Articles The End

Published on May 1st, 2012 | by Dr. Joel McDurmon

74

The “passing” away of heaven and earth in Revelation 20:11 and 21:1

I have been asked by a full preterist (FP) to discuss the relationship between the “earth and heaven” that flee in Revelation 20:11 and the “heaven and earth” that “pass away” in Revelation 21:1. Do these two “heavens and earths” have the same identity? Are these two passages referring to the same event?

The question may sound trivial but has great importance. The imagery appears, on the surface, to be the same in both cases, and thus we have the possibility—again, on the surface—of some relationship, even identity. And if this is the case, then the contextual events of each passage must bear a similar if not same relationship. This is where a big issue opens up:

Revelation 20:11 opens the Great White Throne Judgment, and Revelation 21:1 pertains to the “New Heavens and New Earth” that is “New Jerusalem.” Most “partial” preterists I know, including me, believe that Revelation 21 was at least initiated in the first century—AD 70, in fact—and describes an idealized perspective of the church. The old Jerusalem passed away and the New Jerusalem has come. But this now implies a great potential problem: if the “heaven and earth” “passings” of these two passages are the same, and the passing heaven and earth of Revelation 21:1 happened in AD 70, then the Great White Throne Judgment must also have occurred at AD 70.

Yet nearly all partial preterists believe this final judgment is yet in our future. So, either the partial preterists are wrong in this belief, or they are inconsistent in their hermeneutic. So goes the FP argument.

The argument sounds decent, but I think it fails. The “passings” of these two passages are not related in the way this FP argument assumes, and thus the argument built on that assumption is substantially weakened.

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“Passing” references

First, is there a relationship between these two references to “passings” of “heaven and earth”?

Yes and no.

The passages do have some relationship in semantics and imagery.

The semantic relationship is both direct and indirect: both passages refer directly to “heaven” and “earth”, and both present these as a pair. Both passages also mention some form of “departure” of heaven and earth. Revelation 20:11 speaks of heaven and earth having “fled”; Revelation 21:1 refers to them having “passed away.” In this detail, the two passages thus have an indirect semantic similarity.

Likewise, both partake of the same imagery—that of of biblical creation. “Heaven and earth” obviously derives—as both a theme and a reality—from Genesis 1 (I have written more on this in relation to 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21 elsewhere). In short, God is the creator, and the heaven and earth are His creation. The creation is subservient to its Creator, and subject to His will. It is also totally separate from Him in nature.

God revisits “creation” imagery quite often throughout Scripture to describe different events—notably, for example, the restoration of His people from captivity (Isa. 51:15–16). Its application throughout Scripture is broader than just that, but pertains mostly to great works of God for His covenant people. In these cases, the “making” of something new, restored, or more glorified than before is likened to the fundamental miracle of God’s original creation ex nihilo. There is the same Agent, same power, same progress. Always redemption and glorification are new creations of God, never the work of men’s hands.

Likewise, when God acts in judgment, He often uses language of decreation to describe it. He undoes His creation: He makes the stars fall, the sun and moon darken, gardens and paradises turn to wastelands and wildernesses, rivers dry up, or floods overwhelm the dry land from which they had formerly been separated. This type of imagery (and even actual event) is widespread in Scripture (Isa. 13:9–10; Jer. 4:23–6; Ezek. 32:7–8; Ezek. 34:4–5; Matt 24:29; just to name a few).

These ideas come into play in differing ways and degrees in both of the Revelation passages in question. To the extent that this is the case, we can say that there is a relationship between them: they both partake of the same “creation” language and imagery used many times in Scripture to denote monumental acts of God.

But the differences must also be noted.

To begin with, the language is simply not the same in regard to the actual passing away. Revelation 20:11 says earth and heaven “fled away” (ESV) from the face of the enthroned One. The verb here is ephugen (from pheugo). It means “run away” in the Monty Python sense: “retreat” or “flee” in the sense of seeking safety from an imminent threat. We get our word “fugitive” from pheugo.

Pheugo is a common word used some 279 times throughout the New Testament and Old Testament LXX, but almost always has the distinct meaning of running away out of fear or self-protection. For example, Genesis 39:12, 13 and 15 (LXX) use the word to describe Joseph fleeing from Potiphar’s wife who had him by the garment. The Exodus is described with this word (Ex. 14:5). So is David fleeing Saul who wants to murder him (1 Sam. 19:18), Ahaziah fleeing Jehu (2 Ki. 9:27), God’s enemies in general (Ps. 68:1; Prov. 28:1), Jonah fleeing God’s presence (Jon. 1:3), Baby Jesus’ family fleeing Herod (Matt. 2:13), persecuted disciples leaving town (Matt. 10:23; 24:16), fearful disciples scattering after Jesus’ crucifixion (Matt. 26:56). The list is long, and the word is consistent in this meaning.

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Revelation 21:1, on the other hand, says “the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” The verb here is apelthan (an aorist of aperchomai). This word is used 346 times but doesn’t have anywhere near the pedigree of consistency. It generally means “pass” or “pass away,” but has various shades of meaning such as “pass by” (momentarily), “go out” or “leave” (to another place, or on a journey), or to pass away for good never to return, everything in between, and more (in Rev. 10:9, it even refers to John as he “went to the angel” instead of away from or passing by).

In Revelation 21:1, the emphasis is toward the meaning of passing away for good never to return. This is clear from the same usage of the word and the new heavens and new earth imagery in the subsequent verse 4: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away [apelthan].”

This dissimilarity does not in and of itself mean that the two verses are speaking of two different things. But it should at least be noted, if not thoroughly explored. This is important, for I have not seen a FP yet who makes a connection between Revelation 20:11 and 21:1 who has addressed this difference at all. Some I have seen simply sweep it under the rug: either saying without qualification that both instances are “passing away”, or by using that phrase but noting the actual words of Rev. 20:11 in parentheses (“fled”) while assuming identity. Even if it were the case that the difference is of no consequence (and it is not), it is still only right to note the obvious difference, explain it, and only then move on. I have not yet seen this done. (This does not mean no one has done it, it simply means I have not yet seen it. Links welcome in the comments.)

I personally think the semantic difference here is not just a diversity of synonyms. I think different words are used because the references to heaven and earth in these instances are present for different purposes. The different words carrying different emphases express and support these different purposes.

What are these different purposes?

The identity of the Creator and the Judge of creation

In Revelation 20:11, the purpose is merely to emphasize the nature and identity of the one sitting upon the throne in that same vision. Here’s why:

The verse reads, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.” I don’t like the ESV here. For starters, there is no period. This is not supposed to be two sentences, and most other translations don’t make it so. I think Young’s literal is much better here: “And I saw a great white throne, and Him who is sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven did flee away, and place was not found for them” (Rev 20:11 YLT). This is about as literal, and I think correct, as you can get.

The importance brought out in the proper translation is that of emphasis. The phrase “from whose face the earth and heaven fled away” functions as a modifier of a subject, not as a descriptor of a separate event. The purpose is more to tell us something about the person sitting on the throne, not about this earth and heaven themselves.

So what is it telling us, specifically? What function does the inclusion of this phrase perform here? It informs us that this is no ordinary person sitting upon an ordinary throne. It tells us that this is the Person before whom heaven and earth are totally subservient and in fearful awe—the Creator God.

Two things here: First, the distinction is not unneeded considering the book of Revelation itself. The word for “throne” alone is used 47 times in the book. References are made to Jesus’ throne (1:4, et al), Satan’s throne (2:13), thrones for faithful believers (3:21; 20:4), twenty-four thrones for heavenly elders (4:4), the dragon’s throne which was given to the beast (13:2; 16:10), a throne within the temple (16:17). In short, there are many thrones mentioned. When we get to Revelation 20:11, it simply would have been confusing to mention “one sitting on the throne” with no designations.

This is even more important given the fact that the nearest proximate mentioning of throne is just a few verses prior and refers to different occupants: “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed” (Rev. 20:4). These were the faithful martyred saints who reign with Christ in heaven during the millennium. Since the very next mention to a throne is to describe a different Ruler—the Head of those ruling, enthroned saints—an appropriate signifier is required.

Second, the particular distinction given in 20:11 provides that appropriate signifier quite well. This great white throne is inhabited by the One from before whose face all of fallen creation has no standing, and thus flees away. This is an expression of the total sovereignty, majesty, power and might of the enthroned one, the total vanity of all of creation in and of itself in comparison to Him.

But more importantly, it also announces the vital relationship between the two. This is not just any great and powerful enthroned One, but the One and Only One before whom creation is totally in awe: this is the Creator Himself. No higher credential can be given in heaven or on earth, and no part of heaven or earth can stand before Him with any claim to sufficiency or sovereignty—thus they have no place before Him.

In other words, this phrase in this passage is simply announcing and identifying the enthroned One as the God of Genesis 1:1.

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Note in this regard especially some of the pedigree of this imagery throughout Scripture. The exact same ideas are expressed in Psalm 104 which celebrates God’s splendor and majesty as Creator and simultaneously as the One at whose word the earthly elements flee:

Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 2 covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. 3 He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; 4 he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. 5 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. 8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. 9 You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth (Ps. 104:1–9).

“Fled” in verse 7 is pheuxontai (from pheugo) in the Greek LXX, same root word as in Rev. 20:11.

The same language is used in Psalm 114 to express the crossing of the Red Sea and the Jordan River during the deliverance of Israel:

When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. 4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6 O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water (Ps. 114).

In both of these cases the ruling—indeed, absolute mastery—of creation is used to express the majesty and power of the God who brought these things to pass. In neither case is the “ruler of creation” language or imagery there for the purpose of signifying the nature of the event itself. This latter purpose could be argued to have some role in the case of Psalm 114, but that purpose would still not be primary.

This, then, is how we should understand the reference to a fleeing earth and heaven in Revelation 20:11: it serves the primary and perhaps even exclusive purpose of identifying the enthroned One as the awesome Creator God Himself. This is the same God who rules all of creation, before whom creation itself is powerless, in whose holy and powerful presence no part of creation, no man, can stand without His grace.

But this is most certainly not the case with the other reference, Revelation 21:1.

Transition from Old to New

In Revelation 21:1–5, the passing away of the former heaven and earth is a clear reference to the nature of a particular event, and less so to the identity of the Agent who brings it to pass. He is there and clearly identified again as the enthroned Creator God (21:5), but it is not the purpose of the “passing away” language to make that identity. The passage reads,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Rev. 21:1–5).

This passage is describing among other things the results of an historical event: namely, the passing away of the Old Covenant “heavens and earth” and the arrival of the New Covenant “new heavens and new earth.” The New Heavens and New Earth complex is also called New Jerusalem, which is the bride-city-dwelling place of God, or “the church” as we commonly say.

The passing away here refers to the passing away of the Old Covenant order. It is passed away for good never to return, and has been replaced by the New Covenant order. This replacement “event” began with the Incarnation of Christ, and culminated with his Ascension and Session at the right hand of God. The final expression of the demise of that old order was the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in AD 70.

This connection is made clearer by considering Christ’s prediction of the temple’s destruction as well as Peter’s repetition of that prophecy. First, Jesus warned of the destruction in Matt 24:1–2:

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

He described the times and tribulations leading up to that event, and then added, “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matt. 24:34–5).

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Here we have a clear parallel. Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem within the generation of His audience, and we know it occurred in AD 70. His phrase “heaven and earth will pass away” is in this instance only an allusion, but is an indicator of at least some interest in comparison to Revelation 21:1–4. Interestingly, He uses a very close Greek word—not pheugo as in Rev. 20:11, but a version of parerchomai, which is near cousin to the aperchomai of Rev. 21:1 (Cf. Mk. 13:31; Luke 21:32–3).

The is strengthened by 2 Peter 3:10, which I’ve covered elsewhere: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away [from parerchomai] with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Pet. 3:10). As I noted, “the event Peter is describing is not a destruction of the physical planet, but a transition from one type of world order to a new one.”

This same transition is what is mentioned in Revelation 21:1, except whereas Jesus and Peter speak of it as a purely near future event, John is speaking from a future perspective in which he can describe the transition as a past event.

Then Revelation 21 and part of 22 give us an idealized glimpse—a picture of the heavenly pattern, so to speak—of the New Covenant order and the perfections it holds for believers.

I have dealt with the issue of “new heaven and new earth” more here, although certainly not exhaustively. Part of what I wrote there bears repeating here for the purposes of this article:

[V]erse 1 [of Revelation 20] should better read, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away.” This is perfectly allowable within the range of normal meanings for protos and fits better with what else we’ve learned so far. This interpretation also fits better with the common translation of protos in the following verse 4: “former [prota] things have passed away.” . . .

Second, we are introduced to another new creation theme, and that is the new Jerusalem. This is yet another reference to the church, for Paul tells us in Galatians 4:26, “But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” This is in contrast to the earthly Jerusalem, which was in bondage to the Old Covenant, and which was soon to be destroyed, or “cast out” in Paul’s allegory (Gal. 4:21–31).

Indeed it is just this “Jerusalem above” which we meet again in Revelation 21, for this “new Jerusalem” was above, but descended “down out of heaven from God.”

This image is nowhere made more forcefully brilliant than in the book of Hebrews, where the author culminates his pro-Christian argument against the Old Covenant systems by telling the saints,

you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Heb. 12:22–24).

So it’s clear that this new Jerusalem is indeed the New Covenant church. We also have here reiterated the righteousness that dwells in this new creation which houses “the righteous made perfect.” . . .

Third, the connection between the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 and the New Testament body of Christ/new Temple is seen in the language of the relevant passages:

the household of God, built on the foundation [themelio] of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone (Eph. 2:19–20).

And the wall of the city had twelve foundations [themelious], and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14).

Unless this foundation that is the apostles has more than one superstructure erected upon it, we must assume some vital organic connection between the New Testament “temple in the Lord . . . dwelling place of God” of Ephesians 2 and the “new Jerusalem . . . dwelling place of God” of Revelation 21.

In short, the passing of the former heaven and earth in Revelation 21:1 refers to the covenantal judgment predicted by Jesus in Matthew 24, and expected by that generation of Christians (2 Pet. 3:10; Heb. 8:13).

Conclusion

Do, therefore, the “passings” of heaven and earth mentioned in Revelation 20:11 and 21:1 refer to the same event? No.

As we have seen, they have different semantic backgrounds and perform different functions in the different contexts in which they appear. While they do obviously partake of the same creation imagery, they do so for considerably different purposes.

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This does not necessarily preclude that the events described in the two passages occurred at the same time, however. But if they did there would have to be justification other than the surface similarity of the passing references to heaven and earth. Personally, I don’t see any further reasons that mandate the great white throne judgment occurred in AD 70 (as did the transition between Old and New Covenants).

Instead, I maintain there will be a final judgment day on which all the dead shall be resurrected and stand before the throne of our Creator, before Whose awesome judgment all fallen creation must flee and seek refuge, but outside of Whose grace no place will be found.

This is the same final judgment described by Jesus in John 5:

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment (John 5:25–29).

And again in John 6:

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. . . . Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:39–40, 43–44, 54).

These general judgments and resurrections take place at the last day (paralleled in Rev. 20:11–15), not at the transition event from Old Covenant to New (described in Rev. 21:1ff). Thus the two events are separated by a great gulf in time.

In summary, then, the two “passings” of heaven and earth described in Revelation 20:11 and 21:1 are different in nature, purpose, identity, and time.

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About the Author

Dr. Joel McDurmon

Joel McDurmon, Ph.D. in Theology from Pretoria University, is the Director of Research for American Vision. He has authored seven books and also serves as a lecturer and regular contributor to the American Vision website. He joined American Vision's staff in the June of 2008. Joel and his wife and four sons live in Dallas, Georgia.



74 Responses to The “passing” away of heaven and earth in Revelation 20:11 and 21:1

  1. Kimberly Boldt says:

    Hi Joel!

    I agree with you that the “passing away of the heavens and the earth” is symbolic for the transition between the old Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem. I also agree with you regarding the resurrection which will take place in the “last days” which is not the same time as 70 AD. I’m happy to see you disagree with the full Preterists on this.

    The Bible is full of “figures of speech”, or “metaphors.” It’s the same reason why Jesus spoke in parables which are stories filled with symbolism to depict real events. Only the wise would be able to discern them because the Holy Spirit would reveal these hidden things to his people.

    Obviously, we haven’t seen a bodily resurrection of the whole of God’s people, yet, as Job portrayed it… “yet in my flesh will I seem him.” Just as Jesus went through a bodily resurrection, so will “his saints” or “ekklesia”, as our resurrection will be just like his.

    I do disagree, though, that the word “ecclesia” means “church”. Most of the translations I’ve studied state that the Greek word “ekklesia” means, “the called out ones”. In fact, William Tyndale corrected the Roman Catholic translation “church” when translating the King James to mean “the called out ones”, or, “the saints”, or “religious congregation”. Jesus makes this statement, in Matthew 22, “for many are called, but few are chosen.” Tyndale thought that the word “church” was misleading in meaning the catholic church or a particular denomination of a church, or the building in which people meet. I agree, it should be avoided. It causes great confusion. Because of this, each denomination believes it’s “their church” which will be called. But ekklesia refers to those who are called by Jesus, and especially those who are chosen for a special purpose, such as the disciples’ calling. As you pointed out in John, chapter 6, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    And no one can fully understand the scriptures without revelation knowledge from God, the Holy Spirit.

  2. Theodore says:

    I know I’m a bit late to the thread but I’ve read 90% of it and am quite interested in where Deborah’s been and where she is now with her walk with the Lord and her beliefs at this time, I guess mainly because it most closely resembles mine at thios point in time.
    So if I may ask if you could email me Deborah, I’m interested in how you’ve come to where you are in your beliefs from where you were. Like, was there other ppl that may have provoked more thought that caused you to change some of your beliefs, or maybe praying for unanswered questions you had or possibly other books you’ve read. Things along those lines is what I’d like to ask
    If you’d prefer not to email me I understand that to.
    Either way,
    God Bless all and thank you for everyone’s time that has gone into this thread thus far. rups60@yahoo.com

    • Deborah says:

      Theodore, I saw your post under another note and I’ve sent you an email. But to offer a short answer to your question, I became a Christian in 1980 and was immediately indoctrined into the futurist view at the small Baptist church I began attending. But I was a hungry, avid student and soon ran out of books and tapes on eschatology and began to study on my own. But then I began to see contradictions in the Scriptures with what I had been taught and in frustration I turned my studies from eschatology to Christology and Soteriology. It was in studying those areas that my eyes were opened to a different perspective, such as exactly what “kingdom” Jesus had come to establish and what his “reign” really meant. It was a terrific struggle for me though, everyone I knew and loved and respected were futurists back then and preterism was unheard of (the mid-80′s), and I have to admit the Lord had to bring me kicking and screaming to my present view, but I felt that the only choice I could in good consicence make was to believe what I was seeing with my own eyes in the Scriptures, even if I had to stand alone against my family, my church, and the whole Christian world. Being a preterist in the 1980′s was a very lonely road to walk.

      But that experience of being indoctrinated into what I came to see was error made me very hesitant to lean on the teachings of others so I can in all honesty say that my views are the fruit of my own studies of Scripture. Of course, becoming a partial preterist I necessarily became fascinated with New Testament history and archaeology and have enjoyed many fruitful years of study in those areas, which has served to provide abundant evidence of the validity of the preterist view.

      So that’s my story. Nothing exciting I suppose, but for me, it was life-changing.

      Deborah

  3. Gary DeMar says:

    It seems that some of the respondents above don’t have jobs.

  4. Deborah says:

    The whole point of the article above seems rather strange to me. I read Revelation 20:11 and I see the description of an event wherein the heavens and the earth flee from the glorified Christ.

    Then I read Revelation 21:1 and I don’t see that as another, separate event, but rather that John saw a new heavens and new earth *because* (for) the first *had already* passed away. The passing away was already accomplished. When did they pass away? At Revelation 20:11.

    This seems obvious to me. Am I missing something?

    Deborah

    • Micah Martin says:

      Deborah,

      Joel McDurmon has the 1st “heavens and earth” of Rev. 21 as something different than the Genesis 1 H&E. He has that fulfilled as the “new covenant system.” That is why he has to argue for a difference between Rev. 21 and 20.

      If you are correct (and you are) then Joel has sold partial preterism down the river. (Check any commentary and you will see that the 1st heaven and earth of Rev. 21 is the Gen. 1 heavens and earth.)

      See, Joel has 2 Peter fulfilled. He has Rev. 21 fulfilled now. Same with Isaiah 65, Matthew 5:17, Matthew 24. All these “heaven and earth” passages that Joel has fulfilled are supposedly referring to the old covenant order that passed in AD 70.

      But!

      Joel is YEC and a futurist. So he must find some “literal” heavens and earth to come in the future or he has to find the Gen. 1 heaven and earth somewhere other than 2 Peter, Rev. 21, Isaiah 65, Matthew 24, Matthew 5, etc.

      That is why he just came up with something completely new. A BIG GAP between Rev. 20 (unfulfilled literal heavens and earth) and Rev. 21 (fulfilled typological heavens and earth which correlates to the new covenant). What do YEC people say about Gap Theories???

      Do you now see why Joel had to write the article? He is running out of unfulfilled passages and he MUST divorce Rev. 21′s heaven and earth from Gen. 1 or he proves that the Covenant Creationist / Full preterist correct!

      The bigger issue here is that Joel has admitted that the heaven and earth of Rev. 21 is not the physical universe, but the New Covenant. If he is wrong though in his assertion that Rev. 21′s 1st heaven and earth is NOT the Gen. 1 H&E (which every commentary that I have seen says he is) then Joel just DESTROYED the ENTIRE young earth creationist paradigm!

      Maybe you can see his dilemma? He has to find another “heaven and earth” in there somewhere, just like he has to find another “coming.”

      Gotta love dispensational gap theories…

      Blessings,
      Micah

      • Deborah says:

        What a mess! I don’t think I have either the time or the patience to try to untangle all these knots. I am something of a purist preterist, if I can coin a term. By that I mean my whole theology, including eschatology, is based on Soteriology.

        Soteriology, the doctrine of salvation, must be the grandest theme in the Scriptures. It embraces all of time as well as eternity past and future. It relates in one way or another to all of mankind, without exception. It even has ramifications in the sphere of the angels. It is the theme of both the Old and New Testaments. It is personal, national, and cosmic. And it centers on the greatest Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. Charles Ryrie

        It was my study of soteriology that delivered me from the error of premillennialism that I was deeply indoctrinated into when I first became a Christian, back during the days of Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth.” But it seems to me that everywhere I look people are running around building their own theology, including soteriology, based on their eschatology. No wonder it’s noise and confusion and no one can agree on anything!

        The futurists deny atonement for sin.

        The full preterists deny redemption for man.

        What a mess.

        Deborah

      • Deborah says:

        P.S. Micah, what is the “young earth creationist paradigm?” That sounds like another whole theology based on the age of the earth? I believe that the earth is much, much younger than it appears to be, but that in no way changes my theology, including eschatology.

        Deborah

      • Joel McDurmon Joel McDurmon says:

        Not so fast Micah. I have not said that Rev. 21 is “fulfilled”, nor Is. 65.

      • Tim Martin says:

        Joel,

        That’s interesting.

        Wouldn’t you agree that 2 Peter 3 has been fulfilled?

        If so, then isn’t 2 Peter 3 a parallel text to Rev. 21:1?

        If not, then what differentiates Peter’s “New Heaven and New earth” and John’s “New Heaven and New Earth”?

        How do you switch from a covenantal definition of 2 Peter 3 to a physical definition of Rev. 21:1/Isaiah 65?

        In other word, if 2 Peter 3 has been fulfilled, then hasn’t Isaiah 65/Rev. 21 been fulfilled?

        Blessings,

        Tim Martin
        BeyondCreationScience.com

      • Micah Martin says:

        Joel,

        I am assuming you are speaking about a “both / and” approach like Gentry does regarding Rev. 21. Basically, exegetically it’s “covenantal” and happened within the “soon” time statements of Rev. 1, but presuppositionally we have to have a matching end to Gen. 1 so it also must be typological of a yet future new physical heavens and earth.

        So why are you trying to argue that the “former” heavens and earth of Rev. 21 are not the heavens and earth of Gen. 1?

        But this is what you say in the article:

        Begin quote
        This passage is describing among other things the results of an historical event: namely, the passing away of the Old Covenant “heavens and earth” and the arrival of the New Covenant “new heavens and new earth.” The New Heavens and New Earth complex is also called New Jerusalem, which is the bride-city-dwelling place of God, or “the church” as we commonly say.

        The passing away here refers to the passing away of the Old Covenant order. It is passed away for good never to return, and has been replaced by the New Covenant order. This replacement “event” began with the Incarnation of Christ, and culminated with his Ascension and Session at the right hand of God. The final expression of the demise of that old order was the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in AD 70.
        End quote

        That looks like fulfillment to me, but let me see if I can get this straight.

        So God made the first “heavens and earth” in six literal 24 hour days, but it is taking him thousands, if not millions of years, to create the “new heavens and earth” after the former “heavens and earth,” which is not the “first heavens and earth” passed away? And the “new heavens and earth” refers to two different “heavens and earth” (in nature) at the same time, but the first heavens and earth is only the physical “heavens and earth” and not the covenantal “heavens and earth” that passed away in Rev. 21.

        Boy, no wonder people like Deborah are confused…

        And now Isaiah 65 is not fulfilled? Wouldn’t that mean the OC wasn’t totally fulfilled. Last time I checked, Isaiah 65 was a promise given to OC Israel. So how do you have the OC passing way without God fulfilling his promises to Israel?

        I am definitely interested in seeing how you defend this position in public debate.

        Thanks for the clarification.

        Blessings,
        Micah

      • Deborah says:

        All due respect guys, but it’s just not true that the physical heavens and earth symbolize the two covenants. According to Paul, the two Jerusalems symbolize the two Covenants (Galatians 4:21-31). The first Jerusalem, the earthly Jerusalem, the Old Covenant Jerusalem, was destroyed in 70 A.D., not symbolically, but literally! And that literal, historical event is described symbolically in Revelation 17 & 18, the final event before the Church Age. The passing away of heaven and earth 1000 years later is not the same event.

        You guys are trying to make the Old Covenant a cosmic covenant, but it wasn’t. It was a limited covenant made between God and the nation of Israel, the purpose of which was to prepare a people, to make holy a seed through whom the Savior would come.

        Neither is it true that the Old Covenant “order” is symbolized by the heavens and earth. When the High Priest entered the Holiest and made atonement for sin, did that offering atone for the sins of the whole world, the entire heaven and earth? Or did that offering affect atonement for Israel?

        If the physical heavens and earth symbolize any cosmic order, they symbolize the fall, ergo a world subject to the curse of death … literally!, whereas the physical heavens and earth to come symbolize redemption, ergo a world where the curse of death will be abolished, literally!

        Also, I think you all are confusing the Old Covenant and the Old Testament. They are not the same thing. The Old Covenant is contained within the Old Testament, but the Old Covenant is not the sum total of what the Old Testament has to say about God or His plan of salvation.

        The Old Covenant is limited in its scope to one nation (Israel) and one portion of the earth (the land of Israel). Therefore, when the Old Covenant passed away what actually, literally passed away was the Jewish state, in exactly the manner and at precisely the time the Law and the prophets had foretold.

        The whole world was not under the Old Covenant, neither its commandments and ordinances, or it’s blessings and curses. Only Israel was bound by covenant agreement to keep the Law and only Israel was subject to its commandments and ordinances and therefore subject to the blessings and curses of the Law. What happened during the 7-year Roman/Jewish war was the fulfillment of the curse of the Law against Israel, not a judgment against the whole world. So the whole world, the heavens and earth, were not affected by it.

        So I think you err in attempting to make the Old Covenant some cosmic order which had bearing on the whole creation. The cosmic order to which the whole creation has been subjected is the curse of the fall, and the cosmic order which will liberate the whole creation from that curse is the redemption that has already been made, but is not yet manifest. That’s what the whole creation groans and waits for, the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19), when this mortal, corruptible (creation) will be not unclothed, but clothed upon with immortality and glory. That is a yet future event when this present old fallen, sinful world, the present heavens and earth which are subject to corruption and death, will be liberated from the curse and there will be a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no more death, or sorrow, or crying, or pain.

        In Christ,
        Deborah

      • Deborah says:

        Michael, thank you for a systematic explanation I can follow.
        1)Futurists reject Gentry, McDurmon and DeMar’s interpretation of the first heaven and earth passing in Rev. 21-22 and the arrival of the New in AD 70, because John is referring to Gen. 1-3 material — not to the Old and New Covenants.

        If Gentry, McDurmon and DeMar (who I understand are Partial Preterists?) view the new heavens and earth as symbolic of the New Covenant then I don’t think they’re further down the road, I think they’ve gotten off the path. As a partial preterist I believe everything from Revelation 1:1 to 20:3 is past, 20:4-6 is present, and 20:7 to 22:5 is future. At Revelation 22:6 John once more returns to his own time and he is once more warned that the things he had been shown would come to pass shortly. The Revelation is a chronological account of the New Testament age which will culminate in judgment and redemption just as the Old Covenant age did.

        2)Then Gentry comes along and states that one of the reasons DeMar and McDurmon are wrong in their Preterist interpretation of 2 Peter 3 is that Peter is referring to Gen. 1 material:

        I agree with Gentry on this point.

        3)Gary DeMar claims mello in 8:18YLT is referring to the glory that was “about to be revealed” in the Church, and thus has to contextually include the creation’s liberation from decay at this time as well along with the redemption of the body!

        If I’m understanding correctly, some are suggesting that mello means “about to be” thus the fulfillment of this event has to be in the near future? I don’t agree. Mello is not limited to that sense of meaning, it can refer to something that is in the far distant future. For example:

        “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should (mello) come: That Christ should suffer …(Acts 26:22-23)I hardly think Moses said Christ was “about to be” crucified. That was an event that was thousands of years in the future.

        “Nevetheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them which had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come (mello).” (Romans 5:14) Was Adam the figure of him who was “about to come”? How many thousands of years separated the first and second Adams?

        “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards (mello) be revealed.” How long were the Jews kept under the Law until the way of faith was revealed? (Galatians 3:23)

        “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moons, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come (mello).” It seems to me that these shadows spoke for generations about the things which were to come. (Colossians 2:17)

        “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter (mello) believe on him to life everlasting.” It seems to me that Paul continues to be an example to us who believe on him, even 2000 years later. (1 Timothy 1:16)

        “For the law having a shadow of things to come (mello) …” (Hebrews 10:1) The law was a shadow of things to come for generations before they came.

        “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemning them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should (mello) live ungodly…” (2 Peter 2:6) Was Sodom and Gomorrah an example only to those who were “about to be” living ungodly? Or was that an example to all that live ungodly even today?

        I don’t believe insisting on such a limited meaning of mello as some kind of timestamp in Romans 8:18 can be used as a proof text to limit the fulfillment of those events to 70 A.D. Mello can, as shown above, refer to events in the future, and even the far distant future.

        But I have found that parsing of Greek and Hebrew seldom settles difficulties anyway, else all the Scribes would have converted to Christ.:-)

        In Christ,
        Deborah

      • Deborah says:

        Michael, thank you for your courteous responses, and for getting to the meat of the matter. In response to your first note immediately above:

        I agree with 1, 2, 3, and 4.

        I also agree that the New Covenant Temple, which is spiritual, resides in the New Covenant city of New Jerusalem, which is also spiritual.

        However, now we part ways.

        I do not agree that the New Covenant city of Jerusalem, which is spiritual, resides in some “New Covenant heavenly land.” The heavenly land where the heavenly Jerusalem resides is the same Heaven which existed during the Old Covenant days, and which existed before there was an Old Covenant, and which existed before the heavens and earth were ever created. The heavenly land where the New Jerusalem resides is the abode of God, eternal, uncreated, above and beyond time and space, above and beyond the heavens and the earth.

        When we talk about the heavens that are connected to the earth (the heavens and the earth) we’re talking about the starry universe above our heads.

        Surely you aren’t suggesting that the New Jerusalem resides out there beyond some distant star?

        Or that the heaven where God dwells only came into existence 2000 years ago?

        So I’m with you up until you confuse “Heaven,” the spiritual realm which is uncreated and eternal, the place where the New Jerusalem, the heavenlycity, the spiritual city resides …

        … when you confuse that with the physical heavens and earth which are created and temporal, then I’m afraid there is a very great gulf between us.

        In Christ,
        Deborah

      • Deborah says:

        Michael, on your second note immediately above, look at what the promises were …

        They would eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of paradise
        They would receive a crown of life
        They would eat of the hidden manna
        They would be given a stone with a new name
        They would be given power over the nations
        They would be given the morning star
        They would be clothed in white raiment
        Their names would not be blotted out of the Lamb’s Book
        They would be made pillars in the Temple of God
        They would go out of the Temple no more
        They would sit with Christ in his throne

        These were promises given to people who “very soon” were to endure great tribulation and even martyrdom. Thousands of these early Christians died horrible, gruesome deaths for their faith, including being bound to poles and coated with pitch and set on fire to serve as human torches to light the drive leading up to Nero’s palace. And many thousands more suffered prison and torture, but remained faithful through it all. So yes, these were absolutely promises given to those who were very soon going to see them fulfilled, if they endured to the end and remained faithful. And we see these promises to these early Christians fulfilled in Revelation 7:14-17:

        “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of them shall lead them unto fountains of living waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

        Did that generation see these promises fulfilled in that generation? Yes, but not because in 70 A.D. these promises suddenly became earthly blessings. It was because they died faithful. It wasn’t necessary for these early believers to wait until 70 A.D. to experience these blessings, remember Jesus told the thief on the cross next to him, “today you will be with me in paradise. Not 40 years later.

        On your second point, the battle of Gog and Magog is not the Roman/Jewish war and is separated from the Roman/Jewish war by a thousand years. Regardless of how you shrink or stretch the thousand years, it is a time division between the events which preceded it and those which occur after it expires.

        On your third point, it’s not difficult to reconcile at all. The Cross was the defeat and downfall of Satan. Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” John 12:31-33

        It was when Jesus was lifted up from the earth that Satan was cast down from heaven, never again to appear before God to accuse the brethren. And when Satan saw he was cast down he became angry because he knew he only had a short time so he began to persecute the woman who gave birth to Jesus (the faithful Jewish believers which was the “Mother Church” at Jerusalem). But when they scattered into the surrounding regions thus escaping Satan’s attempts to destroy her, Satan turned his attacks on “her seed,” the remnant of Jewish (and Gentile) believers scattered throughout the land of Israel and those of the Diaspora.

        Satan’s attempts culminated with the Zealot revolt and the attempt to establish a kingdom of their own vain imagination which led to the Roman/Jewish war and the destruction of the Mosaic economy. Then Satan was bound, not destroyed, but bound in (confined to) the realms of darkness, no more to walk in the halls of heaven, no more to cast his shadow on the sons of light, no longer able to deceive the nations now that the light of the Gospel is shed abroad. Now the nations who refuse the Gospel have no excuse, they are not deceived, they are disobedient.

        So I don’t see any difficulty in reconciling the chronology of the Revelation with history, and with the Gospel. The last event before the thousand years began was the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (Revelation 17 & 18) and the Supper of the Great God (Revelation 19), which was the very literal and very gruesome fulfillment of the Law which foretold that there would be so many dead in Jerusalem that they would not be able to bury them all, but their bodies would be left for food for the fowls of the air and the beasts of the earth, which Josephus was a witness to when he accompanied Titus on a circuit of the city’s siege works and came upon the valley of Hinnom where was located Tophet, that place of Israel’s greatest abomination when they burned their children alive in fire as an offering to Baal. That was where the Law and the Prophets foretold God would pile their dead bodies until there was not room enough to bury them all but they would be left for food for the fowls of the air and beasts of the earth.

        And with that chapter the Old Covenant ended (Revelation 19:17-21)

        On your fourth point, I don’t agree that the great white throne judgment of the New Covenant is the same as the four sore judgments of the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant judgments were local and corporate, judgments against the land of Israel and the Jewish state. The great white throne judgment is universal. The two are separated by a thousand years and as I said, whether you view the thousand years as a short or long duration, it is a distinct separation in time. And I believe history bears out that it has indeed been a very long time.

        On your question about John’s eschatology, I think John’s reference to the world “passing away” was to its transitory nature. After all, did “lust” pass away or does the world still lust after the same things it did in John’s day?

        And I think you are straining the text when you apply “mello” to Revelation 20:11 and 21:1. The events described after the 1000 years were obviously not “about to be” else John would not have seen those things as events that would occur “after 1000 years had expired.”

        I haven’t read any of the books you mentioned, but I will try to. I stay busy with my own studies in New Testament history and archaeology and I really need to get back to work.

        But I love talking about the things of God, and I know I talk way too much, but let me say one other thing: I think it is important to keep in mind the distinction between the “heavens and earth,” that is, the physical cosmos, and “heaven,” the spiritual realm. Heaven has always existed, even before there was a “heavens and earth.” When Adam sinned, it was the physical heavens and earth that were corrupted, not the spiritual heavenly realm which is the abode of God, and things like death and sorrow and crying and pain became conditions of the physical heavens and earth. Those conditions don’t exist in heaven, and they never have. So these are earthly, physical conditions that will one day be no more, in a new physical heavens and earth. That has not yet come. Death and sorrow and weeping and pain have not passed away in the only place where they have ever existed, here in this physical world we live in.

        In Christ,
        Deborah

      • Deborah says:

        Michael, I have a dinner meeting and then my granddaughter’s graduation from daycare but I’m looking forward to reading your study before I go to bed tonight.

        In Christ,
        Deborah

    • David says:

      Just a question.
      Why do people always look to scriptures of the past?
      Is God not speaking today? Does his spirit not speak prophetically today? If so what are the signs of the times today?
      God spoke to men in the past of what we read in the bible, so why can he not speak to us if we surrender to point of listening?
      God’s spirit is not dead and his word is sharper than a two-edged sword. If we are in his will, he will guide us in speaking his word from scripture or prophetically into our every day lives.
      Has he not given us his authority to trample on snakes and scorpions? Can we not be over-comers by this same authority?
      A direct child-like faith can change things in the spirit world. Jesus has given us this authority. We need to not complicate the spirit by tying his hands. This gift of authority was given to all those that call Jesus Christ their Lord and savior.

  5. Micah Martin says:

    Deborah,

    I will start another post because the comments below are getting a bit confusing.

    I hope you had a chance to read DeMar’s article on 2 Peter.

    Try taking a look at Matthew 5:17ff. Notice the time statement and what Jesus says regarding the Law. Nothing from the Law passes until Heaven and Earth pass.

    This is the clearest connection possible between the Heaven and Earth / Torah. (Old Covenant = Heaven and Earth)

    There are so many other places that make this same equation. Jeremiah is looking at the OC world and he sees chaos. Isaiah 65 is looking for a New Covenant/ H&E.

    It seems to me that you are imposing your idea of Genesis 1 onto Jeremiah instead of letting Jeremiah dictate what the nature of the language he is using. He IS using Genesis 1 language and he is not talking about physical things. Did the earth return to it’s non-existent state? Were there no humans on the earth? Was there no light coming from the sky?

    No, Jeremiah is looking at the state of the “creation” and because “man” on the land (Israel) was in apostasy, the creation had returned to it’s pre-creation state.

    If you don’t allow yourself to even consider that the Creation of Genesis is not talking about physical things (but people) you will never see it elsewhere in the Bible when it is pointed out to you.

    You pointed to Hebrews I believe. Hebrews is about Covenant transition. Try Hebrews 1, especially verse 10-11.

    Also notice in the passage you cited that the text actually says, “not only the earth but the heavens.” The heavens were never shaken in the OC world. Hebrews is talking about the transition from the entire old creation to the New Creation.

    If that doesn’t get you interested in studying deeper try this one.

    Do you worship on Friday evening through Saturday evening? If not then you are testifying that the Genesis creation passed away.

    Moses ROOTED the 7th day sabbath Law IN the creation of Genesis 1!

    If that creation has not passed (Matthew 5:17) then you are bound to obey the 7th day Sabbath (and the rest of Torah).

    If you say that is the creation of the material universe, it seems to me that you should stop eating pepperoni (violation of Torah) pizza on Friday night and start finding a synagogue or church service.

    Again, think about this. Moses roots the 7th day Sabbath IN the creation of Genesis. Jesus says that the law won’t pass until heaven and earth pass. What does that mean?

    I hope this is enough to spur you on to deeper study.

    Blessings,
    Micah

    • Deborah says:

      Hello Micah. I am trying to plow through DeMar’s article but it will take some time, but I will offer my initial thoughts. I don’t agree with Demar’s opening argument about what Peter meant about the scoffers. Peter says they scoffed at the idea that the Lord had come saying “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” DeMar puts other words in their mouths, that they “scoffed at the claims made by Jesus that the temple would be destroyed.” Thus without explanation or justification he changed the subject, the scope, and the timeframe of what Peter foretold these scoffers would say. There is a world of difference between “from the beginning of the creation” and the 40 years before the destruction of the Temple. And then notice what Peter says these scoffers were ignorant of: the old world was literally destroyed by a literal flood (v.6), and the heavens and earth which are now are reserved against the day of judgment when they too will perish. The context here is the physical creation being unchanged by the coming of Jesus but just as surely as the world was literally destroyed in the days of Noah by a flood, by the same Word the heavens and earth which now are will one day perish by fire.

      As for Matthew 5:17 I don’t agree with you. Jesus did not say nothing passes from the Law until Heaven and Earth pass. He said nothing would pass from the law until *all* the law was fulfilled. That’s why even after the Cross all those jots and tittles about sacrifices still continued and in fact the entire Old Covenant remained in force until every last jot and tittle was fulfilled. THEN, after the last jots and tittles, the ones that concerned the judgment of the law were fulfilled, THEN the Old Covenant passed away. That’s what Jesus was saying here. Which is why Jesus said that anyone who broke even the least of the commandments, and taught men to do so, would be called least in the kingdom. As long as the Temple stood and the priests continued to minister and the sacrifices continued to be offered the people were obligated to keep every jot and tittle of the law. It was *all* in force until it was *all* fulfilled then it *all* passed away.

      On the point you made about the creation account of Genesis not being an actual account of the creation, why would I make such an assumption? To justify a particular escha view? You must be careful with such interpretations or you run the risk of making the Bible a book of parables that teach some moral lessons rather than an historical account of a Living God whose hand can be seen at work in this world. The Bible is not a book of fables with moral lessons, it is a record of history that bears witness of God.

      I’m afraid I don’t understand what point you were making about Hebrews 1, to my mind it supports the literalness of Genesis, that God “laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of his hands.” If not, then where did they come from? And it also says that the heavens and earth will perish and wax old and as a garment the Lord will fold them up and they will be changed. But the Lord is unchanging and his time will never fail. To my mind this argues for a temporal heavens and earth, while the Lord alone, and his Kingdom, are eternal.

      In reference to Hebrews 12:26-28 you said, “The heavens were never shaken in the OC world.” I disagree. That was precisely what Paul said, that God’s voice shook the earth when he spoke from Sinai, but he promised that once more he would shake not only the earth but also heaven. That shaking took place during the great tribulation as Joel also foretold: “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake.” Joel 3:13-21 The purpose of this “shaking” was so that the Old Covenant spiritual authorities who refused the Gospel would be cast down from their position as God’s representatives so that the New Covenant spiritual authorities would be left standing. Isaiah beautifully describes it: “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem form the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.” (Isaiah 4:2-4) He that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, after this great shaking of the heavens and the earth. That’s why the Jews fall is described as stars falling from heaven as a fig tree when she is shaken of a mighty wind. (Revelation 6:13) That’s why Paul says that God’s voice once shook the earth, but now he had promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace …” We haven’t received a heaven and earth which cannot be moved, we have received a kingdom within this heaven and earth which cannot be moved.

      On the rest of your post, about obedience to the Law, the commandment to keep the 7th day holy was commanded under the Law. The Law has been fulfilled and has passed away. The Sabbath, as with everything else that pertained to the Old Covenant, was typical and symbolic. God setting aside the 7th day (limiting a certain day as Paul expresses it) foreshadowed the day of salvation when men would cease from their own works and find rest in Christ: “Come unto me ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart and you will find rest unto your soul.” Why would you suggest that I must take upon myself the yoke of the Law just because the heaven and earth have not passed away?

      Deborah

      • Micah Martin says:

        Deborah,

        If your not as far down the partial preterist road as Gary is then there is no reason to continue this discussion.

        Matthew 5:17-18 is clear. Please read it again.

        “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

        If you can’t see the time statement there regarding the passing of heaven and earth then there is not much I can do.

        I also noticed you have not answered my simple question.

        Please explain to me where an end of time, physical body out of the graves, resurrection is promised in the Old Testament. See you have the old covenant as totally fulfilled, but Paul preached “nothing but the Law and Prophets” and nothing but the hope of Israel.

        You say the OC is fulfilled but that is exactly where Paul get’s his Resurrection doctrine/hope from? Something you deny as fulfilled. So which is it? Is it fulfilled or are we under the law?

        One more time. Please tell me where do you base your resurrection (at the end of time) hopes on? Paul based his on the OC! You have the old covenant fulfilled without that promise being realized. That is quite the problem!

        Blessings,
        Micah

      • Deborah says:

        Micah, let me ask you this: if I was to say, “Till I draw my last breath, I will not get behind the wheel of a vehicle until I get my driver’s license.” Now tell me, when will I get behind the wheel of a vehicle? When I draw my last breath? or when I get my driver’s license? Saying “Till I draw my last breath” is an emphatic statement intended to give strength to my claim. The time statement is “until I get my driver’s license.” That’s when I will drive again.

        And that’s what Jesus was saying, else he would have simply said “Till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle will pass from the Law.” Period. That’s what you are reading. But that’s not what he said. The whole point of what Jesus was saying was that the law and the prophets would not be destroyed, they would be fulfilled, and until *all* of the law and the prophets were fulfilled, not one jot or tittle would pass away.

        In Luke 16:17 the passing away of heaven and earth and the passing of the Law not only are not tied together but are clearly treated as two distinctly separate things: “And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Again, an emphatic statement of just how impossible it was that the Law should pass away without being fulfilled.

        On the question of resurrection, first let me say that I do not agree with your statement that “Paul preached ‘nothing but the Law and the Prophets’ and nothing but the hope of Israel.” What Paul preached was the Gospel and he called himself the apostle to the Gentiles: “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2), “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1), “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16), “that I should be minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel” (Romans 15:16) and I could go on and on. What Paul preached was the Gospel, and being the apostle to the Gentiles he preached the hope of the Gospel for Gentiles as well as Jews.

        Nor do I agree that Paul gets his resurrection doctrine from the Old Testament. Paul gets his resurrection doctrine straight from the fact of Jesus’ resurrection: “Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?” This is where Paul got his resurrection doctrine from, and this is where he squarely bases his resurrection preaching on, the resurrection of Jesus. “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God: because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-22

        The above passage makes it very clear that Paul based his doctrine of the resurrection on the resurrection of Jesus, as well as the hope of all those in Christ being “made alive,” is also based on the resurrection of Jesus, a literal, bodily resurrection.

        Deborah

      • Deborah says:

        P.S. Micah, I noticed you didn’t cite any scriptures to support your view that Paul based his doctrine on the resurrection on the Old Covenant.

        In Christ,
        Deborah

      • Micah Martin says:

        Deborah,

        Acts 26:22-23

        22 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

        Also, Paul on trial for his hope of the Resurrection.

        Acts 28:20
        20 For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.”

        We all carry baggage from our Pre-mil days. If you are really interested in studying this with an open mind a different forum would be more appropriate.

        If you feel like you should out-right reject full-preterism without a deeper study that is fine too. From your arguments above, I am not convinced you understand even the Partial Preterist paradigm as well as you think you do. That makes me wonder if you really have objectively (or with any depth) looked at the full-preterist paradigm. I know what the futurist say regarding 1 Cor. 15. Their arguments don’t hold water IMO and the FP interpretation is much more Scriptural.

        If you are sincere in wanting to understand the FP paradigm you are more than welcome to email me and we can correspond over email and take one issue at a time (or move this to a more appropriate forum). In the meantime, I hope you continue to study the Bible like you are doing. It is obvious that you love the Word and are seeking to better your understanding as a Child of God.

        Blessings,
        Micah
        micahmartin5@gmail.com

      • Deborah says:

        Micah, my understanding is that Paul was on trial for sedition. (Acts 24:5) His defense was that he believed what was written in the law and the prophets (Acts 24:14-15) and was not preaching anything other than what Moses and the prophets had foretold … which was the Gospel of Christ (Acts 26:22-23) His doctrine on the resurrection was based on the Gospel, not on the Law.

        As to my views, I have never studied “the Partial Preterist paradigm,” I’ve never even read a preterist book, partial or full. My views are my own based on my study of the Scriptures. So it is certainly possible that I might fail your litmus test to qualify for “the Partial Preterist paradigm,” but in my humble opinion I believe my views to be every bit as Scriptural as yours.

        As for this forum, I apologize, I had assumed this was a forum for discussion and debate on the issues raised in the article and that it was open to anyone who wished to register and take part. Thank you for the offer for private correspondence but I will respectfully decline and, as you suggest, find a more appropriate forum.

        In Christ,
        Deborah

      • Micah Martin says:

        Deborah,

        First of all, that is no problem. This is a great forum for engaging, it is that sometimes it is hard to follow all the different directions.

        Also, I don’t think your view is any less “Scriptural” than mine. I believe you are 100% sincere in searching for truth. Whether or not someone is wrong or right doesn’t mean they don’t hold the Bible in the highest regard and as an authority. What I find tiring is the people that accuse those of not agreeing with their particular interpretation as “compromised” or as “undermining the authority of Scripture.”

        Hopefully, I have not conveyed that to you. I am a full-preterist. One of the biggest things I have to find out first when discussing things with people is where they are at now. The range is huge as you can understand.

        I don’t think Paul was on trial for sedition. The Jews were trying to kill him. Why would they be trying to kill him if he was not preaching “the hope of Israel.” If Paul’s Christianity was different than Judaism then the Jews would not have cared what Paul preached. But he preached that Christ was the Messiah and fulfilled the Law and Prophets. That is why the Judaizers wanted him dead, he was a threat to their traditions, just like Christ was.

        Also, notice where Paul goes in 1 Corinthians 15. He goes to Isaiah and Hosea to explain his doctrine of Resurrection.

        BTW, 1 Cor. 15:3-4
        3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

        So what Scriptures is Paul talking about? The New Testament?

        Also, if you keep reading Paul takes the need for Resurrection all the way back to BEFORE THE FALL. Vs 45ff. That one will throw most for a loop!

        Also, if you believe the law has passed then you must believe that it is totally fulfilled. If the law is fulfilled then Resurrection (whatever the true Biblical definition of it is) is in our past also or you have to argue that the OC doesn’t not prophecy a Resurrection, which would make it odd that Paul would quote Hosea and Isaiah during his discourse on the Resurrection.

        I hope that gives you some good stuff to chew on.

        Blessings,
        Micah

      • Theodore says:

        I know I’m a bit late to the thread but I’ve read 90% of it and am quite interested in where Deborah’s been and where she is now with her walk with the Lord and her beliefs at this time, I guess mainly because it most closely resembles mine at thios point in time.
        So if I may ask if you could email me Deborah, I’m interested in how you’ve come to where you are in your beliefs from where you were. Like, was there other ppl that may have provoked more thought that caused you to change some of your beliefs, or maybe praying for unanswered questions you had or possibly other books you’ve read. Things along those lines is what I’d like to ask
        If you’d prefer not to email me I understand that to.
        Either way,
        God Bless all and thank you for everyone’s time that has gone into this thread thus far. rups60@yahoo.com

        please pardon my double post, I saw that I hadn’t replied to the proper post. Again my apologizes.

      • Deborah says:

        Theodore, my apologies, but I just saw your post and would be happy to share with you about my walk and how I have arrived at my views. I will email you.

        Deborah

  6. seal da zeal says:

    Why are nations being healed if there has been a Great White Throne judgement? What is the purpose of their healing?

    Again there is no practicality in FP. As have been the arguments made against FP, are people no longer born in Adam since “Death” is no more? Everyone of them lives like a Partial Preterist but just make FP statements. You can’t live that way though. Why aren’t you guys being idle like the Thessalonians since the LORD has come? It’s always comical for me to see FP’s steady at work.

    • Micah Martin says:

      seal da zeal,

      I simply can’t let that one go. That is probably the weakest argument against FP.

      1) It is obvious you are not familiar with the plethora of teaching from FP about how to live in the Kingdom today.

      2) If you think everything stops after the second advent (or 3rd or 4th depending on what flavor of PP you hold to) you have the same problem in your own camp. Are you going to be “idle” in “heaven” or in the physical new heavens and earth?

      Please familiarize yourself with FP teachings before you make such statements.

      I certainly don’t live like a PP. In fact, my life has improved tremendously since my transition to FP.

      Blessings,
      Micah

  7. Deborah says:

    But where in the Scriptures is heaven and earth ever used as a type of the Old Covenant? The type used in the Revelation that describes the destruction and end of the Old Covenant is the destruction and end of “Babylon the Great” (apostate Jerusalem) in chapters 17 and 18. That judgment and destruction occurred at the beginning of the 1000 years, not after the 1000 years expire.

    • Deborah says:

      Thank you for your response Mike, but I don’t think such a strained interpretation of that one verse is sufficient grounds to interpret the heavens and earth as a type or symbol of the Old Covenant and thus symbolic of such a Christologically important event as the passing away of the Old Covenant. I would require more definitive proof, from the Law, the Prophets, and the Gospel.

      On the second point, could you please tell me what article you are referring to? What is the date? I would be very interested in reading it. I don’t follow the various schools of thought on these issues but I am interested in what conclusions others have come to.

      Thank you,
      Deborah

    • Micah Martin says:

      Deborah,

      Try reading Jeremiah 4. Pay special attention to verse 23ff. Then ask yourself if Jeremiah is redefining Genesis 1 or if he is using Genesis 1 language in it’s covenantal context (people).

      If that is not enough try a website, Beyond Creation Science.

      You can also find the Covenant Creation Conference from 2009 and 2010 online.

      Blessings

      • Deborah says:

        Micah, thank you for your reply and I appreciate the recommendations for websites to visit but I was hoping to cut through the lengthy study necessary to find answers by coming to a discussion forum like this and ask those already learned in the full preterist view. I suppose I am a partial preterist, that is, I believe in a future physical redemption and return of the Lord, and I have arrived at that view through my own study of the Scriptures. So I am wondering what Scriptures the Full Preterists base their views on. If I find enough merit to the view I will certainly turn my studies in that direction.

        As for Jeremiah 4, I find nothing there that in any way implies that the heavens and earth symbolize the Old Covenant or that the heavens and earth would pass away to symbolize the passing away of the Old Covenant. What I do find in that passage is a lamentation that the “land” of Israel, after the judgment that was to come upon it, was likened to the chaos of creation, a land without form and void and heavens with no light, moutains that trembled and hills that were moved, a land where men were no more and all the birds of the air had fled, a fruitful land turned into a wilderness, cities broken down by the presence and fierce anger of the Lord, a land left desolate for which the earth would mourn and the heavens would be black.

        Nowhere does this in any way suggest that the heavens and earth woud pass away, nor does this passage equate the Old Covenant to the heavens and earth. It equates the state or condition of the land of Israel to the emptiness and darkness of the earth and the heavens at creation, a state the land of Israel would be reduced to after the Lord had executed his judgment and anger against a stiffnecked people who time and again broke covenant with Him and committed acts of abomination that brought upon them the desolation that is described in this lamentation by Jeremiah.

        As I said to Mike, the end of the Old Covenant was such a Christologically important event that there needs to be some very strong evidence for interpreting the passing away of the heavens and earth as symbolic of that event rather than an actual event in and of itself. Especially in light of Paul’s teaching in Hebrews 12:26-29 that it was in fact the kingdom of Israel that passed away when God “shook the heavens and earth,” and removed those things that were made so that the unshakable, unmovable Kingdom of Heaven might remain. In this it is clear that the heavens and earth did not pass away, but when the heavens and earth were “shaken” the Old Covenant kingdom passed away.

        Deborah

      • Deborah says:

        Mike, thanks again for your response, but I’m probably not as smart as you guys and going off in so many directions makes it difficult for me to respond, but I’ll try to adress each of the issues you raised.

        All due respect to Messrs. DeMar and McDurmon, but I am unfamiliar with them and would disagree with their conclusion. The Old Covenant kingdom of Israel passed away in the 7-year Roman Jewish war, but the heaven and earth which were created millennia before there was an Old Covenant have not passed away, they are still here.

        Yes, I do believe the imminent time texts in the New Testament (as well as the Revelation) and I do understand them literally, but I understand them to refer to the devastation of the land of Israel and the end of the Old Covenant, not the devastation and end of the entire earth.

        The “stars” that fell from the heavens referred to the fall of the Jews who ruled over the earthly Kingdom of God under the Old Covenant. They fell from their positions as God’s earthly representatives and authority. And that is based on the very clear and unambiguous use in Scripture of the sun, moon and stars being symbolic of the Jews per Genesis 37:9-10. I expect the use of the heavens and earth as types of the Old Covenant to have just as clear and unambiguous support in Scripture to be credible. So far I have found none and no one has yet offered any.

        I dont think the passage in John’s letter supports your premise. He is admonishing Christians to not love the world and its physical lusts and temptations because of the transitory nature of the world, the same basic theme so strenously preached by Solomon in Ecclesiastes, “all is vanity and vexation.” John wasn’t advocating that the world would be destroyed. Indeed, the Revelation says that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ (Revelation 11:14), hardly supporting the idea that the world has passed away. Jesus didn’t come to destroy the world, he came to save it, and his mission was not to make the world pass away, but to overcome it.

        Neither the world, the earth, or the heavens passed away in the generation of Jesus’ first advent. What passed away was the Old Covenant and the things that God had provided for its observance. The reason they passed away is because those things were temporal types and figures that foreshadowed and even now serve to teach us about the things of the New Covenant, which are spiritual in nature and eternal.

        I find your statement odd that “the OC did not fully pass away at the cross.” I don’t believe ANY of the Old Covenant “passed away” at the Cross. Much of it was fulfilled at the Cross, but the Old Covenant didn’t actually pass away until ALL of the Law and Prophets were fulfilled. Then the Old Covenant passed away, not at the Cross, but during the 7-year Roman/Jewish war. But the heavens and the earth were created before the Old Covenant was instituted, were not part of the Old Covenant (only the land of Israel was included), and the heavens and earth were not subject to the judgment of the Old Covenant. Only the land of Israel which was given under Covenant agreement to Israel was subject to the judgment of the Law, and it was the land of Israel that was completely destroyed when the Old Covenant was brought to an end.

        I also have a different understanding as to when the promises to Israel were fulfilled. It wasn’t when the Old Covenant was brough to an end, the promises to Israel (if by that you mean the promises of salvation and restoration to fellowship with God) were fulfilled when the New Covenant was instituted, 40 years before the Old came to an end. The purpose of the 40 years of grace was to allow all Jews everywhere to hear the Gospel and be saved, or not, and then the end came.

        Deborah

      • Micah Martin says:

        Deborah,

        I will try to write more later. In the meantime, check this out. Maybe Gary can explain it better than I.

        http://americanvision.org/3603/what-does-peter-mean-by-the-passing-away-of-heaven-and-earth-a-study-of-2-peter-3/

        Also, I have one question for you.

        On what Scriptures do you base your Resurrection hope? Old Testament or New Testament?

        Thanks,
        Micah

    • JL Vaughn says:

      Deborah,

      Jesus promised, “Until Heaven and Earth pass away, not one jot nor tittle of the law will pass away.”

      Do you practice the jots and tittles of the law? If not, then your every action confirms you believe the jots and tittles have passed away and the Heaven and Earth have passed away.

      Whatever Heaven and Earth was, it was tied to the law. Heaven and Earth has passed away. Heaven and Earth passed away either before or at the same time as the jots and tittles of the law passed away.

      Heaven and Earth was tied closely to the Old Covenant, not as a type, but as either the Old Covenant or something closely associated with the Old Covenant.

      Blessings

      • Deborah says:

        J L Vaughn, It seems I have been remiss in checking this forum and responding to questions, and for that I am sorry.

        If I might be allowed a tardy response?

        I do not agree with your basic premise. You said that Jesus promised, “Until Heaven and Earth pass away, not one jot nor one tittle of the law will pass away.”

        But that’s not actually what Jesus said. Read that again:

        “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

        What Jesus actually said, and what in fact historically occurred, is that every jot and tittle of the Law continued in force until every jot and tittle of the Law was fulfilled, and then all the law passed away.

        Think about it. Jesus fulfilled all those manifold jots and tittles of the sacrificial ordinances by his death at Calvary. And yet, those sacrificial jots and tittles continued to be observed for another 40 years. They did pass away when they were fulfilled.

        That’s because all the jots and tittles of the Law remained in force until all the jots and tittles of the Law were fulfilled. Some of the jots and tittles were fulfilled by Jesus’ birth. Some were fulfilled by his life. Many were fulfilled by his death and resurrection. Some were fulfilled by his being exalted to heaven and seated at the right hand of God, and some were fulfilled by his outpouring of the Holy Ghost. And yet others were fulfilled by the Great Commission and the spread of the Gospel and building up of the Church.

        But even though these many, many jots and tittles of the Law had been fulfilled, every jot and tittle of the Law still remained in force until the final jots and tittles were fulfilled. The final jots and tittles of the Law that were fulfilled were the jots and tittles about the judgement of the Law against the nation of Israel for having time and again throughout their history broken covenant with God and committed all kinds of abominations, from stoning the prophets and those God sent to them to burning their first-born male sons alive in fire as an offering to demons, first-born male sons that the Jews had covenanted with God would belong to Him.

        The 7 year Roman/Jewish war was the fulfillment of the last, final jots and tittles of the law, and once these last jots and tittles were fulfilled, then and only then, did the Law pass away.

        The 40 years between the institution of the New Covenant (30 A.D.) and the end of the Old Covenant (70 A.D.) was a period of grace God gave to the Jewish people to hear and receive the Gospel and be saved from the wrath that was soon to fall upon a guilty, bloody, sinful nation.

        So I disagree with you on what Jesus was saying. I don’t believe he was saying that the law would not pass away until heaven and earth passed away. He was saying that as long as heaven and earth remained, not one jot or tittle of the law would pass away, not even the sacrifical ordinances which his death fulfilled, nothing, not one jot or tittle would pass from the law until all the jots and tittles were fulfilled and then the law would pass away.

        And the thing is, that is what did in fact historically happen. Even after the coming of Jesus and the establishment of the New Covenant, the Old Covenant continued to be observed in toto until the judgment and destruction of the Jewish state and the end of the Mosaic economy.

        Deborah

  8. Duncan says:

    I have written a bit on this in my book (the Antichrist and the Second Coming, volumes I and II–volume II out next week) but for now let me be pithy. The picture of God seated on His throne and books opened for the judgment in Revelation 20:11-12 is shown in Daniel as happening at the AD 70 defeat of the little horn (Dan. 7:9-10).

    • Deborah says:

      Hello Duncan. Your comment can only be true if there is one and only one judgment before the throne of God that is spoken of in Scripture. But my understanding is that there are two.

      The first was the judgment of those under the Old Covenant in which the Jews (the only people who were under the Old Covenand and subject to it’s judgment) were judged out of the books of the Law. And as we know, no one is perfect and without sin, all have transgressed the Law of God and stand guilty before him. This judgment was against the nation of Israel and they were found guilty of having broken the Law and they were destroyed, the kingdom taken from them and given to another, and everything that God had provided for the observance of the Old Covenant was taken away. This was the judgment that the New Testament was primarily concerned with, because that judgement was imminent and did in fact occur during that generation.

      The second judgment is like the first, and yet different. In the second judgment all men will stand before Christ and will be judged out of those same books. But in this judgment there is another book which is opened, the Lamb’s Book of Life, and those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be saved from the second death.

      There are many other differences in terms of the conditions which surround the two judgments but to my mind this is the primary difference.

      Deborah

      • Duncan says:

        Deborah,

        And the judgment of Dan. 12:1-7 (I see a special book opened in that context, v. 1) which judgment is that? Scholars say this is the clearest text in the OT of the judgment and resurrection and it occurs in the context of the great tribulation and the shattering of Daniel’s people (i.e., AD 70).

      • Deborah says:

        Duncan, I believe Daniel 12 is speaking of the judgment of Israel that occurred during the Roman/Jewish war. And I believe the book referred to was the book of Remembrance spoken of by Malachi (3:16) wherein were inscribed the names of all the Old Testament righteous who awaited the redemption wrought by Christ. This is also taken up by Isaiah in his prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem (Isaiah 4:3) and also by David in Psalm 69:28. But the book that Daniel 12 refers to was shut up and sealed until the time came for that judgment to be accomplished. And in Revelation 5 we see a sealed book again but this time the seals are loosed and the four judgments are sent upon Israel.

        Another difference is that Daniel 12 speaks of Michael “standing up” for the Jewish people and there following a time of terrible trouble, the coming to pass of which we find in Revelation 12:7 when Michael goes to war with Satan and cast him and his angels out of heaven which was accomplished at Calvary which was followed by a time of great tribulation.

        Another difference is that Daniel 12 foretold that “many” of the children of Israel that slept in the dust of the earth would awaken which occurred at the crucifixion of Jesus (see Matthew 27:52) whereas at the final judgment death and hell and the sea are emptied of the dead which means a general resurrection of all men, not just “many” and not just “Daniel’s people.”

        So I understand Daniel 12 to be speaking of the judgment of the Law against Israel at the beginning of the 1000 years.

        The judgment that occurs after the 1000 years have expired is a judgment of all the dead, not just Israel.

        Deborah

  9. JL Vaughn says:

    Joel, In all of your analysis on heaven and earth, you seem to have missed the sea? How can the GWT judgment on the sea occur after the sea is no more?

  10. Mike Bennett says:

    Matthew wrote:
    Always interesting to witness an attempt by someone to constrain 1000 years into 40 years.

    Matthew please see Peter compared to Revelation. There are time-texts and they certainly seem to be speaking of the same subject matter. Notice that (if they are indeed speaking of the same subject matter) Peter allows for the 1000 years to be shorter.

    1 Peter 1:1 church in Asia
    Rev 1:4 church in Asia

    1 Peter 2:9 made a priesthood
    Rev 1:6, Rev 20:6 kingdom of priests

    1 Peter 4:5 ready to judge living and the dead <= ready = time text.
    Rev 11, and 20 judge the living and the dead <= BTW Partials say Revelation 11 is fulfilled already – sure sounds like Rev 20.

    1 Peter 1:20 foundation of the world
    Rev 13:8 foundation of the world

    1 Peter 4:17 judge family of God
    Rev 4 warnings against churches

    1 Peter 5:13 Babylon
    Rev 14, 16, 17, and 18 Babylon

    1 Peter 5:8-10 resist Devil, suffer a little while <= A little while = time text.
    Rev 20:3 released for a short time

    2 Peter 2:4 angels chains
    Rev 20:1-3 chains

    2 Peter 3:13 new heaven and new earth <= Tied to the "last days" which all Partials say = AD70.
    Rev 20:11, Rev 21 heaven and earth flee, New heaven and earth

    2 Peter 3:8 day a thousand years thousand years a day <= 1000 years does not have to be literal or long period.
    Rev 20:2 thousand years

    • Matthew says:

      Mike(s),

      Well, perhaps it’s right that you contend so strongly with the PPs.

      I, personally, will not embark on the FP path. I have a three-fold reason: (1) I consider it a different gospel from the one I believe now (i.e. salvation of the body and soul v. salvation of the soul alone). I suppose both gospels could be false, but they both can’t be true. (2) All the evils that God described about this world (e.g. the murder of children to idols; sodomy) still exist even now. Throughout the OT, judgment came to Jew and Gentile alike. For the LORD to get so upset with those inside and outside of covenant in the OT, but to make no resolution of these matters in the present age seems unbelievable. (3) I would feel quite excluded from the Bride of Christ during the last 2000 years. I can find very few people in that period of time that believed FP and all its full implications. Note: the implications of FP are far far far more important to me than a debate about time-markers in eschatology.

      Thanks for the time you took to respond. But you must understand, you’re arguing against much more than just how to interpret prophetic books. After all, using hindsight, if I was sitting in the days of Isaiah, Daniel, etc. and I considered some of their writing on Christ, my understanding of those writing wouldn’t match the NT very well. Some of the writings were immediate (i.e. preterist if you will), distant (i.e. futurist if you will), spiritual (i.e. idealist if you will), and covering a long span of time (i.e. historicist if you will). If I could learn anything from those OT writings and the failures on the part of some Jews in rejecting Christ, it would be not too bet too much on one horse. Just because some parts of the NT deal with 70 AD doesn’t mean all parts of the NT deal with 70 AD.

      Thanks for reading,

      Matthew

      • Matthew says:

        Do you have a link to those books?

      • E Harris says:

        “Note: the implications of FP are far far far more important to me than a debate about time-markers in eschatology.”

        Bingo.

        And this is probably why they get bogged down in time-markers. They don’t want to discuss all of the further implications – because that’s where it (more obviously) breaks down. Their hermeneutically-sealed package, isn’t as air-tight as they want to make it seem. It is their all-consuming eschatological purpose to sum all up in 70ad (and in Christ & the crucifixion as well… but 70ad at the latest).

        I have an additional question for the Partial Preterists, however. Once the door is open to something beyond 70ad, then what do we make of the intervening time between 70ad and the physical return of Christ? Almost 2000 years of history is in there, full of dynamics that are both righteous and unrighteous. Partial Preterists preach the steady advancement of the kingdom during that time. Which is true. But that only begs the question. Not everything that was done in the name of Jesus Christ was pure or even right. So what are we to make of that? Not everything called “church” was JESUS’ ekklesia or even His ekklesia acting correctly. What does good and evil LOOK LIKE in the intervening 2000 years, which is now history. Partial Preterists don’t seem to be willing to take this on. Exploring the dynamics of the good/evil conflict WITHIN the church and WITHIN the state – is different from simply saying that it is “church” versus “state”. It’s not about “church” and “state” as we commonly think of them. It’s about individual PEOPLE (ekklesia) and their collective identities (their public gatherings/ekklesia-around-something). Jesus has our collective identity solidly in heaven. That is where we are citizens. HOWEVER, there has been a slightly different story playing out on earth. And I don’t think we quite see the end of it, yet.

        Exploring the spiritual dynamic (overall trends) of the last 2000 years, with any thoroughness, would lead into the unfamiliar waters of Protestant Historicism (in its newer forms) and expose them (the Reconstructionists themselves) to more scrutiny and criticism…even more than they presently endure. The Christian Reconstruction has the character of wanting to rally all christians behind a calvinistic version of Biblical thought. And Reconstructionists have been helpful in a lot of things – particularly critiquing secular movements past and present. However, they fall short when it comes time to critique the visible church. Oh, they do critique the visible church (in the present): they typically go after those who are not calvinists. But this is a SHALLOW critique – for in some ways, it bounces right back to them. One reoccurring Reconstructionist critique jumps out above the others: those that Reconstructionists call ‘pietists’ are often more socially and culturally engaged than even the Reconstruction movement is. And the Reconstructionists prove how isolated they themselves are, by critiquing ‘pietists’ without exception. (CBN? Would they fit the definition of pietist? Focus on the Family? Many mega-congregations who deliver aid to the poor and are involved in their communities?)

        So simply critiquing non-calvinists is not the answer. It is all christians who must be included, and sorted, along principles that are broader than simply “how politically motivated and active are you?” The good/evil struggle is much deeper than that, I think we would agree. As I said, it’s not “church” versus “state” in the conventional sense: that debate was SHAPED BY two competing institutional collective organizations (earthly collective calling itself the church, and an earthly collective calling itself the state). One claimed earthly and external authority, the other claimed heavenly and inner authority.

        May I propose that the TRUE seat of both inner/heavenly and external/earthly authority reside somewhere OTHER THAN earthly collectives? This opens up a pandora’s box that is probably very uncomfortable to traditional christians. That is the reason why Partial Preterists shy away from opening their paradigm to include DEEPLY BIBLICAL analysis of the actions of the ekklesia in the last 2000 years and how it lines up with NEW TESTAMENT standards. By resorting to Old Testament standards, they can simply say “oh, they never got it right, politically” without delving DEEPER/HIGHER into the HEART issues that were in play IN JESUS’ NAME. This is not a marxist critique – but it may seem so, at first. It’s a christian critique. While Christ’s kingdom did advance, and more knowledge was gained, a lot of christians lost (actually never GAINED) the understanding that the apostles had, in how they walked, lived, moved.

        Full Preterists are not bothered by critiquing historical christianity as much. However, they seem to fear something else even more: biblical creationists, and those who believe in the gifts of the Spirit and miracles occurring today. Basically, any thought that God is present in such a way that He actually ACTS in this world, today. I believe that scares them. They are FULL of intellectual explorations. Until someone says they heard from God, a miracle happened, or that God created creatures fully-formed. Then they attempt to shut down discussion, without any exploration. They will explore with the evolutionists. But just let one of those crazy pentecostals or charismatics (you know, those Bible-thumpers) in the room… and these Full Preterists fear what these crazy conservative-leaning libertarians may do, when it comes to biology textbooks and treatment of religion in the public square. In other words, it is quite possible that FP is a disguise for political and religious status-quo in what is otherwise a christian conservative-libertarian line of thinking.

        And this is what I TRULY THINK is driving a lot of the FP resistance to Partial Preterism… they see the door that it leaves open to the pentecostals and the charismatics. And THAT is what scares them. That is WHY they must hermeneutically-seal 70ad as their last stand.

      • E Harris says:

        Mike,

        Tell that to those who I have heard directly from. Hundreds (if not thousands) of witnesses to direct interventionary healings, deliverances, visions, prophetic words, and provisionary miracles from God… some of those happening to me. Though I wish it were more often, I haven’t pursued them enough (through fasting, prayer, asking, and focusing on God). It takes some hunger and crying out or chasing after God, to have something like that happen.

        I know FP’s hate all this: cuz it flies in the face of their theory. FP’s seem fine with the miraculous: so long as the miraculous stays in the distant past, and that it is kept at a minimum in the creation account. Such beliefs result in an unwarranted bias against “my kind” (charismatics, pentecostals, and many non-western christians who believe in present-day miracles from God). It is possible to be a serious intellectual and believe in miracles: C.S. Lewis did.

        Joel is NOT anti-miracles or anti- gifts of the Spirit! He’s not a doubter in those realities. He’s said as much a few months back. He knows it happens, and he’s not going against such people, on that basis. He’s just not comfortable with the “Pentecostal” or “Charismatic” monikers, and I guess I don’t blame him, if by Charismatic he’s thinking about denominationalism, pleas for seed-money, or mistakes along those lines.

        There is a new term “pentecostal” with a small-p to denote those who believe in miracles and the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit without being overly “Pentecostalish” or “charismatic” about it all. The house church movement’s very THEOLOGY is BASED ON the manifold gifts of the Spirit given to His saints for His Glory. It’s proof and evidence that God’s headship is distributed through us all, when we gather together. And that we are to help each other mature in the exercise of these gifts…and the learning that they contain. (Checking them against Scripture, of course.)

  11. E Harris says:

    I noticed you said that Jesus said that he came to fulfill all of the “law and the prophets”. Surely you didn’t mean that it all gets fulfilled before 70ad? Even if Jesus were to fulfill all of the prophets – he (via his Spirit) can do so at any time, progressively, as he wishes. However, that is not what Jesus said.

    Matthew 5:17-19
    Christ Fulfills the Law
    17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

    Now, this SEEMS to be more about the law than the prophets. It depends on how you read it, if it refers to the law or both. Even so, he does not say WHEN it will be fulfilled, only that he came not to destroy but to fulfill. So, it IS fulfilled in Him, for those who believe in Him. It is done, finished. We walk in this faith, trusting that justice has been served. Right?

    Such fulfilling happened at the cross – and from then forward it is manifesting in history. Such progressive chronological manifestation did not stop just because an empty trust in the temple was made more difficult in 70ad. Many Jews persisted in their stubborn beliefs. Many christians had already abandoned the temple practices. The law IS fulfilled, justice HAS been served, and we are (supposed to be) walking manifestations of the freedom in Christ that we now share. And the more purely we walk, the more people who see and believe, the more we will see a progressive REALIZATION (in the minds and actions of world culture) about the deep truths of all of scripture and what it all means. I believe that Revelation is the story of how the world culture is brought to a state of permanent awakening and reckoning.

    • E Harris says:

      ah, well at least I understand the logic of the FP’s a little better now.

      “the subject of both the Law and the Prophets” is still ongoing in v. 18 – and will be valid and unfulfilled until heaven and earth passes away…when heaven and earth pass, is when the jots and tittles of the Law and Prophets will all be fulfilled.”

      Ok. So it wasn’t fulfilled at the cross & resurrection. It was fulfilled 40 years later. What then of Jesus saying “It is finished”?

      Yes, I am pentecostal. (A former Pentecostal, who has renounced denominationalism. Some people have a problem with the word Charismatic, and that word isn’t even in my background, so. Semantics. Basically, I KNOW that stuff such as visions & gifts of the Spirit are open to all believers. It’s only a matter of hunger, worship, seeking God, and openness to knowing that God speaks in an abundance of ways – in agreement with His inspired Scriptures.) Yes, God can even soften a pentecostal’s heart. I *liked* Joel’s article above! I was one of the few who really did!! More of you should! I see nothing wrong with it. Of course, I just read it once, but it seems pretty kosher to me.

  12. Mike Bennett says:

    Joel wrote: “This is the same final judgment described by Jesus in John 5″

    Joel, I notice the “time is coming and now is” comment you had made where you reference the “time as coming” in the article as future (John 5). Interestingly – the phrase “a time is coming” is in reference to Jerusalem (no longer worshipping there) just a chapter earlier – exact same phrasing. Coincidence? Maybe…=)

    John 4
    20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. (<= "time is coming" = no more worship in Jerusalem only) 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. (<= "has now come" = present tense)

    John 5
    25I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come (<= "has now come" = present tense) when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 28"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming (<= "time is coming" = no more Jerusalem (for example – see Daniel 12:1-7)) when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

  13. Mike Bennett says:

    I believe that it was my email that Joel was writing about (in regards to). Thank you Joel, for responding and taking the time to do so. I have only been able to skim so far (as I am at work) and will read in more deatil when time permits. For all here, as reference, here is my the original email for reference (BELOW).

    =======================================

    …Please see below. What are your thoughts regrading this logical conclusion?

    Ken Gentry (Partial Preterist):
    “Evangelical (and reformed) preterists (e.g., R. C. Sproul) take seriously the time texts of Scripture and apply those prophecies to A.D. 70, a redemptive-historical event of enormous consequence.” “Think of it: If these words in these verses do not indicate that John expected the events to occur soon, what words could John have used to express such? How could he have said it more plainly?”… “In Revelation 22:10 John receives a command precisely the opposite of Daniel’s, resulting in Revelation as a whole being opened and thereby fulfilled shortly: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” (Rev 22:10; cp. 1:1, 3; 22:6)”

    Using what Gentry above says and applying below:

    If: A=B and B=C then A=C

    Revelation 22
    2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads…6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

    A. The City that is mentioned in Rev 22 and has time texts. See Gentry quote above regarding Rev 22.

    B. The City comes in Rev 21 – where heaven and earth are confirmed as passed away / new heavens and earth come.

    C. Heaven and earth pass away (flee) at the great white throne judgment – Rev 20 – therefore the GWT (resurrection) and end of the 1000 years are connected to time texts (which Partial Preterists insist on holding as AD 70).

    • Joel McDurmon Joel McDurmon says:

      I was not responding to you.

      • E Harris says:

        Well, you are certainly touching some nerves here, Joel!

        I find this whole FP vs PP debate fascinating and exceedingly frustrating at the same time. Cuz I think that even the PP’s don’t go far enough! After weighing both sides, I generally like the “fulfilled at the cross” aspect of the FP’s (although, they seem to not point to the cross, as much as to this maddening 70ad obsession). I agree with the “already, but not yet” tension of the PP’s – cuz it agrees with the current exercise of spiritual gifts and the steady chronological advance as portrayed in postmillenialism and neo-protestant-historicism (my own personal post-denominational brand). It’s certainly been an education.

        It’s also cool to see people get into the comment section more. To see more back-and-forth helps people make up their minds.

      • Matthew says:

        I second that E Harris.

        Always interesting to witness an attempt by someone to constrain 1000 years into 40 years. Heck, even when 1000 is used to mean a vast sum (i.e. not an exact number), I’ve not met too many people that would make that vast sum smaller than the 1000 number. It’s all very curious.

        Now, here’s my theory on Isaiah 7:14: it that must have happened around the time Ephraim was broken. It makes no sense for there to be a 700 year gap! I mean, let’s get serious, God gives Ahaz a sign that was hundreds of years in the future. Hello! Ahaz is the audience. Who else was this sign suppose to be intended for… some random group of people living hundreds of years later? j/k

      • Mike Bennett says:

        Hmm – then an FP hi-jacked the exact same topic that I emailed you and Gary about? LOL – Anyways…Gaps / this is not the same subject matter in Rev 20 and 21 etc. Seems a bit hard to believe – IMHO.

  14. Michael Paul Tuuri says:

    Excellent article, but it misses something that I think has been missed by many Reformed scholars. There are three occurrences of the phrase “new heavens and new earth”…Isaiah 65, 66, and 2 Peter 3. The phrase in Revelation 21:1 is a “new heaven and new earth.” This change in tense is not insignificant, for they refer to two different “events.” I think this provides even more support to your argument, Joel.

  15. Tim Martin says:

    Gotta love gap theories…

    Tim Martin

    • Mark says:

      Gap theory? Tim, is that the 6 inches between a PP’s ears? Lol

      It’s no theory, its FULL of unfulfilled ideas.

      Peace my brother

  16. Mika'il Rahim says:

    Wow, Joel!!!! Yikes!!! Partial preterism is just one big fat mess!!!!!!!! How completely esoteric of you!!!! Talk about a pick and choose eschatology! As problematic as full preterism is, it sure makes a heck of a lot more sense than partial preterism, or should I call it partial futurism?

    I really can’t wait to hear you debate Don Preston.

    • @Mika’il Rahim– Pick and choose? A big fat mess? Esoteric? If anyone is being esoteric here, I think it must be you for not explaining your objections, but simply making unsupported criticisms instead.

      I had no trouble following Joel’s thought process and logic. It was not arbitrary, but was well supported and was done so logically. He brought appropriate passages of Scripture to bear on the verses in question in order to shed appropriate light upon them — a proper exercise of using Scripture to interpret Scripture.

      I’d love to hear a defense of your statements, because Joel was quite clear and organized to me.

      • E Harris says:

        I think that FP just don’t like where the logic LEADS. They understand it. That’s how they are able to label it so quickly, without asking questions. They know (a little) of where the logic leads: and it scares them. It means that 70ad isn’t a closed coffin (that they keep trying to nail shut). It means that there is something of the “Old” and something of the “New” still held in tension today. It means, that miracles and prophecies, the mysterious & unpredictable, isn’t necessarily “over”. I would wager that FP’s are almost always cessationists. And for some with analytical minds, this is a problem.

        Sorta like Einstein and black holes. He didn’t like any mystery or anomaly that he could not explain mathematically…but he ended up inserting “variable constants” into his equations.

        What’s more, FP’s would preach to us about dualism… and then turn around and have an earth/heaven dualism where the two are not connected or associated. God is constantly TRYING to bring earth into obedient reconciliation with His Authority, His Heavens. So that “open skies” will be more manifest with time.

      • Matthew says:

        Jerritte – Good point

      • E Harris says:

        I like the charity interpretation! I find the maturity-in-love interpretation to be VERY accurate and deep, in context of that chapter and the surrounding chapters. (I forgot which chapter…isn’t it in Corinthians?)

        Paul was talking about how to learn from each other, and grow into maturity, in love, amidst a diversity of giftings. We do the same today (albeit with less faith in a direct word, or a direct miracle). Once the MATURE has come, there is no need for the partial word from God. Once we HAVE it, we don’t NEED it given to us, externally. Once you are healed and whole… there is no more need for a crutch!

        It was that revelation that helped me begin to challenge denominationalism and the thought-processes of my own “leaders”. When I started realizing that we are ALL budding 5-fold ministers (sent ones, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, teachers), it released me from always NEEDING the approval of my fellow believers in order to “be” something. It gave me additional boldness to think outside the denominational & pastoral “box” that I was in. And my friend at the time, my pastor, encouraged this in me. (Which was ironic, because I was saying a lot of things that undermined many of his teachings, and even how we did things.) He is still my shepherd, because he is a trusted friend who is more mature than me in a number of ways: love being the most important.

  17. Mike Bull says:

    The problem with full preterists is they cut the end off history. And those who take this mistake to its logical conclusion also cut off the beginning (Covenant Creationists).

    Biblical history has a chiastic nature. The beginning of circumcision wasn’t the beginning of history, and the end of The Circumcision wasn’t the end of history.

    Here’s a couple of related links:
    http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp/2009/08/01/a-new-heavens-and-a-new-earth/
    http://www.bullartistry.com.au/wp/2012/02/06/cosmic-language/

    • Mike Bull says:

      Mike, the first resurrection was a “firstfruits” of New Covenant martyrs plus the Old Covenant martyrs. It’s really not that hard to see once you take into account the “sacrificial” structure of Revelation. It’s the whole purpose of the book.

      The problem with FPs is that God deals in fractals. He’s an artist and you lot are engineers. Daniel 12:1-3 follows the Feast pattern. Atonement requires blessing and cursing, which is perhaps why it mentions both. But the anally retentive simply aren’t going to take literary structure and beauty into account as anything important.

      Learn to hear the music.

    • JL Vaughn says:

      Mike, Your analogy with circumcision doesn’t work. We could debate all day who cut what off.

      Covenant Creation makes the beginning, that is, Genesis 1, match the the end. Biblical history starts with the beginning of the Old Covenant, with the first Adam and ends with the end of the Old Covenant and the parousia of the last Adam, Christ at the beginning of the New Covenant.

      You’ve made the common but unproven and ultimately erroneous assumption that Biblical History and Human history start and end together. Your two articles linked say nothing about Scripture. All you do is state your opinion as if it were Scripture, then “disprove” my view by saying it doesn’t match yours.

      In all of your posturing, you never seemed to notice that Nebuchadnezzar had his own Heaven and Earth. How does this fit into your scheme? Where is the restoration of Nebuchadnezzar’s Heaven and Earth?

  18. E Harris says:

    I’m going to make some wild conjecture here – some educated guesses. (Which is normal for me.) But it’s relevant.

    Remember how Sutton found those patterns of 5 in God’s covenant structure? And then he found that the 10-commandments (even on it’s mirror-duplicate twin tablets: one for God’s ‘memory’ and one for man’s) also had another two-fold structure: the first five and last 5 were almost a duality of sorts. First five is man-toward-God, and the second five is man-toward-man…and both fit the same “5-fold” pattern. Our bodies are structured in a 5-fold pattern (extremities, toes & fingers, senses): and in each of these there is dominant one that is set apart from the others and leads or assists in some peculiar way. It’s a pattern. Our inner spiritual senses/discernment/sensitivity (once awakened) also can be allegorized as being ‘sight’ or ‘taste’ or ‘hearing’ or ‘touching’ or even ‘smelling.’ So there may be an inner 5-fold structure that corresponds to the outer 5-fold senses. After all, we are made in the IMAGE of God after the pattern of our eldest Brother. Our physical bodies are an ILLUSTRATION of spiritual truths…not merely a replicas of physical attributes (as the mormons would have us believe). God doesn’t literally need Hands in order to operate with His spiritual Power. But our hands are a physical illustration of His Power. This is why body expression has MEANING. Because there is a corresponding “thing” in the spirit or soul that relates to the physical appearance or attribute. This is also what makes physical ugliness or beauty possible.

    Our bodies are bi-pedal. There is no true “oneness” in a concretely particular physical sense of the concept of one. Human bodies are forever divisible – and on the macro level, our bodies even seem to be shaped almost as two halves. Even the sides of our brain tend to specialize in slightly different functions. I would argue that this may be outer and inner, right and left, old and new. Both the outer and the inner EACH have a 5-fold pattern of meaning/understanding woven into them. The two realities are together and only (truly) hold together in the Father and His Redemption in Jesus. But the outer and more natural is forever subservient to the inner. Take Maslow’s heirarchy of needs (priorities), and flip it over.

    I said that this would relate to Joel’s article, and it shall. I remember being puzzled when I learned about how the Hebrews would often repeat themselves twice (in a form of Hebrew poetry), as a means of cementing something in a person’s understanding. I don’t think anything in scripture is by accident. It is quite possible that this 2-fold repetition style is because man (or God) was talking to both “sides” of his nature: inner and outer. Bringing them into agreement and reconciliation. This may also be why both the beginning of Genesis and the end of Revelation seem to have this 2-fold redundant pattern. One deals with physical/chronological reality being made or re-made. The other deals with kairological/eternal priority in the eyes of the eternal GOD who lives, sees, and experiences, outside of time.

    There is an outer man, and an inner man. In the garden of eden, mankind’s inner self wasn’t as developed as his mature outer self. And that is why they were immature enough to be duped into pride and presumption (of eating the forbidden fruit). So after the garden, inner communion was cut off (except through Jesus), and outer communion (through the senses, with the world) was left intact and probably got stronger because it was all they had to resort to (outside of Jesus). They were driven OUTSIDE of regular communion with God (except through Jesus and His sacrifice), and they were driven OUT of the garden of eden. The OUTER man is relegated to outer darkness, which is perpetually on the outside attempting to reach (with devices achievable to the outer man) what is only attainable in the higher and inner. To descend is to approach the outer and the physical. To ascend is to approach the inner Presence, heaven, where God is. But in a sense, after the Fall, man was cut off from himself: the Source of his own identity was blocked by an impenetrable wall of division. That’s what sin does.

    The old man, the outer self, the natural physical flesh will die and decay (or be changed). This is why we need new bodies.

    God came (in Jesus) to give us His Spirit, to make ours alive again to Him, and to help our minds and souls come back into fellowship with Him… So that we could walk again with Him in the garden (which is inner life). Now, God’s Spirit is powerful and still retains power over all nature: Jesus exemplified this. In a sense that we cannot understand, Jesus’ perfect obedience and oneness with the Father made the elements obedient to Him, so long as He remained with His Father by subjecting his flesh to perfect obedience. And his obedience is now available to us by faith.

    What I’m getting at is that there is a difference between the carrot and the stick in the outer realm… and the spiritual blessings and curses that we receive in the inner realm. In the natural, the “stick” (fear of the sword) may be seen as Power or “heaven” where God sits, and the carrot (incentive in money) may be seen as earthly. In the inner Spirit-life of Christ, the dynamics are quite different – there is an open heaven between us and God, there is communion as our motive, and power is given to us to wield as God trains us!

    The inner and the outer are related (as all things are) but they are distinct. The old is passing away, all things are made new (in Jesus). The old, outer darkness is forever being driven back – it cannot comprehend the Light that comes by faith in Jesus to save us from ourselves.

    It is possible that a lot of what we THINK of as redundancies within scripture, is merely God speaking to the outer existence and then to the inner existence – or visa versa. And also keeping in mind that HE HIMSELF is structured like this. But, since He forms the core of reality and existence, He is probably inverse to us. We look up and “in” to hear Him or to see our need for Him…and He looks down and “out” upon us.

    This view is close to modalism, but it isn’t. God is still transcendent, sovereign, sustainer, Head and Lord of all creation. It is precisely by His sustaining power that any lesser beings have existence or choice. But such choices are very superficial and external, when compared to his FILLING and FULFILLING Power. He is forever creating, forever radiating. And our only hope to get in on the action, is to first receive from Him. So there is always this inner/outer dichotomy, and it’s perpetually flowing. To be cut off from sensitivity, communion, and awareness of God’s activity is to be perpetually hungry, thirsty, and wandering without identity.

    Scripture, which seeks to hook us back up with our own true identities (humble, honest) may speak both to the outer man and to the inner man. Genesis 1 (I believe) is an account of the outer, natural, physical creation. Genesis 2 seems to be more an account of priority (or inner). They are connected, but distinct. Just because something sequentially came first, does not mean that it is eternally more important. Cain made this mistake – and it is made often by people in the Bible. What comes first is often treated with more reverence and respect. Then God passes over the first, and empowers the second…and asks the first to serve the second or to follow in the example of the second. Because God is trying to explain that we don’t always need to judge by appearances or chronological sequence (as it appears to us). God is outside of time.

    So when God “undoes” things, it’s often an undoing of our expectations – typically our expectations that are settled on something chronological and earth-bound.

    • E Harris says:

      The reason that God may sometimes pass over the first, is to prepare us for a new kind of logic (new to us). Because the first that was natural, was cut off in Genesis. The old had to be circumcised and broken, for the sake of the new and inner image that God wanted to be filled and entrusted, disciplined, thrive, and be shown to the world. The natural, fleshly Adam (though he is chronologically first) is not the firstborn of the new creation. God rejected Adam’s world order… in favor of His own world order which Jesus obeyed perfectly, both in the outer and in the inner. So the second Adam became first…and his life comes to us from the inside out…which is exactly reverse of the tyrannical outside-in of the flesh.

    • E Harris says:

      We know that the world isn’t perfect right now. We know there is still a war going on. We know that God’s will is still questioned. And that not everything is revealed…though the scriptures act like arrows. They tell us all that we need for salvation and comprehension if we would just BELIEVE and FOLLOW. (Salvation is more of a journey of faithful and faith-filled relationship with God through Jesus than anything else. Just ask Abraham or the Roman Centurions who came to Peter and Jesus.)

      Think about it in a physics sense. The Bible calls where God dwells in completely unquestioned authority, the 3rd Heaven. So there must be a 2nd Heaven, and a 1st Heaven. Layers. It is quite possible that all of reality is built as layers (or dimensions layered on top of each other) that fulfill seperate, but connected, functions. If you picture it as spherical: these layers would resemble a pearl, building up from the center, going outward as you approach the visible shallow surface. You could begin outward (with the universal) and go in toward particularity in layers. Or you could begin with the inner (assuming that as universal) and go outward toward particularity. The ONE and the Many. Now, in this example, each of us was created in the visible Image of ONE (God). But His attributes far surpass ours, even as they were meant to completely fill us, motivate us, and animate us with meaning. Without Him, we are hollow, helpless shells grasping for the wind. And no man can control the wind or even see it. But it is everywhere, affecting and guiding visible creation. God would like to be ever MORE intimate in fellowship (this is the reason for the Cross, which took away the seperation of communion between the layers or realms, due to sin).

      You see, every layer (of being, reality, consciousness, existence) has unique beings that inhabit it. From angels (of many kinds), to spirit-beings that are more mysterious than angels (including the ephemerial creatures described in Revelation which seem to be a mixture of God’s attributes and created things, which do not inhabit or have control over anything resembling a physical existence), to mankind, to animals (of many different kinds)…down to the worm, fungi & plants, minerals, and finally on the very outside of all (possibly) hell which was created for irredeemable angels that fell and cannot be redeemed. Reality is ordered in “layers” and each layer has unique climate, terrain, and challenges. Put another way, Spiritually/Kairologically speaking (in the way that Dembski speaks of the Kairological/Eternal/Timeless) reality is layered like a bull’s eye. This eternal Bull’s Eye is Priority and Pre-eminence. One thing built on top of the prior existence and necessity of another – all for a reason that is in the Mind of God. If you aim and hit the wrong spot on the bull’s eye, you assume a lesser thing to be the center, when it is not. If you mis-prioritize a lesser (more shallow, hollow, surface-level thing) as more important than a deeper, greater thing… you have sinned. To sin is an archers term for “missing the mark.” The center is Jesus Christ. He is The One, that One purposed for Himself (that’s how I explain it, in my feeble attempts). God centers, hinges, and connects everything on Jesus Christ, his accomplishments, his identity and makeup. God invested everything in creation in Jesus Christ.

      Some people aim for something more tangible, thinking that it will reassure them that things make sense. But if they miss the deeper things, and fail to recognize their due importance and priority, they have sinned and missed the mark (at least in our hearts). It’s a Bulls Eye, and it presents itself to the seeker. You think you’ve arrived at the ultimate, when the Ultimate expresses itself as something deeper and more mysterious still. It beckons you to follow. But if you do not, and you shrink back from the mystery for too long a time, you place your very soul and existence in jeapardy. The purpose for the Sustainer to sustain…is to center all things on His Son, and make His case that this is so.

      Scientists have, for a long time, tried to reduce the physical cosmos to a series of physical constants – that are self-sustaining (no heart needed). They aimed for the shell, and forgot about the deeper things. They did this for so long, that now the reigning idea of the “shape” of the universe is that of a donut: no center. (Of course, the physical has no center BY ITSELF. But there definately IS a center that holds it together, gives it shape and spiritual meaning to spiritual beings. Otherwise no communion would be possible between spirit and flesh, and mankind would be impossible.) Technology progressed – but morality was forgotten and relegated to confusion when it was divorced from physical happenings. But the fact is, God cares. He cares about the sparrow, and about the Human. The more heaven is divorced from earth, the more things become chaotic in man’s inner and outer worlds. God even lets the beasts begin to rise up. All because the mark is missed.

      Each layer aids in God’s dominion over the next layer down/out. Hell is at the very bottom: a bottomless, black pit (in this model). It has many layers of severity itself, but essentially is blocked off from interacting with paradise that is filled with the presence of God through His Son, expressed in the Holy Spirit and how it animates.

      This is the true nature of personhood. A person is a shadow, image, shell… for a Greater Person (God, Hebrews 1:3) to inhabit. We were intended as a residence. God would rule through us. Now, God rules from the 3rd Heaven, so how can He rule, so Personally, through us??

      This is only conjecture, but educated guesses are always submitted for logical review, according the revealed light of scripture and (true) science. We must understand the nature of dimensionality. The Heavens. What is “heaven” in common vernacular? Space. The Heavens are the theaters in which chronological matter/energy/time and all kinds of deeper existence play out. We still don’t really know what space or time is, much less a whole host of other physical phenomena. The First Heaven can probably be called normal space: which houses matter, energy. The Second Heaven may be what we think of as “outer space” – but not like Star Trek depicts it. Star Trek depicts outer space as being fairly uniform “space” that just happens to be filled with physical objects here and there. But we know that space BENDS, and actually is more physically “dense” the closer one gets to material existence. This means (and this is verified by science) that the farther away from matter that one gets, the less dense space is. This points to another absolute that we are measuring against. Another heaven. A space bigger than space. The second heaven. It encompasses (or under-girds) the shallower and more materially dense space. It exists everywhere that the shallower space exists, otherwise we would not measure “dense” and “non-dense” against it (whatever ‘it’ is). The second heavens may be described as those dimensions that comprise the ‘spirit realm’. Demons and angels have different attributes, power, and authority than men. But they still have limits – and they are still bound to time. They do not know the future with any certainty, beyond what God has promised. And they can infest people. We know this. The second heavens do interact with beings like us (who are comprised of earth but living tangibly in the first heavens). This is because we are not merely physical: we ourselves are made to interact spiritually.

      So lets go deeper & higher still: what about the Third Heavens? Perhaps it is even more stable, powerful, and immaterial…and present than even the second heavens. But it is hidden, under, inside. It is easy to ignore, in our daily tangible living. But (as the Bible says) it is more conscious and mindful than we are, and wants to be known. I imagine the third heavens to be the “dimensions” that comprise eternity itself. Timelessness. God is outside of time, and not chained to it – like all other beings are. There are layers even in that realm. There is the Father and the Son, at least. The beings that inhabit that realm, where God sits, dwell in the purest of light. Concerns about “time” do not upset or hardly affect them. It is a realm of peace and reigning…where the victory is already won even before creation began. It is the realm where past and future have very little meaning – except as abstract reasoning that is necessary for the sake of time and the timeline. God’s order is never upset in this realm, and never will be. He is not (and cannot be) suicidal. He is good. It is in this realm, where symbolic reality (before God) has more power than even living demons and angels. It’s the realm where the apostle John was shown things to occur on the earth, from GOD’S point of view!!! It is the realm that Plato was probably trying to speak of when he talked about ultimate Forms. The only difference is: it’s ALIVE, because God is Alive. How would we expect anything less? If we are persons, and are not reducible to material existence, then we must have been made by consciousness and awareness that was greater than ourselves. Since we have such consciousness that isn’t reducible to physics – then there must be greater beings also not reducible to physics – all leading up to the Ultimate Being. We are obviously children. But children of what or whom?

      What keeps us from communing with Him? Well, natural barriers of being too young and immature to know how to navigate all of these things. Even the first Adam didn’t know it all – nor did the second. They learned as they grew.

      It’s all in God. But in order to create, One layered Himself into what we now experience as Reality…but He retained His Headship, His Pre-Eminence, His Sustaining Power and Creative Power. (How could he do anything else? He IS the Creator and Sustainer…without which there would be no creation.) So this “theory” does not cancel out God at all. It simply gives reason for creations existence.

      God is intent on re-establishing His Order amidst this rebellion and darkness caused by sin. That is why Jesus came in the middle of it all. And when Jesus came, he was/is the Light, radiating. It was present before time always, but now it was made visible: for our minds to grasp. We were given appearances, stories, examples, action, lived out in flesh right in front of us. An image of unseen realities being accomplished IN HISTORY, where we could touch it and understand. And then the Holy Spirit came to assist our faith and understanding – to cause what happened before our eyes to make more sense to us, because we still didn’t get it. Many of the Israelites, with all of their wisdom, were still seeking for external political liberation: that is mostly the extent of what they expected Messiah to do. Physical, tangible, and visible things were still (to them) the centerpieces of the kingdom. They failed to grasp the messages contained in the symbols.

      Hidden under physical things, there is a spiritual reality. This Truth is meant to shine through physical things, with increasing clarity. That is called the Way. It is supposed to animate us, motivate us, make us (almost viscerally and tangibly) sensitive to spiritual matters: thus bringing Jesus’ Life into contact with the perishing world caught in the grip of darkness.

      The darkness is not normal, in the way we think of normal. Darkness is not absolute. God came first and created. He is Good and His Creation is pure. But He invests his Creatures (both heavenly and earth-bound) with will and choice. God does not take pleasure in death and dying. He doesn’t want anyone to perish, but to come to the knowledge of the truth. He didn’t create random evolution or death (which is needed for “guided” evolution). Evolution didn’t occur on a macro scale. It occurs WITHIN SPECIES as recessive traits became dominant after the Fall. You see, creation had a backup pattern: when angels fell, they became demons. When Adam fell, the nature of his soul changed. As did nature itself. Entropy took over, without the Sustainer being as actively involved as in the garden. The physical creatures under man’s dominion were subject to the futuility of continual death – in hope that Adam and his descendents would one day overcome…and that the creatures were part of this story, just as the angels were observers of it.

      Science will soon bear up that the human individual is not restricted to his brain. There is the spirit of a man which is his deeper self, which acts upon the brain. But this spirit is cut off from communion (awareness, communication, sensitivity) with God’s Spirit. We are dead inside, until God awakens and revitalizes us with New Breath.

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