What Could it Mean?

I originally started this post as a follow-up to my recent Revelation commentary, but God had me to think things through a little more thoroughly over the past few weeks. I’ve compiled what seems to be many of the common objections when trying to see things from the perspective I’ve presented. As always, I would like to note these are my personal conclusions as I’ve studied the Bible more. I could well be wrong, but viewing the story of the Bible as a whole, it seems to be the most straightforward message being communicated.

There are several issues that can cause the scriptures to be bent to traditional views. Many religious leaders are just trying to keep their position whether for financial, power, or pride issues, or some combination of these. If we start with traditional assumptions though, it can easily cause us to ever so subtly bend scripture to fit those views. Over time, we get what we have today, a house of cards that collapses as we begin to pull away the layers of misconceptions holding it up.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to lay aside my traditional bias as much as possible to see how, or if, everything in scripture aligns. To my surprise, I’ve found the story being communicated that makes too much sense, in view of God’s love, to just toss aside and accept alternate meanings. This isn’t because I have something to gain by holding these views. It’s more because once this truth was known to me, it was impossible to just close off my mind to it again regardless of the worldly consequences of shunning, shaming, and condemnation.

So the primary conclusions I’ve been led to are these:
God is good, just, and merciful. He is all powerful, all loving, and all knowing. Any conclusions I make stem from these.

From here, I’ve came to many conclusions in light of some of the otherwise atrocious events in the Bible. The main premise here is God who delivers justice tempered by mercy. While this, to some extent, may offend our worldly sensibilities, it tends to make sense when considered.

Would God destroy a society just to torment those people eternally? Or, was the destruction of that society an act of temporal wrath in order to punish them in the physical so their spirit wouldn’t become wholly corrupted? As we often reference, God is all-knowing. Therefore, he knows how to punish those appropriately to save them spiritually. Considering, even in the tumultuous Old Testament world, the punishment always fit the crime (i.e. an eye for an eye and a life for a life). However, once the punishment was doled, there was no more a price to pay. We see this with Jesus’ sacrifice at the cross, and we see that God’s wrath comes to an end (Rev 15:1, Ezekiel 5:13). In any event, the rest of scripture contradicts the idea of a never-ending torment. Was God angry? According to scripture it would appear so. However, his anger came to an end!

With that stated, we can consider why the soon references to the coming judgment of Israel would have been in reference to the 1st century Jewish people. God’s wrath for a society insistent on the curses of the Old Covenant, in light of Jesus’ payment, was granted. Compare the curses of Deut 28:15-68 to the enacting of Revelation. When we stretch the soon terminology to mean something far-future, we in turn bind ourselves to Old Covenant punishment, which is exactly what Israel was doing. In that case, we deny Jesus’ establishment of the New which does not contain such punishment under the law because Jesus has already taken that punishment!

The next consideration is the Lake of Fire. We see Hades (the original concept of a burning torment) tossed into the lake along with Death—that is the state of our spirit being perpetually contained in the grave, or a Sheol-like place, after physical death, as was a common concept in the Old Testament.

The question here is, if the prevalent ideas of the afterlife are thrown into the Lake of Fire, what would the lake be for in regards to us spiritually? The Lake of Fire (imo) is for spiritual cleansing. As mentioned previously, God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, allowed corrupted societies to be destroyed before they had become completely spiritually corrupted. If completely spiritually corrupt, the lake would wholly consume them and nothing else would be left. The second death is essentially a death of the corruption our spirit has accumulated. I believe this to be why Rev 2:11 and 20:6 mention that the second death (synonymous with the lake) has no power over those who have already been perfected spiritually.

So, if all of this is true, what’s the point of making a decision for Christ in this life? Unfortunately, this question relays the very concept that has so woefully corrupted Christianity. The question is the epitome of selfishness. In other words, the question states—If I don’t have to be a Christian to avoid eternal torment, what’s the point of being a Christ follower? Why not just do what I want until God takes me out and burns away the corruption I’ve caused myself (and possibly others) spiritually? This is the very definition of a backwards way to relate to Father. If we only follow our concept of Jesus to avoid hell, we aren’t really following out of love but self-preservation. This leads to an escapist mentality. If God is going to destroy the world, why make it better? Again, this goes back to skewing the soon terminology into a far-future event. Perhaps one of our main purposes in this life is to make this world better for those who come after us so their spiritual journey is more fruitful (hint, hint—like Jesus did through his life). When we’re just maintaining the status-quo until we’re “taken home,” we defeat the entire purpose of God creating us to be creators ourselves.

In respect to the length of this writing so far, I will stop here for now. I don’t want to scare anyone away with the word count :D. Again, I would like to annotate that these are my views. Please research them prayerfully to seek relevance for your personal walk.

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4 thoughts on “What Could it Mean?

  1. In Zechariah 14, we find a future time of destruction to come upon Jerusalem (Zechariah was during the time of Nehemiah and Ezra), which in your conception could have only been 70 AD. Yet, when you go back to Zechariah 12 or 14, you find that the story doesn’t end with devastation. It ends with God coming in glorious vindication and wrath upon the nations that torment Jerusalem. When did this happen? We cannot take this as spiritually transferred to the Church. If we take that route, we make these words useless.
    I agree with you entirely that the Bible speaks one message, which is why I’m not a dispensationalist and don’t hold to a rapture belief. Yet, if it is only the soon language that you hold your entire system of interpretation upon, then it is a weak nail that collapses easily. When you read the Olivet discourse, Jesus expresses that he shall go away for a “long time”. In Matthew 24:45-50, the servant asks about the delay of his master’s return, and therefore begins to beat the other servants. In Matthew 25:19, with the parable of the talents, Jesus makes mention of going off “for a long time”. Both of these stem right on the heel of Jesus’ message of the supposed destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Though there is a struggle in this “soon” language, the struggle is equally there for you who would hold to a strict soon fulfillment.
    My own opinion is that the Old Testament even speaks of the two literal comings of Messiah, and the Jewish people even have debated this for centuries. Does the Messiah come in the clouds of heaven, like Daniel 7:14 says, or on the back of the donkey, as in Zech 9:9? Does the Messiah come lowly and in humility, like in Zechariah 9:9, or with glory and power and all of His holy ones, as in Zech 14:5? To claim that Jesus’ coming in the clouds is Jesus ascending up to God the Father is a misinterpretation, and to not recognize that the two angels declared His bodily return just as He left in Acts 1:9-11 also misses the point. Whether you agree with that last statement or not, I’m not sure, but I’ve heard it from many others who would also claim prophecy to be fulfilled in AD 70.
    What are your thoughts?

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    • Hi Justin,

      Sorry this took so long as these are quite involved questions.

      From your first paragraph, the general question seems to be—When did God take vengeance on Rome (from my 70 AD perspective) for tormenting Jerusalem as stated in Zechariah?

      In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted during the height of it being occupied as a vacation resort by the Romans (New World Encyclopedia, Para. 5), destroying Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae. This would have caused an effect similar to Zech 14:12. These same ashes reached Rome (ref) and fulfilled the plague stated in v15 (ref) which was apparently quite horrible (ref).

      I don’t believe Matt 24 is intimating a long time. Jesus was (imo) relaying that if the signs he was stating were ignored, his coming would be by surprise, like a thief in the night. Those who ignored the signs would be caught up in the Judea tribulation as also spoke of in Luke 21:34 and surrounding passages. The rest of the New Testament, as intimated in the Old, speaks of this “Day of the Lord,” and that the early church were seeing the very signs Jesus stated such as Heb 10:25—and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching (several more references here).

      Jesus’ “first coming” was on a donkey in lowly humility (Palm Sunday as we know it), his second with the clouds. This was a symbolic way of stating a coming in judgment such as in Old Testament passages like Isaiah 19:1 and Psalms 18:9-11. However, there are historians that recorded such things as a literal coming in the clouds with the angels (Josephus, Tacitus).

      These are the short answers to your questions from my perspective. I tried to cover them all as best as possible. Again, these are my view points and you can toss them aside if they don’t work for you. I don’t generally go too in-depth with these things as it can make people’s eyes gloss over with boredom :).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Creating us to be creators ourselves | Just me being curious

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