Salvation 2.0: Part 2.2: Where is heaven?

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Now, the Bible plainly describes the next age as being the merger of heaven and earth, with God living with man.

“The meek shall inherit the earth.” Why would the meek want to inherit something that will  be burned to a crisp? Rather, the biblical teaching is that our inheritance, our Promised Land, will be the renewed, restored, transformed earth.

The “new heavens and new earth” spoken of by Isaiah and by John in the Revelation are the heavens and earth of Gen 1 restored, with the corruption of sin and brokenness purged by fire — and improved so that it will last forever.

Hence, in the next age, we will not fly off to heaven to leave the world behind. Rather, God will come to us, to walk among us, in a renewed world in which heaven (God’s realm) and earth (man’s realm) are brought together.

Earth becomes what we call “heaven.”

(Rev 21:2-3 ESV)  2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

The obvious objections to this are 1 Thes 4:17 (speaking of the saved meeting Jesus in the clouds) and 1 Pet 3:10-13. I’ve addressed the interpretation of these passages here and here, respectively.

The goal of God’s work among humanity is not to snatch us away from his Creation, but to restore us to what he always intended for us. It’s redemption, not escape. Restoration, not destruction.

And when we read the Bible this way, some good things happen. For example, the NT and OT accounts of the afterlife start to line up. It’s often been stated that the OT knows nothing of men dying and going to heaven. True. Rather, the OT speaks of a new heavens and new earth in which God restores the earth and comes to live with man — just as is taught in Rom 8 and Rev 21.

Just so, it’s often been noted the OT has no doctrine of hell. And that’s also true. It does speak of punishment and God’s destruction of the wicked, in contrast to the blessed afterlife of the saved. But there is no concept of perpetual, conscious torment of the damned in the OT.

Just so,  the NT has been misread. We’ve read the Greek understanding of the afterlife into the scriptures — often by reading the passages to say exactly the opposite of what the words mean.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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20 Responses to Salvation 2.0: Part 2.2: Where is heaven?

  1. John says:

    Jay, a very interesting piece. However, I am of the thought, the conviction, that Rev.21:2-3 is speaking of the Kingdom that is among us, within us that Jesus speaks of; and that what Paul writes about in Romans 8 is, not a literal change of the material universe, but a continual spiritual change and growth of the kingdom among us, within us. It is in this view we see the Kingdom in one another, in our neighbor, in the persons we meet throughout the day; and yes, even in the person who rejects God, in a pending way, meaning that he or she has yet to realize it.

    In your view, at least this what I think I see as your view, God is still in one place while we are in another. And rather than us going there, God is coming here. For me this leaves a distance between God and us, an incompleteness. Of course, many who agree with you would say, “Of course, things are incomplete; that’s why we need the ‘coming’ new heavens and new earth.” But when the kingdom of God dwells within a person in full awareness, it is complete, there is nothing lacking. And that is to say that nothing, not even the person’s sins, can make it any less the kingdom of God.

  2. Monty says:

    Jay,

    How does this fit in with Jesus “going- (I go) to prepare a place for us? If the place is here it can’t be prepared until he returns. Jesus told the 12 he’s coming back for(them) us that we may be where he is. Not he’s coming back to be where we “are.” Sounds like the place is somewhere else and that Jesus will take us there(where he is). What you are saying, it all sounds good and I’m leaning that way but there still seems to me to be some loose ends.

  3. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Monty,

    The place is here, but not until the Second Coming and general resurrection. Rev 21 describes the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth. Other NT passages speak of the New Jerusalem as being in heaven now.

    It’s not that there is no heaven, but that heaven and earth will be merged. Until then, there is a heaven and God lives there.

    The NT and OT are both less than clear on what happen in between now and then, but there are hints that in some sense “we” exist in heaven until heaven and earth are reunited. For example, Moses and Elijah met with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.

    Personally, and this is quite unprovable but very plausible, God plainly exists outside of time. Therefore, heaven is outside of time — as we experience time. Hence, from God’s perspective, there does not have to be an in-between time in heaven. We can die and be transported immediately into God’s time, which is heaven’s time, which begins with the general resurrection. Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200, Go straight to Judgment.

    Jesus words about prepare a place for his disciples means simply that he will prepare the New Jerusalem to receive his followers when it descends to earth per Rev 21.

    Or it could be that there is a disembodied existence between now and then in heaven. But I lean toward the outside of time point of view.

    (John 14:2–3 ESV) 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

    Re-read the passage. In fact, Jesus is plainly speaking of the Second Coming. “Will come again and will take you to myself.”

  4. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    John,

    I do not buy the Preterist perspective. I think there was a “coming” of Jesus in AD 70, but I think the OT and NT repeatedly look forward to a general resurrection. Dan 12 says,

    (Dan 12:1b–3 ESV) 1 But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

    How do you fit this into your perspective? When do those who sleep in the dust of the earth arise to glory and to shame?

    And why do the NT writers so often speak of the Kingdom as not yet come?

    (2 Pet 1:11 ESV) For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    (2 Tim 4:18 ESV) The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

    (Gal 5:21 ESV) envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    The classic interpretation is that the Kingdom is not yet/already — already here but not yet in its fullness, which to me makes a lot of sense of the several Kingdom passages. An “already” perspective surely struggles to deal with the many “not yet” passages.

  5. buckeyechuck says:

    Revelation was written by John to the 1st Century church. It should be remembered that they, not us, were the intended reader. If you were a 1st century Christian, especially one with a Jewish background, who would you have understood the beast to have been? Language in Revelation is frequently a direct quote from Daniel. Without understanding what things meant in Daniel, which many of the 1st century Jewish Christians would have been well versed in, it’s easy to come to a conclusion, based in modern interpretation and circumstances, that is disconnected from the texts that provide the intended message from John’s vision. Both Daniel and Revelation should be approached from a Jewish world political perspective rather than a 21st century end of times bias.

    Jay, you frequently quote from various authors and scholars and include their thoughts in your posts. You said in comments here that you didn’t “buy the Preterist perspective.” But, would you agree that making a statement regarding the Preterist view” is somewhat generalistic and that within Preterist beliefs there is more diversity than many might think? I’m working through your thoughts in concert with what I’ve come to believe regarding the last days as I’m sure many other of your readers are doing. Perhaps my views will continue to evolve as they surely already have regarding end times events.

    Jim Mcguiggan has written extensively on both Daniel and Revelation. Although he comes from a Preterist viewpoint, McGuiggan’s work is well researched and fairly well known in these areas. Of the new heaven and the new earth he writes:

    ”John sees a new heaven and new earth come into existence. He sees a red Dragon with seven heads, he sees a Glorious Woman with the moon at her feet and a world entirely without drinking water and we asked, “what do these things mean?” Now he sees a new heaven and earth and what are we to do? We’re to ask, “what does this mean?”

    “The vision of a new heaven and earth speaks of a new environment, a new state of affairs for the people of God. The old world in Revelation’s context has been dominated by the cruel and evil Roman Empire—it was, so to speak, their world! But they offended God and he attacked it. In Revelation its stars are torn down, its seas are turned to blood, earthquakes tore it in shreds and its vegetation is completely destroyed—the Roman world is dismantled. None of that literally happened! John now sees a new heaven and earth. But as surely as we’re not to believe in the literal dismantling of the Roman world (remember 22:6,10) we’re not to believe in a literal creating of a new heaven and earth. This is a book of pictures! It tells its message in images. It isn’t like other books and mustn’t be interpreted like other books. When Matthew says they met a man carrying a water pitcher on his head we tend to believe that that’s what they actually saw. When John says he saw a door open in heaven or that he saw a new city coming down out of the sky on to the earth we’re not supposed to take it as literal.

    “The vision of the new heaven and earth is Revelation’s way of saying that the People of God live to see the destruction of the world “owned” and shaped by the beast-empire of Rome. They are free from Rome. Rome can no longer murder them or make them cry or mourn (21:4). There is no more sea (21:1) therefore the Roman beast can rise from it no more (13:1).”

    Jay, I’ve not seen you discuss many alternative perspectives and that may not be your intention here. But, I believe McGuiggan’s work is quite compelling. He has written a complete commentary on Revelation. The apocalyptic and symbolic language of Revelation must be considered from that perspective. That is why I have a particularly difficult time equating chapter 20 – 22 describing a literal future event, even though it is described with symbolism, while others are suggested to be merely symbolic. Why not so with the new heaven and the new earth as well as the New Jerusalem?

    http://www.jimmcguiggan.com/reflections3.asp?status=Revelation&id=837

  6. Larry Cheek says:

    All attempts to explain the messages in Revelation relating the message to humanism (human bodies created like God body) are very troublesome. Humans saw Jesus leave this earth in the bodily form of a human. But, when he returned to heaven God’s dwelling place, he was restored to the form that he had prior to becoming human. Jesus while in the bodily form of a human was not in the form of God or as he was before. God is a Spirit, Jesus stated to the apostles that a Spirit does not have flesh and bones, while trying to assure them that his human body was resurrected and what they saw was not a Spirit. Jesus was resurrected in a human form, but as we are resurrected we will be changed (a more glorious body that matches God and Jesus forms) and former humans will be like him as he comes. Since we as humans cannot see the Spirit world or it’s inhabitants, God from the Spirit world has used earthly objects and examples to convey an insight into his dwelling place.

  7. Dwight says:

    Trying to bring God to man was already done in the form of Jesus, who sought to bring man to God. The intent and form of God/Jesus is spiritual in nature. God doesn’t indicate that man must put away the fleshly to the spiritual because he will become flesh again. We will be like Jesus in nature. There is no marriage or given in marriage and no sexual/physical divide in heaven. All of the points of the gospel is so that we can transcend this earthly state for something better…which is a spiritual state.
    Let us read Rev.21 “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.” The new heaven isn’t God’s heaven, but rather the sky and the earth is the earth and the sea is the sea. Our destination will be new, but different from what we have. There is no merging of the two, but a replacement.

  8. Larry Cheek says:

    Men not reading God’s Words carefully believing that God knows exactly what is true, have ignored without giving an explanation to the communication about the sin that was committed.
    (Gen 2:17 ESV) but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
    The majority of translations confirm that God identified a period of time in which death would take place. All who read this will know that the physical bodies did not die that day. So was God in error? Because the record supplied by God states, (Gen 5:5 ESV) Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died.

    (Rom 8:2 ESV) For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
    Rom 8:9-11 ESV You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (10) But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
    The living body is dead because of sin, when the Spirit does not dwell in you.
    Col 2:13 ESV And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
    You who are living were dead, but God made you alive and forgave the sins and trespasses.
    1Ti 5:5-6 ESV She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, (6) but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.
    The widow in 6 is dead while living because of self-indulgent (sin), living by her own desires.

    Man died exactly as God predicted, his Spirit relationship with God was dead, his body did not die that day. All men die in the same way when sin enters into his life.
    There were some men in OT that God’s Spirit remained in Noah, Enoch would be examples, others were counted righteous Abraham etc; yet others were cleansed for periods of time through sacrifices (even Cain and Abel explain a system of cleansing through sacrificing), prior to the OT law then there were instructions of sacrifice to remove sins.

    All men follow the same pattern as Adam when they sin they die the same day. Christ provided that the dead be buried and raised to a new life with a new Spirit (its even been called (born again)). An individual could not be born again unless he was dead. When did he die? When he believed? No he was already dead before he believed and came to faith.
    Let’s look at this from the other side of the fence. If the death that God mentioned was to be physical death how could a man be born again who’s physical body has never died. Born again could not be applied to baptism, Jesus and his followers taught (born again) to living bodies.

  9. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Buckeye Chuck:

    1. Indiana? You barely got past Indiana? Come to SEC West where big boy football is played.

    2. I’ve not studies Preterism in great depth because it just doesn’t make sense to me. For those wanting a brief introduction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterism. Then again, when I say “Preterism,” I mean full Preterism. As I’ve said before, some of the prophecies in the NT that sound like end times prophecies do indeed speak of AD 70. But I’m just not buying that Constantine is the new heavens and new earth. It doesn’t fit the narrative of scripture. And it makes our “salvation” Christianity gaining earthly power — which is dangerously bad theology.

    (2 Cor. 12:9-10 ESV) 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    The Lion of Revelation transforms into a wounded Lamb. Power is found in the cross, not the throne of Rome.

    3. Forgive me for going on. This is going to be kind of stream of consciousness as I consider the implications of full Preterism and Rev 21-22 beign Constantine. (Haven’t really given it that much thought before now.)

    So the “new heavens and new earth” are Constantine? The legalization of Christianity? And that means no more death or mourning? Well, if nothing else, it’s bad history. Constantine was shortly followed by Julian the Apostate (his nephew). Who persecuted Christians.

    And it’s not as though European history has been free from war, famine, disease, etc. since Constantine. The Black Death etc. occurred post-Constantine. The “mini-Ice Age” brought starvation to thousands. Hitler and Napoleon actively sought to end Christianity. The Communists did the same. So I don’t buy it. Not at all.

    I do buy that there are many NT prophecies that speak of AD 70. And plenty that speak of the Second Coming and general resurrection.

    Surely McGuiggan teaches the Second Coming and general resurrection? (Full Preterism does not.)

    (Isa. 65:17-19 ESV) 17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.

    Isaiah uses words such as “create” and “heavens … and … earth.” It’s an obvious reference to Gen 1. There will be a new creation! A second creation! A kainos creation!

    Who would use such language over the ascendance of Constantine as Roman emperor? In fact, the recent trend in theology — a good one — has been to consider the last 1500 years of Constantinian Christianity a departure from First Century Christianity. “Resident Aliens” by Hauerwas and Willimon, for example, pictures the church, not as in power and reigning over the Empire, but as resident aliens — foreigners. John Hunter Davidson in To Change the World sees us as exiles like the Jews in Babylon in Jer. 29. And this is seen a preferable to being the consort of worldly powers, such as Rome or whatever. “My kingdom is not of this earth” and yet McGuiggan seems to picture a hallowed kingdom of this earth.

    Still not sold.

    (Odd having Preterism taught by a Church of Christ preacher, given how many consider the church to have become apostate by the time of Constantine – that is, damned and no longer the church at all.)

    (2 Cor. 5:17 NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

    The Greek is “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, new creation! …” Again, “creation” is a word loaded with theological depth. What makes a new Christian a “new creation”? How is baptism like Genesis 1? Well, the emperor won’t persecute him! Hardly.

    He is changed by the indwelling Spirit. He is being transformed into the image of Christ — he is becoming like Adam and Eve before sin, except better. Instead of walking with God in the Garden, God makes his home inside him! The indwelling is even more personal and intimate. God’s presence is not just a form of communion — it’s also transformational. It begins the process of returning us to the very image of God (which does not require a Christian emperor).

    So this new creation anticipates the Next Age in which God joins heaven and earth and dwells with man. Which did not happen in Constantinian Rome.

    NT Wright’s Simply Christian makes the case for seeing the Bible as the story of the separation of heaven from earth, finally concluding with the rejoining of heaven and earth. And the story is there throughout scripture — and destroyed by the Preterist view.

    Now, obviously, it’s symbolic. To argue for “symbolism” is a strawman argument. Of course, it’s symbolic! But what do the symbols mean? I mean, I doubt that the New Jerusalem has a “Welcome to New Jerusalem” sign at the entrance, right next to the “Churches of Christ meet here” and Civitan club sign. (Maybe Ohio towns don’t have these markers. They do here.)

    And the connection with Gen 1, Gen 2, Isa 65 and 66, Paul’s “new creation” language, the “New Jerusalem” texts in the OT and NT are surely not speaking of Christianized Rome. And then what are we make of —

    (1 Cor. 15:51-57 ESV) 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Read Rev 21-22 however you will, 1 Cor 15 is speaking of the Second Coming. And in the Second Coming we get new bodies. And we receive immortality as a gift.

    And then there’s —

    (Rom. 8:18-23 ESV) 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

    And creation will be freed from its futility and corruption — at the same time Christians will be adopted, redeemed (in their bodies), and freed for glory. So this is surely the resurrection. Not Constantine’s coronation.

    So if you’re pushing a partial Preterist view, that the Second Coming hasn’t yet happened, the general resurrection hasn’t yet happened, but Rev 21-22 speak of Constantine — I still disagree but at least Paul can make sense from that perspective.

    I guess I’m too new-Anabaptist for Preterism.

  10. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry wrote,

    All attempts to explain the messages in Revelation relating the message to humanism (human bodies created like God body) are very troublesome.

    This is not the meaning of “humanism.”

    The Bible says,

    (Phil. 3:20-21 ESV) 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

    Now, this plainly says that Jesus has something Paul calls a “body.” But it’s his “glorious” body — his resurrection body. It’s not the same as his pre-death body. But his pre-death body didn’t stay in the tomb. It as transformed and left the tomb.

    I mean, if Jesus turned into a spirit or ghost, then his body is still in the grave. But his flesh/blood body became a glorious body and walked out of the tomb and through doors.

    Although Paul’s language is quite different here, the concept itself is to be understood in light of what Paul had written earlier to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:42–57), in a context where some were denying a future, bodily resurrection of believers. The contrasts there were between our present bodies as perishable and “natural” (and when dead “sown in dishonor and weakness”) and the transformed heavenly body as imperishable and “supernatural” (and raised in “glory” and “power”); the present bodies are thus to be transformed into the “likeness” of the “man of heaven,” who already bears such a body through his resurrection. And although the emphasis in that passage is on the resurrection per se, Paul concludes by emphasizing that the same transformation will occur for those living until the Parousia.

    Gordon D. Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995), 381–382.

    One final point occurs in v. 21. Paul focused on the physical body which would be transformed so that it became like Christ’s body. Two factors are significant. First, the body is destined for eternity. It should be treated accordingly, and people should not make earthly existence in the body their ultimate concern. The tragedy of the false teachers was, in part, that they did just that. They focused on some aspect of the body that would not last beyond this life. Second, Paul’s hope involved a physical transformation. His theology included the fact that redemption culminated in a change of the body itself. The spirit was already in a resurrection with Christ; the body awaited that change.70 This statement reiterates the hope expressed in v. 10. The power of the resurrection would be complete when Jesus exerted his power toward the bodies of believers. Paul characterized the body now as one of humiliation (tapeinōseōs). In so doing, he addressed the limitations Christians have on earth. The body is not suited to heaven unless a transformation takes place. In that sense, it symbolizes a Christian’s state of humiliation. Someday, however, it will be a body of glory, fully suited to the needs of heaven and displaying the glory of Christ himself. This was a significant hope, fully pastoral in motivation. It should have caused the believers to press on until that great day.

    Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, The New American Commentary, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 32:144.

    “Body—body,” and yet in the face of this passage and of many others the resurrection of the body is denied. Rom. 8:17, 18 is restated here save that the double mention of “body” places the main point beyond question. Add 1 Cor. 15:52–54, “corruption” shall be turned into “incorruption,” “mortality” into “immortality.” But Paul now adds the conformity with “the body of his glory,” our body shall have glory that is similar to the glory of Christ’s body. His body shines as the sun in divine glory and effulgence, our bodies shall shine as the stars in created glory. This expectation and this hope the Judaizers give up by clinging to “the earthly things,” their glory being their shame, their god the belly. Paul is in pursuit of this heavenly prize, stretching to arrive at the raising up from the dead, the dung of all his Jewish earthly prerogatives and attainments being left behind and forgotten, and the Philippians are to keep imitating him and all others that are like him.
    Does anyone ask how the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior shall do all this with the body of our lowliness? The answer is: “in accord with the working of his being able also (or: even) to subdue to himself all the things,” τὰ πάντα, all that exist (definite). Whether we make αὐτῷ the simple pronoun “to him” or give it the rough breathing αὑτῷ and make it reflexive “to himself,” makes no difference, either is correct, the grammarians vary. The infinitive is the qualifying or descriptive genitive used as a noun, B.-D. 400, 2 finds consecutive force in it: Kraft, dass er kann, “energy so that he is able.” He who is able, who has the power to subdue all the universe to himself, he will with his omnipotence raise up our dead body in glory. This will be the final miracle.
    Ask all you please how our body whose dust has perhaps been scattered far and wide as they threw the ashes of John Huss into the river, or which has been devoured by wild animals or by fish in the sea, how this body can possibly be restored again—omnipotence will restore it. Philosophizing tries to make it easier for the omnipotent Lord and Savior by letting him conserve only a germ and bring that forth; or by dispensing even with the germ and letting the Lord create another entire body so that he does not need to restore “the body of this lowliness,” or by letting him dispense altogether with the body and leaving the souls of the blessed bodiless like the angels. But all these ideas are untenable.

    R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians, (Columbus, O.: Lutheran Book Concern, 1937), 863–864.

    The commentaries going back to 1937 agree with me.

    Now, do I fully understand this? No. But I know that the language the Spirit chose to inspire is “body” with respect to dead, resurrected Christians. We should speak in the language of scriptures and seek to grasp what it means. I’m not going to explain it away or interpret it to mean “not a body.”

  11. buckeyechuck says:

    1. Indiana? 2015: Indiana 4-1, only loss to #1 OSU. 9/20/2014: Indiana 31 – then #18 and future SEC runner-up Missouri 27. Ask Mizzou about the Hoosiers. B1G East currently has #1 OSU, #3 MSU and #18 Michigan. Not so shabby. And let me remind you (in case you have forgotten) that The Ohio State Buckeyes were the 2104 College Football Playoff National Champions with victories over Alabama and Oregon. If that strength of schedule isn’t enough, then Alabama may be able to have a rematch IF both teams qualify which neither has a guarantee.

    2. I appreciate your in-depth summary of Preterism supplied by the deepest of Biblical scholars, Wikipedia, which you say focuses on Empror Constantine representing the new heaven and new earth. However… it’s a bit of a straw man argument to build an entire post response based on points (regarding Constantine in particular) that neither I mentioned nor ones that were a part of Jim McGuiggan’s post I referenced which it seems evident you did not read. To suggest he is espousing a view that the new heaven and new earth refer to Constantine is without merit and falsely describes his position.

    Even if you would like to use the Wikipedia post, you will find that it lists the following descriptions of Partial Preterism as follows: “Partial preterism (often referred to as orthodox preterism or classical preterism) holds that most eschatological prophecies, such as the destruction of Jerusalem, the Antichrists, the Great Tribulation, and the advent of the Day of the Lord as a “judgment-coming” of Christ, were fulfilled either in AD 70, or during the persecution of Christians under the Emperor Nero. Some partial preterists identify “Babylon the Great” (Revelation 17–18) with the pagan Roman Empire…” This is close to representing the position of McGuiggan, but can we agree that use of his writings and of others is preferred as opposed to Wikipedia?

    Following are brief definitions of the three major views regarding end times as I have studied and understand them.

    HISTORICAL view: The book of Revelation, especially the prophecies of the seals, trumpets and bowls set forth particular events in the history of the world that relate to the welfare of the church from the first century to the present and to the end of time. This view probably represents the majority position of the churches of Christ.

    FUTURIST view: This view insists that the visions of this book will be fulfilled toward the end of the world. Some of the visions may describe events of the Roman Empire as we have discussed and also describe future events. This demands a literal interpretation of the visions that John saw. Premillenials fit in here. A problem with this position must be addressed in the meaning and significance of the word “shortly” in Rev. 1:1.

    PRETERIST view: The visions of Revelation are figurative only and describe only the events surrounding the end of the Roman Empire as it involves the First Century Church. This view demands accepting the early date of writing, probably during the time of Vespasian, in 69-79 AD.

    The preterist view also suggests there have been many “comings” of God and Christ throughout the history of the world. We tend to refer to the future coming of Jesus as described in I Thess 4. However, Jesus also “came” in judgment of the Jews after rejecting him as described in Matthew 24 – all of which occurred during the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Specifically in verse 34 “ Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” Just how old would some of these people that Jesus addressed be if these events were to be thousands of years future?

    Jay, you have provided much food for thought for me regarding the order of events after human physical death, the judgment, and the treatment of damned and of Hell. I am weighing these teachings with their Biblical origins. I must do the same regarding the teaching of the new heaven, the new earth and the new Jerusalem being a restored physical planet earth, the 3rd rock from the Sun. At this point, your view that the apocalyptic and symbolism in Revelation is a mixture of past history and future events is a challenging one for me. Just how is it that one can determine which is which? Just what would lead me to conclude that the vision (would you agree it is a vision?) of chapters 20-22 are to be understood to be future, while some other visions/events in previous chapters are speaking of the destruction of the Roman Empire? It would seem to me easier to accept the all literal view of the premillennialist, which I cannot, than one of picking and choosing by those espousing the traditional historical view.

    Consider this view of Isaiah 65&66 where the meaning is that “a new heaven and new earth speaks of a brand new condition with all the troubles behind and only glory ahead.” – From Hallelujah Anyway, A Study of Revelation by Richard Rogers, page 43, Sunset School of Preaching, 1977. This view presents a symbolic contrast to the literal new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem particularly if you believe it to be the future realm of the faithful.

    I stress again that a key to interpreting the message to Revelation is to understand who it was written to and how they would have understood John’s visions. Absolutely guaranteed to be different than the way 21st century scholars are approaching it.

    I can understand I that you may not wish to comment on this line of thinking as I am suggesting a view entirely contrary to what you stated regarding the new heavens, the new earth and the new Jerusalem. However, if this view piques your interest at all, I would appreciate a discussion of the points specifically mentioned even if in separate future posts addressing the issue after you have had an opportunity to at least study the position.

  12. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    Do you not believe that the first resurrection is being (born again)? I an thoroughly with you about the understanding of writings of the the men you have provided. By the way, why would you use their ideas in place of explaining it from God’s Word?

  13. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Larry asked,

    Do you not believe that the first resurrection is being (born again)?

    I assume you’re referring to —

    (Rev. 20:4-6 ESV) 4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

    I’ve covered the Millennium some time ago. http://oneinjesus.info/?s=millennium

    I’ve never studied the “first resurrection” language otherwise, but it seems to refer to martyrs in Christ, not baptism. But it would take pages and time I don’t have to sort it all out.

  14. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Buckeye Chuck,

    1. Penn State 29. Indiana 7. ‘Nuff said. (See you in the playoffs.) (PS — better be sure you have Urban paid enough to keep the Texas alumni away. They whiffed on Saban. Figure your coach is next on their list.)

    2. Make fun of Wikipedia if you will, but I know from my Ph.D. in chemical engineering son that many graduate schools have their students write and maintain Wikipedia articles. It’s often more up to date than the textbooks on some very advanced subjects. It’s excellent on biblical manuscript evidence, for example. Very nice articles on nearly all the codices and papyri. So the more technical the subject, the more likely the Wikipedia is to be right.

    So the question isn’t the reputation of Wikipedia but whether it’s right. Wherein are the portions that I quote in error? Is it wrong?

    3. You wrote,

    it’s a bit of a straw man argument to build an entire post response based on points (regarding Constantine in particular) that neither I mentioned nor ones that were a part of Jim McGuiggan’s post I referenced which it seems evident you did not read. To suggest he is espousing a view that the new heaven and new earth refer to Constantine is without merit and falsely describes his position.

    I read his post. And other posts. I did not buy and read his book. He says,

    It isn’t heaven, it isn’t a literal city and it isn’t even a literal wife of anyone. It’s God’s People in and through Jesus Christ and they are pictured as gloriously triumphant over their enemy (Rome, inspired by Satan).

    90% of the post teaches the obvious proposition that the language is symbolic. He then explains that Rev 21-22 is not about the real heaven but the defeat of Rome by the church. So when did this happen? If not Constantine, does he mean when the barbarians overthrew Rome? I have no idea what he’s saying.

    On a later page he writes,

    No, John is certainly dealing with eternal truths and eternal realities but he is describing the triumphant state of the church. By God’s redeeming and sustaining grace it has come through its trial with the brutal beast-kingdom Rome.

    If not Constantine, and this has already been fulfilled, when and where did it happen? If it hasn’t happened yet, then it’s the Second Coming. If it never happens, it’s not much comfort to the church. Is Rev just a fairy tale told to comfort the church with vague promises that never come true?

    Show me from McGuiggan’s website what I’m supposed to conclude. Because I find him very vague and confusing.

    4. You wrote,

    At this point, your view that the apocalyptic and symbolism in Revelation is a mixture of past history and future events is a challenging one for me. Just how is it that one can determine which is which? Just what would lead me to conclude that the vision (would you agree it is a vision?) of chapters 20-22 are to be understood to be future, while some other visions/events in previous chapters are speaking of the destruction of the Roman Empire? It would seem to me easier to accept the all literal view of the premillennialist, which I cannot, than one of picking and choosing by those espousing the traditional historical view.

    I said that the prophecies of the NEW TESTAMENT were partly fulfilled in AD 70 and others not yet. And others perhaps at other times. We greatly err when we assume that every writer is futurist or preterist or -ist anything.

    See this post: http://oneinjesus.info/2008/07/surprised-by-hope-an-interpretation-of-matthew-24-part-1-background/ and the two that follow. I take Matt 24 as speaking to AD 70 and then changing subjects to talk about the Second Coming. Both events are a “coming.” Does that make me Preterist or Futurist? I’m just trying to read NT apocalyptic language in light of OT prophetic use of the same language. Which McGuiggan does but with extremely vague conclusions.

    Why on earth isn’t it possible for an entire book of apocalyptic language to speak of more then one event or periods in history? Why insist on just one?

    The NT’s use of “New Jerusalem” language speaks of it being presently in heaven and then descending to earth so that God will dwell with man on earth. I can’t think of a rational interpretation that says this has already happened. The New Jerusalem was still in heaven when Galatians and Hebrews were written. It would be unbelievable to imagine that the destruction of Jerusalem is described as God coming to earth to dwell with man, the tree of life being transplanted, and all mourning ended. So what does the New Jerusalem speak to?

    In the OT, the “New Jerusalem” is about God’s promises to be fulfilled with the end of Exile and coming of the Kingdom.

    NEW JERUSALEM [Gk Ierousalēm kainē (Ἰερουσαλημ καινη)]. This expression is found in the Bible only in Rev 3:12 and 21:2 The vision of the New Jerusalem begins in 21:2 with the announcement that it is coming down from heaven to unite the new heaven and the new earth. The New Jerusalem refers to the capital of the new creation in which the presence of God is with humankind (21:3). As indicated by 3:12, where the faithful of the church of Philadelphia are promised that the name of the New Jerusalem will be written upon them, the citizens of the New Jerusalem are those who have not denied Christ, and have remained faithful to his word (cf. 21:7).
    The concept of the New Jerusalem derives from the OT exilic and postexilic prophetic expectation of the restoration of Jerusalem, the return of God to his Temple, and his acknowledgment by all the nations. The restoration of Jerusalem is the focus of the promises and the salvation of God (Isa 2:1–5; 49:14–18; 52; 54; 60–62; 65:17–25; Jer 31:38–40; Mic 4:1–4; Zechariah 14). The actual restoration in the Persian Period was disillusioning, and in later Jewish literature the expectation of Jerusalem restored was replaced by Jerusalem supernaturally transformed by God (Tob 13:8–18; T. Dan. 5:12–13; Sib. Or. 5.420–27; 1 Enoch 90:28–29) or a Jerusalem from heaven which would replace the earthly Jerusalem altogether (2 Esdr 7:26; 10:25–28; 13:36; 2 Bar. 4; 32:1–4). The idea of a Jerusalem in heaven was appropriated by the NT (Gal 4:26–27; Heb 11:10; 12:22; 13:14; cf. Phil 3:20).
    The OT image of the people of God as his bride is often associated with the renewal of Zion, the renewed Jerusalem (Isa 49:10; 54:1–8; 61:10; 62:4–5). The NT contains the image of the Church as the bride of Christ (Eph 5:25–33). In 2 Esdr 10:25–28, Zion, represented as a woman, is transformed into a heavenly city. In light of these images, the imagery of the bride and New Jerusalem present here in Rev 21:2, 9 (cf. 19:7–8) indicates that the New Jerusalem, while distinct from its citizens, partly symbolizes the redeemed.
    The New Jerusalem is described in detail in Rev 21:1–22:5 The description contains many details which are similar to descriptions of the restored or transformed Jerusalem of the OT and the Jerusalem from heaven of later Jewish literature (Isa 54:11–12; Tob 13:16–17), as well as descriptions of the heavenly city of the gods found in Babylonian sources. The city is portrayed as the Temple of God (cf. 21:3, 22) and the new Paradise of the re-creation anticipated in apocalyptic literature (cf. 22:1–5; 2 Bar. 4; 4 Ezra 8:52; T. Dan. 5:12–13; cf. Ezek 47:1–12).

    Duane F. Watson, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, 1992, 4, 1095.

    So to say that the “New Jerusalem” is symbolic of something or even a “vision” is true but not very helpful. The NT writers said is was in heaven while the NT was being written. What happened later to bring it to earth? I’m with the vast majority of commentators that this is the end the age, the Second Coming, the general resurrection, and the new heavens and new earth.

    (I really would rather not have to interpret the whole of the Rev to reach a conclusion on this issue.)

    Notice also that the quoted text mentions the use of temple language in connection with the New Jerusalem (the location of the heavenly tabernacle in Hebrews). When it comes to earth, the temple becomes the new heavens and new earth. If Walton is right that Gen 1 is about the Creation being dedicated as a temple for God, then the parallel becomes overwhelming. Rev 21-22 is the restoration of the Creation to become a temple for God in which God himself dwells with man — his image and likeness — and is worshiped.

    Rev 21-22 also repeatedly quotes OT prophetic language that speaks of the end of Exile and the coming of the Kingdom. The conventional wisdom is that this means the Kingdom coming in its fullness at the end of the age. We’ll no longer be resident aliens.

    Moreover, the Jews thought of the Holy of Holies as a place where heaven and earth joined — so that God dwelled both in the temple and heaven simultaneously. Rev 21-22 therefore describes the Creation becoming the Holy of Holies — the place indwelled by God and his Shekinah (glory), where sin is forgiven, where God is worshiped, where prayers reach God, where God dwells among his people — being all the nations, not just Israel.

    The Torah describes Canaan as the Jews’ “inheritance,” but in the NT, the “meek shall inherit the earth” — our inheritance becomes not just Palestine but the Creation — which fits with Rev 21-22 quite nicely.

    It fits.

    Is it symbolic? Of course. But symbolic in parallel with a range of symbols that stretch cross the Bible, literally from Gen 1 to Rev 22.

    I would compare that view to McGuiggan’s but I don’t understand McGuiggan’s view well enough to know whether he agrees or disagrees.

    Consider this view of Isaiah 65&66 where the meaning is that “a new heaven and new earth speaks of a brand new condition with all the troubles behind and only glory ahead.” – From Hallelujah Anyway, A Study of Revelation by Richard Rogers, page 43, Sunset School of Preaching, 1977. This view presents a symbolic contrast to the literal new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem particularly if you believe it to be the future realm of the faithful.

    I don’t own much literature from the Sunset School of Preaching. But I agree that the “new heaven and new earth speaks of a brand new condition with all the troubles behind and only glory ahead.” So the Preterist view would be this has already happened.

    5. You wrote,

    PRETERIST view: The visions of Revelation are figurative only and describe only the events surrounding the end of the Roman Empire as it involves the First Century Church.

    What does “figurative only” mean? That this does not describe an actual event? Or that every word means something else? I don’t understand.

    Does this mean that Rev 21-22 happened before the fall of the Roman Empire? If so, when?

    6. Given that, as you say, there are multiple schools of thought under Preterism, is it fair to complain that I misunderstand your use of the term when you don’t say which school of thought is yours? I assumed “full Preterism” because I’ve heard nothing to the contrary.

    Perhaps the most glorious outcropping of preterism in history came straight from the throne of the world’s leader in the early 4th century, in collaboration with the Roman Church’s true first “pope”. Constantine’s labarum should be considered the pinnacle of historical preterism, but is largely unknown or ignored — especially among the crowd which sees prophecy extending no farther than ad70. Preterism effectively became the ruling theology of the entire world due to the combined work of Caesar Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus and Eusebius. Check it out!

    More than a few classical preterist theologians have noted the connection this has to prophetic fulfillment.. without straying into the bog of Historicism. The eschatology of early Eusebius (which was that the fall of Paganism in the rise of Constantine is the pinnacle of Bible prophecy) has been very popular through the ages, being held by many luminaries, such as our all-time #1 preterist theologian, Dr. Samuel Lee — who influenced an entire generation (and undoubtedly James Stuart Russell) by championing this eschatology.

    http://www.preteristarchive.com/Preterism/Normative/index.html

    Eusebius follows Origen in his thinking. Indeed, the church in the east fell into the Alexandrian school of biblical interpretation, using allegory and symbolism to explain many things that did not appear to have an immediately clear meaning (they even used allegory for things that did appear to be clear!). It was probably difficult for Eusebius to see the Revelation as a prophetic view of the future – he saw it as symbolic. He also believed that Constantine had ushered in a new age – the age of the Church, and he saw the Emperor as the personal representative of Christ on the earth

    http://www.churchhistory101.com/feedback/fathers-revelation.php

    There are at least three kinds of Preterism. For lack of better terms we will call them mild, moderate, and extreme.

    o MILD Preterism teaches that the Book of Revelation was fulfilled during the first three centuries as God waged war on the two early enemies of the church: Israel and Rome. The first half of Revelation teaches that Israel was defeated in A.D. 70, while the last half of Revelation is about God’s conquest of Rome in the fourth century when Constantine declared the Roman Empire Christian. Thus, this earliest form of Preterism teaches that Revelation was fulfilled in the first 300 years of the church’s history.

    o MODERATE Preterists believe that almost all prophecy was fulfilled in the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. They do believe that a few passages still teach a yet future second coming (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and the resurrection of believers at Christ’s bodily return.

    o EXTREME Preterists, or consistent Preterists, as they prefer to be known as, hold that all future Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. If there is a future second coming, they say, the Bible does not talk about it. Extreme Preterists believe that there is no future bodily resurrection, which place them outside the realm of Christian orthodoxy.

    http://www.ldolphin.org/preterism-ice.html

    So I understood you and McGuiggan to be speaking of “mild Preterism,” I suppose, largely because I’ve studied Eusebius and Constantine more than Preterism and because I can’t imagine how Rev 21 – 22 could possibly be taken as a reference to AD 70. And because McGuiggan speaks in terms of the church overcoming Rome — which is hardly what happened in AD 70.

    So I have no idea how to fit McGuiggan into Preterism if he’s not speaking of Constantine.

  15. buckeyechuck says:

    Jay, perhaps Preterism or the defense of that system is not the objective of McGuiggan and Rogers. Perhaps their conclusions from the historical texts of Daniel and Revelation lead them to some of the same conclusions of some Preterists. If you must insist on involving Constantine from general summaries you read on Preterism, then please assume they are not Preterists. There is no glory in associating with that name. It was descriptive of their position, not prescriptive where they back-fit into it. They are good brothers in Christ. If you are ever so inclined, I recommend McGuiggan’s commentary on Revelation. If not, then so be it.

    You said that “I really would rather not have to interpret the whole of the Rev to reach a conclusion on this issue.” Jay, I must insist that is the breakdown in our discussion, because without doing so as well as Daniel and OT political history of Israel and the nations they engaged, it’s very easy to miss the key purposes for which the book was written and delivered to its immediate audience as well as the proper interpretation of John’s visions. However, please understand that when McGuiggan says that ALL of Revelation is symbolic and refers 100% to historical events in the 1st Century, then that is in opposition to making some of the prophecies about past historical events and some about yet future events.

    I’ll leave my question on the floor, just how does one determine which events in Revelation are past history and which are yet future?

    This will be my last comment on this post as my objective is not to sidetrack your discussion. I just felt it was a valuable point for consideration.

    P.S. As a Buckeye fan, I’m quite used to such comments from SEC fans. Go ahead and dish it out. We can take it because we know who and what we are even if Alabama wins this year and, of course, they just might. BTW, I have zero concerns about Urban heading to Texas or any other college job. Perhaps you didn’t realize Urban is a native Buckeye, grew up in Ashtabula, played football for Cincinnati, head coach @ Bowling Green and was an OSU assistant under Earle Bruce at the same time as Jim Tressel, Pete Carroll, and Nick Saban. Ah, yes, even Bama’s coach has an OSU comnection. Jay, if you are ever in Columbus, I would be honored to escort you to a game @ The Shoe….

  16. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Buckeye Chuck,

    I would be thrilled to watch at game at The Shoe. I have a friend who talked her way past a guard just to walk inside the stadium. There are some great old stadiums that just ooze history and love of football. That’s one of them.

    I’ve been to Penn State and really enjoyed the fans, the stadium, and blocking their field goal on the last play of the game. I’ve been to the Rose Bowl when Bama played UCLA there during the regular season.

    I’ve also been the Jerry Jones’ $1 billion stadium in Dallas — and it’s amazing what you can buy for a billion — but it’s not like the grand old stadiums. Although I do appreciate the air conditioning.

    Maybe when I retire I’ll travel to the other great football venues.

    PS — My third son, the Ph.D. in chem. engineering, just took a job with the Air Force in Dayton, which I understand to be in Ohio. Apparently quite a prestigious thing. He is (sadly) an inveterate Auburn fan (they gave him a free ride, so I couldn’t say no). You wouldn’t know of any congregations in Dayton you could recommend?

  17. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Buckeye Chuck,

    There is a school of thought that Rev is just a general word of encouragement in apocalyptic language — that it doesn’t refer to any historical events other than the Second Coming. This is not Preterism.

    There is a school of thought that it was entirely fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (“Full Preterism” as I understand it). Or that Rev is solely about AD 70 and the Second Coming (Partial Preterism?). Or that Rev was fulfilled in some combination of AD 70 and Constantine (the Preterism of Eusebius, among others. I would say Eusebian Preterism, but I’m not on the naming committee). In fact, growing up, I was instructed in the Constantinian theory as a possibility.

    No one disputes that Rev is symbolic. The question is always: symbolic of what?

    In the New International Commentary on Rev, Mounce takes proposes a series of visions that cover much the same historical ground from different angles, culminating in the Second Coming.

    This rather complete lack of consensus about the structure of Revelation should caution the reader about accepting any one approach as definitive. The outline followed in this commentary represents an attempt to organize the book on the basis of its literary structure alone. Units that seem to go together are placed together without any particular thought as to whether this agrees or not with some predetermined theory of recapitulation, the millennial question, or any other interpretive concern. Had the author intended a precise chronology of the last days, he undoubtedly would have made that plain. If he had wanted us to understand that each item in any one of the numbered series of plagues had its parallel in the other two, he could have made them match more exactly. At times John moves ahead quickly to the eternal state in order to encourage the redeemed with a vision of the bliss that awaits them. At other times he returns to the past to interpret the source of the hostility being experienced by the church in the present time. He is bound by neither time nor space as he moves with sovereign freedom to guarantee the final destruction of all evil and the vindication of those who follow the Lamb. The Apocalypse is a broad canvas upon which the Seer paints without restrictions the ultimate triumph of God over evil.

    There is progress in the book, but it is a progress that moves the reader to a fuller experience of the divine plan for final victory rather than a progress that ticks off the minutes on an eschatological clock. Each new vision intensifies the realization of coming judgment. Like a mounting storm at sea each new crest of the wave moves history closer to its final destiny. The numbered plagues reveal this intensification. The seals allow the scroll to be opened and in the process anticipate its contents. The trumpets announce that divine retribution has arrived. The bowls are the pouring out of God’s wrath. The outline followed in this commentary does not claim to answer many of the questions that can be raised about exact sequence. It reflects, rather, the literary structure of the book. That is not to say that we cannot anticipate in a general way the course of events that will bring an end to history and usher in eternity. We know that the persecuted church will witness the victorious return of Christ and share in his subsequent reign. We also know that the forces of evil will be totally defeated, and Satan and his hordes will forever be destroyed. This sequence, however, belongs to the interpretation of the book and has not been incorporated into the outline, which is descriptive only.

    Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 32–33.

    I’m no expert on Rev but Mounce makes sense to me and sounds a lot like what you’re saying — except he sees Rev 21-22 are the Second Coming.

    In the closing chapters of Isaiah God promised that he would “create new heavens and a new earth” that would endure before him forever (Isa 66:17, 22). The fulfillment of this promise now begins to unfold in John’s vision of the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven to take its place upon a renewed earth. Ladd emphasizes that biblical thought—in contrast to Greek dualism in which salvation consists of the flight of the soul from the earthly and transitory to the spiritual and eternal—“always places man on a redeemed earth, not in a heavenly realm removed from earthly existence.” This final vision constitutes the last major unit of the Apocalypse (21:1–22:5). It describes among other things the descent of the new Jerusalem adorned as a bride for her husband, the new order in which sorrow will be no more, the eternal city resplendent with gold and precious stones, and the incredible joy of God’s servants, who will finally “see his face” (21:4). Mention of the tree of life (22:2) and of the river of the water of life (22:1) recalls the scene in the garden of Eden where the tree of life was planted in the midst of the garden (Gen 2:9; 3:22) and watered by a river that flowed from Eden (Gen 2:10). The emphasis on the renewed fellowship between God and his people (Rev 21:2–4, 7, 9; 22:3–4) encourages the reader to see in this final section a reconstitution of the garden of Eden.

    Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 379.

    So how do I figure that Rev 21-22 refer to the Second Coming? That’s how. It fits the over-arching scriptural narrative. Everything points to this. Everything. If Rev were not in the canon, we’d still reach a similar conclusion based on the OT and NT writings that speak of the end of the age.

  18. buckeyechuck says:

    Jay, my congregation is about an hour and a half from Wright Patt, a little far to drive. As far as Dayton area churches, I can’t say I know much of the current state of churches of Christ there. I would venture to say the majority are more conservative or traditional and I am sure there are some quality Christian people there. Sorry, just not much help. There’s an outstanding Air Force Museum there that you should check out. It’s also about an hour north of Cincinnati.

  19. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Buckeye Chuck,

    Texas, Southern Cal, and South Carolina are now all looking for the best head coach out there. One’s going to get Chip Kelly from the Eagles. Everyone else needs to be worried. I mean, there’s Saban, Meyer, Kelly, Pete Carroll (who seems to like his job in Seattle), and then who? Interesting times …

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