You are hereII Corinthians 5, Part III

II Corinthians 5, Part III

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By Sam - Posted on 09 December 2004

by Samuel Frost
R. Beiringer is one of many commentators that show the comparison between Paul’s Romerbrief and Corinthians. Specifically, Ro 5.11, just before Paul gives midrash on Genesis 2-3 (5.12-21), which states, “And not only so, but we are also boasting in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom now we did receive the reconciliation” (Young’s Literal). Notice the article: “the reconciliation.” R. Beiringer is one of many commentators that show the comparison between Paul’s Romerbrief and Corinthians. Specifically, Ro 5.11, just before Paul gives midrash on Genesis 2-3 (5.12-21), which states, “And not only so, but we are also boasting in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom now we did receive the reconciliation” (Young’s Literal). Notice the article: “the reconciliation.” This is the eschatological reconciliation of all things to God through Christ. Ro 5.12 then reads, “because of this, even as through one man the sin did enter into the world, and through the sin the death; and thus to all men the death did pass through, for that all did sin” (YLT). When Paul mentions the reconciliation, he immediately goes into the reason for the need for reconciliation: Adam’s breaking of Torah. This links the two together: Adam produced alienation, but the “last man” has produced reconciliation. What the first man undid, God re-did “in Christ.”

Beiringer states, “God’s initiative in Christ had, through the elimination of the sin and its destructive consequences in the world, healed the separation, and by that made reconciliation possible” (my translation from the German text, 2 Korinther 5,19a und die Versohnung der Welt, Studies on 2 Corinthians, Bierlanger and Lambrecht, Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium, CXII, 1994, 429-459). This is, in a nutshell, the summing up of preterist eschatology. There is no more greater glory, no more greater thing to expect, no more greater status to have and no more greater position to obtain with God in Christ than this. If the reader fails to understand the glory of what has been done in Christ and, as a result, where you stand right now before God, then the reader has failed to grasp the fullness of what God accomplished in Christ. It is for that reason that any theology that advocates a “more later” perspective necessarily denigrates the “already fully” accomplishment of Christ.

We had left our last article off II Co 3.6. There, Paul specifically contrasts “the letter” (Moses’ Torah) and “the spirit” (the new covenant Torah “written on the heart”). The letter is killing, Paul said, but the spirit is “making alive.” Immediately, if the “life” in the aeon to come is new physical life, then how is it that the Spirit was currently in the process of “making alive” Paul’s readers? Were they “dead” and in need of being “made alive” physically? Was Paul writing to near-death readers in need of medical attention to keep their physical bodies alive? The verb is a present participle: “is making alive.” That was what the Spirit was doing through the preaching of Paul’s “knowledge of the son” (2.14). It is quite simple, folks, physical categories simply will not fit this passage. Indeed, “for we speak spiritual truths” (I Co 2.13). That is, Paul uses physical metaphors like “kill,” “death,” “make alive,” “heart,” “tablets of human hearts,” etc. to denote spiritual truths. God did not literally write on my blood-pumping organ with valve chambers and aorta. Nonetheless, since the physical heart is the sine qua non of the body, the metaphor can readily be used by analogy of the heart, or the very person of the individual. The heart is who you are, wholly, entirely, and completely. You are equal to your heart, and it is your heart that God has written on. It is your heart that has been “transformed.”

Even more so, the Torah of Moses was not “killing” in the physical sense, like some deranged tablets of stones animated by supernatural powers running around with a knife in its rocky hand stabbing victims! So, then, if Paul did not mean literal tablets with knives, what did he mean by “the letter is killing”? Killing what? What was being killed? People? Who was “under the Torah” in Paul’s theology? Listen to him in Ro 2.12, “for as many as without law did sin, without law also shall perish, and as many as did sin in law, through law shall be judged” (YLT). There are those “without Torah” and those “in Torah.” Now, in the text, it does not take a scholar to see that he means Jews and Gentiles. Gentiles were “without Torah.” God never made a covenant with them. But he did make a covenant with Israel. Notice his choice of words: those without Torah will perish, but those in Torah will be judged. Judged by what? Torah! And, in Paul’s developed argument in Ro 3, “no flesh shall be justified before God by works of Torah.”

We must keep this in mind when we come to the passage where Paul speaks of “the death is at work in us” (4.12). 3.7,8, following 3.6, clearly shows Paul’s dualism at work. The “administration of the death” (ho thanotos) is the old covenant, “engraved on letters of stone.” The new covenant is “the administration of the Spirit.” The “present evil age” was administered by “the death” that came through Adam (Ro 5.12). The Greek uses the article “the” to denote a specific covenantal definition of death. It is in this link that Paul can say that the “letter is killing” precisely because that is what it did: it administered death. But, Paul, in Romans, traces this back to Adam and concludes that “all men” have been visited by “the death” because all were “in Adam.” The Torah, though, uniquely administered death and it killed those who heard its commandments (Ro 7.9). Paul said when the commandment came, “I died.” Now, did he physically die? Hardly. But it is precisely this type of death that Paul calls, in Romans, I Corinthians 15, and here, “the death.” It is separation from God.

Man in Adam was separated from God, thus the Jew was born separated. However, God brought him in through a covenant. This covenant demanded obedience, and if broken, death would follow. They broke every command. God demonstrated through Israel’s unique covenant the plight of “all men.” The design and purpose of the Torah was “to increase the sin” (Ro 5.20), and “the sin reigned in the death” (Ro 5.21). That is, the design of the “letter” was to “kill” and “put to death” or, in other words, to show that man apart from grace, is utterly hopeless. The administration of the old covenant was to manifest the state of man before God: dead in his sins. Therefore, one can clearly see that for Paul, as a Jew, the commandments he once championed were now seen as working “the death” in him as a Jew. For him, or any other Jew, to remain in the old covenant would be to remain in “the death” and “the sin.”

It is here that Paul saw himself as “a wretched man.” And here that he asks, “who shall deliver me from the body of the death?” His answer: “but now, by dying to what once bound us [Jews], we have been released from Torah so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit and not the oldness of the letter” (Ro 7.6). Notice the transitional “dying” as a process. Paul saw himself as “putting to death” his old identification and solidarity with the nation of old covenant Israel (Adam). He was dying to what was actually killing (condemning) him: Torah. By dying to the “power of the Torah” Paul’s “outer man” was, in effect, “wasting away,” while his new “inner man” was also in process of “being renewed.” The same tenses are in Paul’s seed analogy in I Co 15: “it is being sown (dying), it is being raised (coming to eternal life).” None of these statements, when seen together through Paul’s overall scheme, are physical, empirical things. They are spiritual truths speaking of a spiritual reality of dying and being made alive.

Now, it is certain that I have raised questions with this analysis, but we must press on for at least one more page. If we continue to understand Paul’s eschatological dualism, we see it again in 3.9: “ministry of condemnation of all men” and “ministry that brings righteousness.” This are the same subjects of Ro 5.12-21. 5.21 states, “just as the sin reigned in the death, so also the grace might reign through righteousness to bring the life eternal.” The “present evil age” was dominated by “the reign of the sin and the death,” but the new age would be dominated by “the grace through righteousness to bring the Life.” “The death” would be “put under his feet.” In fact, Paul says, “the death that is being destroyed is the last enemy.” Note the tense of process. The death, as a principality, and the sin, as a power, were in process of being placed under the feet of Christ as he, while sitting at the right hand of God, was bringing the old covenant, and the death and the sin that entered in through Adam, to an end. By ending the old covenant, wherein “the death” and “the sin” found their power, God in Christ was destroying the death and the sin. Hear Paul: “the sting of the death is the sin, and the power of the sin is the Torah.” Reverse this: end the Torah, and you end the power of the sin. End the power of the sin, and you remove the sting of the death. Remove the sting of the death and “there is no more the death” (Rev 21.4). Why? Because “the death and the hades were thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev 20.14).

When seen though this scheme, one can easily see why it is impossible to construct an “immortal body at death” view. If physical death is “the death” then, clearly, “the death” has not been thrown into the lake of fire, the great judgment has not happened, and the resurrection of the dead has not yet taken place, nor the “change” that Paul hoped for. The believer’s life is still ruled by the sin and the death. But this is not true in a thorough-going preterist exegesis. There is no more “the death” for anyone (but there is “the second, the death” which is the lake of fire for those who refuse the Gospel). There is no more “the sin” (though one can still sin. The ability to sin must not be equated with the power of The Sin). These had to be removed in order that the “ministry that brings righteousness” could come. If not, then you have a serious problem. You have powers of “the death” and “the sin” reigning alongside of the reign of “the grace through the righteousness.” You have mixed the ages together. Rather, during the 40 year transition from “the death” to “the life,” Paul viewed the principalities as on their way out precisely because the powers of the coming age were already forcing them out and causing them to fade away. For John, the new heavens and the new earth (full eternal life in the new covenant), it would be unthinkable that the powers of the present evil age would remain present with the powers of the age to come. You cannot put new wine in old wineskins. Yet, this is exactly what Jesus meant by his analogy: If the new is poured into the old, the old will burst. And burst it did. It was destroyed as the “newness of the Spirit” was “poured” into “the present evil age” of the old covenant principalities and powers. “Man in Adam” was now being “changed” into “the image of the heavenly man.”

davo's picture

Sam: Yet, let me ask you if you are advocating universalism. It appears that you are.

It can be construed as such, however it is not a term I favour, left unqualified – for myself "fulfilled grace" describes better where I'm at. I believe in the Virgin birth, but that does not make me a Roman Catholic – if you see what I mean. All roads do NOT lead to Rome [God], but I will say that Rome [God] rules the world.

Sam: That is, what happens to the wicked this side of the parousia?

That depends on how you define "the wicked" – how did Jesus or Paul define such? Mt 5:21-22, 27-28; 1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-20. I think I can safely say that we all fit in these categories somewhere, and just to cover all bases of possible kingdom excluding behaviour Paul in Gal 5:21 writes "…and the like…". The truth is, entering the Kingdom is not about "going to Heaven when we die" it's about entering in on the things of God i.e., His blessings, His "call" for today. Our behaviour does not gain us entrance into Heaven beyond death, so our behaviour cannot bar entrance to Heaven beyond death either – God's grace through Christ's obedience pathed the way for that, in removing our unrighteousness. The price paid for unrighteous behaviour is invariably found in this life – what happens beyond this life as far as that goes the Scriptures are somewhat silent on; though we do know that judgment or reward in the Parousia was according to works.

Isa 66:24b is prophetic poetic license, descriptive of the ravages of Gehenna – and this surely was Jerusalem's lot in those days of total terror – the Lake of Fire.

Sam: You have to ask yourself if Adam had not sinned, would there be a Hades?

Exactly: Even in death [Hades] there was this separation. Thus as there was in life so also in death there remained this blockage into the full presence of God – this impasse Christ removed through the Cross-Parousia event; not then to be replaced with yet another. Christ's defeat of the death was a total [eternal] victory. The LoF like Hades was never to be experienced as an endlessness of duration, but instead had a divinely appointed, temporary and purposed end – the end of all things "old" [Heb 8:13] in the DoJ, the LoF.

Just as an aside; the continued separation that existed in Hades [Jn 3:13] shows that the death [separation] brought in by the first Adam was not that of a biological nature – but was covenantal and relational.

Sam: Hades, indeed, was punishment for the sin of Adam. You have to ask yourself if Adam had not sinned, would there be a Hades?

Yes indeed, but that therefore shows that the punishment of Hades [however you determine that to be in distinction between the righteous and unrighteous who were both there, hence Act 24:15] was not of an endlessness of duration – just like the Lake of Fire of Jerusalem's conflagration.

Sam: No one is raised from the LoF (unlike Hades), and the LoF is eternal (unlike Hades).

You must remember that eternal is to be understood both qualitatively and quantitatively. Qualitatively in the sense that "eternal" means totality [Jude :7]; there was a finality to this end-time judgment of the LoF that not even Hades or Death [euphemisms for the old covenant world] would escape, into the coming age.
Quantitatively "eternal" references the age-enduring indefinite nature of said judgment. Young's Literal Translation uses this phrase "age-enduring" for the more popular "eternal". Showing the indefinite and not endlessness of duration in relation to this the Analytical-Literal Translation often translates eternal as "into-the-age".

You mention that none is raised from the LoF. Perhaps you are viewing its function the wrong way? Viewing the LoF in terms of an event analogous with the Day of the Lord shows that its focus was the modus operandi for termination the old covenant world.

Those inside or outside the New Jerusalem speak of those who in this life post Parousia are in or out of the call of God as priests before Him, and to the world. Historic Israel [the good the bad the ugly] were appointed of God [without their permission] to be a Kingdom of Priests [Ex 19:6] – before Him, to the world. New Israel in Christ fulfills this role – we who "believe" minister within the redeemed community of mankind. "Being saved" or answering the call means coming into this royal priesthood [1Pet 2:5, 7-9] i.e., WE ARE SAVED TO SERVE. Being "saved" was never about fire insurance, about getting to Heaven – that was never an issue. Being saved is about ministering the blessing of the reconciliation-redemption to a badly informed, groping in the dark, lost in ignorance, world – hence mission and evangelism etc. People "outside" need to know how good it is in the City. So active faith and belief are conditions of entry, but not to post death heaven, but rather conditions of entry into the heavenly realm of priestly service in Christ – today.

Sam: …if there is no LoF, no punishment, no separation, then what you have is the "present evil age" creation getting conditions and punishments but all in the age to come do not.

As far as life after life in the realm beyond the grave, YES. And isn't that the wonder of God's gracious redemption! Yes we still experience the same painful temporal consequences for aberrant behaviour in life – and from this Christ can "save" us. If there is any "separation" that you mention it is that of ignorance or arrogance – as Paul pointed out:

Rom 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

Yet this is why we have such a wonderful Gospel to share, for it is the revelation of His righteousness:

Rom 1:17 For in it [The Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."

davo – pantelism.com –

Sam's picture

Davo,

There is a great deal here that I simply cannot go along with, textually. Although I am an ecumenicist, and probably judged as a liberal in certain areas (an easy believist), I cannot ascribe, based on scriptural limitations, to anything that would posit that every individual eventually ends up with God's presence. I have not totally shut the door on such a possibility, but at this point, such a possibilty is a very, very remote possibilty. Nonetheless, I encourage you to continue to engage me in these areas, as I am sure I will continue to engage you.
Samuel

davo's picture

G'day Sam :)

Yep it's always a good thing to have iron sharpen iron. I likewise encourage you to not dismiss out of hand the breadth of God's grace – as I'm sure you don't, but to ponder its depths.

As you said: "'tis not an easy subject to digest...."

Blessings!!

davo – pantelism.com –

BillyVern's picture

Thank you Brother Sam for the material,
I appreciate very much the contributions of the Reformed. They have maintained a hold on many basic doctrinal issues down though the years, where others have seemingly lost their interest in digging out and standing on biblical truths.
I am concerned, however, with the view that every man is born in sin. Also with the thought that there is no punishment beyond the grave for those who did know Christ and yet fell away. The Bible has numerous dire warnings, and most are given to the believers or followers of God. In many places these warnings are connected to something worse then physical death. (There are those who fell/fall away. This is denied through all kinds of fantastic theological contrivances. The definition of the term "fall' seems to be a mystery for many.)
It is my understanding that some did do tremendous miraculous things in the name of Jesus, yet they were not in the kingdom. However, they thought they were. Repeat - "they thought they were." This fact and the inescapable implications seem to go over the head of most all Christian scholars.
These people had some kind of faith and power that was far beyond the ordinary and it may have made them think they were in Christ's kingdom, but they were not.
We have all kinds of dynamic charismatic individuals who are biblical scholars, yet they obviously live in sin, and yet we accept them as being in the kingdom, even though Jesus clearly associated iniquity with a cause for being excluded. We are very quick to embrace others who differ with us on essential basics, who are unrepentant and who obviously despise us and treat us hatefully, and we seem to think we have to do this.
John the Baptist and Jesus did not do this, nor did Paul, so where are we? We do not have to stoop to their level, but we should be firm and we should question their attitude and should warn them. (Note; there were some bad words used in addressing wicked people. "snakes, vipers, child of the devil, etc. This shows how serious their problem was.)
I well understand that all nations, races of people, have sinned and that this is the basis for Romans 3:23. However, sin is plainly spelled out and yet not everything we call sin is. It seems that because of this error we run to make a blanket, via grace, that covers all sin no matter how wicked. Doing this so we can excuse others, and possibly our own selves for what we consider to be sin?
Every individual has not sinned. (We are never to say we have not sinned, for this is presumption.) If every individual has sinned then we have a problem with the integrity of the bible itself. This area of truth is so twisted it causes us to produce all kinds of problems.
There will always be those who are still crying and gritting their teeth in punishment while observing those who are in Christ's kingdom. The promises of relief from sin and condemnation are to those alone who have the faith of Abraham.
Punished for how long? It is to last for a long time, no matter how you look at it, and there is apparently no means for reconciliation after physical death if you were still spiritually dead. Dire warnings are scriptural. Christ is here, based on scripture. If we cannot see His kingdom where are we? These thoughts should motivate us to be running from sin and to warn others.
Now, thank you brother Sam, but the law is still with us, and it is still killing people, but through Christ we believers live by a higher standard, the one He outlined in Matt. 5,6 & 7. God help us if we do not, for disobedience places us back under the mosaic situation, and Christ becomes of no effect This would also mean we really do not believe He is here.

Your friend Vern Manson

Sam's picture

one of the promises of the new covenant is that God would so work within the believer that he would not ever depart from God (Jer 32.38-40). In a nutshell, I cannot lose the salvation/new heart that God has given me, nor can anyone else. That, to me, is such a staple of new covenant unconditionalism that it is hard for me to see any other way. The old covenant came with threats to God's people "according to the flesh," but we are not under any such threats. Adam was given a threat, but the "condemnation" that came to him as a result cannot ever come to those "in Christ" because "there is no more the condemnation" (Rom 8.1), speaking of "the condemnation" mentioned in Romans 5.12-ff that came through Adam's transgression. Does that mean that I lead an immoral life? Well, no. I don't want to lead an immoral life. I don't like stealing, killing, cheating my neighbor, committing adultery, shooting heroin, or molesting children. I can name many other things I don't like, either, and the only reason, the ONLY REASON I do not like these things (and don't do them) is because of the GRACE of God. He causes me not to like certain things, and sometimes lets me struggle with other things that constantly push me to acknowledging his grace in Christ in my weaknesses. But, I am never threatened, nor do I ever threaten myself or anyone else that loves God with the possibility of damnation.

Secondly, Jesus did not introduce "a higher standard." The Law "was burdensome both to us and our forefathers" Peter said, and so, Jesus came and made it even tougher? I think not. The way was "narrow" to those to whom Jesus preached because they FAILED TO SEE GOD'S GRACE to "whoseover will." It was not narrow because they so needed to use morbid introspection on themselves to makes themselves "better" people so that God would accept them. That mentality is destructive to the church.

Finally, the Law has been "ended" and is not still 'killing people.' "the death" has been destroyed. We must rethink these categories in the light of His Glorious Appearing and stop, in many cases (though not all), using old covenantal terms for new covenant living.

Samuel Frost

davo's picture

Sam: Not sure of the exact meaning of the question…

Sam, I'm looking at this issue of the Lake of Fire from an "inclusive" perspective i.e., through the completed reconciling-redemptive mission of Christ, God has restored humanity to Himself, inclusively. Subsequently, those who through faith in Christ grasping this reality, find "salvation" – personal deliverance in life into the fuller blessings of God. "Salvation" being distinct from reconciliation-redemption.

Sam: Only the wicked can be retained (or annhilated, depending on your view) in the Lake.

I'm not seeing [scripturally] the LoF as a holding-pen, similar to what Hades was, but rather an event and the terminus of all things "old" i.e., of the old covenant realm, and therefore contextually bound to the DoJ in the Day of the Lord, and not a "condition" beyond that. It makes no redemptive logic or sense to exchange one "old hell" for another "new hell" in the age of righteousness.

Looking at the LoF in terms of the closing event of the transition of the ages we see that it was the final nail in the coffin of Israel's national exile – and those who stayed with it, or returned to it – as Jude said "twice dead", went down with it. Covenantally speaking exile is death. Israel was in death "in trespasses and sins" when God reached forth a second time and gathered in the exiles [Isa 11:10-12] – the first time [death] being the Babylonian experience. They were brought up out of their graves of exile [Eze 37:1-14], the hope of Israel. Israel then being the catalyst for the rest [Rom 11:15], who likewise were "dead in trespasses and sins". Thus the Lake of Fire denotes the fearful judgments of those days during which the Israel experienced the Second Death. The DoJ was the temporal outworking of the greater covenantal reality – the transition of the ages.

Sam: For example, Isaiah 66, in the new heavens and new earth, speaks of devastating destruction to those who refuse God' grace. Isaiah 65 speaks of death and accursedness.

Yes, but the "devastating destruction" as you put it was in this life. Certainly there can be retributive-corrective consequences in this life for one's transgressions, but beyond the grave such Scriptures that you mention are not exactly saying that.

Sam: Since old covenant "the death" has been destroyed, and the punishment for old covenant death ("the hades") has equally been destroyed, then is there ANY punishment in the new covenant era? Yes.

Sam, on what basis do you see "Hades" – the abode of the dead pre-Parousia, in terms of punishment? Again, actions [transgressions] do have consequences in this life, and can indeed work out punitively, and in the Day of the Lord worked judgment and reward, yet both these were according to works – be they of the law or of righteousness [Jn 5:29; Rev 20:12-13].

Sam: Let me sum up: the new covenant Age to Come is NOT without permenant punishment against those who do not walk in through the gates of the New Jerusalem.

Again, could that not be relevant to this life – those who through arrogance or ignorance miss the blessing of God in Christ. Walking in the light of the New Jerusalem helps us to live as we should – at peace with God and our neighbour, but if the way I live is the determining factor concerning "where I go" after I die, then what use is the Cross and Resurrection of Christ?

Sam: Jesus, equally, confirms this when he says, "blasphemy against the Spirit (the new covenant Spirit) will not be forgiven in this age nor IN THE AGE TO COME." If it is not forgiven in the age to come, and we are in the age to come, then what happens to those who blaspheme the Spirit in the age to come? Is it possible to blaspheme the Spirit in the age to come?

The "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" – what was it? Mk 3:30 defines it specifically as attributing or ascribing the pre-Cross ministry of Christ [Jn 5:17, 36; 10:32; 14:10] to that of demonic origins [Mt 9:34; 12:24; Jn 7:20; 8:48, 52; 10:20] – in effect insulting the Spirit of grace [Heb 10:29], for it was the Spirit that testified of Him through the works done [Jn 16:15].

Many of the religious ruling elite along with some of the people were in the precarious position of such blasphemy, so audience relevance is a determining factor in a proper understanding of this sin. Quite literally, the consequences of this blasphemous action were sheeted home to those ofthat generation. It was a generational sin – AD30-70, and carried overtones of Isa 5:18-21 and thus the Pharisaic woes of Jesus in Mt 23. Again, nothing of the old age would find life [forgiveness] in the consummated new age – but suffer the consequence of eternal [total] judgment.

Once committed, transgressions or "sinful actions" cannot be undone e.g., if I hit you it is done and cannot be taken back or undone. So the "unforgivability" of this transgression indicates the severity with which God held and would so judge this action, thus becoming part of the malediction [Mt 27:25] that came home to roost in Christ's generation in His AD70 Parousia – fulfilling Christ's own words [Mt 23:35-36]. And nothing of the Old Covenant economy, in this instance – blasphemy, would survive through it – hence not even into [eis] the age [Mk 3:29] …to come.

Mt 12:31-32 "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Matthew's account "it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age about to [mello] come" [audience relevance] suggests the nearness and permanency of such actions as touching even through the soon to be Parousia. There were those of the "this generation" who lived through the Parousia [Rev 22:11], yet they simply died in their blasphemous Old Covenant standing, not experiencing forgiveness in life "into the age to come" from that grievous old covenant sin.

So, it is with this gospel of restoration that we do indeed share the goodness of God with others.

davo

Sam's picture

Davo,

I think I am seeing what you mean. Yet, let me ask you if you are advocating universalism. It appears that you are. That is, what happens to the wicked this side of the parousia? Textually, Isaiah 66.22-24 is set in the new heavens and new earth, and verse 24b is quoted by Jesus in Mark 9.44, referring to the Lake of Fire. Is 66.22-24 is not describing Hades. Hades, indeed, was punishment for the sin of Adam. You have to ask yourself if Adam had not sinned, would there be a Hades? Secondly, "the hades" is linked with "the death" which is what "entered in" through Adam (Romans 5.12). That is, hades was not a good thing, but a temporary reside for both the wicked and the righteous. Thus, the LoF is not the "same" as you called it. No one is raised from the LoF (unlike Hades), and the LoF is eternal (unlike Hades). There is no hint whatsoever that A.D. 70 brought an end to the LoF, but explicit mention of an end to the death and the hades.

Revelation 21.26 appears to confirm Is. 66 above in that it tells of those "inside" the new jerusalem (which is merely the symbol for being "in christ"), and those who will not enter, for their name is not written in the Book of Life, either then, or now. Secondly, by logical deduction, the threat that not all will enter is AFTER the New Jerusalem has been established. To say that this condition of entering in no longer exists makes this verse superfluous (I asked that to Tim King and his very honest answer was, "I don't know."). If everyone enters and if everyone lives by the light, and if there is no LoF, no punishment, no separation, then what you have is the "present evil age" creation getting conditions and punishments but all in the age to come do not.

Nonetheless, since this is not the focus of these articles, I do encourage you to continue to write along these lines. It appears that you have put thought into this, and, I may be wrong. Keep it up.

Samuel Frost

davo's picture

Like the article Sam. Just a side thought:

Samuel Frost: …it would be unthinkable that the powers of the present evil age would remain present with the powers of the age to come.

Samuel Frost: There is no more “the death” for anyone (but there is “the second, the death” which is the lake of fire for those who refuse the Gospel).

Sam, how do you account for the covenantal terminus of the law, the sin, the death etc of the then "evil age" – being bound to the context of covenant change and renewal, yet give covenantal perpetuity to the 'lake of fire' in the age to come? Does not "the second, the death" speak of the permanence of the completed action established against "the old" – that which did pass away – and thus those of it, who refused the Gospel?

davo

Sam's picture

Davo,

Not sure of the exact meaning of the question, but here goes. The "lake of fire" is a new heavens and new earth creation. "The Hades" was before, under the old covenant, where both the righteous and the wicked were retained. Only the wicked can be retained (or annhilated, depending on your view) in the Lake. The Greek in Rev 20 uses "the death" and "the second, the death" meaning that the Second is not the first, but it is, nonetheless, a punishment for the "age to come." The second death is the penalty for rejection of the new covenant and remaining "outside" the New Jerusalem (the same went on in the old covenant, but now it is in spiritual new covenant terms). There is no resurrection from the Lake. There was a resurrection from "the Hades." Thus, "the second, the death" is NOT an old covenant punishment, but a new covenant punishment against those who "refuse to worship on my holy hill" in the age to come.

Davo, I am looking for a theology that is found in the Hebrew Scriptures. I believe that the NT teaches nothing new nor adds anything to what is found in the Scriptures (as Paul called them) in terms of doctrine. For example, Isaiah 66, in the new heavens and new earth, speaks of devastating destruction to those who refuse God' grace. Isaiah 65 speaks of death and accursedness. Zech 14, Ezekiel 40-48 all speaks of penalties in the AGE TO COME. Jesus, equally, confirms this when he says, "blasphemy against the Spirit (the new covenant Spirit) will not be forgiven in this age nor IN THE AGE TO COME." If it is not forgiven in the age to come, and we are in the age to come, then what happens to those who blaspheme the Spirit in the age to come? Is it possible to blaspheme the Spirit in the age to come? Jesus clearly implied that it was. If one is NOT forgiven, then what happens? Now, I believe that this particular sin is, in the final analysis, a rejection of the Gospel of Israel in Christ. Since old covenant "the death" has been destroyed, and the punishment for old covenant death ("the hades") has equally been destroyed, then is there ANY punishment in the new covenant era? Yes. God made "the second, the death". Those who were found wanting under the old covenant were thrown into the Lake (and annihilated, or punished, whatever your view, makes no difference to me at this point).

Let me sum up: the new covenant Age to Come is NOT without permenant punishment against those who do not walk in through the gates of the New Jerusalem. The opportunity to walk in is while on earth (which I think can be so backed up as to need no further documentation). That is why I still believe in missions, gospel preaching, and the cultural dominion mandate lost in Adam, but renewed in the Last Adam people of God. See, in my view, the church didn't get it "all wrong," but their eschatology cannot justify many of their more better angles. Hope that somehow helps to clarify things a bit....'tis not an easy subject to digest....

Samuel Frost

vinster's picture

Brother Davo, Just a thought!! It might be that "The Death" was not yet completely taken out of the way as pertaining only to those who had faith in Christ, but were still waiting for the consummation at the end of "this present evil age" for the fullness of God's redemptive plan to take place. We have to remember that the promise of the fullness of this salvation was to the Jews, the firstfruit believers, and Gentiles up to a certain point, which was 70ad. When that point came, "the death" was taken out of the way for the believer.
In the "age to come", "the death" is taken out of the way to all those who come to faith in Christ by partaking of the healing leaves of the tree of life.
In His Grace, Vinster

davo's picture

Thanks Vinster, some interesting thoughts.

davo

Sam's picture

Vinster,

I understand your position, but logically, it appears to have a textual problem. If "the death" is "only" taken out of the way for the believers, then you have to come up with a way in which John stated this. For the text, "there is no more the death." It has been thrown into the Lake. If your view is correct, then one could equally imply that "the hades" and "the satan" and "the beast" are not entirely removed either. Does "the satan" remain "only" for the unbeliever? Secondly, on the basis of the text, you would have the first "the death" AND "the second, the death" for the unbeliever. But, the Second Death textually REPLACES the first death. They both are not coincident "deaths" concurring during the new heavens and new earth. One must decide their theology on the text and work out the implications from that point.

In this view, "the death" is not necessary for physical death (since physical death was never the punishment for Adam). The death reigned over "all men" (including the saints) of the old covenant-Adam "Age". However, in the new heavens age (ours), the death has NO authority whatsoever for believers, and is not reigning over unbelievers. It's gone. Yet, clearly, the text shows that those on earth must COME INTO the gates of the new jerusalem. So, there is still a God-ordained separation (outside, inside) under the new covenant. However, since the death has been removed, man is now made able to come into the Glory of God in Christ (impossible under the evil age). The refusal to come in is punished not with "the death" but the "second death." One might even call this the "new death."

Samuel

vinster's picture

Hey Sam, Thanks for the clarification!!
But I'm still wondering how, if "the death' and "the sin" has been put away(which I believe they have), does God see all the unbelievers in the "age to come"?? I understand that physical death was never the punishment for Adam, but if "the death"(spiritual separation from God) was put away in 70ad, then wouldn't this lead to some sort of universalistic view of salvation?
I'm not being a smart-alic,bro!! Just trying to get this straight!!
In Christ, Vinster

Sam's picture

Vinster,

I appreciate your honesty. No, it does not lead to a "universalistic" approach. Man has an ability to sin without the power of "the Sin." This is seen in that Adam had the ability to sin BEFORE he fell. It was through the fall that "the sin" entered, but, logically, he had the ability to sin before such. God has made man in the world with the ability to sin, and that will never change.

Secondly, "the death" was replaced with "the second, the death." Whereas "the death" was, for Adam, condemnation "for all men," man NOW can be enabled to come to "the Life." Yet, not all came to "the life" immediately at the parousia so that everyone born afterwards would be "in Christ." Rather, John pictures The Life and the Light as residing INSIDE the new Jerusalem, and one must ENTER IN to gain the Life. What, then, is "outside the gates?" It cannot be "the life." It cannot be men under the reign of "the death," either, since "the death" is no more. Quite simply, man outside the gates is 'dead in his sins' as a result of Adam's fall, and remains in that result until brought to life. Therefore, "the death" and "the sin" do not have to "reign" in order for their to be men 'dead in their sins' and 'separated from God,' since that is our natural condition any more than Hitler must be alive for their be Nazis. Hitler is dead, but the RESULTS of Nazism is still very much around. The new covenant did not eradicate the RESULTS (though it is REVERSING the results), but eradicated THE CAUSE (the sin and the death and the law according to the letter). Again, using the analogy of WWII, the destruction of Nazi Germany and Hitler eradicated the CAUSE of Nazism, but it did not eradicate the results IMMEDIATELY. Rather, the slow process of "mopping up the mess" of WWII began. This analogy, I believe, best suits our purposes here. God is, in Christ, mopping up the results of the battle of principalities and powers, but the principalities and powers themselves, like Hitler, are gone. By annihilating these powers, and by enabling men to come to "the life," God, through his people in Christ, is mopping up the results, slowly tearing down the Berlin Wall, so to speak and opposing those relics of the past that would masquerade as images of darkness and evil. The Light has come. The darkness is expelled, for the darkness cannot withstand the light. But, the Light is "in the midst of the city." It is only as men are influenced and come into a saving faith in the King of all nations and kings that society, culture, life, the environment, families, economy, the poor, government and all things improve.

God gave Adam the command to take dominion and he failed (because he was not in Christ, and not perfect and one with God). That has been renewed within the Church, who is "one with the Father" and "perfect" in Christ. We can, have, and will, slowly, over thousands of years, continue to improve the world through the Light that in the city.

Samuel Frost

DavidF's picture

Hi Samuel:

This is great news in my opinion, but there may be lots of confusion for some people about the universal salvation that could still be interpreted here.

RO 5:13
"...for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, (death) reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come…18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.”

If there is no “the law“ and therefore no “the (death)” in this new age that we live in, and “sin is not taken into account when there is no law” then those outside the gates cannot be reckoned to have “the (death)” just as you say, but neither can they be reckoned with Adam’s sin which keeps them outside the gates. Adam’s sin is not taken into account if there is no “the law”. So then, how can you explain that this is not literally a justification for ALL men?

DavidF

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