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The Christian Hope

As we have seen, God made very specific promises to Abraham and his descendants, about inheriting land on the earth, in the future.  At this point, you may say: “Those promises are all well and good for Abraham; but what does that have to do with me?” After all, most Christians are not literal descendants of Abraham. Scripture has an answer to that question:

Galatians 3:29 (NIV)

29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Romans 4:16 (NIV)

16Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.

The above verses tell us that if we “belong to Christ” – i.e., if we believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and if we follow him – then we will be co-heirs with Abraham! In other words, we will also inherit land during the kingdom – just like Abraham will!

Summary of the Kingdom

From all of the material in this presentation, I will make the following three assertions about the kingdom:

  1. The kingdom of God is the literal kingdom that Jesus will establish, on the earth, when he returns.
  2. When Jesus returns, he will resurrect faithful believers. That is, he will bring those believers back to life – so that those believers will live forever with him, on the earth. As a result, God’s promise to Abraham, about inheriting Canaan, will be fulfilled at that time.
  3. During the kingdom, the earth will be restored to its original, paradise conditions. In other words, the earth will be restored to the conditions that existed during the Garden of Eden.

next week=> Kingdom Study 8: Why Haven’t I Heard this Before?

106 Responses to “Kingdom Study 7: The Christian Hope”

  1. on 22 Sep 2009 at 2:02 pmWolfgang

    Brian,

    some thoughts come to mind concerning your 3 points in summary

    Does not all OT prophecy have fulfillment before the Old Covenant can be fulfilled? Did not Christ say that the destruction of Jerusalem would be “days of vengeance in which all things written might be fulfilled? Did he not say that “not one jot or tittle of the Law would pass away until it was all accomplished?” The resurrection event promised by the OT scriptures must have fulfillment for the Law to be accomplished. May we not say: “If the resurrection did not occur for the OT saints, neither has the law passed away.” ? Thus, if the promised resurrection at the last days are still future, we would have to teach that the OT Law has not passed and we are still under it ?

    In addition, does not Jesus teach in his discourse concerning the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, his coming in power and great glory with his Father’s angels in Mt 24:30? And in Mt 24,31 does he not teach that at the sound of a trumpet he sends forth the angels to gather from the four winds his elect? Does he not say in Mt 24,34, “This generation shall not pass away until all these things are accomplished?” If all those prophetic words of Jesus are yet future, surely we have no grounds at all to claim or teach that the OT Law has been fulfilled or that we as Christian believers now are no longer under the Law?

    You mention that God will restore the earth to its original, paradise condition at the time of the Garden of Eden. Is such a claim not a rejection of the principle of type and reality? The Law contained a shadow of the coming good things (cp. Heb 10:1). Aaron’s priesthood was a type of Christ’s priesthood, etc- Now, shadows do not have the fulness of the reality and shadows are never restored. Does therefore “the restoration of all things” not rather pertain to the covenant relationship that God had with man in the beginning in the Garden of God, rather than a restoration of the physical garden? Do we not already have in the new covenant the restoration of such covenant relationship? The New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, has already “come down to earth”, or “is it still in heaven” (as part of God’s plan, but not yet a reality)? We have the reign (kingdom) of God now. There is no temple made of stone anymore, but God by His spirit is dwelling in the midst of His people, or is He not?

    Also, concerning a restoration of the paradise garden of Eden, do you realize that in the garden of Eden, evil was present? If there had not been any evil, how could man have been tempted to sin? Thus, a restored paradise according to the garden of Eden, would not quite be as perfect as is often assumed?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  2. on 22 Sep 2009 at 4:55 pmrobert

    “Does not all OT prophecy have fulfillment before the Old Covenant can be fulfilled?”

    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.

    Romans 11:25
    For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

    Acts 13:47
    For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

    Wolfgang
    as you see there are other things written to be fulfilled after the destruction like the fulfillment of the New covenant which is salvation to be offered to every man,women and child on the face of the earth. if what you say is true then there is no salvation for yourself or anyone from 70AD. only a fool would think this was achieved in 40 years. yes the destruction was prophesied by Jesus and the prophets but not as the end just as the beginning of the blessing to reach the ends of the earth and the chastenment of Judea for sins of past but God used them to fulfill the coming of the Lamb, High Priest and the New Covenant which just fulfilled the Old Covenant with the blessing to all men.the only changes in the Law was the ones that Jesus replaced by becoming the sacrafice and the High Priest and how judgement was to be done which was no longer to be mans, it was a heavenly judgement now. i would say the last 100 years has brought the Word of God to the ends of the earth so we should now look for other signs from the book of revelations which brings us through the age of the fulness to the gentile to the establishing of the age of the kingdom of God here one earth to the restoring of heaven being here on earth as is perfectly clear in the scriptures.

    your stuck on something you cant get past because you havent even tried to understand the whole plan of God

  3. on 22 Sep 2009 at 7:30 pmRay

    Hebrews 11:16
    But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

    It seems to me that these pilgrims were aware of the city of destruction, knowing of it’s weakness, it’s failure to follow the things of God, and it’s determined end. Leaving it behind they looked upward to God in heaven in hopes of dwelling with him there.

    The promise to Abraham did include some land here on this earth but the promise also included eternal life, for he being the father of many nations was greater than the people of Israel.

    Hebrews 11:19
    Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

    Abraham received the promise (the Messiah) through this, and by faith believeing all that God was revealing to him. Now Abraham recieved the Messiah in a figure, for he did not see him in the days of his flesh here upon this earth when he spoke of Abraham and his rejoicing to see his day. Abraham received God through the figure of Christ which was being revealed to him through the things God was doing in his life. His son Isaac was a part of that revealing.

    There’s a sense in which Abraham did not yet receive Christ for he hadn’t come to be revealed to him. Christ came much later in the flesh to be revealed unto men who came much later than Abraham.
    Yet, in a figure, he received God and the things concerning Christ.

    It seems to me that the kingdom of God spans all of time. Sometimes we see the rule of God in things concerning men on this earth. These are the times when the kingdom becomes known in part. Those are the times when the kingdom of God touches earth
    and the earth is blessed by the touch of God by Christ, for it’s Christ that enables us to receive the things of the kingdom of God.

  4. on 23 Sep 2009 at 12:41 pmKen

    Even though there are “present” kingdom realities such as people receiving the message and submitting their hearts to God’s rulership (reign) by a response of faith/obedience/love; there is no Scriptural reason to deny the glorious hope we await.
    If Jesus established an invisible kingdom in 70A.D., 1844A.D., 1914A.D. or some other year, the Scriptures are effectively lies, for by no stretch of the imagination has Jesus returned to raise the dead (as promised – I Corinthians 15 and other places.) By no stretch of the imagination has the New Jerusalem (the heavenly city awaited by Abraham and others) descended on a renewed earth on which death and all evil are abolished (Revelation 20-22 and other places.) Those who deny the Biblical hope through extra-biblical theories should be careful not to be in the same boat as those who “have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occured; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith.” – I Timothy 2:18 Does anyone thinking of himself/ herself as a Chritian really want to destroy another’s faith due to stubborn insistence on an extra-biblical theory that denies the only Biblical hope?
    I mean the rhetorical question to invite pause for reflection for any who might benefit from a warning in the example from I Timothy; I do not state this for the purpose of debate. Maybe there should be another website for extra-biblical wrangling over the years 70, 1844, 1914, etc. This site (kingdomready) implies interest in being ready for the future hope as abundantly outlined in many Scriptures.

  5. on 23 Sep 2009 at 2:10 pmKen

    P.S. I wanted to make one clarification to add to comment #4. I am all for a good healthy debate within a Biblical subject. For example, on many occasions I have considered it a blessing to have my thoughts challenged by another’s point of view or a different understanding about certain topics. An “iron sharpening iron” scenario “keeps us sharp.” I suppose that after many, many months I get tired of seeing EVERY sharing about the Biblical hope (the coming kingdom as Scripturally expressed) totally dismissed by a an extra-biblical paradigm that in essence states we should not hope for God’s coming kingdom. I’ve seen efforts by some to graciously stop this continous hijacking of each and every sharing about our Christian hope ( the hope explained in the Scriptures.) I do not pretend to speak for others, but I think many of us got tired of this broken record (including the belittling of those who adhere to the simple Biblical hope) a long time ago. Quite some time ago certain people made the point that they do not expect Christ’s return. I respect their right to retain their opinions. It would be polite if they would not badger everyone else over and over again; their point was already made long ago.

  6. on 23 Sep 2009 at 4:27 pmVictor

    Amen.

  7. on 23 Sep 2009 at 5:02 pmBrian Keating

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for your comments – I certainly share your belief that the kingdom will be established in the future, on the earth (though we can experience the kingdom in a limited way now.)

    I also agree that Jesus has not yet returned, to resurrect the dead. However, there is one resurrection-related item that I have always been rather puzzled about. That item refers to the resurrection that occurred, immediately after Jesus’ death. The event is listed in Matthew 27:50-53:

    50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

    51And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

    To my knowledge, that event is not listed anywhere else in Scripture. One might expect that such an important event would be referred to in other places, no?

    In any case, I expect that the saints who were resurrected were raised to mortal life (i.e., they presumably died again, after their resurrections) – because we know that Jesus is the firstfruits of the new creation (i.e., he was the first person to be raised to immortal life) – and Jesus had not yet been resurrected at that point in time.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the above passage? (I hope I am not opening up a huge can of worms here…)

    Brian

  8. on 23 Sep 2009 at 5:35 pmrobert

    “Jesus had not yet been resurrected at that point in time.”

    what I read is the tombs were opened at Jesus’ death and the Saints werent raised till after Jesus’ resurection.
    God could of raised the Saints after Jesus. there are 24 elders in revelations but there is no mention of them being begotten of the dead but as long as no one claims this limited raising would constitute the kingdom of God because that perfectly clear that it hasnt happened yet.

    I really cant see a salvation issue on this if they died after or were raised after Jesus

  9. on 23 Sep 2009 at 6:28 pmSean

    Ken,

    very well said and I think your sentiment is shared by many

  10. on 24 Sep 2009 at 11:03 amKen

    Brian and all,
    Thanks for the communication.
    I think the passage in Matthew 27: 50-53 makes a good topic for discussion. It is interesting that the timing is “wrong” in the since that Jesus had just died on the cross (v. 50) and v. 53 relates this seemingly bizarre incident as occuring “after his resuurection.” Then in v. 54 the context goes back to events on the day of Jesus’ death. I once read an old article that tried to show evidence that v. 52 & 53 are an interpolation (a later addition to manuscripts of Matthew – not part of the original writing.) I no longer remember the points made in that article: maybe it had to do with quotes of certain church patriarchs who predated the oldest existing manuscripts of Matthew. Anyway maybe someone has more detailed relevant information about these verses. They are difficult as they don’t seem to fit the context very well.

  11. on 24 Sep 2009 at 2:30 pmWolfgang

    Hi Ken,

    you mention iron sharpening iron … here’s something to think about concerning what you wrote here:

    By no stretch of the imagination has the New Jerusalem (the heavenly city awaited by Abraham and others) descended on a renewed earth on which death and all evil are abolished (Revelation 20-22 and other places.)

    When one views the Scriptures from such a literal prospective as you propose, it would indeed appear that the Scriptures are effectively lies, for the promises of the Lord’s coming and our resurrection with its rewards of a New Jerusalem are seen as not having been accomplished as prophesied.

    On the other hand, if time elements mentioned in the Scriptures concerning the Lord’s coming and our resurrection with its rewards are not seen as accomplished within the constraints of said time elements, it would appear that the Scriptures are also lies. Either way one wants to turns, one’s hope is lost.

    Yet, if one accepts the promises as having been fulfilled (even though their fulfillment was in a different manner from what is traditionally propounded and what one may have expected), the integrity of the Scriptures is maintained. Actually, the unfulfillment of the prophecy of his imminent coming and our resurrection with its rewards after ca. 2000 years shows that the literal interpretive method is untenable.

    Those who deny the Biblical hope through extra-biblical theories should be careful not to be in the same boat as those who “have left the path of truth, claiming that the resurrection of the dead has already occurred; in this way, they have turned some people away from the faith.” – I Timothy 2:18

    2Tim 2:18 rather proves the spiritual interpretation and disproves the literal. Consider this: Had Paul been preaching a literal interpretation of the resurrection, his answer to disprove that teaching of those false teachers would have been the same as you and others of today would use, namely, that there is no evidence of a physical resurrection. Thus, if these men were teaching that the resurrection was already past, would that have been based upon an understanding of the resurrection being literal/physical? IF the general understanding was that the resurrection was literal/physical, the teaching of Hymenaeus an Philetus would have been no threat to anyone’s faith because it would have been plain ridiculous and caused them to have been considered lunatic or crazy. BUT, obviously, their teaching was not crazy, but indeed a threat to the faith of believers, which proves that the literal interpretation of Scripture was not in view by Paul and that he taught the spiritual nature of the resurrection. Hymenaeus and Philetus with their teaching were “jumping the gun”, and were apparently successsful to some degree because the time when they propounded such teaching was very close to the prophesied timeframe.

    This site (kingdomready) implies interest in being ready for the future hope as abundantly outlined in many Scriptures.

    Yes, a future hope is indeed abundantly outlined in the Scriptures. BUT it was a hope that was formulated within the timeframe and concept of an imminent return of Christ (as all NT writings clearly state). With the Lord’s own prophecy concerning his coming at the end of that age and his prophetic accouncement of accompanying events (cp Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21), a return of Christ can be clearly shown to have taken place in the destruction of Jerusalem, which also casts aside any doubt that the Scriptures may have failed. It is the literal approach to the Scriptures concerning this topic which propounds extra-biblical assumptions (because any details on how the supposed future events will happen are no more than imagination and assumption since no man has been there to !!) and which promotes a false hope.

    May God bless us
    Wolfgang

  12. on 24 Sep 2009 at 3:00 pmBrian Keating

    Hi All,

    Regarding the resurrection of the saints listed in Matt 27:50-54, different translations have significantly different renderings of that passage. The ESV seems to imply that both the resurrection of the saints, and the saints leaving their tombs, occurred after Jesus was resurrected:

    Matt 27:52-53 (ESV)

    52The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

    However, the NASB – and especially the HCSB (Holman), appear to separate those two events. In other words, in those versions, it appears that the resurrection of the saints occurred immediately after Jesus died. However, the saints did not leave their tombs until after Jesus was resurrected.

    NASB (note the semicolon after “raised”)

    52The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

    53and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

    HCSB (note the period after “raised”)

    52 The tombs also were opened and many bodies of the saints who had gone to their rest were raised. 53 And they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.

    In any case, if the above verses are legitimate (i.e., if they are not interpolations), then I would assume that this resurrection of the saints was a “type”, or “foreshadowing”, of the worldwide resurrection that will occur when Jesus returns. Does that make sense?

    Brian

  13. on 24 Sep 2009 at 3:22 pmBrian Keating

    Hi,

    Here is the rendering that makes the most sense to me – the rendering from the Lamsa version (from the Aramaic Peshitta):

    Lamsa (note the semicolon after went out):

    52 And the tombs were opened; and the bodies of a great many saints who were sleeping in death rose up,

    53 And they went out; and after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city, and appeared to a great many.

    The above rendering implies that the saints were raised, and left their tombs, immediately after Jesus died. However, the saints did not enter Jerusalem until after Jesus was resurrected.

    (The HCSB seems to indicate that the saints were resurrected right after Jesus died – but they “hung around” inside their tombs for three days, until Jesus was resurrected!)

    Brian

  14. on 24 Sep 2009 at 4:24 pmrobert

    there is no doubt that after christ the firstfruits was next in the order. just who are the firstfruits? could the Saints that rose after Jesus’s resurrection be some of these. could the disciples be the rest? are they the 24 elders that sit on thrones with white robes and crowns? are they the first of the harvest?

    Jesus alone would be a firstfruit not the firstfruits.
    the 24 Elders are in heaven with Jesus before the Kingdom of God is established here on earth

    biblegateway 1Co 15:23

    NET ©
    But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. 1

    NIV ©
    biblegateway 1Co 15:23
    But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.

  15. on 24 Sep 2009 at 6:40 pmXavier

    “Why Jesus? Because he was the first one God raised from the dead, to be the leader of all those who now would be raised. That is why Paul speaks of Jesus as “the first fruit of the resurrection” (see 1 Cor. 15:20, 23). This is an agricultural metaphor: just as when the harvest is ready, the farmer goes out to bring in the “first fruit”, and then the next day goes for the rest, so too with Jesus: he was the first to be raised from the dead, and everyone else would follow. And when would that be? The metaphor suggested it would be right away. (The farmer doesn’t wait years to get the rest of the harvest in but gathers it the next day.) For Paul, the resurrection of the dead was about to occur, and people needed to be ready. No wonder he felt such urgency in his proclamation of the gospel. For Paul, the world was soon to come to a screaming climax and the world needed to be proclaimed. Everyone needed a chance to be put in a good standing with God, or else they would face judgment when the end arrived.” Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: the followers of Jesus in history and legend, Bart D. Ehrman, 2006, pgs 118-121, 199.

  16. on 24 Sep 2009 at 7:18 pmRay

    Brian,
    About Matthew 27:52, I had often wondered about that verse. It’s seems to me that it’s saying that at the time of the death of Jesus
    on the cross, some graves were opened, but the bodies of these
    saints did not come out till after the resurrection to appear.

    I wonder what a typical grave was like. Were they usually a dug-out space that was covered by a large boulder, something that resembled a small cave?

    A significant shaking of the earth could open such things, and at his resurrection, their resurrection would be “saying” something wouldn’t it?

    Though it only appears here, it most certainly could have happened. Because it is in the gospel of Matthew, I think I should do what I can to receive it and believe it. Signs follow those that believe. Certainly Jesus believed more than any of us.

    Just because something is mentioned once, it doesn’t seem to me that I should think I can ignore it. With so much to write about concerning the things Jesus did and what happened, there are no doubt many things not mentioned. It seems to me that the things most people talked about the most may have been put down in writing the most though the one doing the writing likely thought of things as they came to him, each writer putting them down in his own way as he was led.

    Imagine how different the reports of four people today might be if they were to tell of some same time about a famous person in history that was decades after the fact.

    I wondered once if Simeon was one of those who was raised to life again at the time of the resurrection of Jesus. (Luke 2:25,26)

  17. on 24 Sep 2009 at 7:58 pmrobert

    “That is why Paul speaks of Jesus as “the first fruit of the resurrection” (see 1 Cor. 15:20, 23)”

    i can find no translation that has it as first fruit. this speaks of the firstfruits(Saints) as in many fruits who Jesus redeemed after his ressurection and not those who will be raised at the last days before the Kingdom. the Disciples were probably raised at there death or maybe while living to be elders along with the those who were found righteous by God. Seth,Enoch,Noah,Abraham,Isaac,Jacob, Joseph and the main Prophets all walked with God perfectly. these are the 24 elders.
    there are more firstfruits mentioned Revelation 14:4. Jesus is the lord of the firstfruits being he was the firstfruit of the firstfruits.

  18. on 25 Sep 2009 at 3:01 amXavier

    robert,

    are you saying that “the firstfruits (Saints)” are currently in heaven? similar to the Catholic dogma of the saints?

  19. on 25 Sep 2009 at 3:01 amXavier

    robert,

    Are you saying that “the firstfruits (Saints)” are currently in heaven? similar to the Catholic dogma of the saints?

    If so where is this in scripture?

  20. on 25 Sep 2009 at 7:42 amrobert

    no, big difference
    i am saying the 24 elders are in heaven who are redeemed humans.they are not there for our worship.
    we know of 2 taken there while they lived. the rest would be raised after Jesus. only redeemed humans receive white robes and crowns.

  21. on 25 Sep 2009 at 8:05 amXavier

    “we know of 2 taken there while they lived”??? who?

    I thought the elders were angels, since they do not include themselves among the redeemed in 5:8–10:

    “…the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song…”

    But, if these are human beings, I don’t think their presently in heaven since the ‘just’ [along with the rest of humanity] are in the ground [Sheol, Job 14.13; Psa 16.10], awaiting judgment in the resurrection[Matt 12:36;16:27; Rom 14.10-12?

    Am I missing something here?

  22. on 25 Sep 2009 at 8:24 amrobert

    Angels do not receive white robes or crowns. they do not sit on thrones.
    the 24 elders are them who God judged as righteous not needing the judgement at end and are the first of the harvest by Jesus. they will along with Jesus judge the rest.

  23. on 25 Sep 2009 at 8:27 amrobert

    “we know of 2 taken there while they lived”???

    ” who?”

    Enoch and Elijah

  24. on 25 Sep 2009 at 9:05 amrobert

    this verse clarifies that the elders are not angels. how can all the angels stand around the throne and the elders and the 4 beast.
    so your thinking wasnt based on scripture it was just your imagination

    Revelation 7
    11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

  25. on 25 Sep 2009 at 9:21 amrobert

    this verse shows there was humans that were in heaven before.
    how did they get there,who are they, how many are there.
    we only know of some saints being raised, but there were also a few promises made by Jesus to his disciples.
    are they not worthy enough to go before us? does it changed the promise to us to be raised at the kingdom being established here on earth?

    Revelation 5
    3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

  26. on 25 Sep 2009 at 11:30 amXavier

    robert,

    where in scripture does it say Enoch and Elijah are presently in heaven? or anyone else for that matter?

    IF the 24 are human beings, this HAS to be post-rapture [resurrection]. If not, then your obviously taking a verse out of context in view of the WHOLE Biblical context regarding where the dead go [all the dead, not just some], and Jesus primacy [“firstfruit”] in the order of things as Paul and others teach:

    But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back. 1Cor 15.23 [NLT]

    According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that WE who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, WE who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 [TNIV]

  27. on 25 Sep 2009 at 2:24 pmKen

    Dear Wolfgang,
    I have fond memories of having fellowship with you and your family as we have worshipped God together. I pray for you and your lovely family. Please give my love and our family’s love to Helen and your kids.
    If I believed that it would glorify God now to engage in a dialogue about eschatology with you, I would. I did read certain things you suggested about a preterist point of view about a year and a half ago. I read these things carefully, with an open mind, trying to learn what I could.
    I know in my heart that it would not glorify God (or be a good example to fellow believers) to get into tit-for-tat debate points with anyone about this subject (i.e. preterism vs. a futurist hope.)
    I will make one simple, general comment about approaching the Scriptures as a “Berean”; maybe this comment will be helpful to other readers. If in my prayeful studies it seems that 95% or more of Scriptures about any subject are crystal clear as taken “literally,” I have no good reason to debate anyone at all to convince anyone about anything/ or to be convinced about anything. This is especially true if the less tha 5% of seemingly contradictory verses on a subject can be seen as harmonious with the 95% (or more) upon detailed contextual study (without twisting those verses to fit one’s theory.) If one, as a careful, diligent student, takes certain Scriptural passages to be “literally” true, this does not imply that one is naively ignorant of consistent, legitimate uses of figurative language in the Bible. As Bible students we all have the continual challenge of seeing how the “few” more difficult verses fit with the vast majority of verses, as well as the challenge to behave in a way that exemplifies God’s methods: not engaging in hasty, contentious “word battles;” even when we don’t see eye to eye, not being pushy when someone does not want to hear our perspective (whether we are right or wrong about a given subject, etc.) There are some things about which we may never agree, even if we all do our best to be diligent students. Maybe forbearance and patience as Christians means (in a great measure) allowing people to disagree, without pestering them about the points of disagreement, and without “excommunicating” one another if disagreements persist.
    My refusal to be baited (into what I see as a potential exercise in useless wrangling) has to do with my commitment to walk in love and honor Him.
    Sincerely and respectfully in agape,
    Ken

  28. on 25 Sep 2009 at 6:19 pmGeorgie

    Hello Robert,

    Concerning Enoch and Elijah.
    In Heb 11 Enoch is listed in verse 5 among other men and women of faith and in verse 13 it says these all died…..
    So Enoch did die.
    As for Elijah, about 10 years after he was taken up in a whirlwind and Elisha took up the mantle a letter arrived from Elijah. See 2 Chronicles 21:12 so he obviously was not dead or in heaven.
    John 3 13 says. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.

    There is a good study of this subject which I hope you will find helpful.
    http://www.cgom.org/Publications/Booklets/Enoch_Elijah.htm

  29. on 25 Sep 2009 at 7:13 pmrobert

    Georgie

    Genesis 5:24
    And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

    Hebrews 11:5
    By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

    So where is Enoch. he received immorality and God took him.

    12 And there came a writing to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of David thy father, Because thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, nor in the ways of Asa king of Judah,

    this verse does not state he was alive it just says a writing came from him. The whole bible is writings from the dead. being Elijah was a prophet what to write came as a revealing while he was alive.

    both your explanations are false.

    Xavier

    both Elijah and Enoch were taken by God, neither were ever refered to as dead, were no longer on earth, so only one place is left for them to be.thats just common sense its heaven.

    I am not sure if any of the disciples were raised but i do know if they were then there was no longer a way for them to write about it. God can do what he wants and doesnt need your permission.

    maybe these 24 elder are from before Christ

    “IF the 24 are human beings, this HAS to be post-rapture [resurrection].”

    If you read there is no way they got there post- rapture considering they were envolved in bringing the rapture.
    this whole chapter is pre-rapture(not a single seal is opened just loosed) and the 24 elders are there.
    does them being there before you bother you that much?

    Revelation 5
    And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

    6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, [1] which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

  30. on 25 Sep 2009 at 7:15 pmRay

    Psalm 16:10 says that God will not leave David’s soul in hell, therefore I can assume that upon David’s death, though David (his body) was left to corrupt, his soul was not left there with his body.

    I do not believe David’s soul is in hell to this day, but rather, that he (his awareness, his “being” , his soul) is
    with God in heaven, for God is not the God of the dead but of the living.

    It seems to me then, that David is still awaiting the resurrection though he is with God in heaven along with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

  31. on 25 Sep 2009 at 7:46 pmrobert

    “where in scripture does it say Enoch and Elijah are presently in heaven? or anyone else for that matter?”

    11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

    Xavier
    where does it say Elijah was cast out of heaven after this.

  32. on 25 Sep 2009 at 8:16 pmrobert

    Georgie

    that article you refered me to was a bunch of nonsense almost as much as trinitarian’s use.

    you love men’s explanations over God’s plain truth

  33. on 26 Sep 2009 at 8:33 amMark C.

    that article you refered me to was a bunch of nonsense almost as much as trinitarian’s use.

    you love men’s explanations over God’s plain truth

    I see nothing has changed around here. That’s why I don’t bother posting any more. Sean, how long do posters have to put up with this?

  34. on 26 Sep 2009 at 8:38 amXavier

    Amen Mark…

  35. on 26 Sep 2009 at 9:36 amrobert

    Welcome back Mark
    the article was a twisting of Gods truth using a mans explanation which is being used as another gospel by some.

    Xavier
    did Mark say something holy.

  36. on 26 Sep 2009 at 10:56 amXavier

    what r u on about robert??? holy???

    if you mean by my use of “Amen”, has nothing to do with “holiness”…look up the word definition.

  37. on 26 Sep 2009 at 11:26 amrobert

    I understand yours and others dislike for me because i am a thorn in the side to those who follow mans teachings over God’s clear truths.
    I have no dislike for anyone personally but will always follow teachings that are not scriptual based. there are just somethings that can not be understood completely so they should not be used as the context of things that are clear. that is forcing understanding which usually has many different explanations. whats clear needs no explanation.

    If i am the only reason for Mark not posting like it sounds like he is claiming please know that No man will ever rule me that way. i assume there are other reasons he didnt mention because the Mark I know doesnt let other men rule him. Believe it or not i have a lot of respect for Mark for who he could be.

  38. on 26 Sep 2009 at 12:01 pmRay

    Georgie,

    It seems to me that the writer of Hebrews (Paul?) told us that Enoch was translated so that he should not see death (die),
    and so though he included him in the assembly of names which lived by faith and died, we can conclude that Enoch is not to be included in the list of those that died, for he was taken to heaven.

    Now it seems to me that this being taken to heaven also means that he somehow shed his mortal body by some means of God.

    As to the writing by Elijah to Jehoram, could this have been written
    long before and kept till the time in which it should be delivered by
    one of the prophets?

    In the book “The Happiest People On Earth”, by Demos Shakarian,
    there is told of a “boy prophet” who received writings from heaven
    and wrote down what he saw and some of these writings have been kept for many years, till some prophet should open it and read it to the people by command of God, a thing that I don’t think has happened yet. That letter might still be around waiting for the time for it to be read. Demos was the founder of The Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship which is still going today.

    Those we should especially notice who are spoken of as having “died in faith” (Hebrews 11:13), are those of Hebrews 11:12, of which Enoch was not of, (for he was not born of Abraham) except that he was of them, for he was of faith, making him of the seed of Abraham. (which is Christ)

  39. on 26 Sep 2009 at 12:01 pmrobert

    “I have no dislike for anyone personally but will always follow teachings that are not scriptual based.”

    Iam sure some read this out of context so i better clarify

    I have no dislike for anyone personally but will always follow teachings that are not scriptual based to show the clear truth in the scriptures

  40. on 26 Sep 2009 at 1:04 pmSean

    Please direct your attention to our new policy for commenting on this blog. I will be open to conversation and suggestions on this policy for a little while but very soon we will be implementing it.

  41. on 26 Sep 2009 at 2:22 pmGeorgie

    Robert,

    Thank you for your analysis of me.

    You said.

    “both Elijah and Enoch were taken by God, neither were ever refered to as dead, were no longer on earth, so only one place is left for them to be.thats just common sense its heaven.”

    Your common sense contradicts what scripture says.

    John 3 13 says. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.

    I will do my best to follow scripture every time.
    ———–

    As for your post 39. Does that sum you up accurately? I expect that was a mistake, but I maybe wrong.

  42. on 26 Sep 2009 at 5:00 pmrobert

    John 3 13 says. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.

    Georgie

    so just how do you understand this verse.

    was Jesus here on earth or in heaven when he spoke this, i know there is several translations that omit”which is in heaven” but its in all early greek copies.

    If Jesus had already ascended to heaven before his death then he wasnt here for his death.

    Could it be that your understanding of this is what keeps you from the truth about Elijah and Enoch . this was spoke to an individual and evendently the understanding of this was not provided by John because it contradicts itself.

    post 39 was to set the context of what i said in post 37 because i was not complete on that sentence.

    that wasnt an analysis

  43. on 26 Sep 2009 at 10:54 pmXavier

    Here’s an excellent study on Elijah and Enoch:

    http://inthenameofwhowhat.blogspot.com/2009/09/enoch-and-elijah-where-are-they-now.html

  44. on 26 Sep 2009 at 11:59 pmrobert

    this is an excellent study if you need to prove Elijah’s and Enoch’s deaths so it doesnt contradict a mans opinon of what was meant in John 3 :13.

    I dont think no matter how intelligent you think you are you can understand something that was spoke to someone else without knowing everything they both knew.when God is ready to give you the understanding for things that are unclear it wont be because of your greatness it will be of HIS greatness.

    Ray had a better explanation then this article.

    If it wasnt for the unclear verses throughout the bible, the bible wouldnt of received all the attention it has the last 2000 years it might of faded away.

    God always knows what He is doing.
    there is enough clear to receive salvation and we dont need people to give their opinion on things that are beyond mans possible understanding.
    the people who do this are doing exactly what Adam did, thinking they can become like God on their own when they should just be trying to be like God by walking in the ways of God.

  45. on 27 Sep 2009 at 3:04 amXavier

    robert,

    How does one walk “in the ways of God” without understanding??

    I thought “it is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the glory of kings to search them out” [Pro 25.2]??

    “According to Proverbs, the ideal king will both govern through the use of his wisdom and investigate and understand the world and its people.” ESV study Bible.

  46. on 27 Sep 2009 at 8:35 amRay

    John 1:51
    And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and decending upon the Son of man.

    Prior to this time, his disciples had not seen this happen, even though it may have been going on. This causes me to wonder if
    Jesus was ascending and descending from heaven to earth and from earth to heaven, though going unseen by men.

    John 3:13
    And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man that is in heaven.

    It seems to me that Jesus could have been speaking to Nicodemus
    about something in the future, his day of ascention, also making mention of his conception which was from God in heaven, but he also may have been making mention of some other goings up and comings down prior to this time since he has always been a part of the heavenly realm, being with the Father from eternity. (See Micah 5:2) At such a time as before his conception in the womb of Mary, Jesus was not a man born of the flesh, yet was that same one that was to come to this earth in that fashion. He was that same one that was prophesied to come.

    We also may consider from the book of Ephesians that Jesus was seated with God in the heavenlies even as he was here on earth in the days of his flesh. (See Ephesians 2:6)

  47. on 27 Sep 2009 at 10:25 amXavier

    The context to best explain theses verses are to be understood by the nearly synonymous language of glorification and death the writer makes in reference to Jesus. Symbolic of the lifiting up [“ascended into heaven”, v .13] of the “Son of Man” to the Father in glory (cp. Jn 3:14, “so must the Son of Man be lifted up”). Also see: John 3:13, 31,6:38,42,62,1 Cor 15:47,Rom 10:6.

    “In John 3:14, the reference to the Son of Man being lifted up is the first of three “lifted up” sayings in John’s Gospel (cf. 8:28; 12:32). All three sayings speak of the FUTURE “lifting up” of the Son of Man in a TYPICAL JOHANINE DOUBLE MEANING (see notes on 4:10; 8:24; 11:50–51; 19:19; cf. also 3:7–8), so that it refers to both Jesus’ death and his resurrection and exaltation to glory in heaven (cf. Acts 2:33; 5:31).” ESV

  48. on 27 Sep 2009 at 11:36 amrobert

    “How does one walk “in the ways of God” without understanding??”

    God’s ways are clearly spelled out throughout both Old and New and no one needs to assign a meaning to them.

    Trying to force an understanding usually creates many different meanings and it is the reason many have been burned,behead, etc

    while doing this has brought many false doctrines, it also has preserved the bible so many of people could read it so they could get the truth from the clear things written in it.

    there are many clear things to search out without trying to assign meaning to things that were not meant for us to understand because there are many other things that were not written that provide its context.

    Follow whats clear and Satan has no power over you with lies.

  49. on 27 Sep 2009 at 12:19 pmXavier

    robert,

    So, in other words, don’t confuse you with the facts? 😛

    What your expressing in this forum is just the thing you are supposedly against my friend [“trying to assign meaning to things”]…

    …good luck with that.

  50. on 27 Sep 2009 at 12:48 pmrobert

    “So, in other words, don’t confuse you with the facts?”

    no i am saying only hold to facts, dont let others things that you dont understand change the facts that are clear.

    “What your expressing in this forum is just the thing you are supposedly against my friend [”trying to assign meaning to things”]…”

    No again
    what i am doing is using the clear things to see if there is an understanding in them for the unclear.

    It is perfectly clear that the 24 elders are humans, Not angels and this discussion it what i based some explanations on who they are and when they got there but in no way claim to be 100% right because there is nothing clear that shows this.

    but i know the assigned meaning for John 3:13 does not hold to the clear things in Revelations. unlike many i do not need to assign meaning to things to back tradition, my faith is secured by whats perfectly clear.

    You do not need even 1 day of bible college to understand whats clear in the bible, you just need to read the bible with an open mind and heart and know that all men are liars but God is the Truth.

    If it contradicts the clear than it is false

  51. on 27 Sep 2009 at 1:53 pmRay

    Numbers 21:9
    And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it on a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

    Jesus also was lifted up on a “pole” (the cross). In seeing this in our heart, considering it’s meaning deeply, we are healed. Jesus
    was put on that cross for doing no wrong. It seems to me that if he wanted to avoid the cross, all he would have needed to do was
    sin, and there were plenty of people provoking him to do so. There
    also must have been all the spiritual forces of darkness working against him, tempting him, pressuring him also, yet Jesus remained
    faithful to God, keeping that which was determined by God for him to do which was unto our salvation.

    When we look unto Jesus in this matter of the cross, we do that and also worship him. Beholding him and speaking of his work
    on the cross is worship and can be considered “lifting him up”, but
    I first of all consider the meaning of his being “lifted up” as his crucifixion.

    At times I am reminded that there was no rebukes from Jesus when
    he was on the cross, though the greatest injustice was done there.
    There was no greater act of injustice done in the history of the world than at the cross of Christ, but it was here that he bought for me my justification, my healing, and my hope. Here he gave me
    my direction for living.

    There may be times in life when he will give a word that destroys the works of darkness or exposes the evil, but the cross and it’s message of suffering comes first. After we suffer, the gifts of God’s
    grace seem to come.

  52. on 27 Sep 2009 at 10:35 pmXavier

    robert, “…all men are liars but God is the Truth.”

    So your lying to yourself as well?

    You say “there is nothing clear” yet your “faith is secured by whats perfectly clear”???

    Boy, and I thought I was bad… 🙂

  53. on 27 Sep 2009 at 11:00 pmrobert

    “You say “there is nothing clear” yet your “faith is secured by whats perfectly clear”???”

    first thing is I never said there was nothing clear, I HAVE CLEARLY STATED THE WAS A HUGE AMOUNT OF CLEAR.
    I HAVE NO IDEA HOW YOU COULD COME UP WITH ME SAYING THAT.
    so i guess you better continue thinking you are bad.
    I understand what you are trying to do , i have been through this before.
    get your story straight before you accuse me of things i havent said.

    I said use whats clear to try to understand whats unclear instead of assigning a meaning for something you are incapable of understanding to contradict clear truths.

    you have a lot to learn about learning

  54. on 27 Sep 2009 at 11:21 pmrobert

    robert, “…all men are liars but God is the Truth.”

    So your lying to yourself as well?

    Xavier
    there is not a man or woman on this earth who dont lie. that dont mean they lie all the time about everything but most do for their personal gain or praise.

    what purpose would i or anyone have to lie to theirself.
    this isnt even about me, its about the clear truths that are being twisted by mans imagination that they can be as smart as God.

    Are you lying to yourself?
    fair question

  55. on 28 Sep 2009 at 9:39 amXavier

    fair question? then why don’t you answer it?

    I’m sorry buddy but you make no sense to me [anyone disagree?]…

    …adios

  56. on 28 Sep 2009 at 10:35 amrobert

    I will agree that i make no sense to you but its because you personal feelings effect the way you see me.
    the last few post you have taken things purposely out of context omitting full sentences using only parts to quote me.
    I know that i am not very well liked here and have felt it from the beginning and was tagged as an outsider. i was accused and warned over things that were be accepted of other people here. in my defense i became offensive.
    I realize what you are doing right now is to bait me into stepping over the line like i did early in my comming here.
    the truth is Sean had every right to of ban me then but without doing the same to others that would make him a hypocrite.
    Other than that the only crime i have committed here was only holding to clear truths in the scriptures and denying a mans opinion that contradicts that truth. It is beyond my understanding why i would be so disliked for doing this but have come to accept it.

  57. on 28 Sep 2009 at 10:50 amMark C.

    Other than that the only crime i have committed here was only holding to clear truths in the scriptures and denying a mans opinion that contradicts that truth. It is beyond my understanding why i would be so disliked for doing this but have come to accept it.

    I wouldn’t call it a crime, and it’s not a matter of disliking you personally. As for myself, the thing I “dislike” is the attitude with which you present yourself. You proclaim that what you believe is THE TRUTH and any other view that disagrees is “man’s opinion that contradicts that truth.” This is counterproductive to meaningful debate.

    A sweeping general statement such as “that article you refered me to was a bunch of nonsense” is not debate. If you disagree with a premise, then address the specific points and demonstrate FROM SCRIPTURE why they are in error.

  58. on 28 Sep 2009 at 11:07 amrobert

    “A sweeping general statement such as “that article you refered me to was a bunch of nonsense” is not debate. If you disagree with a premise, then address the specific points and demonstrate FROM SCRIPTURE why they are in error.”

    maybe nonsense was a bad word to use. nonscriptual would of described it better. the fact is i presented scripture that showed the error in before i even read it.
    as for John3:13 ,if anyone claims they fully understand and can use it to define clear scriptures , then they are not following some warnings in the scriptures.

    “I wouldn’t call it a crime, and it’s not a matter of disliking you personally. As for myself, the thing I “dislike” is the attitude with which you present yourself. You proclaim that what you believe is THE TRUTH and any other view that disagrees is “man’s opinion that contradicts that truth.” ”

    you might want to take a real good look in the mirror before making statements like this. you might find that we all possess this fault here.

  59. on 28 Sep 2009 at 11:19 amXavier

    robert,

    Playing the victim is not going to get you anywhere pal…

    You just do not seem [or want] to understand what people like Mark C. and others are trying to tell you, since the views of “other men” do not hold any water with your partuclar brand of beliefs.

    Here is a trustwothyaying:

    “Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it…[because] whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” Pro 8.33; 15.32

  60. on 28 Sep 2009 at 11:46 amrobert

    again you posted something i said out of context.
    My beliefs are whats clear throughout the scriptures and are not based on a mans opinion. i seek to prove whats clear not disprove it. i believe there is enough clear scriptures to provide for anyones salvation without a man giving an opinion on something they are incapable of understanding.
    my faith is secure by whats clear in the scriptures but still try to use the clear scriptures to understand whats not clear.

    as i said before “Follow whats clear and Satan has no power over you with his lies. “

  61. on 28 Sep 2009 at 1:11 pmKen

    I suggest that anyone and everyone look at Sean’s comment # 40 and carefully read the blog policy proposal before adding more comments to this thread.

  62. on 28 Sep 2009 at 1:43 pmXavier

    sounds like a threat 😛

  63. on 28 Sep 2009 at 2:09 pmKen

    Xavier,
    I hope I can understand comment #62 as a joke. I do have a sense of humor.
    If it not a joke, that’s O.K. You do not know me, so you have no way of knowing that a “threatening” attitude is the farthest thing from my heart. I read Sean’s “blog policy proposal” a couple of times this morning, prayerfully thinking about how I can be more loving and polite to all. I noticed so much vicious name- calling and blatant rudeness in so many comments (from several people) attached to this article (about the Christian Hope); I hoped a slight intervention to recommend a timely article (blog policy proposal) might serve as a breath of fresh air for anyone caught up in some “mud- slinging” interchanges. I’m sorry that the motive of my reminder (#61) was unclear.

  64. on 28 Sep 2009 at 5:28 pmMark C.

    maybe nonsense was a bad word to use. nonscriptual would of described it better. the fact is i presented scripture that showed the error in before i even read it.

    How can you present a rebuttal to something you haven’t read? As I said in my reply to Sean’s blog policy proposal, “A rebuttal needs to address the specific points in the argument it is rebutting, and demonstrate FROM SCRIPTURE why they are in error.”

    you might want to take a real good look in the mirror before making statements like this. you might find that we all possess this fault here.

    I have never said that what I believed was THE TRUTH and anyone who disagrees with me is following “man’s opinion that contradicts that truth.” I present Scriptural backup to demonstrate why I believe what I do.

  65. on 28 Sep 2009 at 6:46 pmrobert

    “How can you present a rebuttal to something you haven’t read?”

    I read it and alot of other stuff by Mr Buzzard and the article in question was just based on opinion not scriptures even though there was scriptures presented.

    “I have never said that what I believed was THE TRUTH and anyone who disagrees with me is following “man’s opinion that contradicts that truth.” I present Scriptural backup to demonstrate why I believe what I do. ”

    the fact is you do but not as plainly as i do and you cant see it.
    most of what you say is only backed by your opinion because the scriptures you use do not clearly support it. I have no problem with clear scriptures just a problem with assigned meanings based on opinions which is what in the past brought us many false doctrines like the trinity.

    I can admitted my faults ,can you?

  66. on 28 Sep 2009 at 7:36 pmrobert

    “You proclaim that what you believe is THE TRUTH and any other view that disagrees is “man’s opinion that contradicts that truth.” ”

    again not what i said
    i said

    “Other than that the only crime i have committed here was only holding to clear truths in the scriptures and denying a mans opinion that contradicts that truth. It is beyond my understanding why i would be so disliked for doing this but have come to accept it.”

    this speaks nothing about my beliefs, it speaks of clear scriptures be contradicted

  67. on 28 Sep 2009 at 9:01 pmMark C.

    robert,

    You stated in post # 58, “the fact is i presented scripture that showed the error in before i even read it.”

    You now say (in post #65), “I read it and alot of other stuff by Mr Buzzard…”

    So which is it? Did you read the article or not, and did you read it before or after you “presented scripture that showed the error in”? And in any case, you did not directly address specific points in the article which you believe contradict the Scriptures. I would also point out that what Mr. Buzzard has written is beside the point in this particular debate. We are referring to that specific article from the CGOM website to which Georgie referred.

    Further, you stated, “…the article in question was just based on opinion not scriptures even though there was scriptures presented.” Again, this is not debate. You need to address specific points and demonstrate from Scripture why they are in error.

    the fact is you do but not as plainly as i do and you cant see it.
    most of what you say is only backed by your opinion because the scriptures you use do not clearly support it.

    Again, you need to address specific points and demonstrate from Scripture why you believe they are in error. Simply saying “that’s just your opinion” is not sufficient for debate. You must demonstrate (A) why you believe the view expressed by me or whomever else you’re debating is wrong, and (B) why you believe the view you express is correct. And you must do this from the Scripture. Otherwise it’s just opinion against opinion.

    “You proclaim that what you believe is THE TRUTH and any other view that disagrees is “man’s opinion that contradicts that truth.” ”

    again not what i said
    i said

    “Other than that the only crime i have committed here was only holding to clear truths in the scriptures and denying a mans opinion that contradicts that truth. It is beyond my understanding why i would be so disliked for doing this but have come to accept it.”

    this speaks nothing about my beliefs, it speaks of clear scriptures be contradicted

    Actually it speaks volumes about your beliefs. You believe that what you present is The Truth of Scripture. But everybody else here believes what they are saying is the truth too. The difference is that while some here present Scriptural reasons why they believe what they say is the truth, you simply proclaim it and expect everyone else to accept it as true.

    You’ve even stated that many of your beliefs are based on things that God has personally shown you. You have to realize many of us have been through that before, either thinking God showed us something, or being under the teaching of someone who claimed God showed them something. We have seen how easy it is to be mistaken if not deceived in these areas, and the Scriptures warn us of such. That is why we have the written Scriptures – to test the spirits and see if things fit.

    On those few occasions when you have presented Scripture and some one points out an error in your logic or your interpretation, you respond with “that’s your opinion” or “you believe men’s opinions rather than The Truth” as if it were established that your view is The Truth. This is counterproductive to communication and learning. Prove it from Scripture and people will be convinced. And if your goal is not to convince or be convinced, but simply to proclaim your beliefs, and you don’t wish to debate the issues, then why keep posting in a forum like this?

    I pray we can lay these attitudes aside and engage in meaningful, honest exchange of ideas, without accusations or judgments, and with an open mind to seek God’s truth. I refer you again to Sean’s Blog Policy thread for details on how that should be done.

  68. on 28 Sep 2009 at 9:22 pmrobert

    Mark
    the article was brought into the subject after i had already brought clear scriptures that prove the opinions in it where not based on scriptures.
    again get the story straight before you accuse me

    You debate the way you want and i will debate the way i want.
    regular people also debate.

    “Actually it speaks volumes about your beliefs. You believe that what you present is The Truth of Scripture.”

    I hold to clear scriptures that dont need to be interpretated by anyone. and when someone trys to contradict those clear scriptures with opinions not based on scriptures that were i start having problems with them.

    Yes i have opinions but someone not accepting them is not what bothers me, its when they contradict the clear scriptures to back their opinion.

    as i said look into the mirror before you accuse

  69. on 28 Sep 2009 at 9:54 pmMark C.

    robert,

    It is not “the way I want to debate.” It is how debate is done, otherwise it’s not debate. This was covered in Sean’s Blog Policy. I’m not the only one who has pointed out these things to you, and you have interpreted the pointing out of your errors as people not liking you. Since you don’t want to engage in real discussion, and don’t seem to recognize the difference between what’s clear and what’s opinion and/or interpretation, and have to fall back on things like “look into the mirror before you accuse,” I have to wonder why you want to continue posting here. With those attitudes there is nothing more that can be said that would be profitable or godly. Continuing to proclaim your beliefs with no intention of debating them is simply hijacking and derailing a thread, which is not good etiquette in a forum, not to mention unloving and unchristian. I again refer you to Sean’s Blog Policy.

  70. on 28 Sep 2009 at 10:03 pmXavier

    Ken,

    I was being flippant 🙂

  71. on 28 Sep 2009 at 10:06 pmrobert

    “Since you don’t want to engage in real discussion, and don’t seem to recognize the difference between what’s clear and what’s opinion and/or interpretation”

    this is the arrogant attitude that causes our problems.

    Clear scriptures are clear scriptures and has nothing to do with opinions or interpretations. you or noboby here can change Gods words to fit their own ego and claim to be one of Gods.

    I only use clear scriptures to base my belief on unlike some who choose to interpret scriptures that could mean several differnt things to contradict perfectly clear scriptures.

    “Follow whats clear and Satan has no power over you with his lies. “

  72. on 28 Sep 2009 at 11:41 pmBrian

    Robert and Mark

    Please stop!

  73. on 28 Sep 2009 at 11:52 pmrobert

    I didnt ask to be attacked but i will just ignore him for now on.
    sorry Brian
    he has my email if he wants to attack me more

  74. on 29 Sep 2009 at 3:24 amMark C.

    Brian,

    I apologize for contributing to the derailment of this thread. I regret getting drawn into the foray again.

    For the record, it was not my intent to attack, but to correct, pursuant to Sean’s guidelines in his Blog Policy:

    1. Identify the inappropriate behavior (cite their exact words if possible) and gently correct the person with Scripture

    Unfortunately, what I suggested as a way to debate in a civil, Christian manner was rejected, so I will not pursue any further debate.

  75. on 29 Sep 2009 at 9:59 amrobert

    Back to the question at hand

    “I also agree that Jesus has not yet returned, to resurrect the dead. However, there is one resurrection-related item that I have always been rather puzzled about. That item refers to the resurrection that occurred, immediately after Jesus’ death. The event is listed in Matthew 27:50-53:”

    Brian
    here is a view on your question i just found.
    i wish there was more clear on this but it does make sense

    http://www.escapeallthesethings.com/24-elders-revelation-heaven.htm

  76. on 29 Sep 2009 at 10:21 amKen

    Xavier,
    Thanks. Thanks also for the reference to the Elijah/ Enoch article in comment #43. It is an excellent study.

  77. on 29 Sep 2009 at 10:40 amXavier

    Ken,

    Yeah I think the Elijah/Enoch article is one of the best explanations regarding this difficult theme…not to say that there might be other good ones floating around somewhere.

    Ultimately, though, we just do not have enough scriptural evidence to make a solid, defining answer:

    “[Gen] 5:21–24. God took Enoch. Seventh in the line, Enoch was the most outstanding individual in the line of Seth. As a result of walking with God (a phrase expressing piety) he was “taken”—an alternative to dying, the stated fate of all the others in the genealogy. The text does not say where he was taken, a possible indication that the author did not profess to know. We can properly assume that he was believed to have been taken to a better place, for this fate was seen as a reward for his close relationship to God, but the text stops short of saying he went to heaven or to be with God…

    Jewish writings after the time of the Old Testament offer extensive speculation about Enoch and portray him as an ancient source of revelation and apocalyptic visions (1, 2 and 3 Enoch).” Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary : Old Testament (electronic ed.) (Ge 5:32). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

  78. on 29 Sep 2009 at 10:59 amXavier

    Ken,

    Found this other interesting quote regarding Heb 11.5, where it includes Enoch in the list of people who lived by faith “when they died”:

    “Reacting against this consensus, many rabbis eventually interpreted “God took him” as “God killed him” so he could die in a righteous state, since (they claimed) he alternated betweeen righteous and unrighteous behavior.

    The writer of Hebrews follows the most common Jewish interpretation, which was also the most natural interpretation of Genesis 5:21–24: God took Enoch alive to heaven, because he “walked with him”—i.e., was pleasing to him. Like some writers (such as Pseudo-Philo), the writer of Hebrews follows the biblical account exactly, omitting later elaborations.” Keener, C. S., & InterVarsity Press. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary : New Testament (Heb 11:5). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

  79. on 29 Sep 2009 at 11:35 amJohn734

    After reading the comments left over the past few days I would like to offer these comments…
    Although there seems to be allot of tension in these posts I recognize that its because people are passionate about what they believe and hold to be true and want to vigorously defend their point.

    I am at this time reminded of that truth in proverbs “a soft answer turneth away wrath”

    Robert – you seem to be the main target of contention and please allow me to offer these thoughts based on an overall perspective of the comments made thus far.
    I repeatedly see references to holding fast to the clear verses and using them as the standard for truth and not letting unclear verses override the message of the clear verse.
    Would that be a true statement so far?

    We are directed in 2 Tim 2:15 to rightly divide the word of truth, with 66 books in the Bible and 1000’s of verses written many, many years ago in languages that for most of us are very foreign this is no easy task.

    Your approach to rightly dividing the scriptures strikes me as being very singular, what I mean by that is you seem to read a verse or a phrase within a verse that is very clear and from that you draw a line in the sand. “This is truth”. Yet I’m sure we all agree that to understand any subject within scripture we need to look at all accounts that refer to that subject. All scripture is divinely inspired (2 Tim 3:16) ALL verses are true. We just have to sort them out (again not an easy task) we have clear verse and unclear verse but to arrive at the fullness of truth we have to evaluate them all. The Bible gives us the full scope of Gods word when we study words or individual verses ultimately they all have to fit within the context defined by the whole of scripture. So even a verse that is very plain still has to be evaluated from the context of all scripture because ALL scripture is true even the unclear verses.

    There is more I would like to say but time does not permit right now but I encourage you to stand back and take a look at the big picture sometime the bible is like a jigsaw puzzle we need to see the whole picture to see where a particular piece fits. Sorry I have no scripture reference for that  but I hope you get the idea.

    Paul prayed that the believers would grow in their spiritual understanding. This stuff takes time and it takes a meek heart and it also takes the spirit of God working within us to reveal himself to us which he will only do if we are meek in the first place. So please be patient with yourself and others.

    You are a brother in Christ and no one is here to judge or condem you I only hope that what I have shared means something to you and that you will take a pause and think about it.

    In His love
    John

  80. on 29 Sep 2009 at 12:24 pmKen

    Xavier,
    Thanks for the info. and quotes.
    It seems that Hebrew thinking in clear Biblical terms about death and resurrection took time to develop, and as it did, other influences about life and death entered the Jewish thought world. I think of the implications of the disciples of Jesus asking if a man was born blind due to his own sins or the sins of his parents (John 9:2.)

  81. on 29 Sep 2009 at 12:31 pmrobert

    John
    thank you for your comment.
    My biggest fault is writing things thinking just because i understand it the way i wrote it that others understand it.
    this shows in your comment because when i say i only hold to whats clear and uninterpretable doesnt mean i refuse other things. what i am saying is i try not to assign meanings to things that are not clearly stated that contradict the clear things. when a certain verse or verses can be read by 10 people and all 10 assign different meanings for it but only one or probably none have it right. through out history many people have died over this very practice and several divisions of christians have appeared. this did not happen because of clear verses it happened because most of the clear verses were pushed aside by assigned meanings of very unclear verses. we see this in the doctrine of the trinity and several other false doctrines. some of these very unclear verses do not have the context for their understanding. i do not believe that God would hide things that are necessary for our salvation and do believe there is enough very clear that provides the knowledge for our salvation.

  82. on 29 Sep 2009 at 1:33 pmrobert

    Revelation 4:4
    Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders.

    The twenty-four courses of priests with 24 elders of them serving in the earthly Temple were just shadows of the twenty-four priests who minister in the heavenly sanctuary and are the Saints that were raised after Jesus was raised and Jesus took them with Him to the Heavenly Temple that He is the High Priest over.

    sometimes we forget that shadows are cast from Greater things in Gods plan

    1 Chronicles 24:1-4
    Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office. 3 And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service. 4 And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers.

    Hebrews 8
    Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2 A minister of the sanctuary, [1] and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. 3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer. 4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: 5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

  83. on 01 Oct 2009 at 4:58 amJaco

    I’m glad that this tread can return to its original topic. The humility in accepting one’s own shortcomings and admitting it is truly admirable.

    In the book, The Doctrine of the Trinity: Christianity’s Self-Inflicted Wound, pages 205, 206, there is a refreshing correction on John 3:13 which, thus, needn’t be applied to Jesus’ origin and destiny. It’s found on http://www.focusonthekingdom.org:

    There is an easier explanation of Jesus’ ascent into heaven, based on biblical precedent and Jewish ways of speaking. “No one has ascended to heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven” is a figurative description of Jesus’ unique perception of God’s saving plan. Jesus possesses a unique understanding of the secrets of the universe which he now reveals to all who will listen. The phrase “who is in heaven,” which appears in some Greek as well as Latin and Syriac manuscripts, indicates that Jesus, while living on earth, was at the same time also “in heaven” in constant communion with his Father on whom he depended for everything. As the bridge between heaven and earth he claimed to have unique access to divine information. A similar status applies later to all believers whom Paul describes as “seated in heavenly places” (Eph. 2:6).
    Jesus’ “ascent to heaven” during his ministry points then to his intimate fellowship with his Father. As Son he resides “in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18). The context of John 3:13 shows Jesus in conversation with Nicodemus about the secrets of immortality. Jesus is “talking about what we know” (John 3:11). In contrast to Nicodemus’ unfamiliarity with the keys to entering the Kingdom and the necessity of being born again, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, we are testifying to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony” (John 3:11). Jesus doubts Nicodemus’ capacity to receive “heavenly things.” It is these heavenly secrets which Jesus is able to reveal because he “has ascended to heaven” and “is in heaven.” In Proverbs 30:3, 4 the words of Agur contain a similar reference to ascension to heaven. The object of such an “ascent” is to gain understanding and divine revelation. “Surely I am more stupid than any man. I do not have the understanding of a man. Neither have I learned wisdom. Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One. Who has ascended to heaven and come down?” Similarly, Baruch 3:29 asks: “Who has gone up to heaven and obtained her [Wisdom] and brought her down from the clouds?” (cp. Deut. 30:12)

    Regards,

    Jaco

  84. on 01 Oct 2009 at 9:04 amXavier

    hey Jaco Anthony has a new blogspot

    http://focusonthekingdom.blogspot.com/

  85. on 01 Oct 2009 at 9:48 amWolfgang

    Hi

    thanks for the link to Anthony’s blog … in one of his blog posts, he writes

    here is a reason why God has given us three parallel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke) of Jesus’ version of the Gospel. And that Gospel centers on the Kingdom of God as its fundamental and principal topic.

    Indeed, we read in the gospel accounts about Jesus rather frequently speaking about “the reign of God” /” reign of heaven”.

    Now, from reading those gospel accounts, I noticed that in a number of places the coming of this “reign (kingdom) of God” is said to be imminent, expressed in such words as “at hand”.

    Furthermore, NOWHERE in those gospel accounts did I notice that Jesus ever pointed to the reign of God being political in nature, or having to do with an “earthly” nation of Israel … this may have been the idea which many Jews at the time had about the kingdom, and it seems that this is the idea which many Christians have come to re-adopt over the last few decades as their Christian hope.

    Why should we think that this idea of the kingdom of God as a political earthly nation with Jesus as a political ruler is correct now, when it was obviously a wrong idea of those Jews then (reflecting a wrong understanding of the OT scriptures concerning it)?

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

    PS: For those wanting to accuse me perhaps of hijacking this thread because I again point out things of a different understanding which seems rather unpopular and unwanted here on this blog .. .may I point out that I did not just point out “so and so is wrong”, but I have asked specific questions concering records in the gospels with Jesus’ teaching concerning the reign of God. I hope that some folks will have a detailed answer to some of the questions I ask above … which in turn would be helpful for further learning of all

  86. on 01 Oct 2009 at 9:50 amrobert

    13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

    Since this speaks of being Born of a Spiritual Body which is probably the context of it.
    Before we are born in our earthly Body what makes our body exist in the dirt of the earth. This is being born in the flesh.
    Now when we are born of the Spirit what makes our Spiritual body has to come down from God which is in heaven, so what our spiritual body is made of is in a sense spiritual dirt
    so that would mean that a fleshy body can not ascend to heaven only our spiritual body which comes down from God.
    and Jesus claims no exception to this process.

    just one way to look at it but the context is still unclear.

    we also know that some will be changed without seeing death but that dont mean we can enter the Temple and stand in the presence of God without the Lamb of God and High Priest mediating between Us and God.The Temple of God exist at this present time IN Heaven and is Not the whole Spiritual Heaven.

  87. on 01 Oct 2009 at 10:42 amMark C.

    PS: For those wanting to accuse me perhaps of hijacking this thread because I again point out things of a different understanding which seems rather unpopular and unwanted here on this blog .. .may I point out that I did not just point out “so and so is wrong”, but I have asked specific questions concering records in the gospels with Jesus’ teaching concerning the reign of God. I hope that some folks will have a detailed answer to some of the questions I ask above … which in turn would be helpful for further learning of all

    You have asked these questions before, and several here have given detailed answers with Scripture references, which you have simply disagreed with.

    By way of brief review, there are many detailed prophecies in the OT, from the promise of land to Abraham and the promise to David that his descendant would sit on his throne in an unending reign, to the multitude of references in the Prophets to Israel being restored to their land and the whole world being ruled by the coming Messiah in a literal, political Kingdom on earth. You can see references to these in the OT Foundation section of my web site, here.

    It was not just the Jews at the time of Jesus that held these beliefs. Many extra-biblical writings show that Jews understood the Prophets this way for hundreds of years. And even if it were just those in Jesus’ day, nowhere does he correct them, but proclaims that the King they looked forward to had come, and the Kingdom was near. (See The Kingdom is Near.) He never denied the OT concept of a literal Kingdom on earth. He only added details about the need for the King to die first, and about the interim period that would happen prior to setting up the Kingdom. (See Kingdom Mysteries and the other articles in the Kingdom Come section.)

    There is so much throughout the Bible about the Kingdom on earth that to try to deal with it all would detract from the thread. If you really want to learn, there is plenty of information on the Kingdom page of Sean’s site, on Anthony’s site, and on many others that are linked from them. But Sean and others including myself have dealt with this at length with you, yet you choose to believe otherwise. That is your choice, but please don’t keep bating arguments with claims that the Bible doesn’t present a Kingdom on earth.

  88. on 01 Oct 2009 at 6:56 pmGeorgie

    Hello Robert you asked how I understood John 3 13.

    I understand it this way.

    Jesus at the time of speaking it was here on earth (as he did not ascend into heaven until Acts 1) the following verse (14) is speaking of his ascension. I would deduct by putting the two verses together that he was stating a truth and continued by foretelling a future event, just as he foretold Peter he would deny him and just as he said he would rise from the dead and just as he told of the coming comforter and also the signs of the end of the age.

    John 3: 13, 14 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

    One thing is still very clear, at that point in time no man had ascended into heaven. As this was some years after Enoch and Elijah we can be sure of one place they are not and that is heaven.

  89. on 01 Oct 2009 at 8:24 pmRay

    In regards to what you are saying in #83, Jaco, I read a teaching about Jacob’s ladder comparing Jesus to that ladder that reached to heaven and had angels (messengers) going up and down. Many
    ascend or fall because of Jesus, and if a messenger climbs up the ladder, he should come down with a message from heaven.

    Jesus was no doubt ascending and decending this ladder which Jacob saw for he is the Son of God. He is the Word of God. God’s messengers use the word of God in their going up, or going higher.
    Jesus always used the word. That’s who he is.

    None of us can climb that ladder without Christ. If we try we will fall. But with Christ who has given us of his spirit, we may climb.
    We are with him in our ascent and it’s he who keeps us on the rungs as we are subject to the spirit of God and the word we receive.

    Those who ascend and decend that ladder are a part of Christ.
    They’ve made a connection with him in so doing. There’s a joining
    together in that experience.

    John 8:38
    For I came down from heaven…. (This reminds me of his being born of God as he came into the womb of Mary. If I think of God as being pictured as a cloud, and that cloud dividing a portion into Mary, I think of this as a ‘being born of God’ experience.)

    John 8:62
    What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was
    before? (This reminds me of the day of Ascention.)

  90. on 01 Oct 2009 at 8:37 pmrobert

    Since the whole subject is about being born again and Jesus was explaining to Nicodemus that being born again was receiving a spiritual body from God in heaven and without this spiritual body than no man can ascend to heaven not even Jesus.

    this verse 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: does speak of Jesus ascending on 1st day of the week after his resurrection.In John 20 we see he hasnt ascended and couldnt be touched
    17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
    8 days later we see in John 20 that Thomas was able to touch Him
    27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

    Then in Matthew 28 we see a little later on the First day he was able to be touched.

    9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

    this was his first ascension of many. where did you think He was when He wasnt with the Disciples.

    Acts 1 was after he finished His Teachings to the Disciples

  91. on 01 Oct 2009 at 9:09 pmGeorgie

    Hello Wolfgang,

    After all that the disciples had been taught during the life of Christ and for the 40 days after he had risen from the dead, I would think they had a pretty good idea of what the Kingdom of God was.

    Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

    Luke 9: 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

    So we can assume that they had a pretty good understanding as he told them that “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God” also I would hardly think he would send them out to preach the Kingdom if they did not know what it was.

    Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

    Just before Christ’s ascension, he tells them to go and wait for the promise and what do they ask in Acts 1:6? “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” It was about ruler ship and they wanted to know if it would happen when they received the holy spirit.

    He did not tell them they had asked the wrong question (they understood the mysteries of the kingdom), he just told them that the timing was God’s business.

    Also remember that at the time of Acts 1 they only knew of the hope of Israel. It was later that it was revealed that the Gentiles would be fellow heirs and that hope was opened up to the whole world.

    In Rev 11:15 After the last trumpet sounds and when Christ returns then. The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

    Again it indicates ruler ship and ruler ship over the world. (the world, the universe, the earth the inhabitants of the earth, men, arrangement or constitution, order, government.)

    Back in Daniel it is talking about the end times which are the end of this age, after all the wickedness and the harm that will be done by that one who is usually referred to as the anti-christ. All his power and dominion will be taken away.

    Dan 7: 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

    There is the Kingdom of God, spoken of in a sense of dominion, obedience and service. You use the word political (but politics is such a dirty word) the scriptures better defines it by saying dominion.

    Just as Adam had dominion over the earth, so will Jesus Christ at his return.

    As for the term ‘at hand’. Doesn’t that just mean nearer? And it is nearer than before. God knew that before the Kingdom could come man would have to be redeemed, there were things that only Jesus could do to bring those things to pass and now we wait with patience. Also at the end of the day it is not to far off for any of us, as we have our 70 years or so to live and then once we die the next moment will be the return.

  92. on 01 Oct 2009 at 10:07 pmGeorgie

    Yes Robert, the risen Christ must have ascended after he was risen, because he said I have not yet ascended and afterward things changed and they were able to touch him. He also descended according to 1 Peter 3:19, 20 and Eph 4: 9,10, but the day of his witnessed ascension was recorded in Acts 1. In John 3:14 likening it to the lifting up of the serpent by Moses makes it an event that was witnessed.

    The event in Acts 1 is always referred to as The Day of Ascension. As far as I know there are no other records of him being seen to ascend.

    Maybe to make it clearer to you I should have said witnessed or public ascension.

  93. on 01 Oct 2009 at 10:28 pmrobert

    Yes
    that would of helped but it was the first ascension where He received His power and glory. everytime he decended from that point those he saw him saw him come in all His Glory and Power explainig what He told is Disciples that some would not see death before and of course we know one did see death(judas).
    Now there will be a time when we all will see Him coming in all His Glory and Power whether we be Dead or Not which wasnt in 70AD.
    Acts 1 was a farewell ascension when He was done teaching

  94. on 02 Oct 2009 at 4:59 amJaco

    Thank you, Robert and Ray for your replies.

    What I understand being born-again to mean is the way Peter refers to it elsewhere:

    1 Pet. 1:3: “…for according to his abundant grace he gave us a new birth to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
    1 Pet. 1:23: “For you have been given a new birth, not by perishable, but by imperishable seed, through the word of the living and enduring God.”

    Jesus had not received his glorious body yet. That he received at his resurrection. It serves as a guarantee that we will also receive a glorious body when we are resurrected. Thus, his resurrection is a guarantee for ours as well (Acts 17:31, 1 Cor 15). That guarantee can be experienced now by being born again. In my mind it fits in perfectly with John’s eschatological reality, where we proleptically live as if we have attained to resurrected life in the age to come.

    As regards the context, Jesus had not ascended to heaven yet. If that is Jesus’ own words, understanding it literally would be an anachronism. The preceding context nicely prepares Jesus for his statement in v. 13. He first challenges Nicodemus’ office of teacher, apparently testifying to his wisdom and knowledge, (v. 10) Jesus expresses his concern for Nicodemus’ and others’ difficulty in understanding “heavenly things” (v. 12), and above all, have neither Nicodemus, nor any of his fellow teachers had access to the wisdom of God which Jesus did, for he was the one who metaphorically ascended to heaven (gained heavenly wisdom) and truly so, since he was not an impostor; he was predestined to come (he descended from heaven.) Their putting faith in his teachings, including the necessity to be born-again, would mean everlasting life, since everlasting life is based on His being crucified and resurrected, comparable to the copper serpent event of centuries earlier. Without faith none of these subsequent blessings would be attained.

    That makes perfect sense to me, and I agree with Anthony Buzzard and others on this.

    I would like to say something with regards to your statement:

    [S]o that would mean that a fleshy body can not ascend to heaven only our spiritual body which comes down from God.
    [A]nd Jesus claims no exception to this process.

    I agree with what that statement implies. Since no exception exists, not even Enoch and Elijah can be those exceptions. Jesus Christ is truly the firstborn in all things, also in his resurrection and ascension into heaven.

    Ray, the reference you give to the heavenly ladder and the angels’ ascending and descending along it is interesting. I know that the JWs tend to spiritualise Old Testament events (not to associate you with them). I prefer NT hints to OT shadows, since that will help interpret the rest of Scripture more accurately. I cannot, for instance, see how Jesus Christ, who came to be born as God’s Son, be either the ladder or one of the angels ascending and descending at that event. The way I understand it he only became a “channel” to God after his appearance on earth (John 1:14, 18, Heb. 1:1-4). I still appreciate your understanding of it.

    Much love and blessings,

    Jaco

  95. on 02 Oct 2009 at 11:02 amrobert

    “I agree with what that statement implies. Since no exception exists, not even Enoch and Elijah can be those exceptions. Jesus Christ is truly the firstborn in all things, also in his resurrection and ascension into heaven.”

    There is nothing in this statement that says there was an exception when God took both Enoch and Elijah to Heaven without seeing death. With both they received spiritual bodies and lived in the heavens but still needed to be washed of their sins before they could enter the Throne of God which exist in Heaven. Where God kept them is not known but to say they didnt go to heaven would be to contradict what God says in the scriptures.
    “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death”
    this statement plainly says that Enoch would Never see death and makes the statement later of “These all died in faith, not having received the promises” impossible to apply to Enoch.

    as we see in 2 Kings 2:1 there was a plan for God to take Elijah into Heaven not just a statement that he was taken into Heaven, If Elijah was just being moved to another location on this earth it would of stated that. some people claim because a letter came from Elijah that means he was still alive upon this earth. they like the translation of it being letter when it should be writing but a letter still could of been wrote before Elijah went into Heaven or even could of been inspired to be written while he was in Heaven. Them being taken into Heaven does not change the fact that Jesus was the First begotten of the dead and no man could stand in the presence of God without having been washed first of their sins and without a High priest mediating between them in God. When Jesus ascended to his God the day after his resurection and took the Saints that rose from their death, Enoch and Elijah were also able then to enter the Temple along with the Saints because Jesus washed them all of there sins and they were all giving white robes and gold crowns and were called to duty with Jesus in the Temple which was the pattern the earthly Temple which God gave Moses a vision of in the Mount. All things in the Temple in Israel were just shadows of this heavenly Temple and Temple order.

    so your right there was no exceptions for any man even Elijah and Enoch

    Genesis 5:24
    And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him

    Hebrews 11:5
    By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

    2 Kings 2:1
    And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

    2 Kings 2:11
    And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

  96. on 02 Oct 2009 at 11:23 amJohn734

    Hi Wolfgang

    In response to your comments on the Kingdom being an earthly dwelling.

    Since I came to learn about the Kingdom of God/Heaven (synonyms for the same thing) the fact that the location of this Kingdom would be on earth was never a question that I had to wrestle with.

    What I did have to wrestle with for a while were references to the Kingdom that did not point to an earthly physical kingdom.

    So from that point of view I can understand that not everything seems black and white.

    For now I’ll just share a couple of things.
    Some of the promises made in the Old Testament of the coming Messiah show that he will be a ruler on the earth

    Isaiah 9:6-7 ( KJV ) 6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

    Verse 7 says “the increase of his government” A government provides the political ruler ship of a nation.
    “He will sit upon the throne of David” – who was the King of Israel – a physical nation.
    “He will establish it with justice and judgment from henceforth and for ever.” From the time Christ takes over as King of Kings and Lord of Lords he will start to establish Godly justice and judgment because its not here now but from that time forward it will be under his rule. Heaven is already under God Almighty’s rule and there is no injustice in heaven.

    Another prophecy of Christ

    Micah 5:2 ( KJV ) 2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

    Out of Bethlehem will come a ruler in Israel. Strongs defines this word ruler as:
    to rule:—(have, make to have) dominion, governor, X indeed, reign, (bear, cause to, have) rule (-ing, -r), have power.

    When the wise men went to King Herod regarding the birth of the King he enquired of the scribes where Christ should be born they quote this verse from Micah and it is there translated Governor.
    In the USA a Governor is the head of a federal state. There in no one higher up the chain of command than the governor. A Governor rules over the people within the borders of the land he has control over.

    Again we see a very physical political ruler ship of Christ.

    Psalm 2
    This psalm gives us a very graphic illustration that the Messiah’s rule will be here on earth.
    2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

    The Kings of the earth are not going to try and do battle against a King whose kingdom is in heaven. That would be nonsensical

    8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
    “Uttermost parts of the earth” is that not self explanatory?

    10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
    11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
    12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

    The psalmist instructs these kings of the earth to be wise, and subject themselves under the authority of the Son. The Son is himself Gods representative here on earth.

    These Old Testament prophesies concerning our Lord did not fully come to pass in life of Jesus, yet they will come to pass when he returns as King of Kings.
    Gods viewpoint often cover a far greater time period than ours does. He sees events across all time even when there are 1000’s years between events that are reported in 1 single verse. For example Isaiah 61:2 Jesus stopped half way through the verse, because the second half of this verse is still future.

    Wolfgang you may or may not accept what I have shared in these verses but to me their truth is plainly evident. Yes there are other verses that can lead one to ask other questions but time does not permit right now. So these are my thoughts for now I would be happy to continue this discussion later if you like.

    Cheers
    John

  97. on 02 Oct 2009 at 11:43 amSean

    Wolfgang,

    You may also like to reread the splendid series of posts Brian Keating has been doing on a weekly basis since they clearly and biblically lay out the doctrine of the kingdom as being both on earth and political (that is, God’s in charge…hence the term “kingdom of God”).

  98. on 02 Oct 2009 at 12:43 pmWolfgang

    Dear John,

    thanks for your thoughts on understanding various OT scriptures.

    In my earlier post, I was making reference to what the gospel records, and in particular those records where we read Jesus’ own teaching about the reign of God / reign of heaven, reveal.

    As far as I can read Jesus’ teaching concerning the reign of God / reign of heaven, I simply do NOT see him interpreting the OT prophecies concerning the reign of God as being a political reign over an earthly state or country. Nor do I read that Jesus taught that this reign of God / reign of heaven was thousands of years in the future, but rather I read that Jesus clearly taught that it was “at hand”, etc.

    This leads me to think that the Lord’s understanding of the reign of God/ reign of heaven (obviously including his understanding and interpretation of the OT prophecies concerning it) were different from what I hear many Christians today proclaim (the reign of God is an earthly kingdom, with Christ as a political ruler).

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  99. on 02 Oct 2009 at 1:07 pmWolfgang

    Hi Sean,

    thank you for pointing out Brian’s various posts.

    Please note my above 2 posts where I have asked or mentioned my observations concerning the gospel records and Jesus’ own teaching concerning the reign of God/ reign of heaven.

    It doesn’t much help, when folks point to OT scriptures and how they understand and interpret those scriptures when such understanding and interpretation appears to be different from what the Lord himself taught. As I also pointed out in the past, that understanding of the Messiah as being a political ruler over an earthly kingdom seems to be what the Jewish leadership in Jesus’ time had in mind, but which was obviously incorrect, since Jesus did NOT at all “fit” the picture of the Messiah which they had arrived at from their understanding and interpretation of the OT scriptures.

    I would have expected and loved to see replies to my posts which would have dealt with those records and the points I mentioned and questions I asked. Unfortunately, thus far the replies have only been “repeats” of former claims stating that the OT Scriptures say that the kingdom of God is an earthly political kingdom still in the future even now, with mention on how folks come to understand it that way.

    IF such understanding and interpretation of those OT scriptures regarding the reign of God / reign of heaven were correct, then Jesus (as well as John the baptist, who is mentioned in the gospel records as preaching the reign of God) obviously would not be correct …both in their timing (“repent folks, for the reign of God is AT HAND!”) as well as in the fact that Jesus displayed no intention at all nor ever mentioned anything about politically liberating the nation of Israel, re-establishing the nation of Israel, or becoming the political king of the nation of Israel ….

    It actually seems that this particular understanding and interpretation of the OT Scriptures about the Messiah and his reign was a major point in the Jewish leadership in Christ’s day hardening their hearts in regards to the Messiah Jesus, finally leading to them having him crucified. Even 40 years later, they were still expecting a political leader / liberator who would free them from the Roman rule and siege, etc … and such thinking was instrumental on their road to final destruction.

    Cheers,
    Wolfgang

  100. on 02 Oct 2009 at 2:14 pmrobert

    Wolfgang

    Rev 20And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

    first thing is satan is active right now amongst and in this verse it says “deceive the nations no more , till the thousand years should be fulfilled.
    Nowhere in history has this applied yet and we can see it had to happen before satan could be loosed a little season

    4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

    This verse shows a reign of which Jesus would be King of Kings ruling over other kings of the nations on earth. Reigning means governing them who govern the nation of the earth. I see nowhere in history where every nation on this earth was subject to one supreme King.

    7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

    This speaks of satan deceiving many nations on the earth after he had been not deceiving for a 1000 years
    gathering the Nations to battle against the Saints on earth and against the beloved city in which Jesus physically reigns from here on earth.
    I also fail to see in history the beloved city with the King of Kings being threatened by an army gathered together by satan and being totally devoured by fire that came down from God out of Heaven.

    plus in 70AD the wrath was not against Babylon , it was against Godly people and was limited to a small area of the whole earth.

    the problem with thinking this has already come is failing to see the destruction of the city in 70Ad was necessary for the blessing to reach the 4 corners of the earth. the destruction of the Temple happened at Jesus’s death and was just a building and served no puropse in Godly matters after that till it was disassembled.
    the other points you have made i fail to see how anyone could show you more just how wrong you are because there has been posted hundred’s of times the answers to your points. so posting them again make no sense and a big waste of time. it is just too clear that what you believe is false.

  101. on 02 Oct 2009 at 5:54 pmMark C.

    Wolfgang,

    First of all it’s important to understand that the OT Scriptures are what laid the foundation for the understanding of what the Kingdom of God is. Jesus didn’t have to reteach the Jews of his audience what it meant, because they already knew. You keep saying there is no place where Jesus presents the Kingdom as an earthly one, but in fact every time he uses a phrase from the OT he’s referring to the concept, such as the phrase “Kingdom of God” itself and his titles of “Son of Man” and “Son of God” as well as “Messiah.”

    There are also several prophetic utterances in the Gospels which set the stage for recognizing Jesus as the promised King, and quite a few places where Jesus teaches his disciples about the Kingdom. I referred to the articles on my web site in post #87 (which you may have missed because it didn’t show up till today, as posts with links in them seem to need moderation before they show up). I have dealt at length in those articles with the Gospel records and how they present the Kingdom as a future earthly Kingdom. I hope you will take the time to read them and give them fair consideration.

  102. on 02 Oct 2009 at 7:14 pmGeorgie

    Wolfgang,

    Jesus said to his disciples that they would understand the mysteries of the Kingdom Of God.

    Luke 8:10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
    Luke 9: 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

    They were sent to preach about it so must have had a good grasp of the facts. Jesus spent his time with them teaching them about the Kingdom Of God, he even spent the 40 days after his resurrection teaching them about the Kingdom Of God. (Acts 1:3)

    Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

    This is the last question the disciples asked their Lord and did he correct them because they had asked a stupid or impertinent question? No he just told them the time was for God to know.

    God thinks this record is important enough to put in His Bible. Do you think it is there to show their stupidity, were they as dumb as dirt? Or do you think it is there to show that they understood what the Kingdom was about?

    They were to wait for the holy spirit to come. These were the men who were to lead the church.

    1 Tim 6:14,15 That thou keep [this] commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
    Which in his times he shall shew, [who is] the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

    In Rev 11:15 After the last trumpet sounds and when Christ returns then. The kingdoms of this world are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

    It indicates ruler ship and ruler ship over the world. – The world, the universe, the earth the inhabitants of the earth, men, arrangement or constitution, order, government.

    And as far as I know the books of Timothy and Revelation have not been moved to the Old Testament.

    When John the Baptist started to preach the Kingdom of God and Jesus followed preaching the same message. I have not seen a record of anyone asking what the heck they were talking about.

    Jesus said Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets ( Luke 13:28) would be in the Kingdom so they knew, understood and accepted the promise of the Kingdom and will be there when it comes about. I hope you agree that at this point in time they are dead and awaiting the return of Christ.

    Jesus said Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.
    He also said Mar 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

    So those mentioned in Luke 13:28 must have understood the Kingdom concept and received it with meekness and where did their information come from? Yes God and OT scripture. They didn’t have the benefit of having the gospels to hand. So the OT must contain information that we too can put to good use in helping with our Kingdom understanding.

    All scripture is given by inspiration of God. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy spirit. The OT is not full of their misunderstanding of the Kingdom.

    I have seen many of your post here disagreeing with the Kingdom understanding. You never give an alternative doctrine. You always just seem to pose questions, which others try to answer for you.

    One last thing I will say is that is that Jesus said in Luke 8 Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

    Some see but don’t see and hear but don’t understand. So you either get it or you don’t. It does not take a great mind to comprehend the Kingdom gospel, it takes meekness, like that of a little child.

    Cheers,
    Georgie

  103. on 02 Oct 2009 at 8:30 pmMark C.

    I am starting a series about the NT presentation of the Kingdom, taken from my website. Feel free to check it out.

  104. on 04 Oct 2009 at 12:28 pmRay

    When the Lord’s disciples asked him if he would at that time restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6) I wonder what they were
    thinking.

    I wonder if they were thinking that the kingdom system would be restored to Israel. Apparently their kingdom system under Herod
    was found to be quite worldly, being something that was not much
    of a blessing to Israel.

    The time will come when all the world’s systems will be subdued by
    the Lord.

    Psalm 8:6
    Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands;
    thou hast put all things under his feet:

    Hebrews 2:8
    Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

    Rev 5:10
    And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

    Rev 12:10
    And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his
    Christ: for the accuser of our brrethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

    We see some of the power of the kingdom in part. It has come to this earth and more of it is in coming.

    Habakkuk 2:3
    For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely
    come, it will not tarry.

  105. on 07 Oct 2009 at 10:27 amJaco

    Robert, thank you for your reply.

    As with any other teaching in Scripture, sound hermeneutics requires us to use the direct statements and confessions as bases to interpret the less-clear or partially-explained texts. If we go about the other way around, we could end up with all kinds of teachings, claiming them to be Scriptural. (Doing it this way I can prove that Zoroastrian fire-worship is sanctioned in the Bible…but, as I said, it’s the wrong way around.)

    In Scripture we find parenthetic and confessional statements, such as,

    “David has not ascended into heaven” (Acts 2:29, 34)
    Christ was “the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20)
    “[A]fterwards, at his coming again, those who belong to Christ” (1 Cor. 15:23)
    Jesus was the “firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18)
    In the mean time those faithful dead are asleep in Christ. (1 Thess. 4:14, 2 Pet. 3:4)

    From a Jewish standpoint, worshippers of Yahweh had always clung to the belief that the dead are dead. They are in the state comparable to what Adam was before he was created – dust. Death is the return to that state.

    The dead are unconscious (Ps. 6:5, Eccl. 9:5, 10, Isa 38:18, 19)
    At death, their thoughts and plans perish with them (Ps. 146:3, 4)
    Well-proven by Jesus’ own references to death, as in the case of Lazarus (Joh. 11:11-14, 23-25)

    This was the Hebrew world-view. It was their reality. Anything beyond that was viewed with serious suspicion, as spiritual life beyond the grave had the unpleasant ring of paganism – something the Hebrew had do abhor so as to remain qodesh, or sanctified before Yahweh.

    The only hope for the dead was resurrection, anastasis, or to “stand again,” to “return to your state,” namely, as a living person. Martha’s words in John 11:23-25 speak for themselves.

    This is the Hebrew mind, the backdrop at which every other event in future and in Hebrew history has to be understood. At least from here, we know what death and the death state is not.

    Regarding Elijah, his removal and disappearance (from the Israelites’ point of view) is clear. He was removed by chariots of fire. The issue is where his destination was. We need to consider the following from the historical context:

    The able-bodied Israelites were sent away to look for Elijah. It is safe to say that, had they known that Elijah was taken into God’s presence, the y would not have sent men to look for him. (2 Kings 2:16, 17)
    Ten years later they received a letter from Elijah to Jehoram of Judah. It was not a letter predated for this time. In the letter Elijah knew of Asa, Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and his idolatry. Clearly Elijah had to be alive and aware of Jehoram’s apostasy. (2 Chron. 21:12)
    Then, we need to understand the range of meanings of the word heaven: It can mean the literal starry heavens (Ps. 19:1, 50:6), the literal atmosphere of the earth (Gen. 1:20, Job 12:7), metaphorically a state of authority and influence (Eph. 2:6, 6:12, 2 Pet. 3:13), and then God’s dwelling place, or pertaining to God (Ps. 11:4, Isa. 66:1, Rev. 12:7, Mt. 13:24, 31, 33). Without corroborating evidence, I cannot insist on one meaning of the word heaven. The overwhelming evidence points to Elijah having been taken into the heavens (atmosphere), and transferred to another location, from where he could continue his ministry (2 Chron. 21:12).

    Putting the pieces together, this is hermeneutically the best explanation for it. To say that he received a glorified body (a promise given to faithful ones after Jesus’ fashion) is anachronistic. Scripture says no such thing. To say he communicated from heaven amounts to necromancy (Deut. 18:10-12). Heaven (God’s presence) is the greater reality of the Holy of Holies into which Jesus entered first, as the forerunner for us (Heb. 6:20). Thus, Elijah could not have gone there earlier.

    As regards Enoch: Genesis 5:24 says: “He [was] not, for God took him.” Here are some points to consider:

    From the Hebrew, to be taken away does not mean to be taken to heaven (Jonah 4:3, 1 Kings 19:4). In fact, Ps. 73:24 says: “With your counsel you shall guide me and afterward in glory take me away.” Ps. 49:15 says: “But God will redeem my soul from the clutches of the grave, for He will take me away.” One of the usages of this phrase appears to mean to remove, whether it be from calamity, from violence, or death (1 Kings 19:10, 14, Ps. 31:13, Ezek. 33:6). The true nuance is not of relocation, but of removal; that’s in Hebrew.
    In Greek both Genesis and Hebrew uses the verb μεθέτηκεν, namely, to have been transferred or transposed. This translated word does carry the thought of transference. From this translated word death is not necessarily implied, but removal from one location to another. Neither the ancient Jews, nor those during inter-testamental times believed that Enoch was taken to heaven. In fact, if the translated version is to be preferred, they believed Enoch escaped violent death and Yahweh removed him to Eden. That is the only hints we have in Jewish terms of what those might have meant who lived in those days, and accepted those stories at least allegorically. Removal from the events of death certainly qualifies as not seeing death, since God rescued him. The rest we do not know. All we know is that “all these (ούτοι παντές) died in faith” (Heb. 11:13)

    It is my opinion, as well as many others’, that this is the closest we can get to understanding these events without adding or taking away from Scripture, or formulate elaborate speculations which only escalate to further theological dilemmas.

    Christian greetings

    Jaco

  106. on 07 Oct 2009 at 10:54 amrobert

    Since my opinion is also clear and seems to be held by many biblical experts too I guess this is just one of those times when we agree to disagree.
    thank you for your caring response

  

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