Saturday, 31 January 2015

Cessationism and Eschatology

The prophet Joel described the outpouring of God's Spirit with accompanying signs such as prophesying and seeing visions, happening right up to the Day of the Lord. 

The topic of spiritual gifts is therefore not at all off-topic to eschatology, because the two are intrinsically linked in Scripture.

To divide Joel's mention of spiritual gifts into a different dispensation of the Church from the rest of Joel's themes in the same passage is to be no less disingenuous to the passage than those who similarly misapply time-indicators in Matthew 24 - and it's also inconsistent with a balanced understanding of continuation-of-covenant.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015


This is my current understanding of Israel in Bible-Prophecy:

Bible-prophecies which were about Israel were to be fulfilled in  Israel and for Israel, not directly in Gentiles.

Any such Bible-prophecy which was about Levitical worship and related themes, MUST have been fulfilled WHILE the Old Covenant still stood - because God isn't into returning to a shadow.

(That would include prophecies about priests, Levites, altar, sacrifices, incense, Temple, mount Zion, pilgrimages to Jerusalem, feasts, new moons and sabbaths, etc).

The Apostles asserted that Israel's salvation had been presented to Israel in Israel through the Gospel, but not all Israel believed and received - which was an outcome which the Prophets had also foreseen.

Gentiles were later included in the Church. The Apostles validated this by citing Bible-prophecies which had nominated Gentiles specifically, not Israel.

They taught that believing Jews and Gentiles together comprised one new man, in fulfilment of a promise which God had given Abraham before Israel and the Law ever were, a promise which did not mention Israel.

But this long-promised outcome did not come about without due process: first believing Jews were saved in fulfilment of prophecies about Jews, then believing Gentiles were saved in fulfilment of prophecies about Gentiles.

There was no blurring or altering of identities in Bible-prophecy in order to prove that there had been the fulfilment of Bible-prophecy. Rather the Apostles adhered exactly to identities in Bible-prophecy in order to defend the Gospel and to validate the inclusion of Gentiles.

Amos 9:11,12

Verse 12 defends the inclusion of Gentiles in the Church, not verse 11.

In defending the inclusion of Gentiles in the Church, the Apostle quoted both verses, not only verse 11.

Just because verse 12 was about Gentiles doesn't mean verse 11 was too.

There was sequence - first the house/tabernacle of David, then Gentiles.

The two verses were quoted to validate the inclusion of Gentiles in the Church after the promises concerning the house/tabernacle of David had already been fulfilled.

To the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Prophecy and Covenant Theology

Our understanding of the Bible's use of the term Israel in prophecy is too narrow if it means we have difficulty seeing that it was ever prophesied that Jesus' ministry would be in the land of Israel.

The location of Jesus' ministry was important to Jesus, for prophetic reasons. So if that fact isn't important to us too, then we are missing something in prophecy.

My point is that since many today give an inadequate scope to the use of the term Israel in prophecy, by seeing it as being exclusively about the future Church when in some key instances it was more literally about Israel on location in Israel, then an eschatological outlook might be questionable if it depends on that too-narrow a take on those verses.

Marvellous Kindness in a Big City

One day I said to the Lord, "I would like my own radio broadcast".

A very short time later I was sitting with a friend at an afternoon tea for city pastors, when a woman approached the two of us:

"I'm wondering whether anyone would be willing to take over my radio program? she asked, "I've been doing it, but I'm not a pastor".

She explained that she had a daily one-hour time-slot plus two hours on Sundays, and that she would continue covering the costs - but she hadn't been able to find a single pastor interested in taking it on.

So my friend (who was a church-elder and a gifted evangelist) and I gladly accepted the opportunity.

For one hour every day, and for two hours on Sundays, we broadcasted live all over the city. 

My friend and I preached. I took my guitar and sang. 

That's how easily we got our radio broadcast - all cost covered.

One evening, after ministering on the radio, I went door-knocking with a church volunteer.

We knocked on a door, a man opened the door, and he told us that he and his family had just finished listening to us on the radio - so it was to his great surprise that the foreigner who they'd just heard on the radio was now standing at the front door. 

So he invited us in, and that night the whole family accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

The time came when I left that city - and coincidentally a week later the woman discontinued funding the broadcast.

The broadcast had been a gift to me from God simply because I asked.

Do you see someone doing something in ministry? or someone having something. They have it because they asked for it.

And all things whatsoever "ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24). 

Ask for something today - something which will bear much fruit and glorify your Father in heaven. 

Don't strive to make it happen - just watch God cause men to put it in your lap. 

"All things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23). 

Paul and Jesus on the Kingdom

Jesus explained that the Kingdom was at hand. He also said it had already come upon them. He said people were already taking the Kingdom. 

He explained that the kingdom doesn't come externally and regionally - it's within you. He said only the born-again would see it. Being Jewish alone would guarantee nothing with regard to the Kingdom.

He said that Israel would by-and-large miss out on the Kingdom - meanwhile Gentiles would end-up experiencing it.

He said that this gospel of the Kingdom would be preached in all nations - until the end.

He said there would come a day when the Kingdom would come visibly. Resurrection.

But only the saved will enter it in that day, He taught. 

Paul taught about the Kingdom - in all those terms. 

But things Jesus said about the Law applied only while the Law still stood.

And some practical things He said to individuals applied directly to that individual - like go wash, or today I must come to your house etc.

But Jesus' teaching about the Kingdom is matched by Paul's exactly - and it's called the Gospel.

On Dispensationalism

Obviously some things Jesus said were applicable only to Jews and only while they were still under the Old Covenant Law. Things like keeping the Law, going to the priests, and himself keeping the feasts etc.

But there isn't anything thing He said about the Kingdom which doesn't apply equally to both his original hearers and also to us in the present-day church. Jesus went to effort to explaining the true nature of the Kingdom. Paul's message is a precise reflection of what Jesus taught about the nature of the kingdom including the various ways in which it is to manifest. Right?

Monday, 19 January 2015

Silver Chain

I said to God once, "I just need to know we're still on talking-terms. Have someone give me a silver chain".
I didn't really want a silver chain - I just wanted to know God was still hearing me.
That night I went to a meeting. Afterwards a few of us were standing outside on the footpath talking before going home, when someone approached me and said, "I just feel I'm meant to give you this" - and handed me a silver chain.
Just because the thought occurred to you that God might not be hearing you, doesn't mean He isn't hearing you.
"The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry" (Psalm 34:15).

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Term Israel in Prophecy

Many Covenant Theology followers keep insisting that no Bible-Prophecy about Israel was ever about visible Israel at all.

So I ask: If Jesus had instead ministered in some other random place - say in Spain - instead of in Israel, so long as the Church as we see it today was nonetheless successfully established, would that mean any detail in Bible-Prophecy hadn't been complied with?

They instinctively know it was necessary for Jesus to do what He did, in visible Israel rather than in any other random place - yet none of them dare admit that that detail had ever actually been prophesied. Because if they cited any prophecy about that, it would force a wider meaning for the term Israel than spiritual Israel alone. So they can't way whether that detail was ever actually prophesied in Scripture at all.

And yet Jesus' ministry in Israel is only about the biggest event in human history!

This makes the point that spiritualising every use of the term Israel in the Bible is not a valid hermeneutic.

There are numerous incidences in Bible-Prophecy where the term Israel meant visible Israel.

If that is not the case, then Christianity doesn't have a historical basis for its assertion that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled the specifics of Messianic prophecy.

And since Israel doesn't always mean spiritual Israel, it means that any eschatology which is built on the mistaken idea that it does, needs to find an alternativ foundation in Scripture - or be adjusted, to say the least. 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Your Labour is Not in Vain

1 Corinthians 15:58

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

Our labour is not in vain in the Lord.

It's not in vain because it is bearing fruit unto eternal life.

One purpose for preaching the Gospel is as a testimony. 

There is a reward for being a faithful witness, from the One who sent us - quite aside from whether or not our testimony is received. 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Definition of Israel

What verse is the strongest Old Testament prophecy you know which meant Messiah had to minister in visible-Israel. 

Definition of Israel

This question seems to really cause the continuation of covenant a-/ and post-Millennialists to hesitate:

Name the strongest Old Testament prophecy you know which meant Jesus had to minister in Israel to Israelis, and briefly explain why the prophecy meant that.

Amos 9

David's tabernacle mentioned in Amos 9:11 meant David's house, descendants, dynasty. 

At that time David's tabernacle was in tatters - Judah was in captivity. But God promised to restore, to rebuild, to re-erect it. 

And in restoring it, some among the nations would also begin seeking the God of Israel (I won't repeat my treatment of Edom v Gentiles here).

This desire which God had for David's house began to be outworked through Israel's repatriation to their land after captivity. Most of the statements in Amos 9 are about that repatriation. 

And at that time many Gentiles did indeed begin seeking the God of Israel.

This repatriation set the stage for the culmination of God's restoration of David's tent - for Jesus the son of David came to repatriated Israel, bringing them true, eternal salvation.

And Gentiles next began seeking the Lord and getting saved too.

In fact in Christ both Gentiles and Jews become part of David's dynasty. 

It's in our hearts at present - but at the consummation it will be visible.

So while there are statements in Amos 9 which extend beyond the physical and natural house of David, the restoration had to happen first among the physical descendants - and then Gentiles were grafted into Christ and made part of the same house.

And there are also many other statements in the chapter which referred not the spiritual house but directly to the repatriation of Jews from captivity. 

Thus Christianity has a prophetic and historical basis - not just an allegorical basis.

David's Tabernacle

David's tabernacle meant David's house, descendants, dynasty. 

It was in tatters - Judah was in captivity. But God promised to restore, rebuild, re-erect it.

In restoring it, some among the nations would also begin seeking the Lord.

This desire of God's for David's house, began to be expressed in history through Israel's repatriation to their land after captivity. Most of this chapter is about that. At that time many Gentiles began seeking the God of Israel.

The fullest expression of this intention of God's towards David's house, came when Jesus the son of David provided true salvation for the Jews. And soon afterwards the Jewish apostles declared salvation among Gentiles also and they began seeking it and receiving it. 

In Christ, Gentiles also became spiritual sons of Abraham - part of David's tabernacle.

But historically the salvation was offered in Israel and for Israelites first, in fulfilment of prophetic detail. 

If God hadn't first done what He said He would do in Israel and for Israel, then He could not have done for Gentiles what He said He would do for them as well.

Now all people inherit the same spiritual blessings - we have the same spiritual identity (heavenly Jerusalem, mount Sion) - but that has become possible only because there was first the fulfilment in Israel of what had been promises to Israelis first of all.

Christianity has a prophetic and historical basis - not just an allegorical basis.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

On Post-Millennialism

The Apostles were already asserting that there'd come the fulfilment of God's promises for Israel - before they even properly understood that Gentiles would later also be saved.

Point: Bible-prophecies about Israel were fulfilled in Israel, for Israel, in the experience of Israelites - without needing anything to also happen among the Gentiles before it could be said that those prophecies were fulfilled. 

Extended point: prophecies which were about Israel don't directly project what the Church must achieve in future history. 


Not only was there a new sign, but a new covenant altogether. 

Both the new covenant and the new sign were promises which pertained to Israel first of all - and afterwards Gentiles became coheirs.

The promise was fulfilled in and for Israelites first - although only true Israelites believed and received it. Afterwards Gentiles also received. 

And together the two then formed one new identity as coheirs. 

Some parts of Bible-Prophecies pertained to this new man - other details in prophecies pertained to things which could only have happened in Israel.

Failure to acknowledge and rightly distinguish between them could have two effects:

1. It removes the prophetic and historical basis for our faith; and 

2. It could result in some skewed expectations of the future.

Romans 9

In proving that the prophetic Word of God had "not taken none effect" but that there had indeed been the fulfilment of God's promises - promises "pertaining" to his "brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites...and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came" - Paul explained that "they are not all Israel, which are of Israel".

It meant not all Israelites were true Israelites. 

No mention in his argument yet of Gentiles.

He only said not all Israelites were true Israelites.

He said that, in order to assert that the seemingly limited fulfilment which they had seen and were seeing amongst Israelites, of those promises which pertained to them, was nonetheless the fulfilment of those promises for them.

This was because only believing Israelites among the Israelites were the true children of God.

Paul asserted all this before even mentioning Gentile believers!

He asserted that there had indeed been the fulfilment of God's promises pertaining to Israel, in Israel and amongst Israelites - in the experience of the believers among the Israelites.

Then, after justifying God's actions in that outcome of Israel's promises in the following verses, only after all that does Paul finally then add a comment about Gentile believers, when he added that the chosen vessels whom God called were "not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles".

And in proving the legitimacy of the Gentiles also experiencing that same promised-salvation which had been promised Israel and which had already been fulfilled in and for Israel and which believing Jews were already experiencing, Paul proceeded then to quote a prophecy which was about Gentiles specifically.

So the Church, the one new man, in which there is now neither Jew nor Greek, the heavenly Jerusalem, mount Sion, came into existence through that prophetic and now past-historical scheme.

Isaiah 66:19-21

It spoke of God appointing people to service as Levitical priests. He doesn't do that anymore. It's never happened since the first century AD. It was therefore fulfilled in Old Covenant times. 

Also the nations named don't exist anymore.

And if they do, they certainly won't use archery as weaponry!

Nor mules and chariots as means of international travel.

All those details date the fulfilment of the prophecy.

It didn't mean Gentiles would be appointed priests and Levites. They weren't then - and there never will be a time. It never said He would.

It said He would make some of the Jews and their children priests and Levites, as follows:

God's reputation would increase in the nations to such an extent that Gentiles would become motivated to transport Jews and their children back to the land of Israel, in an act of their devotion - their offering, so to speak - to God, just as Israel itself used to offer their offerings to God; and just as Israel's offerings had once been clean, so God would once again view His people the Jews and their children favourably in their land; and some of them (some of those repatriated Jews and their children) would then once again begin functioning as priests and Levites. It never meant Gentiles would!

At the return from captivity, even some of the priests were rejected from the priesthood if they couldn't prove their descent by genealogy from Levi. 

So "some of them" meant that they had to be not only Jews, but that also had to be descended from Levi - and be able to prove it. That's why it said, "...some..."

There has been the fulfilment of all those precise details.

If there had not been, then there would have been no Temple, no Levites and no Jerusalem for Messiah to later suddenly come to and again purify (Malachi 3:1-6).

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Apostolic Doctrine

The Apostles didn't blur the distinction between history and type. They didn't alter identities in the prophecies. Their projections were based on the established fact of fulfilled prophecy.

"...the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children..." preached Paul (Acts 13:33).

He didn't explain that prophecies concerning Israel were not about Israel but were about the Church. That would hardly have been convincing to the teachers of the Law.

Rather he taught that there'd been the fulfilment in and for Israel of the very promises which were for them.

The fact that Paul explained that there was a true Israel within Israel did not mean that there wasn't a fulfilment in and for Israel - precisely the opposite - it explained how there was the fulfilment in and for Israel.

All that had to happen in history before Gentiles could then be included in salvation.

And in defending the later inclusion of Gentiles, the Apostles quoted prophecies which had nominated the Gentiles specifically.

They never blurred the identities and locations in prophecies in order to assert their case for Jesus, to defend the inclusion of the Gentiles, or to make any projections they made.

Their Gospel and their projections were based on the rock solid truth that God had done what He said He would do, for the people for whom He said He would do it, in the place He said He would do it, at the time He said He would do it, and in the manner He said He would do it.

Most of the main schemes of popular eschatology don't seem to maintain quite the same integrity of logic.


The prophecy about the new covenant being made can't be fulfilled directly in the Gentile church, because Gentiles were never in covenant with God in the first place. There was no first covenant to replace with the new.

But Jews had a first covenant. God made the new covenant with them.

But what's good about the New Covenant is that after it was received by Jews, next its provisions would also be for Gentiles.

One Tree

The number of trees in Rom.11 is one.

The trunk is God.

There were six categories of branches implied:

1. Natural branches still attached
2. Natural branches broken off
3. Unnatural branches still unattached
4. Unnatural branches grafted-in
5. Natural branches which had been broken off but were then grafted-in again
6. Unnatural branches which were grafted in but were at risk of becoming broken off.

I agree there is one new identity - the true spiritual Israel.

However that came about through the fulfilment in history of God's promises in and for Israel first.

New Covenant

Many Gentiles converted to Judaism during the Old Covenant.

And yes there are occasional incidences of Jesus ministering powerfully to non-Jews in the Gospel.

But He was clear about the distinction between the Old and New Covenants. He insisted that Jerusalem was the place where Samaritans ought to have worshiped. The Old Covenant was very Jerusalem-centric in its demands.

But then He also spoke of the hour when worship would no longer be required in any specific mountain but in spirit.

So when He finished making the New Covenant, it was a whole new program. The existence of the Gentile Church has no validity if Jesus never made that New Covenant.

He made it in Jerusalem. He made it with and for Jews. Only believing Jews received it. Then after all that was fulfilled and accomplished in and for Israel, Gentiles started getting saved too, also in accordance with the terms of the New Covenant.

Isaiah 60

The return from captivity was an event so magnificent only the Exodus from Egypt could have eclipsed it. The language used to describe the restoration from exile was full of superlatives and grandiose imagery and symbolism. It had to be - the persecuted Jews who had been scattered through all 127 provinces from Ethiopia to India would need all the encouragement they could get to believe for their own repatriation to their own land!

The prophets weren't blind to the fact however that Israel would again experience decline. That's one reason the messenger John the Baptist was sent ahead of Messiah to preach repentance and to prepare His way. John achieved nationwide results.

Then Jesus began His ministry by quoting Isaiah 61 - and He made and baptised even more disciples than John.  It was phenomenal. God was fulfilling His promises to Israel.

But still not all believed. The Prophets foresaw that as well.

Gentiles began to get saved. The prophets had foreseen that as well.

Point: God always did what He said He would do, for the people for whom He said He would do it, at the place where He said He would do it, at the time He said He would do it, and in the way He said He would do it. 

But Dispensationalism, a-Millennialism, and Post-Millennialism seem to blur the nominated timeframes or identities in many such prophecies.

It's true many Old Testament things in Israel were shadows of the Church - but the history had to happen before they could be a type.

Right Dividing Prophecy

Someone drew a diagram with five circles, the Jews, the Gentiles, the elect in both, and a large circle comprising all the elect.

I would say this. There were Old Testament prophecies about all five circles. Rightly dividing the word involves knowing which prophecy described which circle, when and where it was fulfilled, whether or how the fulfilment of each was interdependent with another, and whether or not prophecy described any interaction or expandability to another circle of certain details regarding one circle. To just place the fulfilment of all prophecy in the top, largest circle is to miss a lot of history, a lot of foundation, a lot of process, and authority - and could result in skewed expectations of the future.

Why Getting Fulfilled Prophecy Right Matters

It's true that all the promises given to Israel can be inherited spiritually by the Church, in Christ. But that's only possible because the package had first of all been delivered to its address. If there wasn't the fulfilment of promises in and for Israelites first, then any extension that I make to myself can't be valid either. 

Why this matters:
1. It demonstrates God's faithfulness
2. It proves Jesus fulfilled the historical, geographical and spiritual criteria of the messiah
3. It authenticates the Church and describes the process by which it came to be. It shows why we can claim the same blessings spiritually.

4. It helps avoid incorrect expectations about the future (such as the expectation that Levitical worship must be resumed in future; and possibly adjusts certain expectations regarding the Church's achievements in world politics in future athough not necessarily).

History and Type

When I was a new Christian, still twelve years old, I used to read everything in the Old Testament as types. Everything. And they are! 

In my mind I jumped straight to making New Covenant spiritual applications out of everything I read. It was a feast!

But on my second or third reading of the Bible, I slowed down a bit and considered the passages as history - considered the Bible as a whole - as a single unfolding story.

After all, the story that unfolded is the only reason why - it's the authority we have - for why the Old Testament could be taken as types anyway.

History and type. Now I read the Bible as both. One cannot happen without the other. One is not complete without the other. They are not the same, but they are interdependent. 

But many are losing the historical aspect, jumping straight to type. Losing the sense of the process that was.

How Prophecy is Fulfilled

 I'm not a Dispensationalist. I believe in fulfilment. But not the type that involves simple replacement. No-one does 100%. 

Consider again my analogy in an earlier post of the christmas delivery. You could tell your relatives that you intend sending them a Christmas package; you could also tell the neighbours there that you intend gifts to be distributed to them as well; and you can find a way to say it all at once - but when it comes to your promise actually happening, it doesn't happen all at once, but each in its order. First the package gets delivered to your relatives, and then distributed to the neighbours.

So I say God's promises for Israel came to pass in Israel and were being received by Israelites. The Apostles asserted and proved that.

Afterwards the promises concerning Gentiles were fulfilled also. The Apostles proved that reference was made in the prophets to exactly this regarding Gentiles.

It would be a mistake for someone to miss that there'd been the delivery of your package to your relatives before the neighbours began receiving their distribution.

Analogy about Fulfilled Prophecy

Dispensationalism doesn't account for the fulfilment of prophecy. But neither does Replacement Theology, if i understand the terms correctly. 

I think it's like sending a Christmas package by FedEx addressed to your relatives. Inside the package are lots of smaller gifts, with a letter explaining that your relatives are to distribute them. 

The distribution of the gifts can only happen if there is first a delivery of the package to the relative's address. One can't happen without the other; one is not complete without the other - but the two events are not precisely the same.

Similarly I'm saying that there are some things in Bible-Prophecy which could only have been fulfilled in Israel (like the delivery of the package); meanwhile there are other passages which described Gentiles (like the distribution of the gifts); and there are passages which refer equally to both recipients.

But they are not all one and the same. There was a historical distinction and interdependence between the two events before the new, joint identity could come into existence.

So while any promise given to Israel can be applied spiritually today by the Church to itself, it would be a mistake to think all of the details in such prophecies didn't happen in Israel and for Israel.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


"God will take you through the deep sea not to destroy you but to bury your enemies that follow behind you". 

Israel & Gentiles

Were Gentile Christians called Jews?

The New Testament speaks of "...Jews by nature..." in contrast with those who were born Gentiles (Gal.2:15).

It's true that under the Old Covenant many Gentiles "...became Jews..." that is, converts to Judaism (Esther 8:17).

But under the New Covenant, Gentiles were not made converts to Judaism. The Christian life was sharply contrasted with the life of the Jews (Galatians 2:14).

"...he is a Jew, which is one inwardly..." didn't expand the definition of Jew to include a Gentile believer in Jesus - in the context of that discussion it actually limited the definition of Jew to only a smaller group from within natural-born Jews.

"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly...But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly" (Romans 2:29).

If we blur the parameters of the definitions Paul was using in that particular context, we lose the argument he was in the process of making.

Yes all believers in Jesus comprise a new, united entity - called the heavenly Jerusalem, mount Sion, the Church, the body of Christ (Heb.12:22).

But in explaining prophecy and its fulfilment, the New Testament writers always upheld the integrity of the distinction that existed in Bible-Prophecy between Israel and Gentiles.  

The case for the Gospel was made by showing that there'd been the fulfilment in Israel of what had been promised to Israel. 

What's it got to do with eschatology? Reading Old Testament prophecies about Israel, and overlooking the fact that they've already been fulfilled in Israel, could give someone some unfounded concepts of what must yet happen either in Israel or through the Church in future. 


The explanation of the stone/mountain was given in verse 44.

"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms [not numerous future kingdoms over thousands of years, but the four kingdoms] and [from that moment on] it shall stand for ever" (Daniel 2:44).

As someone commented: "Which kings? The only ones just mentioned in the context."

Notice the explanation didn't mention any long growth phase overcoming numerous future kingdoms after the fourth.

The growth-phase of the stone into a mountain could just as well have represented the short time that it would take to have quickly dismantle the fourth and final kingdom, so that from that point on the Kingdom would then stand.

In fact, the God of heaven was said to set up a kingdom in the days of the four kings.

Post-Millennialism inserts numerous kingdoms on top of the fourth, and drags out the dismantling phase over thousands of years. But the explanation merely stated that God was to set up a kingdom in the days of the four kings and that it would dismantle all four of them and then stand.

I'm not advocating full-preterism, btw.

Just saying the vision likely had a simpler, broader message than what we have to give it in order to make it a basis for either of the popular eschatological models including the post-Millennial model.

Daniel 2

Keep in mind this vision was first given to a Gentile king centuries before Christ.

It would have been of no consequence to him to be given all the finer details of how the Gospel would later play-out in history. So the vision wasn't intended to make a direct statement about that.

All the king basically needed to learn was that all the political goings-on with which he was concerned, and which were to follow, as great as they seemed, were only temporary in comparison to the sovereign God with whom we all have to reckon, and in comparison to the bigger picture of what He would do.

For finer details, other prophecies would need to be consulted. 

As for those details, almost any eschatological model includes a certain amount of the now/not yet concept - the inaugurated/not-yet-consummated concept in eschatology - including post-Millennialism. 

The king's vision said nothing, for example, about the fact that for millennia the Ottomans, Nazis, communism, morally declining Western governments, etc would all exist before the Church finally sees its visible, upper hand in all of society. Yet those are historical realities - a gap, really - which even post-Millennialism allows.

The king's vision doesn't therefore necessarily portray post-Millennialism better than it portrays other eschatological models. To decide that we have to look elsewhere in Scripture, to statements which were meant to answer it.

More on Malachi 3:1-6

Malachi 3:1-6

1 Behold, I will send my messenger [John the Baptist], and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord [the Messiah - Jesus], whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple [so the Temple had to exist], even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: [just because they were Jews didn't guarantee salvation],

3 and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness [both John the Baptist and Jesus insisted on purity of heart; and, at that time, on a purer adherence to the Law].

4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years [multitudes in all Judaea responded with repentance; their offerings which they offered under the Law therefore became sincere and once again pleasing to the Lord, as at an earlier time in Israel's history].

5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts [John warned the Jews about the consequences that awaited those who still did not repent],

6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed [it was therefore only because of God's purpose, and not through any righteousness of their own, that the nation of Israel still existed].

Only once in history did all of that come to pass with precise detail in Israel, at a time when the specified Levites, offerings and Temple still existed - and that was in the ministries to Israel of John the Baptist and of the Lord Jesus.

If the prophecy had not been fulfilled before the Temple and Levitical system of offerings ceased (in AD70), then the prophecy would have forever lost its opportunity to be fulfilled in exact accord with the details described in the prophecy.

But all of the criteria were met, therefore we have a HISTORICAL basis for asserting that Jesus is both Lord and Christ.

But if we instead spiritualise the meaning of the temple, Levites, Jerusalem, Judah, offerings and sons of Jacob, then we take away from the text its ability to set the precise circumstances and historical timeframe in which Messiah was to come. We lose an important exhibit in evidence for the historical JESUS being Lord and Messiah. 

(NB: this takes nothing away from the fact that only repentant Jews were truly Jewish in spirit; takes nothing away from the fact that Gentiles also would later be saved; and takes nothing away from the fact that their new, joint-identity would be called spiritual Zion/Jerusalem; it doesn't even necessarily take away anything of what the Church can be expected to achieve in future history.)

Israel & Gentiles in Prophecy

It's true that believing Gentiles and Jews have been united together without distinction in one new identity called heavenly Zion/Jerusalem - the Church, the body of Christ.

But Bible-Promises which were said to be for Israel were fulfilled in Israel, for Israelites not Gentiles -before Gentiles also partook of the same salvation, in fulfilment of other prophetic statements in which it was Gentiles who were nominated not Israel.

Historical fulfilment first before spiritual application.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Predictive Prophecy v Historical Type

Regarding Ezekiel's Temple:

Christ is a Temple - but He's not that Temple.

Believers are priests - but we're not Levitical priests, as those mentioned in Ezekiel were.

We offer sacrifices - but not the sacrifices mentioned in Ezekiel.

When Ezekiel's prophecies were fulfilled post-exile, those things, when carried out, certainly were carried out as TYPES of the New Covenant realities which Christ would later bring. 

But there's a difference between predictive prophecy and type.

Predictive prophecies required a fulfilment in history of what was predicted.

Types on the other hand are drawn from history not from predictive prophecy.

So predictive prophecies such as Ezekiel's, which predicted the carrying-out of Levitical functions had to first have their direct historical fulfilment before typological inferences can then be draw from the practices.

It's true that there was never a fulfilment in post-exilic Israel of the magnitude described by Ezekiel - if you take it literally. But unlike Moses' instructions concerning the Tabernacle, Ezekiel's visions weren't all meant to be applied literally, because Ezekiel often wrote in the Apocalypic genre (like Daniel and Revelation) - while Moses wrote in prose.

God spoke face to face with Moses - but to other prophets He spoke using visions and symbols.

So Ezekiel's visions were symbolic and required a certain amount of interpretation even back then. But the fulfilment was still Old Covenant.

If there'd been no fulfilment in Old Covenant times then there would have been no Jews, no nation, no city, and no Temple for Messiah to suddenly come to. And there would have been no types being carried out for Him to then fulfill.

Isaiah 60

The chapter must have been fulfilled in Old Covenant times, because it mentions certain things which don't apply in the modern-day Church nor in heaven:

A distinguishing between Gentile and Jews (verses 2,3)

Ancient modes of transport - camels and dromedaries (verse 6)

Nations which existed then but don't now

God's altar in physical Jerusalem

The house (Temple)

City walls and gates

Surrounding kings (not Prime Ministers or Presidents)

And in the historical context of all of this having already been fulfilled, Messiah was to come (61:1).

Friday, 9 January 2015

Daniel 2

The vision of the Kingdom given in Daniel 2 sounds like the Kingdom should have immediately appeared.

Or it may seem like utopia should be achieved in this present world.

But remember that the vision of God's Kingdom in Daniel 2 was given to a Gentile king. A Gentile king living at that moment in history wasn't concerned with the details about how the Kingdom would all work out according to the Gospel scheme. All the king really needed to respond to was the truth that God would ultimately prove His supremacy.

But it was also written for us - but not necessarily to be the be-all and end-all of explanations regarding the Kingdom of God and how it will all work out according to the Gospel scheme. This vision has a more simple, overall message for us regarding the Kingdom. But if we're looking for more detailed explanations about the Kingdom and how it will all work out, those details are also given to us elsewhere in Scripture.

So the vision is not necessarily a basis for Dispensationalism or Post-Millennialism. The vision includes little enough detail not to rule out the Inaugurated Eschatology which the Lord and Apostles seemed to preach and teach. 

Thursday, 8 January 2015


SERVE the Lord. 

Peace on Earth?

It was said at the birth of the Messiah, that there was to be peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

That seemed to paint a big picture.

But it was also said that despite Messiah's coming, their feet needed to be GUIDED into the way of peace.

That sounded narrower.

The bigger picture will indeed come, in the new heavens and earth - but the only scheme of entering it was inaugurated for Israel first through the Gospel, then Gentiles also were included in the same Gospel-scheme.