Friday, October 12, 2007

All the Promises of God IV


The New Heavens and Earth

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Christians know this, but this truth – or should I say this theme – is far more important than we usually think. Sometimes we go beyond the obvious when we acknowledge important systematic presuppositions and consequences of this truth. It assumes for example what is stated numerous times and in numerous ways throughout the Bible – God is absolutely sovereign over creation. The book of Isaiah alone is full of statements such as the following.

Remember the former things of old,
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
declaring the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times things that are not yet done,
saying, “My counsel shall stand,
and I will do all My pleasure,”
calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it. (Is. 46:9-11)

And as one might expect, the Psalms also echo the truth of God sovereignty.

But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases. (Ps. 115:3)

We also sometimes recognize the doctrine of providence as a consequence of creation. Because God is who He is, He did not create the universe in order to let it run by itself. Every moment of every day, the Creator sustains and provides for His creation.

It is good that we recognize such aspects of creation, but because many modern Western Christians tend to think “topically” or systematically, it is no surprise that we would see such connections. However we tend to have difficulty viewing creation as an historical theme and an historical precedent. We also tend to have problems seeing the intimate connections between creation and redemption despite our knowledge of Second Corinthians 5:17. Our paradigms do not often bring the pieces together so that we see the big picture. But we can begin to rectify this by simply noting a few things about God’s original creation.

To begin with, it was all good. After each day, God saw His work and pronounced it good. But good did not mean “fully mature” or “finished,” so the next day would see more activity from the Creator. The created order was organized into three “zones”: the firmament or sky, the earth, and the water under the earth (cf. Ex. 20:3). In these zones God put all kinds of plant and animal life. He also created a garden in Eden and placed man in it. The garden contained rivers; trees that were good for food and pleasant to look at; and beautiful stones, jewels, and metals (e.g., Gen. 2:8-14). We should not miss the picture; this place was “paradise.”

But sin entered the world, and death entered through sin. Man rebelled, and because he was the covenant head over all of creation, the whole created order fell with him. When Adam fell, he lost the garden-sanctuary and was ejected from it (Gen. 3:22-24). Sin and corruption then spread to the family as brother killed brother (Gen. 4:1-12). This evil then metastasized further until the whole earth was corrupt (Gen. 6:1-6). As a result, God destroyed the earth and the old order with a great flood. What had been a process of creation became a process of “de-creation.”

The world was originally “without form and void.” It probably wasn’t much to look at. The created order was then built up, organized, and beautified so that it was a “good” creation. But man’s unchecked sin had turned this good creation into a moral cesspool. God therefore judged the world by subjecting it to the opposite of the creation process. The growth and glorification of creation was a blessing from God, so the curse – the consequence of widespread rebellion – would be the opposite of creation growth: a de-creation judgment in which the world was reduced to its pre-organized state. The heavens came apart as the water that had originally resided above the firmament (Gen. 6:7) was poured out on the earth. Water also came spewing forth from the subterranean realm (Gen. 7:11). Man was put in the middle “zone,” the earth, so the de-creation saw the depths erupt onto the earth and the heavens fall to the earth. Creation imploded on itself until everything on earth was disorganized, dead, and destroyed (Gen. 7:20-23). Or to be more accurate, everything was destroyed except for the life contained in one boat. From this destruction, God brought forth a remnant and He placed that remnant in a new creation. This was a new created order. It was a new heaven and earth with Noah and his family as the new humanity (Gen. 8).

This pattern would be repeated several times throughout history. As a prelude to the exodus of Israel from Egypt, God judged the existing order and the Egyptians with the plagues. These plagues not only served to humiliate the Egyptian gods who were supposed to be sovereign over the various instruments of the plagues, they also showed that creation itself was coming unhinged. They involved animals from the land (Ex. 9:1-7), the water (Ex. 8:1-15), and the sky (Ex. 8:20-32); uncontrollable weather (Ex. 9:13-35); infection (Ex. 9:8-12); the loss of the sun’s light (Ex. 10:21-29); and widespread human death (Ex. 11:1-10). The whole creation, both heaven and earth, imploded. But from this death of creation and man, a resurrection took place. God brought forth new life and a new creation. Israel was God’s “firstborn” (Ex. 4:22) – the new humanity. Just after the Egyptians had been drowned in a new flood which finished off the old order (Ex. 14:26-28), Moses taught the people a song. At the end of the song, the people would sing of themselves as a new crop:

You will bring them in and plant them
in the mountain of Your inheritance,
in the place, O Lord, which You have made
for Your own dwelling,
the sanctuary , O Lord, which Your hands have established. (Ex. 15:17)

As the prophet Isaiah would later say, this creation of Zion and planting of the people was actually the creation of a new heavens and earth.

But I am the Lord your God,
who divided the sea whose waves roared –
the Lord of hosts is His name.
And I have put My words in your mouth;
I have covered you with the shadow of My hand,
that I may plant the heavens,
lay the foundations of the earth,
and say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ (Is. 51:15, 16)

We shouldn’t miss the point here. At first, one would think that the reference to the creation of heavens and earth would be a reference to the original creation in Genesis 1. However, the context clearly points in another direction. For we are here referred back to the Exodus by being told that this Lord “divided the sea whose wavers roared.” But more specifically, this Lord covered Israel (who obviously did not exist in Genesis 1) with the shadow of His hand so that He may form heavens and earth and call Israel His people. They were the remnant – the new humanity whom the Lord brought out of the destruction of the old created order and into a new creation.

Many centuries later, the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah were falling away from the covenant. One of the prophets sent by God to warn His people of the consequences of their rebellion was Micah. Israel was in especially bad shape and the prophet led off with the coming judgment on it.

The word of the Lord that came to Micah… which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem….
For behold, the Lord is coming out of His place;
He will come down
and tread on the high places of the earth.
The mountains will melt under Him,
and the valleys will split
like wax before the fire,
like waters poured down a steep place.
All this is for the transgression of Jacob
and for the sins of the house of Israel….
“Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the field,
places for planting a vineyards;
I will pour down her stones into the valley,
and I will uncover her foundations.
All her carved images shall be beaten to pieces,
and all her play as a harlot shall be burned with the fire… (Mic. 1:3-5, 6, 7)

The Lord would come down to judge His people for their widespread unfaithfulness by stomping on their “high places” – the places where the people worshiped and sacrificed to the false gods of the pagans around them. This would result in total destruction of the nation and the created order. Mountains would melt, valleys would split, and foundations would be uprooted. Creation would be torn apart as the Northern Kingdom reaped the fruits of its labor. This became a reality in 722 BC when God sent the Assyrian army to destroy and plunder the North (II Kin. 17; Is. 10:5, 6).

About a century later, the Southern Kingdom of Judah was ripe for judgment as well. Despite the reforms implemented by King Josiah, the Lord was still furious with Judah. The people had violated the covenant repeatedly and filled up the measure of their wickedness. The prophet Jeremiah described this violation and foretold of the exile-judgment to come. Israel had been judged and Judah would soon fall as well. The current order was coming to an end which is to say that the created order would be deconstructed.

“For My people are foolish,
they have not known Me.
They are foolish children,
and they have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
but to do good they have no knowledge.”

I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void;
and the heavens, they had no light.
I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled,
and all the hills moved back and forth.
I beheld, and indeed there was no man,
and all the birds of the heavens had fled.
I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness,
and all its cities were broken down
at the presence of the Lord,
by His fierce anger.

For thus says the Lord:

“The whole land shall be desolate;
yet I will not make a full end.
For this shall the earth mourn,
and the heavens above be black,
because I have spoken.” (Jer. 4:22-28)

God was about to judge His people for their sins and this meant that creation itself was falling apart. The land would be trashed, the mountains would quake, the heavens would fail to give their light, and in what may be the starkest de-creation reference in the entire Bible, the earth would be “without form, and void.” This is the same phrase used to describe the very beginning of creation before God had brought order and beauty out of the new matter (Gen. 1:2). This is de-creation; the rebellion of God’s people had led to a regression of the created order all the way back to the very primordial state of the original creation. But as bad as this was, it would one day be remedied by a new creation. Both Israel (Ezek. 23:5-10) and Judah (Ezek. 23:22-27) were put to death for their adulteries. But the chosen nation would also be “born again” from the dead (Ezek. 37:1-14). The restored people would be God’s “firstborn” of the new creation (Jer. 31:7-9). The original historical fulfillment of this came with the restoration of Israel after the 70 year exile in Babylon. But this restoration would not be the end of the story. The ultimate new heavens and new earth (Is. 65:17; 66:22) would make the restoration era pale in comparison. But for this new creation to come, the restoration world would have to be judged.

Jesus’ first advent brought with it the end of this world and the first days of a new order. Israel had become so corrupt that it was now a new Egypt. Just as the first Egypt had been judged and its world destroyed, the same thing happened to the new Egypt. This is why “last days” language is so prevalent in the New Testament documents (which were all written between the 30s and 60s AD). God was instructing His people that the old order was corrupt and was about to be destroyed.

[Jesus] was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you… (I Pet. 1:20)

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son… (Heb. 1:1, 2)

… but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Heb. 9:26)

But [the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit] is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…” (Acts 2:16, 17)

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (I Cor. 10:11)

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. (I John 2:18)

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. (I Pet. 4:7)

For if the first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah”… In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Heb. 8:7, 8, 13)

But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none… For the form of this world is passing away. (I Cor. 7:29, 31)

Notice that in all of these passages, the original, first century audiences were told that they were living in the last days of a covenant and world that would soon pass away. The period of time between 30 AD and 70 AD was the last days of the old world. The old covenant had become obsolete because the new man Jesus had come to fulfill and transform it. All of the old covenant types, shadows, pictures, and promises pointed to Him, and when the reality came, the pictures were no longer appropriate or adequate. Moreover, God’s people had corrupted the old order. Thus, Israel was given 40 years to repent before judgment would come. Those who did repent saw that Jesus was the Messiah and they went with Him in the new exodus. Those who did not repent were left behind in the old and apostate Israel that was judged in 70 AD. God used the Roman armies to destroy that world. (God also judged that beast and put an end to it by the Church.)

With the passing of the old heavens and earth, a new world was formed. Indeed, the new world grew out of the death of the old one with Jesus at the center of the transition. For His resurrection was literally a loosening of “the birth pangs of death” (hodinas tou thánatou, Acts 2:24 – many translations erroneously leave out the reference to birth and translate it as “pain of death” but the word hodín clearly refers to birth pangs). Death itself gave birth to the new man. And this death and rebirth would be recapitulated in the death of the old world and the birth of the new world. Jesus told his disciples that the “end of the age” (Matt. 24:3) would be accompanied by warfare, famine, disease, and earthquakes (Matt. 24:6, 7). Along with Jesus’ cosmic disaster language (Matt. 24:29), these events (which actually did take place in the time leading up to 70 AD) signaled that the created order was being torn apart. But this was not simply death; it actually led to a new birth. For as Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:8; “sorrows” should be translated “birth pangs” – the sentence reads pánta dè tauta archè hodínon). “All these are the beginning of birth pangs.” Jesus died and was born again through His death and resurrection. Consequently, this led to a death and resurrection of the created order. Thus, the time after 70 AD when the exalted new man would sit on the throne was referred to as “the regeneration” (Matt. 19:28). This time, when the Mosaic ceremonial laws would pass away, was called “the time of reformation” (Heb. 9:10). It would in fact be the restoration of all things (Matt. 17:9-13). And just as we saw that Jesus will reign until all enemies – the last being death itself – are placed under His feet (I Cor. 15:22-27), so too the restoration will be an ongoing process that will not be finished until the Second Coming (Acts 3:19-21).

Thus, the death of the second Adam was followed by His rebirth via the resurrection. This resulted in the death of the old order out of which was born a new creation. Moreover, we can see that the new man brought a new humanity with Him into the new creation. Paul’s letter to the Galatians was written to refute the idea that the old covenants had not been fundamentally altered by Jesus’ first advent. Men from Jerusalem were teaching churches in Galatia that gentiles who converted to Christianity also needed to be circumcised (Abrahamic covenant) and keep all of the details of the Mosaic law (Mosaic covenant). Paul refuted this teaching (now known as the Judaizing heresy) by showing that Jesus fulfilled the Abrahamic promise and the Mosaic law by living under the law and taking its curse upon Himself. He was the true and faithful Jew who fulfilled these covenants and brought salvation to the gentiles apart from the law. “The law” (i.e., the Mosaic covenant) was a “tutor” (paidagogόs) designed to bring the Jews to Christ (Gal. 3:23-25), and with His coming, they were not to look back to the “weak and beggarly elements” of the law (Gal. 4:1-11). Moreover, Jesus’ fulfillment of the Abrahamic promises (He is the true Seed of Abraham, Gal. 3:16) means that all those who are baptized into Him are part of Abraham’s seed (Gal. 3:26-29). The distinction between Jew and gentile had been removed because Jesus had ushered in a new creation. “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” (Gal. 6:14, 15) The resurrection of the new man brought with it a new creation and a new humanity.

Therefore remember that you, once gentiles in the flesh – who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands – that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off [i.e., the gentiles] have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off [gentiles] and to those who were near [Jews]. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Eph. 2:11-18)

The enmity was actually the law itself as it constituted a “wall of separation” which divided Jew from gentile. But now, Jew and gentile had become one. The old covenant distinction no longer existed, because Jesus had fulfilled the old covenant by embodying its promises and taking its curses upon Himself. This produced a new humanity – the Church. As the body of Christ (the new man), it is the new humanity composed of Jew and gentile alike. One new man was created from the two.

Jesus produces a new humanity in another way as well.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Col. 3:8-11 cf. Eph. 4:20-24)

Because Jews and gentiles who are in Him have been recreated into one new man, they should reflect this new image/humanity in their conduct. Once again, as with the existence of the new creation in general, the existence of the new humanity is not an all or nothing proposition. The new creation has come, but it will not be perfected until death, the last enemy, is placed under Christ’s feet. Similarly, an individual Christian is part of the new humanity now, but he will not be perfected until the “old man” has been fully put off at death.

Thus, Jesus is the new Adam whose resurrection marked the firstfruits of a new humanity. After the transition period, the old age ended and a new creation was born. The old heavens and earth passed away, and a new heavens and earth were formed (Rev. 21:1-5). At first, this reference to Revelation 21 seems unsettling. After all, Christians have generally been taught that this part of Scripture refers to the final state of man after the consummation of time. But there are good reasons to see the last two chapters of Revelation as a description of the new covenant in Christ.

First, this view fits in well with the new creation theme that has been presented thus far. The identification of the new heavens and earth is not just an isolated idea; it is the culmination of a whole biblical motif that runs from Adam/creation to the new Adam / new creation. The New Testament tells us in a number of places that during the first century, the old order came to an end and a new creation was born. Thus, the identification of the “new heaven and earth” with this new era/creation is hardly a stretch. Second, we can note that the new bride of Christ (Rev. 19:6-9; 21:2, 9) associated with this new heavens and earth is none other than the Church. Unfaithful and unbelieving Israel was an adulterous wife who was divorced in favor of the faithful bride. This bride, who is composed of faithful Jews and gentiles alike, is Jesus’ body – the Church (Eph. 5:22-32; II Cor. 11:2).

Third, the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven (Rev. 21:2) is also the Church. Here we can focus on a contrast presented by the writer of Hebrews. After warning his readers not to return to the old covenant ceremonies because they had been transformed and fulfilled by Jesus, he said that his readers had not come “to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire” (Heb. 12:18). They had not come to the Mosaic covenant represented by Mount Sinai because “you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem... to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven… to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.” (Heb. 12:22, 24) The New Jerusalem from heaven is the Church of “the firstborn,” Jesus (cf. Heb. 1:6). Forth, this new creation would see Jesus giving “the fountain of the water of life” to those who thirst (Rev. 21:6). This is conversion language that the apostle John had used before (John 4:10-14; 7:37-39). There will be people in this new creation who thirst and who will come to Jesus to receive the fountain of water by which they will cease to thirst. This, of course, happens today but it will not occur after death has been put under Christ’s feet and history consummated.

Fifth, the leaves of the tree of life are for “the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:2). We know that there will be no need for healing either in heaven or on a post-consummation earth where everyone has resurrected, immortal bodies. But such healing is needed in the new covenant era, and Jesus provides such healing through the Church. Sixth, this time period will see much evangelism as new people are brought into the New Jerusalem. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city…. And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:14, 17) The Church offers life to those outside her as she beckons them to enter her gates. This is clearly not referring to an immortal, post-resurrection state. Seventh, the Old Testament promises of the new heavens and earth show that this era cannot refer exclusively to the post-consummation eternity.

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind….

“No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,
nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;
for the child shall die one hundred years old,
but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit….
They shall not labor in vain,
nor bring forth children for trouble;
for they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord,
and their offspring with them.” (Is. 65:17, 20, 21, 23)

The new heavens and earth will contain birth, death, and sin. Children will be there, and there will be old men who will eventually fulfill their days. Moreover, the new heavens and earth would be the era in which the gentiles would see the glory of the Lord and would be brought to God’s holy mountain Jerusalem (Is. 66:18-23). Once again, this refers not to eternity but to the new covenant era and the New Jerusalem.

Finally, the recreation motif provides a fitting parallel to the rest of the material in this chapter. “Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’” (Rev. 21:5) The new creation was just that; all things – heaven and earth – were new. But this is not the first time that an apostle had taught this theme to the Church. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (II Cor. 5:17) The New King James Version puts “he is” in italics because these words do not appear in the original. They are an interpretation. A less interpretive translation of the passage would be: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, a new creation.” This would mean that Christ’s coming and gathering of people to Himself show that the new creation had arrived. This fits well with the rest of the verse. But even if we take “he is” to be a proper translation, the punch line of the verse is still obvious. The new creation had come because “all things have become new.” This is the state of those living in the new covenant, pre-consummation era today, and it is precisely the state of the new heavens and earth.

What then are we to make of some of the other “features” of the new heavens and earth? There will be no more pain and sorrow. There will even be no more death (Rev. 21:4). How does this square with what has just been said (especially what was said about the reference to death in Isaiah)? Once again, we should see this age as a progressive one. Everything does not come at once. The kingdom of God progressively grows from small beginnings (e.g., Matt. 13:31, 32). As we have previously noted, those who are in Christ are righteous in God’s sight even though they still sin. They were robed in righteousness (cf. Is. 61:10) when they put on Christ (Gal. 3:27), but they will continue to “work out their salvation” (Phil. 2:12) over the course of a lifetime “from glory to glory” (II Cor. 3:18). Just so, the new creation is a “work in progress.” And this progress will be parallel to the process whereby all enemies are put under the feet of the new Adam. The new humanity in Christ will take dominion over the new creation, but this will be an ongoing process that will end when the last enemy – death – is subdued. Then there really will be no more death. But this represents the goal and consummation of the process, not the entire period. Dominion takes time, growth, and maturity – from glory to glory.

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4 Comments:

Blogger king neb said...

Derrick,

Why are you not a full preterist? rofl. ( :

Every article i have read by you is so stinking close, including this one. The Eschatology of Being Born Again and your Galatians mini-commentary were right on the "money.

Quick questions, if i may.

1.) Is not the context of "glory to glory" in 2 Cor. 3 dealing with contrasting the old covenant glory with the new covenant glory?

Isn't the metamorphis that took place in that context not the same "transformation" you talk about in your Galatians article - the old covenant transforming into the New Covenant...glory to glory?

2.) What 'death' is Paul speaking of in I Cor. 15? My understanding is that he is speaking of "the death" (see greek article) brought on by Adam the day he ate.

Notice that verse 26 is present tense. The death is being destroyed.

I think 'the death' could be said to have been "being destroyed" because of the transformation of covenants taking place in that generation.

To bring 2 Cor. 3 back into this, notice that the old covenant was "the ministration of the death". (3.7) It kills.

Is not the doing away of the old covenant (through fulfillment in Christ and the New) the doing away of the ministration of "the death"...which is the same thing as Paul's 1 Cor. 15 statement of "the death being destroyed"? They seem parallel to me. We know the ministration of the death (old covenant) had been made obsolete, but what was made obsolete was growing old and ready to vanish. Therefore, you have the "present tense" of I Cor. 15.

in fact, Paul goes on to say in I Cor. 15:

56 and the sting of the death is the sin, and the power of the sin the law;

To borrow the "law" and "Mosaic Covenant" language from your Galatians article: the sting of the death is the sin, and the power of the sin was the Mosaic covenant.

Once the Mosaic covenant is fulfilled and removed, the death is swallowed up! Gone!

We are now those who live in the New Jerusalem and possess eternal life, never to die again...seeing that we live in the New Covenant age and are no longer in that 30-70ad transitional period. However, there is still a death in the New Covenant for those outside the gates of the Church - the second the death.

Whatcha think? I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on this.

peace my brother,
jason

11/07/2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Derrick Olliff said...

I'm much further away from hyper pret. than you may think but explaining that in any detail would go well beyond this post and my interest. The short answer is that I think it’s thoroughly wrong.


As far as these attempted connections go, I don't think they work. I think the methodology is problematic in that it takes a piece from one place and a word from this other place and tries to glue them together seemingly without regard for the local context. But for example, I don’t think we need to paste together bits of various letters to know what ‘death’ and ‘resurrection’ mean in the latter part of II Cor. 15. I think both are clearly defined and described in the first half of the same chapter. I think there are other definitional issues as well. For example, Paul calling the Mosaic covenant a ministry of death was not an attempt to define that covenant as practically identical with death itself (or at least link the two so closely) so that if you just get rid of the covenant, you've gotten rid of death. Death existed both before and apart from Moses and there is a real and important sense in which the Mosaic covenant brought life. But this brief overview will have to due. This topic just isn’t in my queue right now.

11/08/2007 7:50 PM  
Blogger rich said...

Derrick,

You stated:

"We know that there will be no need for healing either in heaven or on a post-consummation earth where everyone has resurrected, immortal bodies. But such healing is needed in the new covenant era, and Jesus provides such healing through the Church".

Where do you get even the hint of resurrected, immortal bodies in the scriptures? I just read your paper on being "Born Again" and was dumb-founded how you don't apply what you learned throughout the rest of the NT.

For example 1 Cor. 15:54:-55. Notice Paul quotes two OT passages (Isa. 25:8, Hos. 13:14) that deal with the resurrection of Israel (just as John 3 does). Why would Paul apply these two passages to his discussion on resurrection is 1 Cor 15.? What is the connection? Is Paul just ripping two passages out of the OT from their contexts and using them in a reckless manner?

Rich

11/09/2007 8:02 PM  
Blogger Derrick Olliff said...

Rich,

Thanks for your various comments but this isn't the right place for them. Maybe my previous comment to Neb wasn't straightforward enough so let me try to be more explicit. None of my articles has hyper preterism as its subject or supporters of such a view as its target audience. And I have zero interest in debating it or having it promoted here. I'm sure there are plenty of places on the web where people can go back and forth on it but I don't want this puny blog to be one of them. The small amount of time I'm willing to put into this blog is reserved for other things.

11/12/2007 8:33 AM  

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