Showing posts from December, 2007

New Testament Eschatology -- Old Testament Background Continued

Some Prophets
'Prophecy is of the nature of poetry, and depicts events, not in the prosaic style of the historian, but in the glowing imagery of the poet.' -- J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia, pg. 81.
Last time we took a brief look at poetic language and how it's used. We saw how celestial images can be used for terrestrial authorities. With that in mind, we now turn our attention to some prophetic passages.
Isaiah 13.9-13. For see, the day of the Lord is coming—the terrible day of his fury and fierce anger. The land will be made desolate, and all the sinners destroyed with it. The heavens will be black above them; the stars will give no light. The sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will provide no light.

“I, the Lord, will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their sin. I will crush the arrogance of the proud and humble the pride of the mighty. I will make people scarcer than gold—more rare than the fine gold of Ophir. For I will shake the heaven…


For those of us that aren't aware, some scholars believe that Matthew and Luke copied a lot of their material from the gospel of Mark (supposedly the oldest Gospel).  But there is a lot in Matthew and Luke that doesn't appear in Mark.  So, some scholars came up with a hypothetical document titled 'quelle' (a German word meaning 'source').  'Q', for short.  Now, it should be noted that no one has ever seen this document and church history doesn't seem to know about it.  But, most...ahem...'liberal' scholarship holds to it like it is the source document for (at least) the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke).

However, my view is more like this (And mind you, this is just my view.  I haven't heard this from anyone else.).  To me, Mark reads more like an underground subversive tract.  Almost like a secret code -- the kind you swallow or burn up after you've read it.  What I see as a more likely possibility is that  Mark copied from …

New Testament Eschatology -- Old Testament Background

Often times, the reason people insist that the New Testaments writers were wrong about the 'end of the world' -- i.e., the writers believed it was going to take place very soon for them -- is because of an almost 'wooden' literalism that is used when reading those passages. I find this a little amusing because a lot of times, those same people don't hold to a 'literal' interpretation of the Bible. Yet, they either assume that the writers of the New Testament held to a 'literal' interpretation or we should understand those New Testament passages in a literal way. I hope to show a little different path. But to help us in our journey, before we can look at the New Testament passages themselves, we need to look at some Old Testament passages.


The reason for this is because the New Testament is a continuation of the Old Testament story. In other words, the Old Testament is the foundation or frame-work from which the New Testament writers were wo…

New Testament Eschatology - Introduction

From time to time, I hear a lot about the early church’s understanding of the ‘end of the world’ or their belief of the ‘Second Coming of Jesus’ as taking place within their generation. And it's usually not in a very good light. ‘They were obviously mistaken’ is often the remark I hear most. But what if it is we who are mistaken? I know, inconceivable, right. I don’t think so. I am hoping to do a series here on the 'end of the world' statements of the New Testament (or at least the major ones) and show that they were not mistaken in their understanding of the ‘signs of the times’.

Before we begin, however, let’s look at some terms that will have to be used. As most of you know, I try to refrain from using big ‘church’ words but from time to time they are necessary. And this is one of those times. (The reason I don’t use big church words is that they are like suitcases where ideas and thoughts and understandings are packed into them. To explain the words would mean…

A Metaphor of American Culture

During the last few days, Oklahoma has seen a tremendous ice storm (there are plenty of blogs and news articles about it) and while this post won’t primarily focus on that, there was some deep theological reflections I made during the storm. Most notably is that of the Bradford Pear tree.

For those of you not in the know, the Bradford Pear (Pyrus calleryiana) is a cultivated variety of the Callery Pear. It is mostly grown for its quick growth cycle and beautiful foliage. In Autumn the leaves turn a bright to deep red. Because of the ornamental beauty and quick growth, the Bradford Pear is a very popular tree especially in suburban areas.

But it has a major flaw. It does not stand up to the harsh weather in Oklahoma. During the spring time, when wind gusts can get up to 60mph (and sometimes much stronger), the tree often just snaps. This ice storm destroyed many a Bradford Pear in my neighborhood. In fact, our neighbor to the West lost the whole tree (and his tenant lost a windsh…