Showing posts with label Millennium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Millennium. Show all posts

Saturday, August 05, 2023

Mining the Minors: Zephaniah (8)

Zephaniah gives us a brief glimpse in these closing verses of the glories of the millennial reign of Christ in Israel, maybe the earliest among the Minor Prophets and one of the more fully developed visions of the Bible’s version of our future to date. Zephaniah concentrates primarily on the impact that the presence of Christ will have on his earthly people and his restoration of their perpetually-divided and much-maligned nation.

Where will Christians be in all this? Good question.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Utopia as a By-Product

Henry Giroux wrote that a utopia is “an imaginary community or society that possesses highly desirable or near-perfect qualities for its members”. He was generalizing based on the way the concept has been used (and misused) for over five centuries, trying to distill a jumble of ideas down to a basic concept everyone can agree about. The word itself comes from a 1516 book of the same name written by Sir Thomas More, but Plato’s Republic took a crack at the same ideas almost 2,000 years earlier, and it may be argued that even the Tower of Babel was an early, misguided stab in that direction. It would be hard to find a time when men have not dreamed of and yearned for social perfection, though always on their own terms and by their own standards.

Literally, utopia means “no place”. You would think more people might take More’s not-too-subtle hint.

Friday, March 31, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: The Golden Age

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

A few weeks back we spent some time considering eternity as described in our Bibles, and the various misunderstandings that exist about it even among believers.

Tom: I promised at the end of that exchange that we would put together some thoughts on the subject of the Millennium, the coming thousand year reign of Christ, a subject explored mostly in the psalms and the writings of the Hebrew prophets and touched upon only briefly in the book of Revelation, where we are told that Satan will have no part in it, having been consigned to the abyss.

So let’s talk about this golden age a little, IC. Why have a Millennium at all? Why is it so important? Why not transport Christians straight into our promised eternity with Christ?

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

No Half Measures

Tal Bachman is a 54-year old Canadian writer who had a cup of coffee with pop music success back in 1999, not all that surprising given he’s the son of legendary Guess Who guitarist and BTO-founder Randy Bachman. Since 2020, he mostly covers politics from a conservative perspective, but he’s written everything from a four-part analysis of the band U2’s influence on the political landscape to a brilliant 25-parter called “We Have Met the Enemy” that unearths the origins of the lucrative, transparently fraudulent, unbelievably evil and powerful transitioning industry. You can find his archive here, and it’s well worth it.

Tal is an ex-Mormon, the “ex” part being his rejection of the prophetic posturing of Joseph Smith. But his latest post at SteynOnline strongly suggests his belief in God and interest in what the Bible teaches about him did not get jettisoned along with his former confidence in the founder of the LDS Church.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: Eternity In Their Hearts

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon makes the argument that God has put a longing for the eternal into the human heart, yet seems to have provided less revelation about eternity than some of us might wish. And notwithstanding the fact that we’ve had plenty more prophetic revelation since the book of Ecclesiastes was written, we still have a tendency to speculate about what lies in store for us at the end of history as we move into eternity.

Tom: We’re discussing a recent Todd Billings post at Christianity Today entitled “The New View of Heaven Is Too Small”. What was your last point, IC?

Immanuel Can: Serious Christians need some kind of counter to the common misconception that the eternal state involves a lot of unrelenting, undifferentiated, disembodied, white-clad, purposeless hanging about on clouds …

Friday, March 03, 2023

Too Hot to Handle: An Undersized Eternity

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Tom: Earlier this week I poked around the subject of Christian hope a little. My sister had kindly linked me to Todd Billings’ recent post at Christianity Today entitled “The New View of Heaven Is Too Small” in which Billings talks about Michigan deer hunters who expect to continue enjoying their favorite pastime in heaven.

I’d rather not spend more time debunking other Christians’ cherished heavenly speculations, so I’ll trust that my own post didn’t completely fail to make the case that a New Testament view of our hope in Christ is rich, multifaceted and real.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Mining the Minors: Micah (20)

I find the next three verses of Micah’s prophecy very difficult to interpret, so much so that I almost put this post off another week to let it percolate. I like to do the spadework first, reading a passage repeatedly and then doing any relevant word studies before consulting the commentaries.

In this case, repeated readings and word studies still left me with major questions. I finally tapped out after checking eight or ten popular commentaries, few of which provided any satisfying insights, and concluded another week wasn’t likely to produce an epiphany.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Mining the Minors: Micah (15)

The vast majority of Jacob’s descendants elected not to return to Israel in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, preferring the lives they had made for themselves in other nations during the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. 587 years later (or thereabouts), when James wrote his epistle, the twelve tribes were still largely “scattered abroad”, and this almost two decades before the Romans sacked Jerusalem in AD70 and dispersed the Jews yet again.

It may be argued that Jacob’s descendants have been “in the midst of many peoples” and “among the nations” for the better part of the last two thousand years. Israel is still scattered abroad today, despite the existence of a national home for the Jews. Seven million live in Israel, while 8.25 million live elsewhere, six million in the US alone. And these are just the ones who identify as having this very specific type of Hebrew background.

In a sense, then, there is nothing new about what we are about to read in Micah.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Mining the Minors: Micah (11)

From John Gill’s introduction to Micah 4:

“This chapter contains some gracious promises concerning the glory and happiness of the church of Christ in the last days; as of its stability, exaltation, and increase, and of the spread of the Gospel from it, Mic 4:1, 2; and of the peace and security of it, and constant profession and exercise of religion in it, Mic 4:3-5; and of the deliverance of it from affliction and distress, and the ample and everlasting kingdom of Christ in it, Mic 4:6-8; and then follow some prophecies more particularly respecting the Jews; as that, though they should be in distress, and be carried captive into Babylon, they should be delivered from thence, Mic 4:9, 10; and, though many people should be gathered against them, yet should not be able to prevail over them, but their attempts would issue in their own destruction, Mic 4:11-13.”

Hmm. Notice anything weird here?

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Mining the Minors: Micah (9)

Chapter 4 begins with three verses of text that are strikingly similar to Isaiah 2:2-4. The differences between the two passages are trivial: in Micah, the words ʿam (“peoples”, which can mean either “nations” or “tribes”) and gôy (“nations”) are reversed at the end of verse 1, the beginning of verse 2 and the beginning of verse 3, but since they are clearly being used as synonyms, nothing of significance turns on that. Also, in verse 3 Isaiah has “He … shall decide disputes for many peoples”, while Micah has “strong nations far away”.

Other than these minute differences and a couple of irrelevant prepositions, the passages are word-for-word identical in the original Hebrew. Most of our English translations reflect this.

Sunday, March 06, 2022

The Coming Kingdom

The little band of Jewish disciples who followed the Messiah in “the days of his flesh” asked to be taught to pray. The Lord’s answer was in the form of a pattern prayer, one that was appropriate at that time while the kingdom of God was being announced as “at hand”.

But repentance was required of those who would be the King’s subjects and, for the most part, that was not forthcoming.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Mining the Minors: Hosea (9)

The book of Hosea is full of references to “days”. These are not twenty-four hour periods, but eras of varying duration notable for specific features.

In chapter 1, Hosea prophesies of a day then future and now past, when Israel’s strength would be broken in the valley of Jezreel and its people dispersed among the nations, and another, much more distant day in which Israel and Judah will finally be reunited. In chapter 2 there are the “days of the Baals”, the “days of Israel’s youth”, and the “day” when the nation came out of Egypt.

Then there are three references in the last few verses of chapter 2 to a coming era of restoration, peace, safety and blessing, characterized by righteousness, justice, love and mercy. Our English translators consistently label it “that day”, though the language used about it strongly suggests this day will be at least 1,000 years in duration. Needless to say, the events which set it apart from all other days in Israel’s history have yet to take place.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Mining the Minors: Amos (39)

The territory occupied by the nation of Israel today is not the territory occupied by the Israel of the divided kingdom period. It is not the territory occupied by the nations of Israel and Judah when they were briefly united under the house of David. According to the prophets, it is also not the territory which will be occupied by the Israel of the future.

There is some land in common, of course. Territory has been gained (the Negev and the Gaza Strip, for example). But when Israel lost the Transjordan to Assyria, it never got it back. Moreover, few modern Israelis are descended from the people who occupied the northern kingdom when Amos prophesied against it.

We understand the prophets more accurately when we correctly identify their intended audience. Let me take a stab at that.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Inbox: Millennial Musings

So I’m browsing through old emails, and I find this one from JR, naturally received in the middle of the night. He was up, I was up, and I guess these are the sorts of things we think about when we can’t sleep:

“Hey ... I’m just reading a book where the author is discussing Mt 16:19. He says that since the verse is talking about the kingdom of heaven, it is referring not to the church age but to the coming kingdom and that the verse is therefore referring to the church’s role in that kingdom (reigning with Christ). Keys speak of authority, etc. He further points out that if we interpret it in that context, the weird ideas that many have drawn from that verse evaporate.

I’ll have to give this some thought.”

Okay. Interesting.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Why Your View of Prophecy Matters

Does is really make much difference how you view Bible prophecy?

Most Christians would affirm that all scripture is God-breathed and profitable; that’s fairly fundamental. It follows that the study of prophecy is also profitable, though whether its details are easily deciphered or have immediate application to the lives of all readers is another question altogether.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Satan Unleashed

A reader of the book of Revelation writes:

“Doesn’t the Pre-Mill version of Satan’s release seem weird? In it Jesus has physically ruled over the nations for a thousand years. Don’t you think they’d have learned something? And then Satan just waltzes out of his prison, goes, ‘Hi, it’s me, your old pal Satan!’ and EVERY nation goes, ‘WE LOVE YOU SATAN, LEAD US PLZ!!’ I mean, how long does it take to get to that point? A few weeks? A month? How does that work?

In the Pre-Mill view, doesn’t it also seem weird that the nations don’t go, ‘Wait, things are happening JUST like in that book Jesus has been talking about for a millennium. But hey, following Satan still seems like the best idea!’ How could they possibly get confused over this?”

The way a reader reacts to Satan’s release and the events which follow it in Revelation 20:7 very much depends on what he believes about the Millennium: its intended purpose(s), its governing conditions, and the people over whom Jesus Christ will rule.

Personally, I find the reaction of the nations in Revelation 20 all too plausible.

Monday, July 23, 2018

A Little Prophetic Pigskin

Isaiah prophesied for many years under many different circumstances about many nations and about many different things on the mind of God.

When he began his prophetic ministry, Assyria was at the forefront of world affairs. During Isaiah’s lifetime, Samaria fell to the Assyrians and Jerusalem was besieged by them. Even Israel’s neighbors had their own ill-fated run-ins with Sennacherib’s “unstoppable war machine”. So naturally much of the earlier chapters of Isaiah is concerned with current events. He would say things like, “Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered from being a people,” and then he lived long enough to see that very thing happen.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: The Golden Age

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: Eternity In Their Hearts

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: An Undersized Eternity

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Looking Past the Millennium

The so-called “Lord’s Prayer”, prayed by millions over centuries, includes the request that “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

That line is taken as mere aspiration by many and blithely ignored by many more. Lately it doesn’t get recited much in public at all. But the kingdom is coming, and it’s coming here. One wonders exactly how that will go over.

The millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ is a “must”, as G.B. Fyfe puts it.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Millennial Kingdom and the Blame Game

What do these statements have in common?

“hollywood is to blame, so is tv”
— AllergicToEggs

“The devil made me do it”
— Flip Wilson     

Well, yes, they are both examples of the blame game we all play regularly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Your View of Prophecy Matters

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Millennial Kingdom and the Blame Game

The most current version of this post is available here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

All Things Dull and Ugly: Monty Python and the Millennium

In 1848, a song with the title All Things Bright and Beautiful appeared for the first time in Mrs. Cecil Alexander’s Hymns for Little Children. It subsequently became a Christian standard, and you are probably familiar with at least some of the lyrics (and almost surely the general concept), so I won’t include them here.

Also, they are considerably less amusing than the lyrics to the parody version written by British comedian Eric Idle for Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation Album in 1980. I include a couple of verses to give you the general idea:

       “All things dull and ugly
        All creatures short and squat
        All things rude and nasty
        The Lord God made the lot

        Each nasty little hornet
        Each beastly little squid
        Who made the spiky urchin?
        Who made the sharks? He did”

It goes on in much the same vein for four or five stanzas, but you get the picture. You can read the whole thing here if you care to, or if you don’t recall it (it has been nearly 35 years). As a teenager, I thought it was hilarious … until I didn’t.

My point is actually not to bang out a few paragraphs about how the members of Monty Python are (or were) horrible, irreverent human beings on their way to hell. They did, in fact, take more than a few shots at religion, but many of their targets made themselves more than fair game.

No, my interest in this particular ball of snark hurled at the cultural wall is its uncanny accuracy.

You see, they really do a nice job of making Scripture’s point for it, at least on this topic.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Will There Really Be A Millennial Temple? [Part 2]

The concluding chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel are among the most hotly debated in all of Scripture. Neither the figurative nor the literal approach to these chapters is adequate to explain every detail, unravel every mystery. However, it is not necessary for us to know all the answers in order to understand the passage properly. Despite the potential for controversy, Scripture does supply us with enough information to answer the main questions associated with the passage, which are as follows: 

1.    Is the temple and its worship literal, or figurative?
2.    Do these things take place at a time now past or at some point in the future?
3.    If the time is future, does it involve the millennial kingdom of Christ on earth, or the heavenly state
4.    In any case, what is the purpose of the sacrifices described? 

In a previous post, we tried to offer answers to the first two questions.

Let’s consider the remaining two:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Will There Really Be A Millennial Temple? [Part 1]

The concluding chapters of the prophetic book of Ezekiel are among the most hotly debated in all of Scripture. Many differing and conflicting interpretations have been proposed by scholars, each according to his own school of eschatological thought. Are these chapters, which describe a great temple, speaking figuratively or literally? Do they refer to a time now past, or to a future state?

The opportunities for controversy are manifold, and a mere consideration of the chapters themselves, in isolation, is insufficient to provide all the answers. For instance, this temple description occurs at the end of a book heavy with symbolism, yet contains precise details and measurements suggesting a more literal approach. There are mysteries in chapters 40-48, as well — who is the ‘prince’ or leader involved in the temple worship?

Neither the figurative nor the literal approach to these chapters is adequate to explain every detail, unravel every mystery. However, it is not necessary for us to know all the answers in order to understand the passage properly. Despite the potential for controversy, Scripture does supply us with enough information to answer the main questions associated with the passage, which are as follows: 

1.    Is the temple and its worship literal, or figurative?
2.    Do these things take place at a time now past or at some point in the future?
3.    If the time is future, does it involve the millennial kingdom of Christ on earth, or the heavenly state?
4.    In any case, what is the purpose of the sacrifices described? 

Let’s consider these issues and attempt to provide some sound and scriptural answers.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

He Who Requires Blood

Sounds like a bad vampire movie: “He Who Requires Blood”, though only to our modern ears, of course. The author of Psalm 9 made no such silly Hollywood associations and neither did his original readers. The subject was deadly serious:
“Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples his deeds!
For he who requires blood is mindful of them;
he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.” (Psalm 9:11,12)
If you were – or are – one of the “afflicted”, this is very good news. The word “peoples” here refers to nations. David is looking forward to a time when the Lord Jesus will reign over the earth and will “judge the world in righteousness” and “execute judgement for the [nations] with equity”.

He is occupied here with the absolute fairness of God’s ways with man.