Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Beautiful Letdown - Part 3

In Part 2 we spoke about how the imagery that John sees as written about in the book of Revelation is symbolic and not literal as most have been taught in modern churchianity today.
(If John had not written to the readers regarding whether or not these should be taken literally or figuratively then there would certainly be room for a literal interpretation of the images in the book. However, it was in the very FIRST verse that we are told that the things he was shown are signs and symbols.)

The other thing we began to look at is that the book of Revelation is about Jesus and the cross. It is about what happened and what was accomplished through his life, death and Resurrection. It is NOT depicting a future grand apocalyptic event. Jesus is, was and will always be that event.

In Part 2 we also looked at Matthew 24 where Jesus tells his disciples what the end of the age will look like. Jesus then goes on to describe the same events written by John in Revelation 6.
These events in Revelation have recently (last 500 years) been viewed by modern Christianity to paint a literal picture of the end of our world as the catastrophic ending of man - where the good guys will go and live in a literal glorious city with streets of gold and the bad guys will go to a lake of fire and fry.

However we saw that those events in Rev 6 were actually talking about the Day of the Lord that John was taken back in the Spirit to see. It was about the Crucifixion of Jesus.

In this Part we will look at:

  • The end of the age that Jesus spoke about - when was it?
  • The City with streets of gold - literal or Symbolic of something else?

In Mat 24 Jesus said that his death and resurrection signified the end of that age.... (as he had responded with these signs - see Part 2  -to his disciples question regarding when the end of the age would be)

Q: So, what is the significance that Jesus' death and resurrection signified the end of that age?
A: It means that we are now, already, living in the Good News age - we are not still waiting for God to come and live with us. HE IS ALREADY HERE WITH US NOW. When we begin to believe the Good News, we will begin to change the world we live in starting with ourselves. We can know the secret of living in contentment as Paul spoke about.

Track with me here:
Mat 5:18  For verily (firmly and surely) I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the LAW, till ALL THINGS be accomplished.

Did you get that? Jesus said that NOTHING... not even the smallest jot or tittle (punctuation mark) shall be changed in Law until heaven and earth pass away... and this will only happen when ALL THINGS are fulfilled.

Q: Has Heaven and Earth passed away according to current tradition?
A: No, according to current tradition that will only happen at the end of the age as per Rev 21
(Rev 21:1  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.)

Q: According to current tradition, have all things been accomplished by God?
A: According to current tradition: No, only at the end of Revelation (which is seen as a future tense event), plus, heaven and earth have not passed away - and this will only happen once all things are accomplished according to Jesus. 

Q: According to the LAW, was eating an unclean animal allowed?
A: No, definitely not!

Q: Is God a liar?
A: Uhmm.... No!

Now, lets look at this - Post the Cross and Resurrection:
Act 10:9  The next day, as they were on their way and coming near Joppa, Peter went up on the roof of the house about noon in order to pray. 
Act 10:10  He became hungry and wanted something to eat; while the food was being prepared, he had a vision. 
Act 10:11  He saw heaven opened and something coming down that looked like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners to the earth. 
Act 10:12  In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and wild birds. 
Act 10:13  A voice said to him, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat!" 
Act 10:14  But Peter said, "Certainly not, Lord! I have never eaten anything ritually unclean or defiled." 
Act 10:15  The voice spoke to him again, "Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean." 
Act 10:16  This happened three times, and then the thing was taken back up into heaven.

Very clearly Peter has seen animals in there that he knows without doubt were against the LAW to eat.  Agreed?
But here we have Jesus telling him that God has declared them to be clean!!

Q: What has happened?

But didn't Jesus say that not even the smallest jot or tittle (punctuation mark) would be changed in the LAW until HEAVEN AND EARTH  have PASSED AWAY and ALL HAD BEEN ACCOMPLISHED?

Q: What happened between Jesus saying, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the LAW, till ALL THINGS be accomplished."  and "Peter, kill and eat. Do not call unclean what God has declared clean" ?

A: "It is Finished" happened!! The Glorious Cross changed everything.

By virtue of the Law having been changed by God post Jesus' death and resurrection, we have to then concede that somehow in his death,  heaven and earth also passed away as well because  "all had been accomplished".  Jesus said in Mat 24 that his death would mark the end of that age. 

Now, remember that Revelation is the Disclosure (to make known something that was previously hidden) that the Father gave Jesus, to share with his disciples, the things that were to soon take place. This was then shared with John via symbols, signs and pictures. (Rev 1:1)
Well, the thing that was to soon take place in Jesus's ministry was THE CROSS and the resulting accomplishments of it:

Back to the fact that Heaven and Earth passed away at Jesus' Death and Revelation being about Jesus' death:
look here: John was taken in the Spirit back to the Day that belonged to the Lord - The Cross:
Rev 21:1  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth passed away, and the sea vanished. (Notice he says "first" heaven and "first" earth - this puts to rest any argument that this could somehow be another heaven and earth that was different from what Jesus spoke about in Mat 24)
Rev 21:2  And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband. 
Rev 21:3  I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: "Now God's home is with men! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. 
Rev 21:4  He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have passed away." 
Rev 21:5  Then the one who sits on the throne said, "And now I make all things new!"

John observes that the first earth and heaven have passed away. According to Jesus, this would only happen when everything had been accomplished
The LAW was also now made Obsolete - as per Jesus this would happen when heaven and earth passed away.
The writer of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah regarding the NEW COVENANT which we are now in. 
Note he uses the same words as John wrote down in Revelation. He was talking about the SAME covenant. This was done at the Cross. If there as another covenant still to come - another future institution - then this would imply that the new covenant that we are in now is still faulty.... 

Heb 8:6  But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted upon better promises. 
Heb 8:7  For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 
Heb 8:8  For finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 
Heb 8:9  not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day when I took their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. Because they did not persevere in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. (Talking about the LAW)
Heb 8:10  For this is the covenant which I shall covenant with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind, and I shall inscribe them upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 
Heb 8:11  And by no means will they teach each one his fellow citizen, and each one his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 
Heb 8:12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I shall by no means remember anymore." 
Heb 8:13  By the saying "new ," He has made the first (covenant) obsolete. And the one becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish. 

The OLD COVENANT, the OLD ORDER of things was made OBSOLETE when Jesus died and rose again.
The NEW HEAVEN and the NEW EARTH which John saw are symbolic of the NEW COVENANT which replaced the Old one.
When Jesus died, the Old covenant died with him, but when he rose again, EVERYTHING was made new with the confirmation of the New Covenant.

We have believed a confusing Gospel.... we say, "God lives in us", and then read Revelation 21  -which we were taught is a future event after the Judgement of the world - and see that God says. "NOW, is the dwelling place of God with man... NOW he will be with us and we will be His people..."
Can you see how, if we wrongly place Revelation as a future tense event, then our current gospel makes no sense? Because if God is already living with us then it would not make sense for Him to say in the future, "Now i will live with you... " 
(we MUST BE HONEST with our theology. Don't be afraid to ask questions).

The OLD order has passed away, we are NOW living in the reality of what John saw in Revelation, because Revelation is all about the Cross and what was accomplished through it.

Paul says it like this:
2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, *if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, ALL THINGS have become new. 
(*note: the preceding verses explain that ALL ARE IN CHRIST and died  with him).

So, if this New Jerusalem, this beautiful golden city that John sees is a Representation of the New Covenant, and not a literal city  that Christians will go to live in when we die - as we had all been led to believe - then, can we find more evidence to prove this in scripture? Yes....

Rev 21:9  Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls being full with the seven last plagues came to me and spoke with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the wife, the bride of the Lamb."

OK, so this angel is about to show John Jesus' Bride?  Agreed?

But look what he does in the next verse:
Rev 21:10  And he carried me away in spirit onto a great and high mountain, and he showed to me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 

What?!! The angel says, come, I'll show you the Bride of Jesus..... and then proceeds to show John a city with beautiful streets of gold and other amazing features....

Note: Remember the first verse of Revelation tells us that this Disclosure is revealed to John by an Angel using SYMBOLS (semaino: To reveal using signs and symbols). But modern Christian tradition has made this vision a literal city and also completely ignored that what the angel told John before showing him this City.... that he was about to show him the bride of the Lamb. 

The City represents Gods Bride, His dwelling place, the exquisite scenery that John sees: Golden streets, valuable Gems are all symbolic of purity and innocence and perfection that Gods Dwelling place has become. WE ARE HIS DWELLING PLACE!!! HE is in Union with MANKIND, NOT A PHYSICAL CITY!

Remember Paul said:
Col 1:26  the truth which has been kept secret from all ages and generations, but has now been revealed to His people, 
Col 1:27  to whom it was His will to make known how vast a wealth of glory for the Gentile world is implied in this truth--the truth that 'Christ is IN YOU, the hope of glory.' 

The Good News that Christ lives IN YOU NOW, just as John saw God announce in Revelation 21.
The Book of Revelation is all about JESUS's work of Reconciliation of humankind.

Jesus also plainly said this:
Joh 14:2  In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 
Joh 14:3  And if I go  and prepare a place for you, I will come again and I will receive you unto Myself; so that where I am, there you may be also.

Can you see this now? Rev 21: "NOW IS THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD WITH MAN"
this is NOT a future event, its the Gospel of Peace and Joy for ALL Men. 
Its the Gospel of Reconciliation. Its the Good News of Grace and the Kingdom of God.
We are the City of God!! His Home.

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