No. Jesus Was Not Predicting The Transfiguration

Is the Transfiguration a prophecy fulfillment? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The Transfiguration shows up in each of the Synoptic Gospels. Before each of them comes another passage.

Matthew 16:

27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Mark 9:

1: And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

Luke 9:

26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

27 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

It makes sense to a lot of people to say that this is predicting the transfiguration. Unfortunately, both internet atheists and Christians often have the same problem. This verse is read in a literal sense often due to modern dispensationalism, but does it really fit to say this event is the fulfillment?

No.

Okay. See you next time!

Oh?

You want more than that?

Okay.

Let’s start with the fact that this event takes place a week later in the Gospels. By that, it’s usually not a great prophecy to predict something happening a week from now. Let’s suppose even if we went with something like the 2024 presidential election which at this point is in the future. Make a prediction a week before it happens and all things being equal, you likely have a 50% chance of being right. Predict something no one thinks is even possible and you might be on to something.

Not only that, but it’s hard to see how this event is the Kingdom of God coming in power. I would have no problem saying that this is a hint of what is coming. I suspect that this is part of the reason these passages are closely tied together.

Another problem with this is saying “Some here will not taste death until they see this.” Not only is it hardly a prediction to say “Some people here will not die before a week passes”, but it’s also not really a lot of some if that some consists of just three people.

This passage is also not about the return of Christ. No one had any thought really of Jesus leaving let alone returning at this point. This is something internet atheists often think is being talked about, yet they never do show where that is in the passage. It’s read into it.

As an Orthodox Preterist, I think the Kingdom of God coming into power being demonstrated was at 70 A.D. with the destruction of the temple. That would make sense also with the prediction of some would not die. It is something to say some would still be alive around 40 years later, especially in an age where most people had short lifespans.

Christians need to realize Jesus is talking about something deeper than the Transfiguration and something that should have given His listeners, and us today, pause. Internet atheists need to realize this is apocalyptic language and not read it so woodenly. If someone thinks it’s about the return of Christ, it’s on them to show it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Journey to Preterism — Isaiah 13

When will judgment take place? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When talking with these Preterists, another passage that came to my mind was Isaiah 13. We’ll go through the latter part of it bit by bit, though not exhaustively, of course.

See, the day of the Lord is coming
    —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—
to make the land desolate
    and destroy the sinners within it.
10 The stars of heaven and their constellations
    will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened
    and the moon will not give its light.
11 I will punish the world for its evil,
    the wicked for their sins.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty
    and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
12 I will make people scarcer than pure gold,
    more rare than the gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble;
    and the earth will shake from its place
at the wrath of the Lord Almighty,
    in the day of his burning anger.

Now if you read this normally, many of us will think that this is something far off in the future. The start of the chapter tells us that this is a prophecy against Babylon. Well, isn’t Babylon supposed to be brought back in the end? That’s it. This must be something in the future and it sounds really bad. The sun is dark, the moon doesn’t give light, and all the world is punished!

14 Like a hunted gazelle,
    like sheep without a shepherd,
they will all return to their own people,
    they will flee to their native land.
15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through;
    all who are caught will fall by the sword.
16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;
    their houses will be looted and their wives violated.

Okay. This doesn’t seem to fit in. If all this destruction has taken place, how are people fleeing to their native land? How are people being captured? Kind of hard to do that if everything is dark. Oh! This is the future! Right! Electric lighting or something of that kind!

17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes,
    who do not care for silver
    and have no delight in gold.
18 Their bows will strike down the young men;
    they will have no mercy on infants,
    nor will they look with compassion on children.
19 Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,
    the pride and glory of the Babylonians,
will be overthrown by God
    like Sodom and Gomorrah.
20 She will never be inhabited
    or lived in through all generations;
there no nomads will pitch their tents,
    there no shepherds will rest their flocks.
21 But desert creatures will lie there,
    jackals will fill her houses;
there the owls will dwell,
    and there the wild goats will leap about.
22 Hyenas will inhabit her strongholds,
    jackals her luxurious palaces.
Her time is at hand,
    and her days will not be prolonged.

Okay. This will take a bit of time. The Medes? They’re not around anymore. Not only that, but these people don’t really seem to be bothered by universal destruction going on. Not only that, but the animals seem to get along just fine. This seems really difficult to put in the distant future.

But what if….

What if it was the future….

But not the distant future?

After all, all of this has happened before with Babylon being conquered and lo and behold, it was by the Medes. Okay. That did happen, but what about this language of great universal destruction? Oh wait. That’s the point of the 2 Samuel 22 post. That language there was not to be read in a literal sense either.

Now does that mean the text is false? No more than it means that a news report is false when it says a football game turned into a bloodbath for the loser team. No one hears that and expects that if they were to go to the stadium that they would see several dead bodies floating in blood. This is hyperbolic language, which Jews used a lot, to express a point of destruction. We could consider it in some ways to be akin to trash talking.

Isaiah was then giving a prophecy and it was of the future, but it was not of the far distant future. It was of the Babylon that existed in his own time. What does this mean for us?

It means we need to stop going to every prophecy in the Bible and thinking the only thing the prophets wanted to talk about was our own time in the future. They often spoke more of a fulfillment in their own time. However, there is still one possible objection remaining.

What about dual fulfillment? Could something like this happen in the future. That could be, but the problem is this is the burden of the futurist at this point. If I have a past fulfillment, why should I think there is another future one except to save the case for the futurist viewpoint? Even if this happened in the future for a specific prophecy, it does not follow that it will happen for all.

This opened up to me a new way of reading the texts. Preterism started to make a lot more sense and showed me ways I was misreading the texts. It is now also a point of mine to try to find out how the text was most likely immediately relevant to the audience of the time instead of reading our own questions into the text when the text could not even have our concerns in mind.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Journey to Preterism — 2 Samuel 22

What does an Old Testament passage not about eschatology have to do with eschatology? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When I had that talk with two Preterists, I remember distinctly hearing about 2 Samuel 22. This is not a prophecy or a passage about eschatology. This is about the life of David and what happened during his days. So what on Earth does this have to do with eschatology?

Let’s look at the passage. We’re not going to go through the whole thing. It’s just going to be the relevant parts.

David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
    from violent people you save me.

“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.

Here, we can recognize a lot of poetic license going on. This is the ways of poetry and even the hardest internet atheist could understand that this is not to be taken literally. This is David talking about how he felt hopeless. Those Christians who say we should always take the Bible “literally” will recognize this as well.

But what happens when we get to the next part?

“In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came to his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
the foundations of the heavens shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
10 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
11 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
13 Out of the brightness of his presence
bolts of lightning blazed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
16 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Whoa. What happens with your interpretation here? This is quite an amazing  event in the life of David. David is surrounded by enemies and here comes YHWH flying out of Heaven on the backs of Gabriel and Michael. He is preceded by a massive earthquake and then YHWH starts shooting arrows at all of the bad guys.

This is a fascinating event and as we look back at the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, we find that this battle took place in…

Wait. I can’t find it….

It’s got to be here somewhere! An earthquake and then YHWH flying on angels shooting arrows at the enemies of David! Surely this would be worth mentioning! Where is it?!

Wait. Wait. You mean this whole chapter is poetic license? This is not a literal reading? This is David describing political events, such as ordinary battles and running from Saul, in cosmic language?

Who on Earth ever talks this way? Who uses over the top language to describe an event?

What? You mean a football team was described as destroying their opponents? That political announcement was said to be Earth-shattering? America’s story has a history of a shot heard around the world?

So you’re saying that if David is an Old Testament prophet, as is said in the New Testament such as in Acts 2, then maybe we should see this is how prophets spoke? Maybe prophets did use this kind of language regularly and it’s a mistake to take it “literally”?

It might be tempting to think this is an isolated incident, but it isn’t. There are several passages like this in the Old Testament. As we go through, we will find that this is the way that Jews spoke of events in their lives. Something literally happened, of course, but language used to describe it is often highly apocalyptic in nature. For us, a football team does get defeated, but the language we use is often very far from literal.

I had read this passage several times before and never considered it. This opened me up to a whole new way of reading the text. I had always understood it was poetic license, but I never had considered that this could be done in prophecy as well as the exact same language shows up there.

And as we’ll eventually see, the New Testament does the same, but that’s for the future.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Journey to Preterism — The Talk

What are the first steps in coming to Preterism? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On my journey in eschatology, I had heard about Preterism before. The sad reality is, I did not know what it was. I thought I knew, but I didn’t know. I remained convinced that Preterists believed that everything had happened in the first century and that there was no resurrection and no return of Jesus. I’d see Christians I know who would have defenses of Preterism and I would just wonder about it. “Why would they do that?”

It’s not uncommon. I had someone leave a comment here recently asking if I knew any Preterists who held to the creedal statements of the church, especially on doctrines like the future resurrection of Christians and the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I replied with what I now know to be the truth. All orthodox Preterists hold to those doctrines. That doesn’t make us partial-futurists. That makes us Christians.

This is also why I don’t call myself a partial Preterist. The idea of so-called Full Preterism is that everything has happened and I consider that a heresy since it can lead logically to the denial of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I think it has to even. It doesn’t work to change the rule and say Jesus is the exception. If we are raised like He was raised, then we are either both spiritual or both physical.

I am not a partial heretic. It’s my stance that so-called Full Preterism is denying the physical resurrection of Jesus at least implicitly and thus puts us in the area of heresy. That is also a term I do not use lightly. Not once in all of this have I referred to dispensationalists who I disagree with incredibly as heretics. They are my fellow Christians, all things being equal.

I am an orthodox Preterist instead, and what really led to me embracing that? It happened back in 2006, a year I can easily find out since I am wearing a t-shirt now for TheologyWeb convention 2006. TheologyWeb is a site I help moderate on and have my own section on.

You can come here if you want to join. You can find sections for debating every area of theology, other religions, atheism and agnosticism, politics and history, as well as areas just to have fun. There’s also a Deeper Waters section where you can interact with other people on the material that I write here. People of all faiths and no faiths are welcome. Also, after you’re done signing up, your breath will feel minty fresh.

Anyway, at this convention, I did something unusual really. I joined in a talk where I sat down with two people who hold to Orthodox Preterism that they were giving and I listened and asked questions. What they said that I can remember, I will try to explain in future posts, but I want to get to this part first off.

If you want to know about a position, one of the best ways to do so is to just talk to someone who is informed on the position and holds it and ask honest questions. It’s easy to think the worst of your intellectual opponents at times. Generally, there’s a rule that if you can make a position look absolutely ridiculous, you probably haven’t understood it.

Years ago, TheologyWeb had a section for remedial Christian teachings where I would answer questions. Now what if someone wanted to hear an answer from the dispensational position? This was an easy chance for me if I wanted to take it to come up with an answer to make dispensationalism look really stupid and thus get more people to Preterism.

Never took it. Instead, I would find a well-informed dispensationalist that while I disagreed with, I knew had studied the issue, and asked them to give the best answer from their position. I want people to have informed opinions.

This works politically too. I remember reading a story and I think it was about Matt Damon about how he went and interacted with several Trump voters somewhere. He walked away saying “Those people really aren’t the way that I thought they were.” Now that doesn’t mean he went and put on a MAGA hat, but he did at least understand their reasoning.

The sad reality for me is I could have cut off years of time in my search if I had just done this. I just always assumed I knew what was meant by Preterism and what a shock to find out that I didn’t. That is why I say when I entered that talk, I was doubtful, but when I left, I had enough questions answered and no remaining doubts strong enough to overcome the conclusion that the Preterist position had the best arguments.

So over the next few posts, we’ll be talking about those arguments. For this one, I just want to encourage you to really listen to someone about a viewpoint. Ask questions, but try not to be antagonistic. Consider this a fact-finding mission, like being a detective. Maybe you’ll change your mind. Even if you don’t, you’ll at least have a better idea of what you disagree with and a better idea of why the other person holds what they hold.

Give it a try.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Journey to Preterism — Where is the Church Pushback

Is there a distinction between tribulation saints and the church? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend of Deeper Waters left a message on our Facebook page about my post on where is the church? In this, I argued that the word church not being in Revelation does not indicate the absence of the church. This commenter left a reason why he thinks the tribulation saints aren’t the church.

For me the strongest argument for the church being a different group than the saints in Trib, is that Rev states that when Satan is cast out of heaven and sent down to earth to possess that false prophet/antiChrist it says “And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Re 13:4–8.
This seems to contradict Jesus’ statement that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the church, that all authority has been given to the church and Satan has NO authority over the church.
It seems to me that Satan cannot be on earth at the same time as the church if Satan is given authority on earth. So this likely is a different group of saints.
This argument depends a lot on timing. For one thing, the objection here seems to assume that all of Revelation is future. I come from an opposite approach. Look at Revelation 12 where the dragon does appear. What do you see going on? A dragon about to devout a child that will rule the nations with a rod of iron. Biblically, the only conclusion I can reach is that this is the birth of Jesus.
I don’t see any reason to think that this event will happen again, so I take this to be a description of the birth of Christ. When that takes place, the dragon tries to devour the child, namely through the slaughter of the infants. What about Satan being on Earth though?
In Luke, Jesus says He saw Satan cast down from Heaven. (Luke 10:18) This was during His ministry. Is Satan however active while the Kingdom of God is active?
The answer from Scripture has to be yes. In Matthew 12, Jesus casts out a demon and the Pharisees tell the crowd that it is by Beelzebul that Jesus does that. Jesus says that if He casts out demons by the finger of God then the Kingdom of God is among you.
Did you catch it?
Jesus is on Earth and yet He is fighting against the devil. Jesus declares the Kingdom is right there, but so is the Kingdom of the devil. In Matthew 13 next, we are told that the Kingdom grows like a mustard seed or like yeast through dough. This means that the Kingdom of God will keep growing and if it is doing that, it has to be breaking into another kingdom pushing it out.
Any guesses which that is?
By the way, there’s no indication that the Kingdom of God will be removed from Earth and then started over during a tribulation period somehow. God is building up His army and there’s no reason to think that He’s going to remove it en masse at any time. Also, for those who say the Holy Spirit can’t be on Earth during the tribulation, kind of difficult for an omnipresent being to not be, you know, present.
I contend then that if the Kingdom of God is removed, that would be God giving authority again to the devil which would really be a case of a violation of Matthew 16 and the gates of Hell passage.
From my viewpoint, it’s straight through historical. The dragon falls and then not too much later, here comes Nero, who I think is the Beast, on the scene. When we get to the harlot later on in Revelation, who is that? Some of you might be surprised when I say that that harlot is Israel.
Does that sound anti-semitic?
If so, then the Old Testament must be a very anti-semitic book since it regularly depicts Israel as a harlot. This again makes the historical sense of what happened. For a time, the Jews could work with Rome to persecute the Christians, but then the Romans turned on the Jews as well and sought to kill them. That culminated in the fall of Jerusalem which is compared to Babylon in the book.
I wanted to answer this objection because I do try to take objections to my view seriously. I did give a little bit of commentary on Revelation as well. I won’t do this for every objection I get, but I wanted to address this one as it seemed more well thought-out.
In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Journey to Preterism: Origins

How does one go from dispensationalism to Preterism? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If there’s any secondary subject I enjoy discussing in Christianity, it’s eschatology. Preterism is a favorite interest of mine. Debates about the age of the Earth or Calvinism or tongues or eternal security don’t really interest me. Talking about end times does.

So how does my journey start though? I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee. Here, there is practically a church on every street corner. I was also listening to Southern Gospel music regularly. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was even well-known at the radio station. It was especially so when they had trivia contests about the Bible as I would call in and win constantly.

When I got the internet later on, one of the first things I wanted to do was discuss Christianity. This was a surprise even to me. After all, wouldn’t it make much more sense for me to discuss video games? I did that some, but largely, it was about Christianity. However, this opens you up to new ideas. That can be scary at first, but for me, I thoroughly enjoy it now.

However, my view on end times didn’t come to a change because of atheists. It was because of my fellow Christians, one who was even a Southern Baptist minister. His name was Ed Gibson and I remember him well. Unfortunately, years later, he died due to a car accident. I still think about him from time to time.

I had had some doubts coming up and I don’t even remember what they were, but I was someone who did not want to give up the rapture at all. I was kicking and screaming as it were even though intellectually, I felt the walls closing in around me.

It had been a shock as I had before the internet never met a Christian who didn’t believe in the rapture. Isn’t this what Christians have always believed? While it’s not, that didn’t really play a major role in my changing my mind. I went to the leader of Thursday Night Talk at my school which is where guys would come together and discuss the Bible. We both said “1 Thess. 4:17.” It’s right there in the text. How could anyone not believe it?

It was not that simple as I found out.

One day, I was in a chat room with another friend when our mutual friend Ed came in. This guy was dating a girl and her parents wanted to know why he didn’t believe in the rapture. Ed came in and gave a whole litany of reasons. Honestly, to this day I can’t remember what they were as it was so long ago, but I do know that I did not rest easy that night. The time had come really. I had seen all of these before I think, but I had to face them.

And I had to realize that I did not have any answer and none was forthcoming.

That was the end of my belief in a pre-trib rapture. From then on, I would find more and more texts and arguments that led me to wonder how it was I ever embraced it. I plan on getting into those in later sessions. However, this did not mean that I was a Preterist. I was at this point a post-tribulationist. I don’t even remember if I had even heard of Preterism by then.

All journeys have to begin somewhere. I don’t remember everything about it, but this is how my journey began. I hope over time to take you further on my journey.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Should Revelation Be Scary?

How do we approach this book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I wrote about my mother’s concerns with weather all over the world. I asked her then if she was basing this on Revelation and she told me she had only read it once when she was a child and it scared her greatly. I can understand a child being scared by the book of Revelation, much like how on the other end the rabbis wanted a Jewish boy to wait until he was old enough before he read the Song of Songs.

Yet as adults, should we be scared of the book? In all fairness, there are some surprising aspects of this book. Years ago I read a book that asked at one point what would we know about Jesus if the only thing we had about Him was the book of Revelation? We certainly wouldn’t know about any “Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild.”

Years ago, Weird Al had a movie called UHF where he took over a TV station and brought it back from the brink with some awesome shows. One show that he had was Gandhi II. In this one, Gandhi came back and was not Mr. passive-resistance. He was a rough and tough fighter with beautiful ladies by his side toting a machine gun. Aside from the ladies, we can see Jesus being presented in such a different way in Revelation. He opens seals that bring about destruction on Earth and He comes back riding on a horse to judge and make war.

We all say to some extent we want justice. That even applies to today’s social justice warriors. What is in their name but justice? While I think it is a perverted sense of justice, they still want what they see as justice. Justice is good, but justice can also be scary. Something worth pointing out also is we constantly want mercy for ourselves and justice for our enemies. We very rarely reverse those. Perhaps we should.

Now some people reading this believe in a rapture and that Revelation describes what happens when the church is gone. That I find puzzling since why spend so much time talking about an event we won’t see? Still, if you believe that, this shouldn’t scare you because you’re not going to experience it.

I take the Orthodox Preterist approach and see the book as describing events largely happening in the first century, though some is future and one event, Revelation 12, is even a Cosmic Christmas story. These events do show justice. God takes sin seriously. The reason everything happens in Revelation in judgment is because people sin. There is a way in which justice is scary.

If we stay there, Revelation will not help us. It is not meant to just scare us. It is meant to give us hope. When Christians go through sufferings and trials, even the worst of all, God is still in charge. No matter what the Beast does in the book, it’s clear throughout who is in charge.

Often in the church today we make too big an emphasis on the devil. When it comes to what’s going on in our lives that is suffering, we blame it on the devil over and over. Whenever we are tempted to sin, it is because of the devil. After all, it can’t be that that’s our natural tendency. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need the devil to tempt me into sin. I’m quite proficient at being tempted on my own.

This fear is understood since in Revelation sealing the devil takes an army of angels to…wait….what? What did you say? The text doesn’t say that? It says one angel does it?

Huh. Imagine that.

It takes one angel to deal with the devil. Don’t practically make him the counterpart of God.

Finally, I remember several years ago being on TheologyWeb when in our chat feature on the site called the Shoutbox, someone was posting “Saints Win! Saints Win! Saints Win!” I humorously remarked that he must have just finished reading the book of Revelation. It’s a joke, but we should all really shout with joy at times. After all, the saints really do win.

In the end then, Revelation should be a comfort. Whatever the judgment that comes, God does it for the people He loves and how does it end? It ends with a wedding. It is the ultimate marriage of Heaven and Earth. It is the consummation of what has been longed for. God is with His people as He intended and all those who want to sit at the table can do so.

Come.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Whether Weather Means Something

What are we to make of bad storms? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am interrupting work on theology to talk about something since it was something my own mother asked me about yesterday and well, her concerns rank up there as pretty important to me. Yesterday, she asked me if I thought bad storms around the world meant anything. Now I was pretty sure I knew where she was going with this, but I decided to probe by asking her what countries she was talking about.

I remember hearing Russia, China, Taiwan, Brazil, and Spain. Now whether that list is accurate or not, I cannot attest. I am just stating what she told me. At that point, I pointed out that there are around 190 or so countries in the world. I have been given a list of five countries so that’s hardly impressive. Then I was told it’s happening in Colorado or Texas. Again, two states out of fifty. Hardly impressive.

Couldn’t God be trying to wake up the world? I question that since normally such judgments in biblical times came with actual prophets speaking the message. I am very suspicious of many prophecy claims today since they happen to be wrong so often and the track record for Scripture is 100%. Too many books that are sold as prophecy books are now gathering dust in the storerooms of Christian bookstores as their predictions have been shown to be false.

In Luke 13, Jesus is told about circumstances of His time and He replies that the people in those were not worse sinners than anyone else, but you need to repent. It wouldn’t matter who Jesus was speaking to. He would tell them to repent. We are all in need of repentance and repentance should be a constant refrain in the Christian life.

Of course, that doesn’t mean when we experience something painful, we don’t spend any time in self-examination. We should. Pain is often God’s megaphone to a deaf world, but normally, the problem is we don’t pay much attention. Remember when 9/11 happened? Here in America, shortly after that, people flocked to the churches. We had a wonderful time of love and unity.

For about a week or two.

We are sadly this kind of people today. There will be a big news story and normally it will be all that everyone is talking about for a few days and it won’t get resolved and everyone will normally just stop talking about it and then move on. I am seeing commercials about the Covid situation and saying how after this we won’t take family for granted and we will appreciate what we have and that this won’t change.

Bull.

But is this happening because the church isn’t being the church? The church in America hasn’t been the church for quite some time. We definitely need to repent and return to preaching the gospel. We’ve instead turned and preached individualistic feel-good stuff. Too often when we talk about the Christian life, the whole goal is to get someone to go to Heaven and who cares about all this stuff in between? Well, we should. God surely does.

Here ultimately is the big problem that I see with this kind of thinking. We have too many people who spend so much time interpreting their personal experience or the daily news to see what the Bible says about them, which to an extent is fine, but they’re not just seeing what the Bible says first. Not only that, they often treat these events as if they all come directly from God and God is causing them to happen. These are Christians who can often keep dream journals where they want to see what God is saying in every dream they have. A dream could be from God, but it could also be because you ate too much pizza last night.

We interpret these as if we are certain they came from God and must be understood that way, but meanwhile we have Scripture which as Christians we know comes from God and we spend far less time interpreting that. If only we would spend as much time interpreting Scripture as we do interpreting the news. Sometimes a storm is just a storm.

We are told to not worry about matters many times. If someone is hurt greatly by inclement weather, then we should do what we can to help them out in Christian charity. However, plenty of people have made predictions in the past based on events going on. Every single one of them was wrong. Thus, when I encounter someone with a new claim, I set the bar extremely high. If every other time a Chicken Little came by, nothing happened, why should I panic when this one comes by?

So people, watch the news, but please do not panic. God is still in control of this world. If you think you need to repent, the answer is yes. What you need to repent of, I cannot tell you, but yes. You need to repent. So do I.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Angels and Death

What happens when someone dies? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In Final Fantasy X, when a person dies and doesn’t want to go to the realm of the dead, they interact with beings called pyreflies and become fiends. This is a common motif in many Japanese stories involving those who don’t want to go on and become a whole new creature. Many Christians might look at that and think that that is a creative story, but too many will believe something similar.

I say this because recently, my mother’s brother passed away. Today, there is to be a graveside service and many times, I can anticipate really bad thinking going on among people at Christian services about what happens when people die. One of the common beliefs is that people become angels.

This is not to say that the dead don’t remain in service to God in some way. There are many people who have NDEs who claim that they have encountered loved ones on the other side who have kept them from passing a boundary that would put them in eternity forever and saying it is not their time. I have no problem with such a thing happening.

However, when people die, they still remain being people. Humans are a species of a type that are meant to be embodied, although I think Scripture and NDEs both show that there is reality outside of the body. We are creatures that are naturally at home within the body.

Angels are beings that were created most likely at the start of creation and they are not meant to be embodied beings. They can assume a body if need be, though there is no evidence of demons doing so, but that is not how they naturally exist. Angels are by nature immaterial.

When a person dies, they do not become anything else. They remain fully human. It’s worth noting this is what happens with Jesus as well. Jesus to this day remains fully human as well as fully God.

Whenever we are in eternity, there will always be a distinction between humans and angels. Meanwhile with unbelievers, unbelievers do not become demons when they die. There will always be a distinction between unbelievers and demons.

Also, let’s dispense with ideas that are damaging to those left behind. Sometimes people say God needed another angel, which is especially damaging to children who lose a parent. After all, “Why did God have to take my Mommy like that?”

In the same way, people do not die because God needs them in His service in eternity. Why people die is part of the problem of evil and another question altogether that won’t be addressed here, but for now, I am focused on something else. While the question needs a good answer, let’s make sure at least we don’t give it a bad answer.

People have enough to grieve with when a loved one dies. We might want to say something comforting to those left behind, but let’s not say something that’s false and in the long run, won’t comfort, especially as I said, when children are concerned. Also, for those in apologetics, this is also not a time to discuss the problem of evil. Save it for when someone is not in the midst of the pain.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Reading Revelation

What’s the most important part of Revelation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many readers of this blog know about my fondness for debating eschatology. That includes the book of Revelation. I have also gone to a Bible study not so much from the Preterist view, which I hold, at an Orthodox Church Allie was attending for awhile. Not only that, but once we did a study through the book of Revelation like the one I am recommending on this blog.

Just last night I finished going verse by verse through Romans and I figured I would start going through Revelation. It would be interesting to go through it that way and I remembered the study I did years ago. That has taught me the most important lesson in reading Revelation.

Do not focus on end times when reading Revelation.

Now that seems shocking to people. Really? Isn’t that the purpose of the book? Well, that is certainly a purpose. We are to be shown what must soon take place. Now I will happily debate with dispensationalists and others on the interpretation of soon and I will debate with premillennialists and others I disagree with on the millennium, but there should be something that we all agree on and that something is the real focus on the book of Revelation.

That is to look and see what the book says about Jesus. The book begins as being described as the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Whatever your view on eschatology, you are supposed to see what you can find about Jesus.

In the book, Rediscovering Jesus, the authors imagine what would happen if we only knew what we know about Jesus through the book of Revelation. There would certainly be no gentle Jesus, meek and mild. This is a terrifying Jesus. This is a Jesus that is angry and He’s not going to take it anymore.

Fortunately, we do have more on Jesus in the Bible and when we study the book this way, we can consider so many odd messages. Think about the rulers of the Earth who went to be hidden from the wrath of the Lamb. What? How many of you have ever been terrified of a lamb?

If you have your eschatology timeline all filled out right and you have wrong who Jesus is, it will count for you for nothing. Make sure you get Jesus right. Try going through Jesus and don’t ask questions about eschatology, or at least primarily about eschatology. Ask about Jesus.

This book has a lot to say about Him.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.