth wasn’t shaken out of its place, yet the prophecy was still considered fulfilled.
Why is there no literature or reports about his coming if it already happened?
First, we have to consider that most Christians had fled Judea—those that kept watch of the signs and fled in advance as directed. Many of the apostles had already died for the gospel at this time. Those that remained in Judea would have been caught in the Roman campaign of extermination. Being that Jerusalem was totally decimated, no text that may have been written would have been salvaged.
However, two historians did record such events:
Josephus, a Jewish historian present during Rome’s campaign, recorded this:
“I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities.”
Likewise, the Roman historian Tacitus recorded this:
“In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour.”
Why are there prophecies still being fulfilled?
I believe this is partially our correlating of scripture written to an ancient eastern culture to our modern-day western culture. The other portion is that history often repeats itself in part or whole. This seems to be largely because we tend to revise history to our liking thereby repeating the mistakes that we’re ignoring. In our modern culture, we’re still pursuing righteousness by law and attempting to force or covert others to follow an external set of mandates to be saved. So, we may see signs that resemble Bible prophecy, but those specific prophecies were fulfilled within their respective time frames as denoted. Modern eschatology is usually delivered with such fear that we tend to ignore the 1st Century time context entirely, or we are made too afraid to openly seek answers.
Additionally, if we consider Hebrews 10:25, first century Christians were seeing implicit signs of the Day approaching then (and how often is this verse used to mandate church attendance while ignoring the timing context?). Likewise, when some thought they had missed the Parousia (because of how implicit the signs were), Paul reaffirms that there was still one major sign to occur. Note in 2 Thessalonians 2, when Paul talks about the “man of lawlessness,” he states that he was already at work but not yet revealed (v7-8). The man of lawlessness would have to be immortal to still be alive today, and Paul delineates that it’s not Satan himself who is this man, but this man is a pawn of Satan (v9).
Now, all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. I tried to stay on topic of the questions presented originally. If there are further questions, I would be happy to try to answer them.
Additionally, here’s an overview of my preterist belief. As well, I made several posts previously about my thoughts on prophecy and Revelation if interested.

Love and Labels

Church Set Free

I’ve been on quite a beautiful journey lately, though it has had its frustrations. An ongoing conversation with God for the past few months is starting to reveal more of what he has been trying to show me. The simplest I can boil it down into one concept is: love trumps theology—every time.

I continue to start at the point of what I’ve come to know, and while what I know might work for drawing me deeper into Father’s love, it may not be the same for others. One of the things I’ve come to realize is it’s always harder to truly love someone that doesn’t see eye to eye with us. It doesn’t take much looking around to see the divisions—us vs them, reps vs dems, Christian vs atheist, straight vs gay, etc…For some reason, we always have to be the winner, even if it’s not us playing in the game…

View original post 693 more words

Hope

Church Set Free

For a few months now, I’ve been struggling to write, at least anything new that’s been on my heart. This isn’t because I don’t have the inspiration, but more because I’m finding it harder to express this overwhelming relationship with Father, with Abba, in human terms. Attempting to write these things in a coherent, understandable way seems quite the feat. When I’ve attempted to write lately, I quickly realize that I’m only scratching the surface of what I desire to express. To explain one concept would require expounding on a dozen others, and the more straightforward I attempt to write, the higher the risk of misunderstanding. I’ve attempted to write some recently in a way that would leave an opening for further consideration on one’s own terms, but this too seems to fall woefully short of my intent.

As I’ve been discussing this more with Father, he seems to keep asking me a…

View original post 855 more words

Love’s Lost Light.

Church Set Free

My first feeble attempt at poetry :P.

Seeing now what’s always been,

another sight too blind for sin.

How it goes we’ve always seen,

repeat it does in hand-built scheme.

Insisting now the bottom found,

of love that never has had bound.

Yet words found state works are right,

still hasten on that darker night.

Joy is now as pain will sing,

lonely solace, tortured king.

Outside the inner wall was built,

strong enough to hold the guilt.

Safe is not where questions dwell,

reversed, did judge, the Hades’ hell.

For in was out and out was in,

though still insisting hatred’s sin.

Words of spirit read by soul,

spoken loud from blinded hole.

Spirit sees what soul will hide,

deceptive curse of selfish pride.

Perceive the tale whose meaning hid,

of those who plot of others rid.

While bids are lain for hope to end,

lines in sand will proud defend.

And words hold true when all approve,

but tortured…

View original post 14 more words

Bow and Confess

Church Set Free

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.—Philippians 2:10-11 

How we see God and how we show Jesus to others can very much be reflected in how we present passages such as this. In the past, this passage reminded me of popular movie scenes where a person was dragged before a ruler, then forced to their knees against their will. Usually, the person was gut-punched, hit in the head, or otherwise forced to bow though they had no desire to whatsoever. Generally, this seems to be the type of imagery conjured by such verses.

But is that how our God of Love works? If we look at the meaning behind these words, we can see…

View original post 355 more words

Kitchen Table Conversation: Eternal Justice

My contribution to the Kitchen Table Conversation on Justice. Please visit the other Church Set Free contributors; there are a variety of styles and viewpoints.

Church Set Free

What is Justice and how does it tie to God? This question can take many paths, but I hope to present part of my view here. The approach I take is to first understand how God presents justice. How we see Father and his justice is how we tend to enact it in the world. If we think of God as a vengeful consuming fire, we may lean more towards vengeance. If we see God as a merciful consuming fire, we may lean more towards mercy.

First, I would like to address possibly the most obvious issue—Are punishment and justice correlated? At this point, I would like to say yes to that question, but further explanation will come through the remainder of this post. I may refer to punishment going forward as, often, when justice is sought, it is for reasons of punishment. Therefore, I think it crucial to understand Father’s punishments to…

View original post 1,227 more words

Kitchen Table Conversations – Justice

Church Set Free

kitchen table

Wednesday, February 10th 2016

Topic is “Justice”

The table is here: Church Set Free

A bunch of posts on one theme

a diversity and abundance of 

style

content

appearance

individuality

personality

life and living

Put a note in your diary – our table is big enough for everyone.

FEBRUARY 10th 2016

Conversations across the globe

“JUSTICE”

Hope to see you here for some great company!

View original post

Christian, the Reason So Many People are Losing Faith—May Be You

john pavlovitz

Feet-walking-street-city-effects
Thou shalt not steal.
– God

Millions of people have lost their religion but they haven’t all given it up willingly. I think we Christians have stolen it from many of them.

They’ve looked at our body of work and found it far less than convincing. For all our loud, flowery talk of a God who is Love, we’ve repeatedly proven ourselves incapable of a worthy demonstration in close proximity—and so away they walk.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus dreamed out loud that the very lives of those who followed him would become brilliant beacons pointing to God; that our collective character would be the loudest testimony of God’s goodness in the world. We would incarnate Christ’s love to a hurting humanity in real-time, up close; and they in turn would seek the source of what they’d experienced—and find God there waiting.

Consider this a wake-up call, because that dream ain’t happenin’ with nearly enough regularity.

View original post 781 more words

Listen Instead

(Originally posted at churchsetfree.wordpress.com)

Over the past few months, I’ve written several drafts. Some I’ve abandoned half way through and some I’ve written and edited until all I have to do is hit the publish button. Something has been holding me back though—or maybe I should say—Someone.
When I first started writing, it was more of an outlet to put the discombobulated thoughts in my head into a more solidified form. As I began to draft posts, I could see how skewed some of my ideas were, and so I researched and edited my writings. Eventually, the ideas I started with turned into something else entirely, and while others may have benefited from what was published, I learned a lot from what God was showing me personally, at that point in our journey, through those writing processes.
However, a few months back, that all came to a halt. While I had several posts that I thought were well articulated, and could benefit others, I wasn’t able to publish them. Now, I mean I could have hit the publish button, but God seemed to be asking me not to yet, if ever. And so, because of the relationship God has formed with me, I obeyed—not because I had to and God was making me; I wanted to because of this relationship of love and trust that he’s developed with me.
I’ve been wondering when or if I should write more while chatting with God (aka praying). Over time, I’ve come to understand more fully what God has been showing me along the way—to just listen instead.
Me: Why should I just listen though? Can’t I write and listen?
God: Just trust me.
Me: What if they’re “wrong” or abusing scripture or being offensive or hurting others or…
God: Just listen.
But what am I listening for?
We can spend so much time proclaiming our right views that we alienate the very people we’re trying to help, or think we are “further along than” and are helping by our “right” ways of thinking. We can often be right for the wrong reasons. However, much of the time, we can learn a great deal about someone, and possibly even help a lot more, when we just listen. It seems everyone wants to be heard, and the pleas are getting louder and more widespread, but very few are taking the time to truly listen.
I tend to learn something from everyone, even if it wasn’t something they intended, but what I’m starting to discover goes deeper still. I’m beginning to see more the motivation behind the words—whether fear, anger, hurt, disappointment, disillusionment, love, hate, power, control, security, etc…either for themselves or others. This causes me to want to listen more, to understand them more, to see why they have taken the stance they have—to see into their heart more…and to embrace them, in love, on their journey. And this is why I see the beauty in someone being openly honest with what’s in their heart, even if it ruffles feathers.
I think this is just a smidgen of how God sees us—how he loves us and just listens—
even on our worse days,
even when we beg and bargain with him,
even when we don’t believe in him,
even when we curse him….
He listens and sees the why. From the most bloodthirsty killer to the most holy saint, God sees our heart, he knows the whys, and he loves us eternally regardless. He sees the pain and struggle in our heart—even if we hate ourselves and everyone else, even if we have only known how to hate God because of who we think he is—he knows us deeply, behind our masks, and loves us just the same.
It’s his eternal love that I’ve come to believe in—that I’ve come to know in the depths of my spirit. It’s that relationship that Jesus offers for us to freely receive, no matter who we are. There’s no more price to pay or hurtles to jump, though we’ve been convinced there are. God has been with us our entire lives, even in our worst, most atrocious state. I can now see more clearly the journey he has taken with me every step of the way, even when I didn’t know him.
Let’s treat each other like God loves everyone fully. Let’s quit with the “love the sinner and hate the sin” mantra as it’s very hard, if not impossible, to separate a person from their experiences that have made them who they are at that point in their life. For many people, that phrase ends up sounding more like, “You have to change who you are and become who I think you should be in order for me to fully, unconditionally love you.” Often people will act just like they’re treated, especially if they’ve tried to walk our version of the “straight and narrow” and failed. Much of the time, people just need to know that they are being heard, that their heart is being seen, and that they are loved still—even at their worse. That’s the type of love that can change someone—that’s Father’s love—and it can be reflected through us.
How would that kind of love change the world and what atrocities would it prevent? Have we been failing our call to be love, yet blaming “those others?”
Perhaps, instead of the “love the sinner” approach, let’s love like Jesus has really paid, in full, for their sins—just like he paid for ours. Let’s love “them” like God loves them, and us—seeing through curses and insults and unrighteousness, or whatever label we may attach. Let’s open our eyes to see straight into those hurt and broken hearts desperate for a loving embrace.
….because if we, as Christians, don’t reflect Jesus’ love to the hurt and confused and broken and desperate and outcast and angry and hateful….who will?
Let’s love “them” like they’re not sinners—let’s love like we’ve been called to, like we are loved by Father. Let’s strive to love more and more like Jesus, so others can find that same relationship with him—
even if we don’t like it,
even if we have to complain to God,
even when we don’t feel like it,
even if it costs us our pride, position, or “right” stances,
even when it hurts,
even if it costs us everything…
….even if it means we follow Jesus all the way to the cross.

Maybe I’m Actually Not a Christian After All

john pavlovitz

160126120633-jerry-falwell-jr-donald-trump-january-16-2016-large-169
I’ve always thought that I was a Christian.

I’ve simply assumed that since I believed myself to be and strived to be, that this was enough. Though I’ve devoted my days to emulating Jesus and to reflecting his character in the world, this seems to have been a woefully errant path leading me far afield of righteousness.

Over recent years I’ve spent countless hours debating with those who contest my claims of faith; self-professed believers who debate my authenticity, my theology, my conduct, my motivations. They make dire assessments of both my moral worth and my eternal destination, chastising and condemning with great conviction.

It’s difficult to quantify just how much time and energy and mental bandwidth I’ve expended attempting to justify inclusion in their heavily fortified faith fraternity and to prove my personal spirituality valid and genuine in their eyes.

But these days I’m looking at what alleges to be Christianity in my country and I’m now almost certain…

View original post 506 more words