Who can name earth shattering changes in the way people looked at the world when what was thought to be true was shown to be mistaken?
This is gonna be like that for some of you. If what we look at tonight is real, then much of what you know about your Bible is going to change.
“Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”
It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.
C.S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night: And Other Essays, p.97
A pagan wrote an essay called Why I am not a Christian agrees with Lewis and says that the main reason he is not a Christian is b/c Jesus was wrong.
Jesus was either wrong or he was not. Jesus prophesied the end of the world within the lifetime of his apostles and it either happened or he is a false teacher. It will not do for us to make his words timeless by saying that he predicted the end of the world and since the world is still here, it must still be future. No, Jesus clearly declared that what he was talking about was only 40 years away.
Pay as much attention to what I say as to what I do not say. If I did not say X, then don’t say I did. Something I say might elicit a question or conclusion in your mind, but if I do not say it then I didn’t say it. And of course you may ask as many questions as you like.
Do you know God’s favourite game? Hide-and-seek. He loves to hide things and watch us look for them, knowing that in the looking, we are becoming more and more wise. Proverbs 25:2
In what languages is the Bible written? Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and SYMBOLISH.
How much of the Bible is applicable to us today? Do you know why this is the case?
Is Genesis relevant? Numbers? Daniel?
The relevance of the Bible is not due to the fact that it predicts the future and if the future is still future it is relevant. So, if there is nothing future for us, does this remove the relevance?
Prophecy and covenant theology are two peas in a pod: the one flows out of the other and both are intended to shape and direct history, not even merely “predict” it.
Do you know why not everyone ought to be a SS teacher? B/c not everyone knows enough to be safe; everyone knows just enough to be dangerous.
I remember as a child thinking and having it repeated by some other child: If Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned, would we all still be naked…giggle, snort, guffaw? Depending on how one answers that question will determine whether or not that one ought to be a teacher (now, this is a bit overstated, but nonetheless, teachers ought to have more a foundation off from which to jump). One might well guess the next childish question: will we all be naked in heaven? Or, why were Adam and Eve naked? What are we supposed to take from that? The Bible doesn’t have a running commentary to explain everything it says. But there is an answer and it isn’t immediately evident from the story itself; the answer comes from the greater story of which we have only scratched the surface.
Let’s start with a little pop quiz:
Are things either true or false?
Can you know one thing for sure to be more true than another?
Did God create the world or was it the BB?
Did Noah take two of every animal on the ark?
Was Moses put into the river Nile?
Did Jesus rise from the dead?
Is God trinity? Must he be? Can he not be?
Is Jesus God and man?
Does church have to be on a Sunday?
Is Calvinism or Arminianism correct?
Are infants to be baptized or not?
Is communion supposed to be wine or not?
Does God still have a plan for Israel or not?
Is Jesus King of the Church or of the nations?
If what I say next is right, then it is something that must needs affect our reading of the NT. It might not make sense at first, but when it is considered and accepted…everything will change.
What is the single most important event in the [first century] world? Note I did not ask what was the single most event in the NT. The single most important event in the first century was the vindication of Jesus in the destruction of Jerusalem. Why do I say that? I say it b/c as prophet, Jesus utters a promise that either proves he is a true messenger from God or not. If Jerusalem did not Fall, Jesus is not true. It is b/c the words of Jesus concerning Jerusalem in his Olivet discourse were the words of a messenger of the covenant: a covenant lawsuit wherein the husband lays accusation against his wife and calls her to task for her harlotry. What is the difference between a harlot and a whore? The first one is married and the second one is not. Terms are important and hold great weight. Israel is a harlot and she has rejected her husband who took on flesh to woo his bride.
If we believe a thing to be true or false, we will live in a certain way b/c of that belief. What we believe matters, no matter how slight a thing it is. Don’t let anyone tell you that doctrine (that is, anything the Bible teaches about God and man) divides and all you need is Jesus. Whoever tells you that is…
Doctrine doesn’t divide. Angry people divide. People who do not want to think divide. Everything we believe is doctrine: God, man, creation, Jesus, etc. There must be peace when we disagree to be sure, b/c God in his providence has not seen fit to make everyone agree on all points in the Bible; but that does not mean that particular truths in the Bible are both/and; there is no both/and, there is only either/or. Either the entire NT is preparation for Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem in AD 70 to destroy it for killing him and raping his bride or it is not. And if he did return as he promised, what does that mean?
The judgement that Jesus foretold in his Olivet discourse was not only a judgement against Israel but also against the whole of creation in a true biblical sense: the oikumene as well as the bride of Yahweh. The economy is the system of government at the time of the NT which was Rome. This model of the world began with Daniel’s Man of Earthen Metal. The statue in the vision is made of the same material as the tabernacle. What does this require as we consider its meaning? We must ask what the tabernacle was in all its fullness.
Daniel’s prophetic work established a new heavens and earth wherein the gentile nations were set up to be the governing lights over the world or oikumene. This is the world that existed when Jesus came on the scene. Since Daniel the ruling authorities had converted to the faith and were blessing the people of God. As long as this continued, all would be well until God changed the structure by establishing the Son of Man as supreme authority over the world. And this Jesus claimed for himself before his ascension.
Very often the Bible doesn’t explain what it means by what it says b/c it expects the reader already to know what is going on and not have to play catch up.
Symbolism: numbers are symbols, some of which are these. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and derivatives thereof.
A covenant isn’t ever broken per se. It is, rather, enacted and this can either be positive or negative.