Sunday, June 15, 2014

The “Exodus.”

If their was the first Exodus, then when was the second Exodus? At just the right time, God sent his Son into the world…. It began with the birth of Christ and was completed in and through Christ’s work on the cross and resurrection from the dead. We see the “exodus” nature of Christ’s ministry on earth most profoundly on the cross. It is through Christ work on the cross that he led the people of God out of slavery to sin and the power of death. One indicator of the exodus nature of Jesus’ ministry can be seen at the transfiguration when Jesus was talking with Moses and Elijah they were discussing his soon coming which was to be completed in Jerusalem (cf. Luke 9:31). We can also bring in the fact that Joseph had to take Mary and Jesus into Egypt for a time and bring him out again (Matt 2:13-14; 19-23) as help to establish the exodus nature of Jesus’ ministry.

There are also several passages in Isaiah that foretell of the coming deliverance the Messiah would bring (see esp the prophecies of the Servant of the Lord beginning at Isa 42 running through at least Isa 53).

What is the nature of the second exodus? Whereas the first Exodus was a physical deliverance of the people of Israel from slavery to the Egyptians, the second Exodus was a spiritual deliverance of the people of God from slavery to sin and the power of death. Through the cross and resurrection every believer has been set free from slavery to sin because “It was for freedom the Christ has set us free” (Gal 5:1) (see also Romans 6). In completing the second Exodus, Jesus Christ was able to complete the work Moses was unable to do: bring God’s people into true and lasting freedom. Thus our promised land is one of true and lasting freedom from sin and hence the ability to truly live as God has called us to live. There are tremendous implications to this idea of the second Exodus. With this spiritual freedom we can now live out more fully his purposes for our lives as the people of God and in extending the Kingdom of God.

The question remains will we follow Jesus into the new promised land of freedom that he has guaranteed us or will we hold back and grumble like the Israelites did to Moses and thus extend the fulfillment of God’s intents and purpose for our lives and delay accomplishing his mission in the world?

Well, it is a motif. I’ll have to go back through it to give it better support from the Bible itself. I was mainly getting the idea of how I see it posted. Some see the second Exodus as God bringing the Jews back to Israel from out exile citing Isa 40 and its exodus and shepherding (v11) and wilderness imagery. Guys like John Haggee think the second exodus relates to God bringing the people of Israel out of the nations and back to Israel (citing similar verses in Isaiah, esp 56: 6-11). I see these points but I think it is more on spiritual terms than on physical ones.

But I think with verses like John 6:36 where Jesus is the true bread come down from Heaven, as compared to Moses, Luke 4:18-19 where Jesus comes to bring healing and freedom, Mark 6:34 where Jesus has compassion on the people as sheep without a shepherd, hint at Exodus language and a leading through the wilderness imagery that Jesus came to bring true and lasting freedom to Israel. Freedom of a spiritual kind.

His role as the suffering lamb reflects this as well since the paschal lamb protected the people from their own sins as God brought judgment on Egypt – Jesus protects us from our own sins from the coming wrath of God against, evil, wickedness and injustice in the world, etc. And I think Luke use of exodus in his account of the transfiguration since that it reflects the exodus as Jesus’s role as the paschal lamb on the cross.

Perhaps this motif can even be reflected in the final part of Luke (24:50) where Jesus “led the people out..”}He came to set us free from our captivity to sin and the power of death.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Eschatology shapes politics here in America and in the Middle East.   In this article we will address the issue of eschatology and Israel's relationship to the “Promised Land” in the Middle East. But first where does the belief spring up from that Israel today own the land?  It depends on who you ask. Evangelical Christians believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people, and the land belongs to them forever.

Many evangelicals have a eschatology, or the understanding that the Bible teaches that God literally gave Jews the land of Israel forever.   The land is obviously a major theme in the Old Testament.  If this is true, this would mean that the Jewish people would retain their divine title deed to Palestine, regardless of whether or not they kept the covenant with God

Let's look at some of the passages most commonly used with regard to the land of Israel.  The land at the center of the dispute can be called Israel, the Holy Land, or Palestine, depending on your perspective.  Has The Land Promise Been Fulfilled?

If the word of God can be believed, while having to totally reject the modern doctrines of men, this question can easily and quickly be answered. To answer the question poses no difficulty to any Bible student.   Here is the original promise that God made. While Abram "dwelled in the land of Canaan" the Lord said unto him, "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever" (Genesis 13:12, 14-15).

Furthermore, Jehovah said, "And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers . . . And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord" (Exodus 6:4, 8)

Most dispensational premillennialists believe the promise is yet to be fulfilled.   However God Kept His Word and Israel received and lived in the land as promised.  Not a word failed...all came to pass."  Joshua, the aged leader of God's people, preparing to die, intensely told the Israelites, " So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands.  Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled." (Joshua 21:43-45)

Others say it was fulfilled, but that the land was to be Israel's:  "forever" - Gen 13:15. The Modern-day prophetic theory is based on the false premise that God still owes ethnic Jews the fulfillment of unfulfilled covenant promises.  However what does the Old Testament really say? The answer may surprise you.  There is an implicit acknowledgment in the Old Testament that the land did not belong to God's chosen people because of their race, but as a result from their covenant relationship with Yahweh. 

In other words the promise to retain the land was conditional based on their obedience to God. Joshua 23:15-16  But just as all the good things the Lord your God has promised you have come to you, so he will bring on you all the evil things he has threatened, until the Lord your God has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.” 

The promise to receive the land was unconditional. Deuteronomy 9:5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

However to retain the land was conditional based on their obedience to God.  Behind the blessing of the land there is the grave warning that without righteousness "the land will vomit  them out for defiling it, as it vomited out the nation that was before them." (Leviticus. 18:28).

Deuteronomy 28 is the famous chapter of the blessings and curses. If Israel obeyed God, she would be blessed. If she disobeyed, she would be cursed. Such blessings and curses also applied to "the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you" (vs. 11). If Israel followed God, she would be blessed in that land, but if she disobeyed God said, "you shall be plucked from off the land … until you are destroyed" (verses 61,63). Thus Israel's right to the land has always been conditional upon her relationship with God.
God strongly reiterated the conditional nature of His promises to Israel. Notice carefully.  Under Joshua's leadership many had faith and entered the land. Yet as time went on, the majority departed from faith and obedience to God's Law. Again the Lord warned, "I will cast you out of this land" (Jeremiah 16:12,13) unless things changed.  

The Land Promise Was Conditional Joshua's farewell address to Israel made clear that God would remove Israel from the land he gave them if they disobeyed him, a refrain repeated from the curses delivered by Moses, (Deuteronomy 28:21) Clearly in the Old Testament, when Israel disobeyed God, she lost her right to that land.  Throughout the history of Israel, covenant breaking and disobedience and idolatry disqualified Israel from the present divine right to the Land.

There is another important part about the land that may surprise you.  Notice carefully what else God said about the land.  Leviticus 25:23  And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for THE LAND IS MINE: for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.  To whom does the land belong? God says a good many times in scripture that land is His. He calls it specifically "My Land."  Later on, God extends the same language with David.  The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it." (Psalm 24:1)

God alone has the right to determine to whom the land belongs and His determination remains unchanged by all the fluctuating events of history. This is clearly established in scripture.

At the time the New Testament opens, Israel is back in the land but under Roman rule. This is were the “Higher Land Promises” of God are Unveiled to Abraham while Israelites are look for a king to remove the Roman yoke, Christ would have no part of it.   Rather, he came to fulfill the "higher land” promise of Abraham and his seed.  This is where the world in general makes the wrong turn in understanding God's dealings with the Abrahamic promise. 

In order to understand the Abrahamic promise we have to go back to were the promise was first given.  Genesis 15:18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.   Notice carefully what God said here. Unto (thy seed) have I given this land. 

Now we will focus on the explanation by the New Testament writers of the spiritual and eternal aspects of God’s implementation of his promise to Abraham of a seed. The apostle Paul, in explaining to the churches of Galatia the change from the old covenant administration to that of the new covenant, wrote them concerning the promises to Abraham:  Galatians 3 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.       

Here is clear testimony that God’s promise was to Abraham and to Christ, Abraham’s seed. “And to thy seed”, in verse 16 above, refers to, “and to thy seed” at Genesis 13:15 hereinbefore cited. (see also, Genesis 17:7 where the promise is expressed “and to thy seed”). The singular SEED to this promise was CHRIST.  The physical nation of Israel was the temporal people of God, and they were the possessors of a physical and temporal land on the earth.

And further, that the “forever” aspect of God’s promise to Abraham of a great nation and of a land would be realized in a people, inclusive of Jew and Gentile, who are by grace through faith related to God in the Person of Christ. So, while Christ is the “seed to whom the promise was made”, there is a seed, in the collective sense who, through faith, share in the promises to Abraham and Christ. This collective seed is referred to as in Christ.

The apostle Paul continues in his explanation of Abraham’s seed, in this collective sense, by saying, Galatians 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Abraham looked for a country, but as long as he and the patriarchs were in Canaan (Palestine) they viewed themselves as sojourners and strangers. They never claimed it as their home. (Hebrews 11:9,10). They died in faith, as strangers and pilgrims in the land, looking for the land which God promised them, 11:13-16.
For the ancient patriarchs the literal Promised Land is not considered the ultimate “geographical” destiny of Israel. That land was the "heavenly city" called the new Jerusalem which equates with the church/kingdom of the living God. (Hebrews 11:16; 12:22-24)

Second, the early Christians hope was not tied to the literal land but simply for a new, heavenly Jerusalem, it was for a new Creation.   There is not one word in all the New Testament that mentioned the hope for Israel returning to the land forever.

The physical promised land was once the specific place were God did a redemptive work, in that  Israel "died" in slavery in Egypt, and came out on the other side of the Red Sea to a new life when God planted them in their own Land of milk and honey (Ezekiel 37:12).   But now that arena of redemption has moved from its shadows and types to reality. In Christ’s redemption is the ultimate  reality of the land promises.  According to Christ, it is no longer ethnic Jews who will inherit the Promised Land, but the “meek” who will inherit the entire earth. (Matthew. 5:5)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Traditionally this verse has been understood to mean that flesh and blood here are biology referring to our physical individual bodies. In other words in this verse Paul is referring to the flesh and blood of individuals. But, unfortunately that contradict the contexts in which the term is used.

Paul refers to the old covenant of the law in many different way. It requires a close study because it has a number of meanings in scripture. For example in Romans 7:5 we read, For when WE WERE IN THE FLESH, the passions of sins which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. (emphasis added.) Paul here is speaking to his Jewish brethren who know the law. We see this in Romans 7:1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?

In modern thinking, “flesh,” normally implies to biological body of an individuals. But lest look a little closely at the way Paul uses the work flesh in this verse. Romans 7:5, Paul speaks of being “in the flesh” as a past experience. ( WE WERE IN THE FLESH). If Paul were speaking of the flesh of individuals (which he does elsewhere) then his statement would be foolish. Why? Because these Jews were living individuals still in a flesh and blood body. Paul is not writing with an individualistic.

He is thus providing a grammatical means of indicating that the event being referred to took place in the past.

In the days of the covenantal eclipse, a man was determined by the covenant he lived under. Christians were not in the flesh but in the Spirit. Romans 8:9 But you are NOT IN THE FLESH but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.

As Jewish Christians they were no longer bound by the old covenant of fleshy works that could not give life. Paul speaks of “flesh” here as a covenantal identity. This is made clear with Paul’s statements concerning “flesh” and “Spirit”. The Mosaic law was powerless in that it was “weakened by the “fleshly works” of mans which could not to please God.

Paul acted “in the flesh” when he violently persecuted God's church and tried to destroy it. Galatians 1:13 For you have heard about my earlier life in Judaism—how I kept violently persecuting God's church and was trying to destroy it. Hatred jealousy, selfish ambition, and fits of rage” are all acts of the “flesh,” and were evidence that Paul was in the wrong covenant, i.e., that he was “in the flesh.”

This is supported by the text “No one (flesh) will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law” (Romans 3:20)

After Paul’s conversion he makes it clear that he puts no confidence in the (flesh) the (works of the law) despite his own pedigree and achievements as a Jew. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the ‘flesh’ – though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:3-7).

Paul is not saying that his background and ambition to be a faultless Jews were sinful in themselves. Rather he is saying now that he is in Christ, he recognizes that before his conversion, he had been (in the flesh) and living outside of God’s relationship. Everything he did, including the meticulous practice of his religion, was an expression of his separation from God.

Now that you have a good grasp on how Paul used flesh as a covenantal identity. Paul uses the very same metaphor when he says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Here Paul is also using flesh and blood as covenantal identity. He is not referring to flesh and blood of physical individual bodies. The Jewish saints that believed in Christ were still living in individually flesh and blood bodies when they were receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since (we are receiving a kingdom) which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (emphasis added.)

Receiving a kingdom here in Hebrews 12:28 and inheriting the kingdom of God in1 Corinthians 15:50 are synonymous. Can one receiving without inheriting? No they are synonymous. Then neither can there be a inheriting into the kingdom without receiving. These saints were individually living in a flesh and blood body when they were receiving the kingdom at that time. Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

Then what did Paul mean by flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God? Acting in “flesh and blood” the (works of the law) causes man to trust in his own abilities and to secure his salvation without God. Thus “flesh and blood” could not inherit the kingdom of God.

These Christians are not in “flesh and blood as a covenantal sense of the law. Their were under another covenant of the Spirit.. Those in the flesh or flesh and blood could not please God. Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Anyone that was in flesh and blood or the fleshly Mosaic covenant brought forth fruit unto death. Romans 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. Again Paul uses the term when we were in the flesh as past tense. In languages which have a past tense. So we see how Paul uses the metaphor of flesh and flesh and blood to describe covenants.

We have been traditionally taught by the modern Church to bring ideas to scripture without stopping and thinking about it. Are we not alive individuals today living in the kingdom of God in these flesh and blood bodies? Christians are already in the kingdom; it now exists.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Just look around.

Every now and then when I do a article like the one on the millennium period, some one  will says, something like. "Just look around!  It is obvious to anyone with open eyes that our world is not under the control of God and is in desperate need of intervention from God.  The world is full of evil, violence, despair, disease, poverty, sexual deviation..  Just look around.

Well, why didn't Paul or any of the NT writers ever tell their reads to just look around the natural world to see what God had accomplished?   One of the objection that God has complete restored man is the things going on in the natural world.  Hey all you have to do is look around is the key argument some peoples use.

Buy why didn't Paul or any of the NT writers ever base all that God had accomplished by looking around the natural world?   The answer to this question is rather simple.  Paul's notion is, as you will see if you look at the context, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.  We live in a world where all things are temporary and passing away. (Matthew 6:19)

By the things that are Unseen, are intended all the invisible realities of the eternal world.  We are to look on these invisible things, and not on those that are seen. This seems like a contradiction.  How can things invisible be looked at?  This is easily solved by understanding this act, described by LOOKING, to be the act not of the bodily eye—but of faith and enlightened reason.

Faith is defined by this apostle to be "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).   And it is the apostle Paul’s chief design that give instances of the surprising efficacy of such a realizing belief of eternal, invisible things.  In Ephesians 2:5-6  Paul’s writes, even  when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved, and (raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus), (emphasis, added)   So why didn't Paul say hey just look around the natural word to see how God had  accomplished this?   Because we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:

In Hebrew 12:22-23 we read, But (you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,) to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.

And according to Peter they were a royal priesthood and holy nation  I Peter 2.9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.   The Greek word from which this particular word "royal" is translated means "kingly in nature."
Although the New Testament writers affirm without a doubt that the saints were seated in heavenly places and were a royal priesthood, and a holy nation and seated on thrones (WITH CHRIST) is funny the disciples never said “ HEY JUST LOOK AROUND.”  

It’s because the disciples never urged them to look at the external circumstances of the world to determine what God had accomplished in these verses.   If they looked at the external world to determine what God is doing “like many do today” they would have said are you kidding us Paul and Peter we are going though persecutions and tribulation at the hands of those who reject Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4)   You guys have to be kidding.

How in the world can you two say we are a royal priesthood, and judging the world and more than conquerors in Christ?  Hey just look around.   Looking around the external world was not the way to determine whether or not they were seated in heavenly places and a royal priesthood, and judging the world and more than conquerors in Christ. (Romans 8:37)
Looking around the external world was not the way to determine whether or not Christ has  disarmed principalities and powers, and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them at the cross (Colossians 2:14-16).   Paul said without a doubt that Christ has (past tense) triumphed over ever power.    Paul also said Christ had (past tense) put all things under His feet but death. ( 1 Corinthians 15:26-27) Yet looking around the external world during that time would not suggest that Christ was reigning and had not triumphed over ever power. 

Why because Christians were going though persecutions and tribulation. At first it was the Jewish people who were the great persecutors. Then Nero.  Many Christians were crucified. Some were sewn up in the skins of wild beasts; then big dogs were let loose upon them, and they were torn to pieces. Women were tied to mad bulls and dragged to death. After nightfall Christians were burned at the stake in Nero’s garden (human lampstands!). The Roman people who hated the Christians were free to come into the garden, and Nero drove around in his chariot wickedly enjoying the horrible scene"

Why didn't these saints say look around the world is full of evil, violence, despair, disease, poverty, sexual deviation Christ cannot be  reigning and  triumphed over ever power.    Just look around.   If these Christians could not look around the external world and determine whether or not Christ had triumphed over ever power and put all things under His feet what makes people today think we can look around the external world a determine what God has  accomplished? 

Looking around is not the way to determine what God has  accomplished.   Paul never said hey guys look around.   Paul said we “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18. 

Hence they were to look not at the visible—but at the invisible things signifies that the apostle made unseen eternal realities, the chief objects of his contemplations, so that he was governed in the whole of his conduct by the impression of eternal things—and not by the literal thing of the natural world.

This Paul else where expresses in equivalent terms, "We walk by faith—and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).  At the beginning of the "faith chapter" of Hebrews occur these remarkable words: "Now faith is . .  the evidence of things not seen. . . (Hebrews 11:1)   Faith means seeing the unseen despite the fact that we cannot see it, touch it, or hear it.

Hence they were to look not at the visible—but at the invisible things signifies that the apostle made unseen eternal realities, the chief objects of his contemplations, so that he was governed in the whole of his conduct by the impression of eternal things—and not by the literal thing of the natural world.
The next question that would naturally come to mind is if Jesus was not to ever return to earth in a literal physical glorified, body what about the thousands years reign on earth in Revelation that the modern Church is always mentioning?

The word thousand is only mentioned two places in the New Testament and that is (Revelation 20-4 and 2 Peter 3) But before we dig into the thousands years reign, list first look at some of Jesus statements.   Jesus has just been betrayed by Judas,  and arrested and later taken before Pilate. (John 18:29) 

Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"  Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?"  Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?"  Jesus answered, "(My kingdom is not of this world). If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now (My kingdom is not from here)." (John 18:33-36) emphasis, added.

How much clearer could Jesus be that his  kingdom has nothing to do with him reigning on the earth, but is rather a spiritual kingdom operating through the "church" since Pentecost.     Jesus was still on the literal earth but he was not a part of the order of things on the earth.  Christ's kingdom is "not of this world" because it is a kingdom from heaven.  (Matthew 13:44)

Jesus was once asked when the kingdom of God would come on earth.  Jesus replied, it is not something people will be able to see ...  (Luke 17:20-21)   Another time when Jesus was speaking to his disciples he said, Before long, the world will not (see me anymore), but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  (John 14:19)  ) emphasis, added.  How much clearer could Jesus be in these above statements?   

So what about the thousands years reign?    The modern view goes something like this.  A millennium is a period of one thousand years, were there will be a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which "Christ will reign" for 1000 years prior to the final judgment.  To make a long story short. When the kingdom is finally restored to Israel, it is a continuation of the same historical, theocratic, earthly kingdom.   There Jesus will reign on earth from Jerusalem for a thousand years.

But lest examined or test, this view against scripture to determine if it is correct. Revelation 20:4  And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them.   Then I saw the (souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God), who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.   And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.   (emphasis, added)

The first, observation that should be made is the verse nowhere speaks of a reign of Christ on the earth.  It clearly says, And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  There is no mention were this reign takes place.   The second observation that should be made is if this is a literal 1,000 years, then the only people who can reign with Christ are those who have been “beheaded for the cause of Christ.”    There is no mention of anyone living reigning with Christ.   John says only those who have been “beheaded for the cause of Christ reign with Christ .”  There NO need to do gymnastic with the scripture here.    If we are honest with the scriptures, we have see the problems here. 

The Bible often uses the metaphor thousand as a figure of speech.  For example, it says in Scripture God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  (Psalms 50:10)   We don’t go around says that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but the cattle on the thousand and one hill, I guess He doesn’t own those cattle.” So who owns them? Well, we know what that means. It means that God owns all the cattle.   The problem is ironically most of the time when the world thousand is used it is taken in literal sense.  The word “thousand” is rarely used in a non literal sense throughout the Bible but is sometimes used in a metaphor thousand as a figure of speech.  

In Hebrew poetry it is common to have two lines juxtaposed to each other.  “For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.” The first line states that God owns all beasts. The second line gives an example (cattle) of all the beast of the forest belonging to God. Thus, the context supports in this instance a figurative use of “thousand.” The next line (Psalm 50:11) continues in the same vein: “I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.” Does God only know the birds or the mountains and not those of the valleys? In this verse the Psalmist goes from the specific to the general. It would make sense from this passage to conclude that God owns all.

Time Statement all tho they are often ignored in the Bible are very important.  John also says the martyrs were priests who reigned with Christ for the millennium he does not mention any living Jews.  Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.   Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

Understanding the Bible hinges on taking time statements at there face value.  Jesus told the parable about how His “citizens of Israel” hated him and sent a delegation asking that he not be allowed to (reign over them).  (Luke 19:14)  Was Jesus reigning in the mean time?   Notice 1Cointhians says  Christ WAS reigning with the Father until he put all enemies under His feet.  1Cointhians 15:25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 

Who were these enemies of Christ?   According to scripture it was the Jews living in that day and others Psalms 2:1-9.  We can find the fulfillment of the second Psalm in Act 4:25-26 "who by the mouth of Your servant David  have said: 'Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.' "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You  anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles (and the people of Israel, were gathered together).    Notice Luke says Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together against the LORD and against His Christ.   These were enemies of Christ as clearly stated in scripture.

During this most amazing trial in history Pilate has come to the conclusion that all of his appeals have had absolutely no effect upon the Jews; that his only option is to condemn a completely innocent man to death.

Matthew. 27:22:26  Pilate saith unto them, “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” They all say unto him, “Let him be crucified.” And the governor said, “Why, what evil hath he done?”They respond like wild dogs after a injured young deer.,  “Let him be crucified.” ” In other words, take Him away and crucify Him.”  When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person.  You see to it."  And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.

John adds, And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and Pilate saith unto the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him.” Pilate saith unto them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “WE HAVE NO KING BUT CAESAR,” Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. (John. 19:14-16)

The governor’s frustration is seen in his statement to the Jews, “Behold your king!” Pilate knew that the Jews empathically rejected the kingship of Christ, so this statement is spoken with scorn and sarcasm. Pilate is angry at the Jews and thus purposely inflames their rage.

This is a grim echo of  1 Samuel 8:7 “And the LORD told Samuel: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.“  The Jews’ expressed who was  reigning over them (CAESAR) and their hatred toward Jesus but this did not stop the reign of Christ.  We read in Psalm 110:2 that Christ would reign right in the midst of His enemies.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The new heaven and earth.

Suppose you are the Apostle John and you are suddenly taken from the first century and found yourself in the 21st Century. The year is 2012 and it is the election year. There are two big political party rallies going on. At one political rallies there are representatives from the Democrats party on one side of the street waving flags with the symbol of a donkey, on it. On the other side of the street there are Republicans representatives waving flags with the symbol of an elephant, on it.

We know these political symbols identify two political party but what would John think? Would the Apostle John immediately know what these symbols represent? Or would he think these two symbols represent a literal donkey and elephant? The point is John would have to do a little study of our culture to find out their true meaning. The same applies to us. We need to also spend time studying the figuratively and metaphorical language that is so often used in the culture of those in the Bible.

To help you understand how the Jews communicated in terms of symbolical language, open your Bible and turn to (Genesis 37:9-10). This is the way symbolical language is used in the Old Testament. It was adopted for like use later in the New Testament.

A language within the language, that the first century Christians would have understood. It was a uniquely Hebrew concept I believe, to have a meaning within words that related directly to Covenant Relationship, or the interaction between God and men.

This is the story of the family of Jacob.* When Joseph was seventeen years old, he was tending the flocks with his brothers; he was an assistant to the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah, and Joseph brought their father bad reports about them.

Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age. When his brothers saw that their father loved him best of all his brothers, they hated him so much that they could not say a kind word to him. Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers, they hated him even more. He said, "Listen,"I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."

His brothers said to him, “Are you really going to make yourself king over us? Will you rule over us?” So they hated him all the more because of his dreams and his reports. Then he had another dream, and told it to his brothers. “Look, I had another dream,” he said; “this time, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told it to his father and his brothers, his father reproved him and asked, “What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Can it be that I and your mother and your (brothers are to come and bow to the ground before you)?” emphasis, added.

So his brothers were furious at him but his father kept the matter in mind. As you can see, Joseph dream was related to his father, mother, and brothers, not the universe. Any Jewish readers were certainly well versed in the sort of symbolic language and imagery and understood there meaning.

Since the writers of the Old Testament used such highly symbolic language to picture the actions of God, the writers of the New Testament, and Jesus in particular would use the same kind of imagery to describe events of historic proportions? The problem is we are not accustomed to dealing with such symbolic language like a new heaven and new earth the sun being darkened and the stars falling, etc, without thinking literally. However to the Jews, using this type of language figuratively and metaphorically was natural as we see in Genesis 37:9-10.

Let explore more definition of the prophetic language of heaven and earth. A good example of how this symbolic language is used and applies to the "de-creation of heaven and earth" is used in Psalm 18:5-16 to describe the downfall of Saul's Kingdom. And in Isaiah 13:6-13 we see that destruction of heavens and earth pertain to when the Medes broke up the Babylonian empire.

Nahum applies this earth-shattering metaphor to Yahweh's judgment of Nineveh (Nahum 1:1-5). Isaiah applies this language to Edom of 703 BC (Isa 34:3-8). Ezekiel applies this language to Babylon's victory over Egypt (572 BC) in Ezekiel 32:7-11. There is no question about when these things would happen. The Jewish readers were certainly well versed in this symbolic language and imagery.

It was a very special historical occasion when God chose Israel from all of the nations of the earth to be His own people. Deuteronomy7: 6 "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.

Not only did God make them His own, people in addition, He created for them a world of their own; and covenant called “heavens and earth.” “But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people (Isaiah. 51:15,16).”

Clearly Jehovah could not be talking about the formation of the literal heaven and earth, for that had taken place more then 3,000 years before! The verse explains itself. Jehovah is talking about “Zion my people.” God was speaking of the time when He created Israel’s heavens and earth. The material creation existed long before Yahweh spoke these words. The Mosaic Covenant was thought of as the heaven and earth.

This form of address is sometime used when Yahweh is speaking to and admonishing the people of Israel. In this instance, as in other places, the words are being addressed to the rulers and the people of Israel. The following is another example of where the nation of Israel is being addressed by Moses and metaphorical language is used, with the rulers depicted as the heavens and the people as the earth.

Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them. For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended. (Deuteronomy 31: 28-30)

In Deuteronomy 32:1, Moses said, “Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.” ” Moses was not speaking to the literal heavens and rocks on earth he was speaking to the people of Israel. In figurative language, the "heavens and earth here are simply the covenant, religious/political authorities in the land of Palestine and the people who lived there. With these things in mind, lest dig a little deeper.

During the ancient times of Israel the Temple signified the presence of God (the shekinah of glory) and Israel’s place in election etc. Josephus a Pharisee kept track of the biblical historical records of Israel. Josephus portrays the first century Jewish understanding of "heaven and earth" in his writings.

He describes how the Jews looked upon their place of worship in the Mosaic Tabernacle and later in the Temple as "a heaven and earth." They believed that their Temple was at the very center of the earth, and saw it as the place where heaven and earth came together, and where God met man.

In a quote Josephus, calls the outer part of the tabernacle "an imitation of the system of the world" and the "sea and land, on which men live." By contrast, the inner Holy of Holies he terms "heaven peculiar to God." There was a fabric veil that separated these two compartments in the Tabernacle and the Temple, which he describes as being "very ornamental, and embroidered with all sorts of flowers which the earth produces." This last quote is found in Antiquities, Book 3, Chapter 6, Paragraph 4, Section 126.Moses was told by God to patterned the Tabernacle after heavenly-things (Hebrews 8:5) This clearly illustrates how the Temple was seen as a meeting point between heaven and earth, its service being an earthly representation of heavenly reality. This is why the 1st century Jews saw the destruction of the Temple in 70AD representing Heaven/Earth passing away? (Matthew 24)

In 2 Peter 3:10–13 we must pay close attention to the Greek words that Peter uses as they are of utmost importance in understanding what it is he is saying. Let look closely at the Greek word he uses which is translated "new." "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for “new heavens and a new earth,” wherein dwelleth righteousness."

There are two words translated "new" in the New Testament. Those words are "neos" and "kainos." "Neos" means new in time, something that has never been before, or that which has recently come into existence/what has only just now arisen or appeared. "Kainos" means new in quality/nature, not in time, different from what is old/distinctive as compared with other things different from the usual, better than the old, superior in value or attraction. The word Peter uses in this verse is "kainos." If Peter meant that God was going to physically destroy the physical heavens and earth and create a replacement, Peter would have used the word "neos!"The new heavens and new earth Peter writes about are an echo from Isaiah 65:17-18. "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy.

In this chapters we read where God will create a new heavens and a new earth (spiritually, not physically) new heavens and new earth along with a new Jerusalem. This is the very same spiritual Jerusalem which Paul says is the Jerusalem above and mother of us all. (Galatians 4:26)

And John says is descending out of heaven out from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2; 10)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Until heaven and earth passed away.

Matthew 5:17-19 is a favorite passage that often raises discussions and debates. Jesus said he came not to destroy the Law but to keep the Law perfectly. “Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets; I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished.”

Remember now Jesus was a familiar with how the Moses and the prophets used metaphorical language about the heaven and earth over and over in Old Testament.

Of special significance the word “destroy” translates the Greek term kataluo, literally meaning to “loose down.” The word is found seventeen times in the New Testament. It is used, for example, of the destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans (Matthew. 26:61; 27:40; Acts 6:14), and of the dissolving of the human body at death. (2 Corinthians 5:1)

It is especially important to note how the word is used in Matthew 5:17. In this context, “destroy” is set in opposition to “fulfill.” Christ came "…not to destroy, but [alla — adversative particle] to fulfill. Jesus did not come to this earth for the purpose of acting as an adversary of the law. His goal was to obeyed it keep it perfectly, to fulfill it.

The elements of the law (Torah) (Hebrew: תּוֹרָה, "Instruction"), also known as "The Pentateuch" a.k.a. are the Five Books of Moses that had to be fulfilled before heaven and earth passed away. The word 'Law' in Matthew 5 is a reference to the whole of the Old Testament."Both the Law and the Prophets together (v.17) were standard Jewish ways of referring to entire Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament)."

What did Jesus mean by till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" When He spoke these words the New Testament had not begun to be written and the Old Testament was all that existed. He declared that not so much as a stroke of the pen will be altered from the law until all is fulfilled, referring to all prophecies recorded in the Old Testament. Jesus made it clear until heaven and earth passed away. Not one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled"

Do you get the power of these words? Jesus plainly said that not one “jot or tittle” (representative of the smallest markings of the Hebrew script) would pass away until heaven and earth passed away.

If heaven and earth did not pass away the law of Moses was not fulfilled by Christ, and thus remains as an obligatory legal system for today, then it is not a partially binding regime; rather, it is totally compelling system.

Consequently, nothing of the law was to fail until heaven and earth (the Mosaic covenant) had completely accomplished its purpose. The harmony between Matthew 5:17-18 and Isaiah. 51:15,16 is this. When the old Mosaic covenant known as the heaven and earth have completely accomplished its purpose every “jot or tittle” (representative of the smallest markings of the Hebrew script) has passed away.

It was “easier” for the old Mosaic covenant known as the heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law. Luke 16:17 "And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.

So heaven and earth and the Mosaic law has to have passed away. There can be no Mosaic law apart from have a Temple, animal sacrifices, and Levitical priesthood. You cannot have one part of the law and not the rest you have to have all the parts of the law. So heaven and earth had to have passed away since there is no system in place for keeping the Mosaic law today.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The shaking of the heaven and earth.

Hebrews 12:26-29 "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.

In Hebrews, the author which I believe is Paul is referring to the establishment of the first covenant and the new covenant. He begins by saying that the Lord would not only shake the earth, but also heaven earth during the establishment of the New Covenant (12:26a) "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
What are the things that are made that can be shaken? The Temple, and priest hood and all the copies and shadows that were made under the literal Jewish kingdom. What were the thing that remained which cannot be shaken? Paul gives us the answer in verse 28. Therefore, since we are receiving A KINGDOM WHICH CANNOT BE SHAKEN, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

This passage is as close to any eschatology passage that one will find in the Letter to the Hebrews, with reference to the eschatological kingdom. As such, it clearly refers to a removal of the temporal reality.

The New Testament writers often borrowed highly figurative apocalyptic language that used by the prophets of the Old Testament. In these verse Paul is borrowing the language from the prophet Haggai as he refers to shaking of the heavens and the earth, when God spoke to Israel after coming out of Egypt. Haggai 2:5-7 'According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!' "For thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 'and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,' says the LORD of hosts.

In the same way that the Lord shook the heaven and earth, (not literally ) in Haggai 2:5-7 so God will shake the heavens and the earth as part of the new covenant. This second shaking will result in the removal of all created things, so that only that which is uncreated, that which cannot be shaken, will remain.

In Hebrews 12:28b, the author or Paul exhorts his readers to give thanks or to show gratitude for the promise of receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, To do so is to worship God with reverence and awe, which is pleasing to God.

He adds that God is a consuming fire, which seems to be a reason for regarding God with reverence and awe. The reference to God in Hebrews 12:29 as a consuming fire is an allusion to Deuteronomy 4:24, where Moses warns the Israelites against idolatry: "For Yahweh, your God, is a consuming fire, a jealous God" (see also Deuteronomy 9:3; Exodus 24:17). God destroys all that which is temporal and disobedient.

The use of the metaphor of consumption by fire to depict God's judgment occurs elsewhere in the Old Testament Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"

Moses used figuratively and metaphorically language explaining how God created Israel.

Moses used figuratively and metaphorically language explaining how God created Israel.

Isaiah. 51:15,16 “But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, (Thou art my people).” (emphasizes, added)

God was speaking of the time when He created Israel’s heavens and earth. The material creation existed long before Yahweh spoke these words.
Not only did God make them His own, people in addition, He created for them a world of their own; and covenant called “heavens and earth. Any Israelite who were remotely familiar with the law were well aware of the fact that heaven and earth was synonymous with the law or the Old Covenant.

Moses is using metaphorical language when emphasizing rulers of Israel as the heavens and the people as the earth.

In Deuteronomy 32:1, Moses said, “Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.” Moses was not speaking to the literal heavens and rocks on earth he was speaking to the people of Israel. In figurative language, the "heavens and earth here are simply the covenant, religious and political authorities in the land of Palestine and the people who lived there.

In Deuteronomy
30:19 Moses said I call heaven and earth to RECORD this day AGAINST you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: (Deuteronomy 30:19) Moses was not called the literal heaven and rocks against Israel but a covenant. If they obeyed the covenant they had life.

Through the law, all of their transgressions were recorded against them. Deuteronomy 31:26-28 Take this book of the LAW, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that IT (the law) may be there for a WITNESS AGAINST thee. For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck: behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death? Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears, and call HEAVEN AND EARTH to RECORD AGAINST them.

What was records against them? Certainly not the physical heavens and earth, but rather the law: Deuteronomy 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a WITNESS AGAINST thee.

In the above passage it evident that the witness against them is the two tables of stone which is in the ark of the covenant.

Other prophets spoke the same way (e.g. Isaiah 1:2: Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth’...”) This applied to Israel as mentioned in verses 3. The heavens well portrays that which was once “over them” and is government of those in authority. “Earth” was used in a reference to the authority on earth, the leaders or authority, government, of Israel.

The prophet Isaiah predicted the passing of heaven and earth in chapter 24. He said the earth would be utterly broken down, clean dissolved, and completely removed, vs. 19. Now this sounds like the destruction of material creation but closer examination reveals it to be speaking of the destruction of Israel's Covenant World under the imagery of "heaven and earth". Note verse 5 gives the reason for the destruction--"they have broken the everlasting covenant". What covenant was that? It was the Mosaic Covenant! God was going to destroy "heaven and earth" because Israel had broken her covenant with Jehovah! Thus, we have another example of the Bible speaking of the passing of heaven and earth when it means the passing of the Old World of Israel. This is very same covenant Peter spoke of in (Peter 3:12-13).

Hebrews is another text that speaks of the passing of the Old Covenant world under the imagery of “Vanishing away.” Hebrews 8:13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Isaiah compares the temporal quality of the law versus the eternal quality of the New Covenant salvation. Those who dwelle in the old heavens and earth will die in like manner. My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait upon Me, And on My arm they will trust. {6} Lift up your eyes to the heavens, And look on the earth beneath. For the (heavens will vanish away) like smoke, The (earth will grow old like a garment), And those who dwell in it will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not be abolished. (Isaiah 51:4-5)

notice the future tense in this old testament prophecy. The heavens WILL vanish away like smoke. The earth WILL grow old like a garment. Of course if you were a Israelite this should bring to mind Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Notice the use of the present tense to describe what was taking place at this time. . The language the writer of Hebrews uses is synonymous to Isaiah 51:4-5. We see Isaiah used the language in a (future tense) and the writer of Hebrews used the language in a (present tense) and waxing old (present tense).

This kind of language was used over and over. Any person at all familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures, knows that the dissolution of the Mosaic economy, and the establishment of the Christian, is often spoken of as the removing of the old earth and heavens, and the creation of a new earth and new heavens.

New heavens and a new earth.

ISAIAH 65:17-19 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem a a rejoicing, And her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor th...e voice of crying.

I was asked to do some articles on the “heaven and earth.” What does all this mean? There are many misconceptions about the new heavens and new earth mentioned in the Bible. This quotation from Isaiah must be taken in its context. The use of the words heavens and earth as will as the new Jerusalem are often used figuratively and metaphorically in scripture.

The context of Isaiah’s prophecy is the coming new covenant. Notice within this context the Lord speaks of creating a new heaven and a new earth along with creating a new Jerusalem. The new heaven and new earth are synonymous, with creating the new Jerusalem. In other words one cannot be fulfilled or created without the other. Returning to Isaiah 65: 17-19 there is a clear statement of the location of this new heavens and earth. The new Jerusalem is clearly the location.

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, (I create Jerusalem) a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. (Isaiah 65; 17-19)

During the time that Isaiah lived, over 2,700 years ago, he lived in a world of rebellion against God and evil was everywhere. There we two sons fleshly Israel and spiritual Israel living in one house hold.

The older brother fleshly Israel from Jerusalem below was persecuting the younger brother from Jerusalem which is above. Galatians 4:22-29 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written: "Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But, (as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now) emphasis added.

The promise of the new heavens and earth which occurs in Isaiah, where the prophet uses it to describe the happy circumstance of Gods people after the time of tribulation and persecution is past, and their enemies are destroyed and removed. Paul relates to this time in Galatians 4:30 Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

The prophet Isaiah speaks of Yahweh's fury being poured out. `For behold the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and rebuke with flames of fire.' (Isaiah 66:15)

The Lord will then use `fire' and the 'sword' to plead with all flesh and there will be many slain. We have here a major conflict against the nations, which are subdued. There is not a complete annihilation of the people, as the chapter goes on to show that there will be worship established in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 66 deals extensively with the process by which Jerusalem blow would be changed. As we follow the words of the prophet through this chapter, the destiny of Israel is revealed. Out of tribulation, oppression and conflict, a new Jerusalem will rise again.

'And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto Yahweh out of all nations... to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith Yahweh, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of Yahweh.' (Isaiah. 66:20)

It is here that the prophet refers to the new heavens and the new earth in Isaiah 66:22. 'For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith Yahweh, so shall your seed and your name remain. From one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Yahweh.' Note here that there is a reference to all 'flesh', which suggests that Jews and gentiles in this time of glory in a mortal state.

Isaiah speaks here of the new heavens and new earth and Jerusalem and how they will not even remember the pain and suffering they endured in this lifetime under the old Jerusalem. With their eyes focused on what is to come, under the new covenant it was also an encouragement for Isaiah to continue spreading God’s message of the coming Messiah and His glorious kingdom to come.

The new heavens and earth and Jerusalem describe the changed circumstances of Gods people, in which the former troubles were now forgotten. Whereas they had been under oppression and persecution by their fellow countrymen in the Jerusalem below who refused to heed Gods word, they would see happier times.

The Jerusalem that had suffered siege and famine and weeping would give way to a new Jerusalem that enjoyed an abundance of God’s peace. The new heavens and earth as portrayed by the prophet Isaiah. John also writes about the new heaven and earth in the book of Revelation. He does not change what Isaiah wrote, but adds a few particulars of his own.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation. 21:1-3)

With the defeat of their enemies, John sees the new heaven and earth and new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. It is distinguished from the first heaven and earth only by the absence of the sea.

The absence of the sea points to the fact that all men approach God on equal terms. Seas are natural barriers, separating earths people. The Psalmist also makes a distinction between the sea versus those upon the earth: Psalms 65:5 By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:

It is interesting here how the Psalmist describes those upon the sea as "afar off." That is how Paul describes the Gentiles in Ephesians But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God. (Ephesians. 2:13, 19)

In Revelation, the sea symbolized the Gentiles; and the earth or land, the Jews are under the new economy, those distinctions are removed and all men have access to God equally. The gates of the city (church) are always open in every direction of the compass, showing that men from all over the world are invited to enter and find salvation and communion with God. (Revelation 21:13, 25)