The Rabbi’s believed that when Messiah would come He would recapitulate Israel’s past redemptive historical events in a type v. anti-type way. Possible “years” or “days of Messiah” between their Old Covenant “this age” and the in-breaking Messianic or New Covenant age that were proposed by some were 40 and 70. Some even admitted that Messiah needed to come before the Temple would be destroyed in (Dan. 9:24-27) – i.e. AD 70. Jesus fulfills this Messianic view perfectly! The idea that Jesus, the NT authors, and Christianity is a “made up religion” divorced from Hebraic thought and the Tora – is a false and empty charge.
Jesus fulfills the Davidic dynasty promises of 40 years: Saul reigned over Israel for 40 years, David 40 years, and Solomon for 40 years. From Christ’s ascension in AD 30 to His parousia in AD 70 was a 40 years period in which He was gathering His remnant and the Gentiles into His kingdom, while placing His enemies under His feet.
Jesus fulfills Israel’s typological 40 years generation of exodus before entering the land promises: He causes the anti-typological generation of AD 30 – AD 70 and NC Israel of God to inherit the heavenly land/city at His Second Appearing to close the last days of the OC age in AD 70 (cf. Mt. 24:34; Acts 2:40/Deut. 32:5, 20; Heb. 3-4, 9:26-28–13:14YLT).
Isaiah and the prophets foretold two remnant salvations: 1. after a 65 years period (Isa. 7:8) in which a remnant would heed Isaiah’s preaching and would trust that God alone would save and protect them when Jerusalem was attacked by Assyria, and 2. then another remnant coming back into the land after the 70 years Babylonian captivity – under Cyrus, Ezra, and Nehemiah.
It is my thesis, that these 40 year periods (Davidic reigns & wilderness wandering generation) in Israel’s typological redemptive history and then the two 65-70 year periods (65 years prior to Assyrian judgment and protection of remnant & the 70 years of Babylonian captivity and restoration following) foreshadowed a believing remnant of Jews and Gentiles that would be saved and restored between Christ’s birth to His parousia in AD 70 (70 years).
Types – First and Second Exodus, Jew/Gentile Land Inheritance, and Temple
God placed Israel at the center of the Gentile nations as a light to those outside the covenant with Abraham (Gen. 10; 12:1–3; Isa. 42:6). But even in the OT, Gentiles were allowed to partake in covenant with God – being circumcised, worshipping Jehovah through the sacrificial system, and even living and inheriting land within Israel. God reminded them that they too had been aliens in a foreign land thus they had no right to “abhor an Edomite or Egyptian” because they were their “brothers” (Deut. 23:7-8).
The Exodus was not just to deliver Israel from the bondage of Egypt, but to demonstrate His power and glory to all nations – “I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth … I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth (Exodus 9:14, 16).
In chapter twelve we learn that some Egyptians did see God’s power and believed in Jehovah and formed the “mixed multitude [that] went up with” the children of Israel (Ex. 12:38). Therefore, they along with Israel, experienced deliverance from Pharaoh at the Red Sea. They were present at the giving of the law when God shook Mount Sinai. They were with the Hebrews when they witnessed God’s miracles in the wilderness and ate from the same manna and drank from the same water which flowed from the rock (both of which pointed to Messiah/Christ John 6; 1 Cor. 10:1-4, 11). They along with the Hebrews came “out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt” and became for the LORD “…a people of inheritance” (cf. Deut. 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Jer. 11:4).
It was a common practice in Israel that an adopted heir could inherit the land: “A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren,” (Proverbs 17:2). Even Rashi comments on this verse: “A righteous proselyte is better than a wicked person who was home born, and in the future, he will share the spoils and the inheritance among the children of Israel, as it is said (Ezek. 47:23): “And it shall be, in whatever tribe the stranger will live, etc,…”
Actually Ezekiel 47:21-23 refers to the remnant of the 12 Tribes returning back into the land after a second exodus and granting land inheritance rights to believing Gentiles that accompanied them (as they did in the first exodus). This was consistent with the law of Moses,
“When an alien lives with you in your land, do no mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God” (Lev. 19:33-34).
Therefore, even early on God sees the Gentiles as “a people of inheritance” and adopted or grafted into Israel’s deliverance / redemption / salvation promises that will be typological of what God is going to do spiritually under Messiah in the New Covenant age.
It may be important to address that Ezekiel chapter 47 may have a typological fulfillment for the 12 Tribes and Gentiles coming into the land under Ezra and Nehemiah and another anti-typological fulfillment of being in Messiah and the living waters flowing from us as the Messianic Temple. James Jordan sees the descent of the heavenly temple in Ezekiel 40 – 48 having a typological fulfillment during the reformation and rebuilt temple under Ezra. He emphasizes its fulfillment during the post exilic era before then applying it to the New Covenant Temple or age of the Church under Messiah,
“This time Ezekiel was given a vision and blueprint for the post-exilic Temple, but it was a temple so vast and huge that it could never be built. Ezekiel’s visionary Temple symbolized both the nature and the glory of the restoration establishment, but the Temple actually built by Ezra was a small affair. Ezra’s Temple symbolized the nature, but not the glory, of the new restoration covenant.” (James Jordan, Through New Eyes, Developing a Biblical View of the World, Ibid., 242).
“It is often overlooked that the restoration establishment was indeed a new covenant, and an advance in glory beyond the Davidic establishment. Whether we call the post-exilic establishment a new covenant or simply a “covenant renewal,” the fact is that there were very great changes involved in the new cosmos, changes equivalent to the changes involved in the previous new covenants.” (Jordan, Ibid., 243-244).
Of the river in Ezekiel 47 James Jordan writes,
“This is not a picture first and foremost of the New Testament, but of the spiritual realities present in the Restoration. This is indicated by the context of the prophecy, but there are also clear indications in the text, especially the fact that the river in Chapter 47 only flows in one direction, not four, and only to the edge of the Holy Land, not into the wider world.” (Jordan, Ibid., 246).
And now the anti-type fulfillment in Messiah. Jesus in John 4 and particularly in John 7:37-38 promises that the coming of the Holy Spirit would be like water welling up within the believer’s heart. Jesus claims that this is in fulfillment of the “Scriptures.” Of what Scriptures is Jesus alluding to? Since the Apostle Paul has already identified the promise of the Ezekiel Temple with the believer and the Church (cf. 2 Cor. 6:16/Ezek. 37:27), it only follows that this is so because his Master had taught His disciples the same. John Gill and John Lightfoot are on the right track when Gill writes,
“And here may be an allusion to the waters issuing out of Ezekiel’s temple, #Eze 47:1 Re 22:1 Zec 14:8. Dr. Lightfoot and others tell us it was a custom of the Jews, which they received by tradition, the last day of the feast of tabernacles to have a solemnity, which they called Libatio aquae—The pouring out of water. They fetched a golden vessel of water from the pool of Siloam, brought it into the temple with sound of trumpet and other ceremonies, and, upon the ascent to the altar, poured it out before the Lord with all possible expressions of joy. Some of their writers make the water to signify the law, and refer to #Isa 12:3; #Isa 55:1. Others, the Holy Spirit. And it is thought that our Saviour might here allude to this custom. Believers shall have the comfort, not of a vessel of water fetched from a pool, but of a river flowing from themselves.
The joy of the law, and the pouring out of the water, which signified this, are not to be compared with the joy of the gospel in the wells of salvation.” (see Gills Online Commentary on the Bible)
So the exile period of 70 years saw God’s presence abiding in his people — being a spiritual Temple. This would typify what was coming under Messiah in the New Covenant – with His people being the spiritual Temple. Gentiles having a right to inherit the land in Ezekiel 47, is typological of the Jew / Gentile oneness of inheriting the promises contained “in Christ” that we see Paul emphasizing in the NT. Ezekiel 37 describes both the Babylonian exodus/restoration and New Covenant blessings under Messiah. I see the same the same principle at work in Isaiah 11. The “gathering” of the exiles from Babylon “from the four corners of the earth” of Isaiah 11 is the same time the exiles are gathered from the Babylonian from “out of all countries” in Jeremiah (Isa. 11:12 / Jer. 32:37). And yet Paul sees the Messianic fulfillment in the salvation of the Gentiles during his day (cf. Rom. 15:12).
Since AD 70 the kingdom was taken from OC Israel and given to the NC Israel of God (Mt. 21:43-45). Today in the NC age, the gates of the New Jerusalem (the Church of the Living God) are open for the nations to be healed.
Let’s Talk Redemptive Typology and the Messianic Expectation During Jesus’ Day
The Rabbi’s believed that when Messiah would come He would recapitulate Israel’s past redemptive historical events in a type v. anti-type way. Some even admitted that Messiah needed to come before the Temple would be destroyed in (Dan. 9:24-27) – in AD 70. Jesus fulfills this Messianic view perfectly!
There are two main periods of 400 years of the the Holy Spirit and miracles being dormant before deliverance, restoration, and miracles begin.
- Type – Israel is in bondage to Egypt for roughly 400 years. Deliverance and miracles follow for 65 years under Moses and Joshua.
- Anti-type – From Malachi to the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus is another period of about 400 years before the Holy Spirit is poured out and restoration begins for another period of 65 – 70 years of miracles.
Perhaps there is a third significant 400 year time period when it comes to the transition of Tabernacle – to Temple – to Messianic NC Temple. There was roughly a 400 year time period of Israel being in the land with the Tabernacle, before God told Solomon to build the Temple.
Between Malachi to Messiah, was roughly 400 years before there would be a transition of a literal Temple structure to a NC Spiritual fulfillment of the Temple system – Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.
There are 3 main periods of an outpouring of miracles in the Bible characterized by periods of 65-70 years:
- Types – Moses & Joshua (1445-1380 BC), roughly 65 years.
- Types – Elijah and Elisha (860-795 BC), about 65 years. Elijah being a Gentile pictures and foreshadows the Holy Spirit being poured out upon on flesh in the book of Acts.
- Anti-type – Christ and the Apostles (Christ’s birth – AD 66-AD 70), roughly from 65-70 years. Jesus is the greater prophet than Moses or any previous prophet, and those that did not heed His words were “cut off” when He came from heaven in AD 70 and judged them (Deut. 18 / Acts 2-3). Daniel foretold that when Jerusalem would be destroyed in AD 70, the office of prophet would be “sealed up” (Dan. 9:24-27). At the AD 70 “soon” coming of Christ, when the Church would be matured and stood complete and independent from the OC system – the gift of prophecy would “cease” (1 Cor. 1:5-8; 13:8-12/Rev. 21:4-7).
There are 2 main periods of the remnant being saved / protected / delivered characterized by a period of 65-70 years.
- Type – 65 years is given before Jerusalem is judged by Assyria, but the remnant protected.
- Type – 70 years of captivity through Babylonian judgment before a remnant of Jews and Gentiles come to inherit the land and rebuild the Temple brought about by Cyrus, Ezra, and Nehemiah (all types of Christ as well). God being a spiritual Temple in the midst of the captives and Gentiles being able to inherit land as well – points them to what the spiritual Temple will look like under Messiah (Amos 9 / Acts 15; 1 Pet. 2:4ff.; Ephs. 2:19-20).
- Anti-type – Between birth of Messiah/Jesus to judgment upon Jerusalem in AD 70 is about a period of 65-70 years by which a Jewish remnant of believers in Messiah are saved at Christ’s Second Coming / Parousia to close the last days of the OC age in AD 70. In Revelation, OC Jerusalem is described as God’s and Israel’s OT enemies such as Egypt and Babylon. The believing remnant in Messiah is to “come out from her (Babylon)” and they did – fleeing to Pella as Messiah prophesied (cf. Mt. 24:15-20, 34 / Lk. 21:20-32).
There are two significant 40 years or generation periods.
- Type – Wilderness wandering generation (Heb. 3-4).
- Anti-type – From AD 30 – AD 70 Jesus/Messiah is the Rock and Mamma from heaven and those that reject this message do not inherit the heavenly land/city that was “about to come” at His “in a very little while” Second Coming to close the last days of the OC age in AD 70 (Deut. 32:5, 20; Acts 2:40; Mt. 24:34; Heb. 3-4, 9:26-27–13:14YLT).
There are three kings of Israel that reigned over fleshly Israel for roughly 40 years.
- Type – David lived for 70 and reigned for 40 years (a man of war).
- Type – Solomon reigned for 40 years (a man of wisdom and peace).
- Anti-type – Jesus was enthroned in AD 30 and reigned over fleshly Israel to AD 70 whereby He saved the remnant and Gentile “Israel of God” and placed His enemies under His feet and burned them when He came “in a very little while” (Heb. 10:13-37). Jesus is a King of war (Lion) and the embodiment of wisdom and peace (wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove and lamb).
Adam a Type of Christ
The Jews that believed the “days of Messiah” would be 70 years did so because they saw Messiah finishing what Adam couldn’t. This is speculation on my part, but perhaps some interesting meditations non the less.
- Type – Adam failed to inherit eternal life and returned to the dust at 930 years.
- Anti-type – From Christ’s birth as Israel’s King and Messiah to His parousia in AD 70 is roughly 70 years (Adam 930 + Christ in flesh & spirit 70 = 1,000). Those who trusted in Jesus from His birth to His parousia, were brought through the 1,000 years millennial period and into the New Creation to inherit eternal life and partake of Jesus as the Tree of Life. Jesus as the last Adam is faithful and completes what Adam could not, in restoring God’s presence on earth to His posterity.
40, 70, and 120 Cubits in Solomon’s Temple
Again, admittedly there is an element of speculation here. Solomon’s Temple was to be measured out to be 70 cubits in length with the Holy Place being 40 cubits in length.
70 – I believe the total length of 70 cubits (10 porche, 40 HP, and 20 MHP) represents the table of 70 nations in Genesis 10-11. Israel was originally commissioned to be a light to the Gentiles and thus have salvation be brought to them. In some sense she represents the nations in that Jacob’s family members were 70 when they went into Egypt before becoming a “great nation,” and God set up 70 elders to assist Moses, perhaps to demonstrate her covenant rule and headship over the nations through Torah? Then Jesus sending out the 70 disciples to preach the gospel of the kingdom represented how He and the Church would form the restored Israel of God ruling over the nations through the gospel. Either way, Israel failed in her mission to the 70 nations and the 70 bulls sacrificed (cf. Num. 29:12-34) on the feast of booths were to picture that salvation was to be extended to them.
Possibly, the High Priest’s journey of walking 70 cubits on the Day of Atonement, represents and pictures Messiah’s presence and redemptive work among Israel form His birth to parousia (70 years)? Christ as the High Priest and perfect sacrifice is the ONLY “Hope of the nations.”
In Acts 2 we see Babel being restored in that Jews from all nations under heaven were gathered, and the language of the one gospel miraculously unites those of differing languages. They eventually go back to these nations and spread the gospel forming one “elect and holy nation” in the Kingdom.
40 – The 40 cubits of the Holy Place possibly represented the 40 years of wilderness wandering and reigns of David and Solomon. In Hebrews 9 we learn that the OC economy was represented by the Holy Place and the NC economy by the Most Holy Place. When the “first” (the Holy Place) was removed in AD 70, full access to the “second” (the Most Holy Place) was granted. This is what we see in Revelation 21:16 where the New Jerusalem is a perfect cube or the Most Holy Place presence — whereby God and His people are restored in fellowship here on earth today in the NC age.
The 40 cubits represent the roughly AD 30 – AD 70 40 year’s transitional generation time period, whereby Christ as the great High Priest ascended and then returned a second time apart from sin and applied His salvation to the eagerly awaiting congregation.
120 – The height of the Holy Place of Solomon’s Temple was 120 cubits. I may be wrong, but to me this may be a way of the Israelites depicting Moses living to be 120 years old – falling short of inheriting the Promised Land. Remember, according to Hebrews 9 the “first” section (the Holy Place) represents the OC economy and Moses House. The law in and of itself could not bring us into the inheritance or the MHP presence of God. Jesus being the greater prophet prepares a better house (Most Holy Place) for us to inherit – and it is that Most Holy Place cube of the New Jerusalem that was in the process of coming down between AD 30 – AD 70 and did at His parousia in AD 70 (Rev. 3:12NIV—21:16). The Holy Place therefore was Moses house – temporary, transitional (40 & 120), and not able to bring us into the inheritance (the Promised Land / or the promise of the Most Holy Place – paradise restored).
The interpretation of the Mosaic Law is also represented by the number 120. Ezra helped organize the copying and formation of the inspired OT Scriptures by bringing 120 elders (priests and Levites) together to form the Great Synagogue (or Great Assembly).
Perhaps the Holy Spirit filling and guiding the 120 disciples in the book of Acts pictures the Church functioning now as the new Sanhedrin (Acts 1:14-26)? That is, the early Spirit filled Church is seen as miraculously equipped and has divine authority from God to demonstrate how all of God’s promises in the law and prophets were being fulfilled in Christ and those that placed their faith in him (ex. Acts 15 / Amos 9). The theme of the book of Acts is HOW God’s promises made to Israel were being fulfilled (not postponed per the Dispensational system) through the Church (God’s new Israel and elect holy nation).
This is a study on the Messianic block or inclusio of Isaiah 7–11 which discusses the divine nature of Jesus as the coming Messiah and Him recapitulating Israel’s redemptive history.
Study of the Messianic Block or Inclusio of Isaiah 7–11
Isaiah 7:14 – The Problem: There is no Hebrew word that specifically and always means “virgin” – not almah or bethulah. (Michael Brown, ANSWERING JEWISH OBJECTIONS TO JESUS, (Baker Books, 2003), Vol. 3pp. 20-25). But one of the worlds leading Semitists, Dr. Cyrus Gordon who claims to be Jewish and does not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus as Messiah, maintains that Isaiah 7:14 may be translated as “virgin” (Almah in Isaiah 7:14; Gordon, Cyrus H.; JBR 21:106). And a famous Rabbi, Rashi, while not holding to a virgin birth in this passage, nevertheless pointed to the view that perhaps this girl was so young, she was “incapable of giving birth.” So he is at least proposing some kind of miraculous birth of the “God is with us” son. (Brown, Ibid., p. 30).
Isaiah 7:14 – The Solution: While a study of almah or bethulah in and of itself might not be as strong as some Christians or anti-Christians may think to support or reject that Jesus is the divine Messiah, the miraculous nature of this virgin birth and the son to be called “God with us,” can be more clearly seen and solidified through: 1. appealing to the Greek Septuagint of Isaiah 7:14, 2. looking at it within it’s messianic inclusio context (Isaiah chapters 7 – 11), and lastly 3. seeing how the NT develops these messianic texts within the Isaiah 7—11 block or inclusio.
- The LXX (Hebrew translated to Greek) reads: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin [PARTHENOS] shall conceive, and bear a son, And call his name Immanuel. (Is. 7:14). Parthenos is used 15 times in the NT and it never means anything other than a virgin. The LXX use of partheonos “…would suggest that already before the NT age at least some Jews had come to link the passages in Isa. 7—9 together and to deduce that there would be an additional, longer-term fulfillment of the birth of a messianic king, portended by a more supernatural conception…” (G.K. Beale, D.A. Carson, COMMENTARY on the NEW TESTAMENT use of the OLD TESTAMENT, (Baker 2007), p. 4).
- There is a familiar messianic block or inclusio found in Isaiah 7—11. Since this birth produces “God with us” and this child is further described as “everlasting Father” and “mighty God,” the miraculous nature of this birth and person becomes apparent even within the OT context in which it rests.
- Let’s now consider how the Messianic block or inclusio of Isaiah 7 – 11 as it is developed by Messiah Himself and the inspired writers of the NT.
Isaiah 7:14; 8:23—9:1 = Matthew 1:23; 4:15-16 – The historical context of Isaiah 7 and the Immanuel birth, is that northern Israel is threatening to come and destroy the Davidic dynasty in Jerusalem. The historical context of Matthew 1-2 is that the Davidic dynasty is once again threatened, except this time by King Herod seeking to kill the Messiah.
Matthew is also following typical Jewish thought in that when Messiah comes, he will recapitulate Israel’s history, so Jesus is the Messiah who overcomes the Davidic threat from Israel in Ahaz’s day, and “comes out of Egypt” as Israel once had (Mt. 2:15/Hos. 11:1) – fulfilling the “second exodus” motif of the Messianic block which continues into Isaiah 11:11. Jesus as the faithful Israel/son who undergoes the second exodus is developed in Matthew 3-4 as well. In chapter 3, John the Baptist baptizes Jesus in the desert and in the river Jordan communicating that like Israel who was tested in the desert and came through the Jordan to inherit the Promised Land – so too Jesus undergoes.
In chapter 4 Jesus is once again in the desert, except this time for 40 days (again the testing of the spies) undergoing the same testing that Israel underwent – except found faithful. In verses 15-16 Jesus fulfills Isaiah 8:23—9:3. In Hosea when God judged Israel with the Assyrian armies, God divorced her and planted her in the ground of the Gentiles. Assyria imported Gentiles into Israel and the intermarriages formed the Samaritans (half-breeds – worse than Gentiles to most Jews in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus). But God had promised that in Israel’s last days He would betroth Israel once again to Himself in the desert and re-gather her with Judah – forming the Messianic Kingdom. Jesus is the light and life bringing resurrection healing to Israel as He ministers to His scattered people in Zebulun, Naphtali, Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – “a people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
It is important to note that when John the Baptist was preaching the “kingdom of heaven is near” (Mt. 3:2), he is not just referring to the “already” aspect of the kingdom. In context the “wrath” in 3:7GNT was “about to” come and is connected with the ax already laid at the root of the trees, a coming baptism of fire (judgment), and the harvest winnowing fork already being in the hand of God. The AD 70 harvest salvation/judgment at the end of the OC age (cf. Mt. 13:39-43) is predicted at this early stage of the Gospel. And the “way” John the Baptist had come to “prepare” and to “cry aloud” in the context of Isaiah 40 includes not only salvation but judgment (which again would come in AD 70). John the Baptist was the “Elijah that was about to come” preparing the way of the Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord when Messiah would come in judgment and burn His Temple (Mt. 11:10-15/Mal. 3-4; Mrk. 1:3-8/Mal. 3-4).
Just as John’s “the kingdom of heaven is near” has in view the salvation of the remnant and the judgment of Israel in AD 70, so too should we interpret Jesus preaching the same thing in chapter 4:17.
Isaiah 7:14; 8:8, 10 = Revelation 21:3 – Jesus came “soon” (Rev. 22:6-7, 10-12, 20) to reward the Church with His presence being placed within the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21. The New Jerusalem was already in the process of coming down from heaven to earth (Rev. 3:12NIV). The NJ is Messiah’s glorified Church being His Most Holy Place (the significance of it being a perfect cube 21:16) or “sanctuary” whereby His people dwell with Him right now in the NC age.
Isaiah 7:15 – The phrase “when he knows…wrong…right” indicates the age of moral determination and responsibility under the law—most likely 12-13. At age 12 Jesus was found in the Temple (Lk. 2L39-52) realizing His divine origin and being about His Father’s will.
Isaiah 8:1-10 – verse 3 – possibly an initial typological fulfillment of Isa. 7:14. Isaiah is a widow and remarries or takes a young second wife who becomes a prophetess (because she is married to a prophet) and has a son who’s name (Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz) here takes on the typological meaning of God coming as a mighty warrior in judgment taking prey (Ahaz’s enemies would become plunder).
Verses 7-10 – Assyria overflows the the cities of Judah “up to the neck.” But God / Immanuel saves and leaves a remnant in Jerusalem (v. 10, cf. Isa. 1:7-9). This is typological of God sending the nations / tribes of Israel, the Roman armies (that constituted the nations of the world at that time), and the Idumean armies — all in their attempts to wipe out the Christian Jewish remnant in Jerusalem. But they heeded Christ’s warning and fled the city before the wrath ensued (Mt. 24:15-22; Lk. 21:20ff.). Those days were “cut short” in order to save the believing Jewish remnant.
In the book of Revelation OC Jerusalem is described as Babylon, Sodom, Egypt, the Great Harlot City (guilty of killing the Apostles and Prophets) that sought to completely destroy the early church. She is the land beast, and the Romans (the sea beast) joined in this persecution. Both OC apostate Jerusalem and the Roman “nations” “devised a plan” to destroy the early church in Jerusalem, but God “thwarted it” and gave her flight (Rev. 12), whereby she escaped to Pella and was safe.
Isaiah 8:12-13 = 1 Peter 2:6-8; 3:14-15 – Peter did sanctify Christ in His heart and he boldly taught (“always being ready to defend”) that his eschatological hope was “at hand” (1 Pet. 4:5-7) and to be fulfilled within his contemporary generation (Acts 2:20-40) not 2,000 plus years and counting. His apologetic was under divine inspiration!
He points out in chapter 1 that the OT prophets did not fully understand the time in which their prophecies would be fulfilled or the manner or way in which they would. Peter clearly develops that the “time” of these OT promises would be fulfilled in his day, and they would be fulfilled spiritually. The “inheritance” and “salvation” they saw coming was “ready to be revealed” and realized in a spiritual “salvation of the soul.” “The end of all things was at hand” (1 Pet. 4:5-7) which means all those OT prophecies concerning an inheritance (including the New Creation of 2 Pet. 3) were “at hand” and would be realized at the Day of the Lord in AD 70.
The Temple promises were to be fulfilled spiritually. Peter appeals to Isaiah 8:14 and Psalm 118:22 when he develops Jesus as the precious cornerstone that was to be rejected, while at the same time is the foundation upon which the spiritual temple grows and matures to become the salvation of the remnant and the Gentile believers — in the new messianic Sanctuary / Temple. Peter was present when Jesus condemned their contemporary Pharisees, who would stumble over Him as their predicted Rock/Messiah, and at which time the Old Covenant Kingdom would be “taken” from them and “given” to a nation bearing the fruits thereof (the Jew/Gentile Church – an elect and holy Nation – Mt. 21:43-45=1 Pet. 2:8-9). The OC kingdom of Israel was “taken” and destroyed, while the NC kingdom (the Israel of God) was given the kingdom in her glorified/spiritual form – both being fulfilled at Christ’s coming in AD 70.
Isaiah 8:14 = Romans 9:32 – Paul in Romans points to the same imminent AD 70 time of fulfillment. The majority of Israel would stumble over this Rock/Messiah, while only a remnant would be saved along with the believing Gentiles. This is how “all Israel” will be saved in Romans 11:26. We are told this salvation would be a “short work” upon the land (Rom. 9:28). Indeed the gospel had been preached (past tense) throughout the Roman Empire just as Jesus predicted would be fulfilled within His generation (Mt. 24:14/Mrk. 13:10=Cols. 1:5-6, 23; Rms. 10:17-18; 16:25-26).
Romans is filled with imminent time texts pointing to AD 70 (Rms. 8:18YLT – the “glory” [of the new creation] was “about to be” “revealed in” them; Rms. 13:11-12 – “the day is at hand;” Rms. 16:20 – Satan was to be “crushed” “shortly”).
Isaiah 8:15 – Those that rejected Messiah were “snared” and “captured” at Christ’s coming in AD 70 (cf. Lk. 21:24). The Jews that had persecuted Christians throughout the Roman Empire were gathered in Jerusalem for Passover. There they listened to the false prophets and messiahs Jesus warned about in the OD, whereby they promised the people that God would come and destroy the Romans and thus establishing the carnal earthly kingdom that their true Messiah had rejected (cf. Jn. 6).
Isaiah 8:17-18 = Hebrews 2:13 – Concerning Isaiah 8:17, Isaiah confesses that while most of Jerusalem would not wait upon the Lord and trust in Him, he and his children would. Isaiah and his two children (and their names ) were signs of Israel’s judgment through the Assyrians and restoration of the remnant. Thus Isaiah “our salvation of Jehovah” the name Immanuel, “God with us,” (Isaiah 7:14); and Shear-jashub, “the remnant shall return,” (Isaiah 7:3), were relevant symbolic names because only God could protect and save the nation.
Jesus and his children were given as a sign of the coming salvation/restoration and impending judgment in AD 70. The followers of Jesus in that last generation (persecuted as they were) formed the remnant that would be saved in the coming judgment. The context of Hebrews 2 forms the necessity for Jesus/God to humble himself in becoming human (Isa. 7:14, Isa. 9:6-7) in order that he might be a fitting mediator for His children and thus “bring them to glory.”
As with Peter’s Epistles and the book of Romans, the imminence in Hebrews points to fulfillment in AD 70. The OC system was “ready to vanish” (Heb. 8:13). This would take place when Christ’s (Messiah’s) Second Coming (at the end of Israel’s “last days” OC age) would be fulfilled in “a very little while” at which time is the heavenly land/city was “about to come” and be inherited (Heb. 9:26-28; 10:37—13:14YLT). Christ’s first century “enemies” would be placed fully under His feet and the promise of a raging fire that was “about to” consume them was fulfilled (Heb. 10:13, 26-30).
Isaiah 9:6-7 – Dr. Brown points out that the early Targum and Jewish belief of this passage was Messianic, “The Targum, while explicitly identifying this as a messianic prophecy, renders the verse in Aramaic with an interesting twist, “…and his name will be called from before the One who is wonderful in counsel, the mighty God who exists forever, Messiah, because there will be abundant peace upon us in his days.” (Brown, Ibid., 32, emphasis mine). And there was some consensus that all the names refer to the Son/Messiah and not God (Rabbi Franz Delitzsch, Abraham Ibn Ezra, statements in the Talmudic and midrashic writings), which would be consistent with the natural ancient coronation ceremony (ex. by the Egyptians) — applying these four throne names to the new King. (Brown, Ibid., 33-34).
Therefore, we are getting further confirmation of the divine nature of the Immanuel Son of Isaiah 7:14. The virgin birth explains how the Messiah would and could be from eternity (the Jewish concept of the “Word”) and a “divine human” who was both “Son of Man” and Ancient of Days coming upon the clouds worthy of worship (cf. OG LXX Dan. 7:13-14).
Isaiah 10:21ff. – Here we wee the familiar OT prophetic doctrine of the remnant of Israel being save through judgment – often times they are two sides of the same coin/event – Day of the Lord judgment.
Also, the title of the coming Messiah as “Mighty God” in Isaiah 9:6-7 is further clarified here in 10:21 where the title refers to God alone.
Isaiah 11 – Virtually everyone agrees that Isaiah 11 is messianic. After the Assyrian desolation and then the Babylonian captivity in 586BC, Judah was desolate like a stump. But within the Davidic dynasty and promises would eventually arise the Messianic King like a branch emerging from the stump. Assyria functioned as God’s rod 10:5, 24 desolating the land, and in Israel’s last days, God would use the Roman armies to desolate the land of Israel.
The peace of the Jew/Gentile Messianic age is poetically described as various animals living at peace with one another (carnivores at peace with lambs, goats, calfs, etc…).
The knowledge of the Lord / Messiah would cover the earth/land:
Prophecy and Fulfillment
- “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [Greek oikumene] for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14)
- “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: ‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’” [Greek oikumene] (Rom. 10:18)
* One def. of oikumene – “The Roman Empire (Acts 17:6); the Jews in the world (Acts 24:5). Of Palestine and the adjacent countries (Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28).”
- “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” [Greek ethnos] “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.’” [Greek ethnos] “‘. . . I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Mark 13:10; Matt. 28:19-20)
- “…My gospel… has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations. . . .” [Greek ethnos] (Rom. 16:25-26)
* These are “all the nations [ethnos] under heaven” in (Acts 2:4-5)
- “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world [Greek kosmos] and preach the gospel to every creature” “. . . And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;they shall speak with new tongues.” [Greek glossa] (Mark 16:15, 17)
- “…of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world [Greek kosmos], as is bringing forth fruit…” (Cols. 1:5-6)
* One def. of kosmos – “The then–known world and particularly the people who lived in it…”
- “And he said unto them ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.’” [Greek kitisis] (Mark 16:15)
- “ . . . from the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature [Greek kitisis] under heaven, of which I, Paul became a minister.”(Col. 1:23)
* One def. of kitisis – “In rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called).” The creation of men not literally the planet earth.
- “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth/land.” [Greek ge] (Acts 1:8)
- “But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed:‘Their sound has gone out to all the earth/land [Greek ge], and their words to the ends of the world.’” (Rom. 10:18)
* One def. of ge – “The then known lands, regions, territories, countries etc…”
- Prophecy had begun to be fulfilled: “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues [Greek glossa], as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation [Greek ethnos] under heaven. (Acts 2:4-5)
- Prophecy would be fulfilled “shortly”: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth/land [Greek ge], and to every nation [Greek ethnos], and kindred [Greek phile] and tongue [Greek glossa], and people.” [Greek laos] (Rev.14:6). “The scene is Pentecost, 30 A.D. (cf. Heb. 12:22-24). This is when the gospel began to be preached under the authority of the great commission (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:46-49) and the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 33; 1 Pet. 1:12). From here the gospel was preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people (cf. Matt. 24:14; Mk. 13:10; Rom. 1:16; 10:18; Col. 1:23).” (Arthur Ogden, The Avenging of the Apostles and Prophets Commentary on Revelation, pp. 292-293).
The Holy Spirit had the Apostle Paul use every Greek word Jesus used to describe the Great Commission being fulfilled within the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” to close the OC age — to make it CLEAR it was fulfilled in Paul’s day!
While knowledge of Messiah and His last days “time of end” judgment and salvation would be “increased” (Dan. 12:4) between AD 30 – AD 70 through the Great Commission, the miraculous gift of “knowledge” was at work as well (1 Cor. 13:8-12). An example of this can be seen in Acts 15 where the Holy Spirit teaches the Church that the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of Amos 9 and the Tabernacle of David being rebuilt.
Messiah would function as a banner. The typological fulfillment of this is when a remnant of scattered remnant Jews and believing Gentiles from the Assyrian and Babylonian judgments and captivities came home under the leadership and ministries of Cyrus, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The anti-type was Messiah functioning as a banner gathering the lost tribes throughout the Roman Empire along with the Gentiles beginning in His earthly ministry and consummating at His parousia harvest at the end of the OC age in AD 70 (Mt. 13:39-43; 24:3, 30-31).
During those 70 years God told Israel that the Temple promises would be fulfilled spiritually as God in their midst among the exile would fulfill this role. This was educational of the coming spiritual Temple Messiah would erect and whereby He would restore Israel (Amos 9 / Acts 15). Also, the scattered remnant of Jews and Gentiles inheriting the land together after the 70 years captivity typologically pointed to the remnant Jew/Gentile inheritance of a “heavenly” land/city at the Day of the Lord in AD 70.
Here are parallels of the New Exodus theme:
1) An edict was sent out to kill the male children during the time of Moses (Exodus1:22) and an edict was issued by Herod to kill the male children in hopes of killing Jesus (Matthew 2:16).
2) After killing the Egyptian Moses fled to Midian until the wrath of the king passed (Exodus 2:15) and Joseph and Mary, fled with Jesus to Egypt until the wrath of the king passed (Matthew 2:14).
3) God called Moses back to his country to be his people’s deliverer (Exodus 3:10) just as Jesus was called back to His country (Matthew 2:20) to be their deliverer.
4) God kept Moses 40 days in the wilderness before giving the law on a mountain (Deut. 9:11; Exodus19) and He likewise kept Jesus 40 days in the wilderness before placing Him on a mount to give the New Covenant law and thus the true interpretation of the old (Matthew 4:1-chapter 5). Both received glory on top of a mountain. While being tested by Satan for 40 days Jesus quotes three scriptures found in the Exodus wilderness testing: (Matthew 4:4/Deut. 8:3; Matthew 4:7/Deut. 6:16; Matthew 4:10/Deut. 6:13 & Deut 10:20).
5) God through Moses appointed 70 elders (Numbers 11:16) and Jesus appointed 70 disciples (Luke 10:1). Old Covenant Israel consisted of 12 tribes and Jesus forms the restored Israel with an inner core of 12 disciples.
6) God’s Old Covenant people were delivered from His judgment upon Egypt by the first Passover. This deliverance was substitutional in nature and was brought about through the shedding of a lamb’s blood. God’s New Covenant people were delivered from the wrath (“His blood be upon us and our children”) that would be poured out upon Jerusalem / Egypt / Revelation 11:8 through the New Covenant Passover blood of Jesus (the lamb of God). In the first exodus the death of “first born” of humans and animals were to appease God’s wrath. In the New Covenant exodus Jesus is both the “first born” and the “Lamb.”
7) In God forming Old Covenant Israel during this time it was a creating of the heavens and earth (Isa.51:15-16). Through the cross and parousia of Jesus a New Covenant heavens and earth were being created and would replace the former Old Covenant one “shortly” (Isaiah 65-66; Matthew 5:17-18; Matthew 24:35; 2 Peter 3; and Revelation 21-22).
8) In the formation of Old Covenant Israel, God was bringing about deliverance from the physical bondage and slavery of Egypt. In the New Covenant transitionary period, God was creating and delivering a remnant of New Covenant Israel out from the spiritual bondage and slavery of the Old Covenant “elements of the world” which was the law.
9) Fifty days after the first Passover and the giving of the law (Exodus 19) 3,000 died for idolatry (Exodus 32:28). Fifty days after the Passover in Jesus’ blood 3,000 are saved and filled with the Spirit (Acts 2).
10) There was a miraculous outpouring of the Spirit’s work in building the Old Covenant tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-11). The AD 30 – 70 generation also saw the miraculous work of God in profound ways. There was a miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s work in the “last days” in which the building and erecting of the spiritual New Covenant tabernacle/temple of God was taking place. The first was a physical building with the hands and the later was a spiritual building by the laying on of hands of the Apostles. The Church was and is clearly the New Covenant kingdom tabernacle or temple that was predicted by the prophets of which Jesus was the corner stone (Acts 15/Amos 9; Mark 12:10-11; Acts 4:11/Psalm118, Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:4-10/Psalm 118, Isaiah 28:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16/Ezekiel 37:26-27). Just as Micah 7:15 predicted miracles would occur in this new exodus under Messiah – so the miracles lasted until He returned to end her age and fulfill Israel’s promises (Mark 16:15-18/Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 13:8-12).
11) God was grieved with the unbelieving Old Covenant generation and did not allow them to enter the promised land (Heb.3:10). God was grieved with the adulterous and wicked generation of His day and did not allow them to inherit His heavenly rest in His kingdom – “In Christ” (Mark 8:31-9:1, Matthew 23:34-46, Hebrews 3-4).
12) The wilderness wandering generation was baptized into Moses by passing through the red sea whereby they would receive a physical salvation from their persecutors. The water which did not touch them did destroy their enemies (1Corinthians 10:1-2). There likewise was a baptism of fire and persecution in which the first century Church underwent that was separating the gold (true believers) from the wood (professing believers) and would eventually burn up the persecutors (Matthew 3:11; Luke 8:13-14; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 2- 3; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-12). The children or remnant of Moses generation that went through the red sea would enter into the rest and salvation of the Promised Land. Likewise the remnant of spiritual Israel would inherit and enter the Heavenly Country “In Christ” (Hebrews 3-4, 12) with Peter describing the spiritual New Covenant salvation and entrance into the kingdom as the salvation of the “soul” (1 Peter 1:4-12).
Deuteronomy 32’s Terminal Generation
Please note Deuteronomy 32:20-22 and the NT fulfillment texts in parenthesis:
“And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end (Matthew 10:22-23, Matthew 24:3, Matthew 13:39-40, – end of the OC age) shall be: for they are a very perverse generation (Matthew 23:36, Matthew 24:34, Mark 8:38; Acts 2:40), children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people (Romans 10:19, 11:11); I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation (Mt.21:43; 1 Peter 2:9). For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth/land with her increase, and set on fire (2 Peter 3; Revelation 8:8) the foundations of the mountains.” (Deut. 32:20-22).
Again this “perverse generation” was prophesied in the OT to reject Christ (cf. Lk. 17:25) and thus be destroyed by Him at His coming (Lk. 17:25; 21:20-32). This is the generation Jesus addresses throughout His ministry and the one the NT authors confront and comforts in the first century concerning an imminent judgment and salvation.
A Study on the Deity of Christ (taken from my Sovereign Grace Full Preterist Confession of Faith
The oneness or uniqueness of God
Deuteronomy 6:4 should be translated as the NJPSV does which is grasping the historical and contextual meaning,
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.”
The OT oneness of God within in it’s original context is not discussing the philosophical nature or complexity of God, but rather lays within the context of Israel being commanded to not worship the other gods of the nations – because He alone is the one true God. The Midrash underscores this as well,
“Hear, O Israel [i.e., Israel/Jacob, our father], the Lord is our God, the LORD alone. Just as in your heart there is only ONE (echad) so also in our hearts there is only One (echad).” To this Jacob replied, “Blessed be his Name, whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever” (b. Pesahim 56a; Sifre Deuteronomy 31; Genesis Rabbah 98:4). In other word’s the emphasis is that although Jacob/Israel is worrying about one of his sons being unfaithful, they all reply that they indeed would be faithful to the LORD alone. The point is that the LORD alone would be the God of Jacob’s descendants.
When Jesus addresses this subject in Mark 12:28-30, He establishes that the Father is the only true/one God that is to be worshiped with one’s entire heart (thus not leaving room for other idols). In John 17:3 Jesus again affirms that His Father is the one and only God. The Messiah’s message is to get the people to leave their idols and to serve the one true God.
The complexity of God & the Deity of Christ
The complexity of the God-head existed in the OT before we even reach the NT and the Christian view of the Trinity emerges. If the Scriptures said that no one could see God and live (Ex. 33:20), how is it that these same Scriptures taught that people saw Him on the earth (and didn’t die) while at the same time He sat enthroned in heaven running the universe? Didn’t God come in human form – even talking and eating with Abraham, wrestling with Jacob and leading the armies of Israel?
We will now examine the Deity of Christ in that all God is said to be and does, Jesus is said to be and does.
1). Jesus the Divine and eternal Word – Before examining the Gospel of John and John’s description of Jesus as the “Word,” let’s once again try and get the Jewish cultural and contextual understanding of “the Word” before the Messiah even comes into the world. In the Aramaic Targum (their translation of the Hebrew Scriptures which was read in the synagogues), the “LORD” is substituted with the “Word” or “Word of the LORD”: Genesis 1:27; 3:8; 6:6-7; 9:12; 15:6; 20:3; 28:20-21; 31:49; Ex. 14:31; 20:1; 25:22; Lev. 26:9; Num. 10:35-36; 11:23; 14:35; Deut. 1:26; 1:30; 4:7; 18:19; 31:3; Josh. 1:5; Judges 11:10; Isa. 45:17). Here it’s the Word that creates, it’s the Word that walked in the garden with Adam, it’s the Word Abraham believed in and was justified by, they believed in the Word, the Word rose up and returned in saving and justifying Israel, the Word decreed, the Word gave the law, Moses prayed to the Word, the Word sits enthroned in heaven listening to the prayers of Israel, the people rebelled against the Word, the Word led and fought for Israel, the Word passed before the people, etc… And watch this comparison of Genesis 28:20-21:
“If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be with me, then the LORD will be my God.”
And the Targum,
“If the Word of the LORD will be with me…then the Word of the LORD will be my God.”
Belief in the “Word” is what justified Abraham, and the “Word” was Jacob’s God!
Even the Jew Philo understood the Word (Greek Logos) as a “second god,” “mediator” and the “governor and administrator of all things.”
So once we approach John 1, we can see John is not coming up with something completely new to the Jewish thought. He understood what was being read in the synagogues about the Word (memra) and writing in Greek He understood what was being taught about the divine logos by his Jewish brethren. As God’s plan of redemption is unfolding, there is now more clarity on WHO the “Word” has been all along – Jesus the eternal Word/Son of God. It is through Him (the Word) that all was made (just as in Jewish thought), except now the Word became a man/flesh and dwelt among us. But even this is not completely foreign because in the OT Scriptures God was seen as a man upon the earth (while at the same time somehow fully spirit enthroned in heaven ruling and maintaining the universe). The Word/Son of God revealed Himself (theophany) in the form of man to Abraham, Jacob and Israel prior to his incarnation. But what became of this human body after the Word appeared in it? Since “God is Spirit” (Jn. 4), we know He did not return in His glory with it. This being the case, I affirm that when Jesus ascended in the divine glory cloud and went back into the glory He shared with the Father before the world began, that He no longer presently has a physical body (Acts 1:9-11; John 17:3-5, 24). We no longer know him according to the flesh (2 Cor. 5:16). In AD 70 Christ returned in His pre-incarnate form “in His glory” (in His glory cloud) and now has taken up His home (along with the Father and Holy Spirit) within the believer – of which through faith we “believe” this to have taken place (Jn. 14:2-3, 23, 28-29; cf. Lk. 17:20-37; Mrk. 8:38-9:1).
John 1:14 literally reads that the Word (that in the previous context states is God) “lived in a tent” or “pitched his tent” among us just as Jehovah pitched his tent in the forms of the Tabernacle and Temple in the OT and dwelt in His glory among Israel. Here again, God’s presence was both on earth and in heaven at the same time. When God’s presence filled the OT Tabernacle, His “glory filled it” (Ex. 40:34-35) and now John says that we have seen his “glory” full of grace and truth. God fills His Son/the Word and through Him all things came about and in Him is the exact representation of His being (Heb. 1:3). (Note: Although I have learned a lot about the Jewish understanding of the “Word” through John Gill and John Lightfoot in the past, I have found Dr. Michael L. Brown’s treatment on the subject to be the best so far! See his book, Answering JEWISH OBJECTIONS TO JESUS Vol. 2 Theological Objections, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 14-23).
2). Jesus is God who creates – (cf. Jn. 1:1-3; Cols. 2:6-9; Heb. 1:3-10 / Gen. 1:1; Ps. 19:1; Ps. 33:6).
3). Jesus is God the Ancient of Days who rides upon the clouds and is worshiped – Many Rabbis didn’t fully understand such passages as Daniel 7:13-14 and had to admit it was possible that there was a description of two Divine beings being depicted. Only God was the divine “cloud rider” and “worshipped.” And yet the NT seems to follow the (OG) LXX which reads that the one like the Son of Man comes upon the clouds “as (not “up to”) the Ancient of Days” and is worshiped (Dan. 7:13-14). Jesus is depicted as the Son of Man coming upon the clouds, the eternal “alpha and omega” and the Ancient of Days in the book of Revelation (cf. Rev. 1:7-18).
His coming upon the clouds affirms He is the Divine Son of God to the High Priest – who claims Jesus is “blasphemous” for making Himself out to be God in this way (Mt. 26:62-66).
4). Jesus is God (the Ancient of Days) who’s face is seen sitting on the heavenly throne in glory and judgment establishing His Eternal Kingdom– In Matthew 25:31-46 and Revelation 20:11-15 Jesus sits as God (the Ancient of Days) and is worshipped as such (cf. Dan. 7:9-14).
In the book of Revelation God and Jesus (the Lamb) are said to sit on the throne and yet Jesus/the Lamb is at the center of the throne and it is ONE face they see: “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face and his name will be on their foreheads” (cf. Rev. 3:21; 4:2; 5:6, 13; 7:9-10, 17; 22:1, 3-4). There is one throne (not two), His servants serve Him (singular) who sits upon the throne, and they see His (singular) face and worship Him/God (singular) (cf. 22:9). The face that is seen whom is God in the New Covenant / New Creation is none other than that of the Christ’s/Messiah’s (Isa. 52:8; 1 Cor. 13:10-12; 2 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:4). The “face” here is no more literal than the “lamb” on the throne. This is a vision and human accommodative anthropomorphic language is being used. At Christ’s “soon” Second Coming in AD 70 to close the Old Covenant age, we continue to see God’s face spiritually in the spiritual New Covenant / New Jerusalem / New Creation.
5). Jesus is Immanuel (“God with us”) and thus “Mighty God,” and “Everlasting Father” – (cf. Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1).
6). If you have seen Jesus, you have seen the Father – In John 20:17 Jesus says He goes to “my Father” and “my God,” and yet Thomas when He sees Jesus declares, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn. 20:28).
7). Jesus is the eternal and great “I am” – Jesus is the great “I am” that is “from above” whom Moses saw in the burning bush and Abraham longed to see (Jn. 8:56-59; Ex. 3:14). For this the Jews sought to kill Him (again for blasphemy [claiming to be God] cf. Mt. 26:62-66).
All of Jesus’ “I am” statements are spiritual realitiesfor us to experience right now – It is odd that Futurists will recognize this and yet then proceed to cherry-pick His “resurrection” as only a physical event and ours must therefore be at the end of history (Jn. 11:5, 25-26):
Scripture teaches that His resurrection was the “first.” Obviously He was not the “first” to be raised physically! Christ’s physical resurrection was a miracle and sign to demonstrate that He was the “first” (“first born” & “first fruits” cf. Cols. 1:15; 1 Cor. 15:20) to be raised from a much more serious death – the spiritual / sin / death that separates man from God, which came through Adam the very day he sinned (cf. Gen. 3:17). It is this death that Christ overcame at His parousia in AD 70 (1 Cor. 15). In AD 70 at Christ’s Second Coming and resurrection of the dead, those alive believing in Him would “never die” (Jn. 10:25-26; see also 6:47, 50-51, 58; 8:51 – this is a spiritual resurrection for the living (while living upon the earth – not leaving it). At His coming the living were gathered into His spiritual Kingdom, and His full presence was restored “within” them (Mrk. 8:38-9:1; Jn. 14:2-3, 23, 28-29; Mt. 24:30-31/Lk. 17:20-37/21:30-32) – and that is the resurrection for the living. And when they die physically (post AD 70), they do not go to a waiting place (again death/separation has been overcome), but go directly into His presence.
8). God is the “Lord of lords” as is Jesus – (cf. Deut. 10:17; Ps. 136:1-4; Rev. 17:14).
9). God “alone” is “Savior” and yet Jesus is the “Savior” (cf. Isa. 3:3, 11; 45:15, 21; Hos. 13:4; Luke 2:11; Phil. 3:20; 1 Tim. 2:3; 2 Tim. 1:10; Jude 1:25; 1 Titus 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:11; 2 Pet. 2:20).
10). God is “from everlasting” or eternal and so is Jesus/the pre-existing Divine Word – (cf. Isa. 43:10; Psalm 93:2; Isaiah 63:16; Micah 5:2; Jn. 8:56-59; Jude 1:25; 1 Jn. 5:20; Heb. 1:8). Jesus taught, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”(John 10:28). Jesus Christ (the eternal Word) is eternal, and therefore has power to give “eternal life.”
11). God is the Rock and so is Jesus – (cf. Deut. 32:4, 32:15, 32:18, 32:30-31; I Sam. 2:2; and Psalm 18:31; I Cor. 10:1-4, I Pet. 2:7-8, and Rom. 9:33).
12). God is the Shepherd and Jesus is the promised NC Shepherd of God – (cf. Ps. 23:1; 80:1; Ezek. 34:12).
13). God is the light and so is Jesus – (cf. Ps. 27:1; Mic. 7:8; John 1:4-9; 8:12).
14). God is the ONLY “first and last” and so is Jesus – (cf. Isa. 44:6/Rev. 1:17).
15). Only God is omnipotent (all powerful) and yet so is Jesus – (cf. Rev. 19:6; Rev. 2:26; Cols. 2:2-10; 1 Tim. 6:15).
16). Jesus said God alone must be worshiped and yet Jesus is worshiped – (cf. Mt. 4:10; Mt. 8:2; 9:18; 15:25; 28:9; Jn. 9:38; Acts 10:25-26; Rev. 19:10; Dan. 7:13-14 (OG) LXX).
17). God alone forgives sins, and yet Jesus forgives sins – (cf. Jer. 31:34; Mrk. 2:5-11; 1 Tim. 3:16).
18). God would re-marry and restore Israel in her last days, and yet Jesus is the Groom who marries the restored new Israel of God (i.e. the Church) – Under the Old Covenant God was married to Israel (cf. Ex. 19). After the Kingdom splits, then God is pictured as being married to two sisters as His wives: 1) Israel (Aholah / Samaria capital of Israel) and 2) Judah (Aholibah / Jerusalem capital of Judah) (cf. Jer. 31:31-32; Ezek. 1:1-4; 1 Kings 11:9-13). These two sisters were notorious for their adultery and playing the prostitute (cf. Ezek. 23:3; Jer. 3).
Although God divorced Israel through the Assyrian captivity, He remained married to His other harlot wife Judah, from which line of descent Jesus/Messiah would come. Judah/Jerusalem was judged by the Babylonian captivity but never divorced (cf. Ezk. 23:22-45). Yet, in Israel’s last days God would re-marry Israel (the scattered 10 northern tribes) who became sown in the land of the Gentiles and in essence became Gentiles/Samaritans (Hos. 2:18-23).
Jesus is God who begins courting His wife with the woman at the well (Samaritans – John 4). Here the eschatological courtship/marriage begins. The believing Samaritans, Jews, God-fearers, and Gentiles constitute the restored and “last days” marriage. Jesus states He is the Groom that would consummate His marriage with the Bride at His coming in the AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24-25). In the book of Revelation God finally divorces His unfaithful wife (OC Jerusalem) through the Romans, and yet at the same time consummates His marriage with the restored NC Israel of God “shortly” and Christ’s AD 70 “soon” coming (Rev. 1:1; Rev. 17–22:20).
19). God alone forgives sins, and yet Jesus forgives sins – (cf. Jer. 31:34; Mrk. 2:5-11; 1 Tim. 3:16).
From all of this we learn: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
The offices of Christ (Prophet, Priest and King).
1). Jesus is the “Faithful and True” Prophet – Jesus is the Messianic greater prophet that Moses predicted one come (Deut. 18:15-19). There was coming another “generation” in Israel’s “last days” that would experience and eschatological “end” – i.e. judgment and salvation (that would include the Gentiles, cf. Deut. 31-32:5, 20, 43). The prophet Isaiah predicted a Messianic second exodus (Isa. 11). Putting this together, Jesus is the greater Moses or anti-type that would usher in another second exodus within another 40 years generation. Peter informs us in Acts 2-3 that Israel’s “last days” AD 30 – AD 70 “perverse and crooked generation” predicted in Deuteronomy 32 is the one that would experience reformation and restoration at His Second Coming from heaven (“the great and dreadful day of the Lord”) – with a coming judgment for those Jews that would not heed His words and a salvation for those that would.
Consistent with Peter, Jesus predicts that the Temple’s destruction, the end of the OC age and His Second Coming would take place within the contemporaries of those He preached to and in their AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Mt. 24:1-34; see also Mt. 10:22-23; Mt. 16:27-28/Mrk. 8:38-9:1).
2). Jesus is the High Priest that would “not delay” – In His first coming (as the sacrificial lamb) and in His Second Appearing (as the Great High Priest) at the end of the OC age (a period roughly between AD 30 – AD 70), Jesus would finish His redemptive and atoning process in order to forgive the sin of His people (Heb. 9:26-28; Rms. 11:26-27; see also Dan. 9:24-27). Under OC typology, the Day of Atonement process was not complete until the High Priest came out from the Temple (the second time) and sprinkled the awaiting congregation. The next chapter confirms this first century Second Appearing, would be “in a very little while” and “would not tarry” (Heb. 10:37).
The OC economy was typified by the “first” Holy place, and the NC economy with The Most Holy Place. When the “first” was removed in AD 70, the NC Most Holy Place would be left and thus full entrance was made (Heb. 9:6-9). In Revelation we see the New Jerusalem in the shape of a perfect cube (indicating that She is God’s new Most Holy Place dwelling) and that she was in the process of coming down and would fully arrive “shortly” at Christ’s “soon” return (Rev. 1:1; Rev. 3:12 NIV; 21:16; 22:6-7, 20). It is here in the New Jerusalem and New Creation (God’s Most Holy Place), that we can see God’s face without shame (cf. Rev. 22:4) because He has completely taken away our sin as our Great High Priest! The New Jerusalem as the Most Holy Place and access to the Tree of Life (Christ) both communicate the one born of the woman brining us back and restoring what was lost (His presence in the MHP) in the original Garden Temple:
3). Jesus is the King of a spiritual NC Kingdom – Jesus taught that He was a King of a Kingdom that was “not of this world” and therefore it would be realized “within” at His Second Coming that would take place within His AD 30 – AD 70 “this generation” (Jn. 18:36; Lk. 17:20-37; 21:27-32). After the destruction of OC Jerusalem, the Church would be able to look back upon this event and know that His Kingdom had already come in power (Mrk. 8:38-9:1). It would be at this time the Kingdom would be taken from OC Israel and given the restored NC Israel (Mt. 21:33-45).
The rest of the NT confirms the AD 70 arrival of the NC Kingdom:
a). “I do fully testify, then, before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is about to judge living and dead at his manifestation and his reign/kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:1).
b). Paul’s first century “we” expectation in 1 Corinthians 15 communicates a fulfillment of the parousia, Kingdom and resurrection in some of their lifetimes – i.e. in AD 70. This is when “the end” (of the OC age) would be fulfilled or when the “Kingdom” would arrive (1 Cor. 15:24). The last enemy to be destroyed or conquered was “the death” (spiritual death/separation that came through Adam the day he sinned – 1 Cor. 15:26). The result of the parousia (presence of God) and these promises is that “God may be all (when the Father Son, and Holy Spirit) in all” (fully in Jew and Gentile – 1 Cor. 15:28).
c). The eschatological “not yet” salvation of the soul, glory, inheritance and “entrance into the everlasting Kingdom” prophesied in the OT would be fulfilled in the days of Peter’s first century audience – thus “the end of all things was at hand” (1 Pet. 1; 4:5-7; 2 Pet. 1:11).
d). In the book of Revelation, at the seventh and last trumpet (the same as Mt. 24:30-31) when the Great City/Sodom/Egypt or the harlot Babylon (OC Jerusalem where Jesus was slain 11:8) would be judged, is when the kingdoms of this world became the Kingdoms of the Lord. Again, this was all to take place “shortly” at Christ’s “soon,” “quickly,” “at hand” AD 70 coming (Rev. 1:1; chpts. 10-11; 22:6-20).
The Deity of the Holy Spirit
1). The Holy Spirit is eternal – (Heb. 10:29).
2). The Holy Spirit is omnipotent (all powerful) – He is active in creation (Job 33:4; Ps. 104:30), the power by which Jesus performed miracles (Mt. 12:28; Rms. 15:18-19).
3). The Holy Spirit is omnipresent – (Ps. 139). The fact that the Holy Spirit in Scripture is said to be active in salvation in regeneration, while at the same time being poured out, and filling and leading Christians all at the same indicate omnipresence.
4). The Holy Spirit is omniscient (knows all things) – He searches all things, knows the thoughts of God, and is therefore able to teach, remind and lead the Apostles into forming the inspired Scripture (1 Cor. 2:10; Jn. 14:26; 16:13).
5). The Holy Spirit is not a force but can be lied to as God (Acts 5:3-4).
6). The Holy Spirit could be blasphemed against – (Mt. 12:23).
7). The Holy Spirit can be grieved – (cf. Ephs. 4:30).
8). The Holy Spirit speaksas a person (“I…”) and thus a distinct person – (cf. Isa. 48:16; 61:6; 63:9-10; Acts 8:29; 10:19; 11:12; 13:2; 21:11; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:7)
After examining the Deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit, we can readily see that while the Scripture does not explicitly mention the “Trinity,” this doctrine exists within it’s inspired pages. It is complex (surpassing our full understanding) and yet wonderful and personal at the same time.
Salvation consists in the work of the Trinity. The Father ordains, chooses, elects and predestines His people (even knowing them by name), the Son lays His life down only for them (His Sheep and the Church), while the Holy Spirit effectually calls and opens the hearts of His beloved (Jn. 10; Rom. 9; Ephs. 1; Jn. 1:12; 3:5; 6:63). The Father “foreknows” (that is loved beforehand in election), the Spirit sanctifies in holiness and the Son applies His blood in atonement (cf. 1 Pet. 1:2).
Since the the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit) is the full expression of the Godhead involved in salvation,…
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are mentioned in the Great Commission and Apostolic blessing – (Mt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:13; Lk. 1:35; 3:21-22; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:2).
While there have been different explanations for God speaking of Himself in the plural (Gen. 1:26; 11:7), after further examining the OT and NT, it should become clearer that this is the Father, Son/Word and Holy Spirt.
Likewise, after viewing all the evidence, Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone (or “the LORD is ONE),” should be understood as a compound unity. The Hebrew here for “one” is echad which is used of two (man and a woman) becoming one (echad) flesh. In Hebrew culture, members of one family could also constitute “one flesh.” And although there were many parts to the Tabernacle and Temple, once assembled they were one building. There are many members of our country, and yet we are one nation indivisible under God.
Man & Salvation Through the Cross and Parousia of Christ.
The very day Adam sinned against God he died spiritually breaking covenant with God and being alienated from His Most Holy Place presence in the Garden (Gen. 2:16-17; Rms. 5:12).
We are naturally born into this world in a spiritual state of death and alienation from God’s presence (Ephs. 2:1).
When Israel (as a corporate Adam) broke covenant with God, she too was struck dead (spiritually) and carried away captive (east) from her holy land (cf. Hosea, and a gathering back into the land in faith and repentance is a resurrection, ex. Ezek. 37).
This Spiritual Death Produces an Inability on Man’s Part to Believe or Save Himself.
Contrary to the heretical Pelagian and Arminian views, man is not in a neutral state able to choose or not choose to be saved like he may choose a box of Cornflakes over a box of Wheaties. Man is born into this world speaking lies (sinning), is a slave to sin, cannot change his disposition anymore than a man can change his skin color or a leopard can change his spots and ultimately man hates God and loves (agape’s) darkness and therefore will not come to the light or seek Him in truth apart from God dragging/drawing him to Himself (Ps. 51:5; 58:3; Job 15:14; Jn. 8:34; Jer. 13:23; Jn. 3:19-20; Rms. 3:11; Jn. 6:44).
One of the purposes of the OC law of Moses was to magnify sin and this spiritual state of death with its inability to please God – when the commandment comes there is an inability to perform to its standards (Rms. 7; Gals. 5:1-3). Likewise, when the gospel is preached today with it’s standards of belief in the Son and NC Kingdom living – it is like the sun’s rays – it will either harden the clay (the reprobate) demonstrating that they hate this God and have no desire to follow Him, or melt it will melt the wax (save God’s chosen). The gospel lays bear the motives of man’s heart and is either foolishness to him and an aroma of death, or becomes good news and an aroma of life (through the power of God).
Therefore, Salvation is monergistic.
Monergism simply means that a person is born again and converted completely by the sovereign free grace and power of Christ alone, without human help.
Jesus came into the world to actually save lost sinners (not make salvation possible for all mankind) by laying His life down for the sheep (not goats) that the Father had given Him before the world began, thereby bringing sinners to repentance – not the religious self-righteous (Lk. 5:22; Jn. 10). He instructs Nicodemus that one must first be “born from above” (or born again) before he can even “see” or “enter” the Kingdom (Jn. 3:3, 5 – here the act of spiritually seeing is synonymous with belief or faith – as one moves from spiritual blindness to spiritual sight/understanding).
This is a spiritual birth that has nothing to do with the will of men, but is the result of the Spirit blowing sovereignly where He will to open and raise the spiritually dead which is the means by which the gift of faith is given (Jn. 1:13; 3:6-7; Ephs. 2:8-10). In verse 5, the Greek can also be translated as being “born of water even the Spirit…,” which means being born of the Spirit in one’s soul is to be cleansed inwardly with water (in a figurative or metaphorical sense). The Holy Spirit in conjunction with the Word or the Gospel, is likened to the agent of water because it satisfies and cleanses the soul of man (Isa. 44; Ezek. 36:25; Jn. 4:14; Ezek. 47/Jn. 7:38/Rev. 22:17).
Under the OC, if a gentile proselyte desired to join the covenant community of Jehovah, he needed to repent from following his false gods, exercise faith in Jehovah, be circumcised, and be baptized with water. Upon believing and confessing that Jehovah alone was God and performing these outward covenant rituals (which outwardly pictured what was professed to have already taken place in the heart and mind), the gentile was said to be a “new creation” or born anew.
The OT prophets foretold a second exodus, judgment, rebirth/resurrection of a nation, the sprinkling of water by the Holy Spirit, and arrival of another New Creation as a result of the redemptive work of Messiah and His establishing the New Covenant (Psalm 87:4-6; Isa. 10-11, 44; Isa. 60-66; Ezek. 11, 36-37). Nicodemus (a teacher of Israel) was as ignorant of what the Prophets had taught about these soteriological and eschatological events as those he sought to instruct. This was both an individual and corporate or covenantal re-birth that Jesus is discussing. OC Israel was being transformed (or being born from above) from OC glory to NC glory roughly between AD 30 – AD 70. Post AD 70, the gates of the NJ are open for sinners to still come in and be apart of God’s New Creation and therefore be born from above (Rev. 22:17).
The Apostle Paul in Romans 9 confirms that man’s salvation is totally dependent upon the sovereign mercy and plan of God. Jacob was effectually called to salvation in election and not Esau (before they were born), so that God’s purpose would be accomplished (vss. 10-12). Then Paul deals with the obvious objection that God is not fair by giving the illustration of the Potter’s right to do with his clay what he wills (or that God can do with men what He wills). This illustration is to buttress what has been said earlier in verses 14-18: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” And, “So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.” It couldn’t be clearer, salvation is not dependent upon man’s will or works, but upon God’s sovereign right to have mercy on whom He wills.
But one will think to himself, “But faith and repentance are required for conversion, and we do that right?” Yes, we do, but faith and repentance are like to conjoined twins that while necessary for conversion to take place, are nonetheless both gifts given by God. We have no right to boast even in our faith and repentance (over against others that don’t believe and repent), because even they are gifts that come from God and only those He has ordained to eternal life will believe and turn to Him (Ephs. 2:8-12; Acts Acts 11:18; 13:48; 2 Tim. 2:25; Rms. 2:4).
Is a gift of God (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; 2 Tim. 2:25).
Is a turning to God and a hatred toward sin (2 Chron. 7:14; Job 42:6; Pa. 51:4; 119:128; Jer. 8:6; 15:7; 31:18-19; Ezek. :6; 18:30-31; 36:31; Joel 2:12-13, 15; Amos 5;15; Acts 20:21; 26:20; 2 Cor. 7:11; Rev. 9:20-21; 16:11).
Bears good fruit (Mt. 3:8; Lk. 3:8; Acts 26:20).
The object of faith is specifically the person and work of Jesus Christ the Lord and in the Word which testifies of His work (Isa. 45:22; Jn. 1:12; 3:15-16, 18, 36; 6:35, 37, 40; 7:38; Acts 10:43; 16:31; Rms. 3:22, 25; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9; Lk. 24:27; Acts 24:14; 1 Thess. 2:13).
Reformed theology teaches that we are justified through faith. However, it should be clarified that faith receives justification – it does not produce it. We are “justified by His blood” and by His grace and redemption – with faith receiving that work of Christ (His imputed righteousness) which is what justifies the sinner (Rms. 5:8; Rms. 3:21-22, 24-25, 28, 30; 5:1; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9).
Saving faith bears good fruit (Mt. 7:17-19; 12:33; Lk. 6:44; Jn. 15:1-11; Rms. 7:4; Gal. 5:19-23; Phil. 1:11).
Saving faith and the believer (through the new birth) are kept by the power of God and his faith “cannot” nor “will” it ultimately fail (Lk. 22:32; 1 Pet. 1:5; 1 Jn. 3:9).
Our assurance comes from the work of Christ and the gift of faith – that is, that we believe on Him (1 Jn. 5:10). We have “assurance of faith” because He has sprinkled our conscience through His sacrifice (Heb. 10:22; Heb. 9:13-14).
On saving faith and sanctification – we reject the “Reformed” view of progressive sanctification or that our assurance somehow comes from our growing obedience “more and more” (WCF, 13.1). We were set apart for God’s purposes before the world began, declared holy and made holy through the work of Christ (through His sacrifice and parousia). We are in the New Jerusalem and are thus “clean” or fully sanctified. There are only two groups – those inside who are clean and those who are outside and are therefore unclean. Once in the NJ or NC, we don’t become “more and more” clean/sanctified. We are in fact not just fully sanctified, but glorified (Rms. 8:18YLT – this glory was “about to be revealed” and in AD 70 WAS – with the glory and splendor of the NJ and NC in Revelation 21-22 illustrating this very fact).
On saving faith & the eschatological “not yet” of justification and the view of N.T. Wright or the “new perspective” – since the Second Coming/Presence and arrival of the “world of righteousness” (2 Pet. 3) has been inherited by the believer since AD 70, we are most assuredly made righteous in His sight right NOW. The believer awaits nothing to make or declare him as justified in the sight of a holy God! Selah.
On saving faith and Dispensational views – the folly of men such as Charles Ryrie and Zan Hodges of the Dispensational “Free Grace” movement, is that they claim a Christian may cease to believe (becoming an atheist for example) and yet remain a Christian. This is foolishness to propose the contradiction that there are unbelieving believers in the Church! Think about it.
Old Covenant Israel and New Covenant Salvation – Israel’s Inheritance Promises: Seed, Land, Jerusalem/Tabernacle New Creation.
In typological form Israel’s promises were fulfilled during the reign of Solomon. God’s promise to make Abraham a great nation and make his descendants as numerous as “the dust of the earth” and as the stars of the heavens was fulfilled in the OT (Gen. 12:2; 13:16 = 2 Chron. 1:9; 1 Chron. 27:23; 1 Kings 4:11). Even Israel’s land promises “from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates” were fulfilled (Gen. 12:7; 22:17 = 1 Kings 4:20; Josh. 11:23; 21:41-45; Neh. 9:21-25).
Once we reach the NT we learn that Israel’s promises have their ultimate fulfillment not in the literal land or literal real-estate, but rather in the New Covenant or being “in Christ.” Christ Himself and those united to Him through faith are blessed with Abraham and fulfill the seed promise (Gal. 3:9, 16, 18, 28-29). We also learn that Abraham’s faith in the promise was rooted in a spiritual fulfillment of a heavenly land and city that were “about to” be received at Christ’s “in a very little while” Second Coming to close the OC age (cf. Heb. 9:26-28—10:37—11:10-16—13:14YLT). Even Paul’s statement that believers would inherit “the world” (Rms. 4:13) is understood in context to mean believers (Jew and Gentile) in all nations (Rms. 4:11-12, 16-17).
The heavenly land and city (New Jerusalem) that Abraham looked to for the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise (along with the prophets promise of a New Creation – Isaiah 65-66) was in the process of coming down in John’s day and “shortly” did at Christ’s “soon” Second Coming in AD 70 (cf. Rev. 1:1, 3:12NIV—chapters 21:1–22:20). This is not a literal cubed city/tabernacle/MHP that will someday float down to earth, but rather the perfecting of the New Covenant people of God or New Covenant believers (the “Jerusalem from above” – Gals. 4). The coming Tabernacle/Temple of Ezekiel 37, 40-48 is referring to the Body – the Church (Ezek. 37:27=2 Cor. 6:16). Again, the New Creation is not physical real-estate, but rather New Covenant believers (Isa. 65:17 = 2 Cor. 5:17).
Literal land or global real-estate inheritance concepts coming from say Premillennialism and Postmillennialism are “heretical” and on par with unbelieving “Jewish dreams and myths” originating in a hyper-literal non-apostolic hermeneutic and we reject them as such.
The Jew understood his Temple and Land to be a “heaven and earth” with the light of Torah radiating from it, while the Gentiles were in utter darkness outside. Once a Gentile converted to the teaching of Torah and believed in Jehovah he entered the land and was declared a “new creation.” This gives the historical context on how Revelation ends the way it does. The Church is the spiritual New Jerusalem / Most Holy Place dwelling of God and a New Heaven and Earth with the light of the Gospel radiating from her bidding the nations to enter her with open gates.
Post AD 70 Salvation is Complete – No More Death, Tears or Pain.
Because “the death” that came through Adam is spiritual death (alienation from God) realized through the commandment-breaker Adam and amplified or increased under the Law of Moses (the old covenant), we can see how God gave His elect the victory over “the death” in the end of the old covenant age of condemnation. The fact that men die physically is in no way evidence that the “spiritual conflict” of “the death” continues for the church throughout the new covenant age.
God’s people under the old covenant, unlike God’s people today, experienced covenantal and spiritual death (cf. Hosea 13:1–14; Isa. 25–27; Eze. 37). What made physical death dreaded for the saints under the old covenant was that they died with the awareness that their sins had not yet been taken away. In the new covenant creation, Jesus promises that whether we biologically die in Him or biologically live in Him, we “never die” (John 11:25–26). This was not the case before Christ.
Thus under the old covenant, the residents of Jerusalem wept because they did not have a lasting atonement or eternal redemption. They longed and groaned for the day of Messiah’s salvation. Until that day would come, they knew their sins were not put away (Heb. 9:26–28; 10:4, 11). The promise that there would be no more mourning or crying or pain does not refer to any and every kind of mourning, crying, and pain. It refers to mourning, crying, and pain concerning God’s people being dead in sin under the condemnation, curse, and slavery of God’s law. That sad Adamic state is no more. In the Son, God’s people are “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).
As Athanasius wrote in his Festal Letters, iv. 3, “For when death reigned, ‘sitting down by the rivers of Babylon, we wept,’ and mourned, because we felt the bitterness of captivity; but now that death and the kingdom of the devil is abolished, everything is entirely filled with joy and gladness.”
Under the old covenant, when David or the nation was exiled from Zion and God’s city and temple, there was much inner pain, weeping, and bondage that followed (2 Sam. 15:30; Ps. 137; Isa. 14:3; Isa. 22:4–5; Jer. 9:1; 13:17; Jer. 22:9–10; Lam. 1:16; Joel 2:17). Under the new covenant, the heavenly country and Jerusalem are not subject to being made desolate or shaken by invading armies as was the old (Isa. 62:4; Heb. 12:27–28). The concept of the gates of the New Jerusalem always being open, even at night (Isa. 60:11; Rev. 21:25), is not merely a picture of evangelism; it is also a picture of security for the residents of God’s City. The believer, through faith in Christ, is the new covenant creation and it is impossible for him to be exiled from the City (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 3:12; 22:12). The new covenant believer is characterized as one whose weeping has ended, because God has forever taken away his sin and united Himself with him (Isa. 60:20; 65:14, 18–19; Jn. 17:21–23).
Christians in the new covenant world do not shed tears in agony and cry out to God to save them from the Adamic Death of Sin, as Jesus Himself did on our behalf (Heb. 5:7). “The sting [pain] of the Death” cannot harm us anymore (1 Cor. 15:56) because the power of Sin has been removed through Jesus, the Law-Fulfiller who clothes us and indwells us. Now we live and reign with Christ in the new covenant world, wherein dwells the Righteousness of God.
It is again noteworthy that Mathison avoids any mention of Paul’s declaration that Satan would be “crushed” “shortly” (Rom. 16:20) in his work on Postmillennialism and in his chapter addressing the time texts in WSTTB. The reason for this is that the majority consensus among all brands of commentators is that the “crushing” of Satan in Romans 16:20 is a direct reference to the final “crushing” of Satan as predicted in Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 20. Manifestly , the judgment and wrath that came in AD 70 was not merely “a” “minor” judgment. It was “the” judgment. It was the crushing of Satan.
Future eschatologies would challenge us with the empirical reality that Death and Satan could not have met their ultimate demise in AD 70 because, after all, just look around and you will clearly see that people still physically die and that there are wars and murders taking place all over the world today. Are these clear evidence that Satan and his demonic hordes are active in our world?
There were certainly times that Satan moved men, such as Judas, to commit sins. But the Bible does not teach us that this was ever the norm. James tells us that wars and fights come from within men (Jms. 4:1) instead of from Satan and demons. Satan’s primary purpose has come to an end: He can no longer function as the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10), because Christ came out of Zion a second time at the end of the old covenant age to put away Sin once and for all for His church (Acts 20:28; Rom. 11:26–27; 13:11–12; Heb. 9:26–28).
Our salvation and Christ’s Second Appearing/Coming as the Churches great High Priest are not events that take place at the end of time, but rather within time – namely at the end of the OC age in AD 70. The seed of the woman has overcome the Sin, the Death, the Law and crushed Satan for His heavenly people – the Church/New Creation. You may not feel perfect or like a city of jewels and gold, but that is how God views you through His Son’s finished redemption – accomplished and applied for you through His work on the cross and Second Appearing. Go now and preach this message (Rev. 22:17)!