Tuesday, April 26, 2016

On the destruction of Heaven and Earth.


This article may be treated as the part #3 of "Revelation 22 Demolishes Futurism Completely" series. It would be great if you read parts #1 and #2 before reading this one.

Will God burn up his own dwelling place and his own throne?

No discussion on the book of Revelation would be complete without a study on the passing away of the heaven and earth, because Revelation 21 mentions it. The details regarding the passing away of the heaven and and the earth could be found in 2ⁿᵈ Peter, Chapter 3:

2Pe 3:10: but the day of the lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
2Pe 3:12: waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of god, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!

Wait a minute, did Peter say "heavens will be set on fire?"

  • Is not heaven the dwelling place of God? (1Ki 8:30)
  • Is not heaven God's throne? (Psa 11:4; Isa 66:1) 
Do you really believe that God would set his own dwelling place and throne on fire, like some foolish drunkards setting their own house on fire? Or is God like some crooks who set their own houses on fire to claim insurance?

Do you know that you are already seated in heavenly places?

Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved -

Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Every known version renders this passage in present perfect tense or past tense, implying that seating you with Christ in heavenly place is a completed act.

Consider this: you are already seated with Christ in heavenly places and God is planning to burn up the same heaven! Does it make sense? [Many haven't noticed that this passage is in past tense, when we bring it to their notice, they will try to prove that the passage is in future tense, without any Bible translations to support their views.]

The goal of burning up the heavens and earth.

One of the Old Testament passages that has a striking similarity with 2Pet 3:10-12 is:

Isa 34:4 All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree.
Isa 34:5 For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom, upon the people I have devoted to destruction.

As we have seen in the previous articles, none of the cataclysmic and catastrophic events prophesied in this passage came to pass while Edom was destroyed and desolated 2-4 centuries before Jesus. Neither was heaven rolled away as a scroll nor did celestial bodies fell down like figs from a fig tree. The inhabitants of the land were either killed or exiled; nothing more, nothing less.

And there is absolutely nothing to prove that the catastrophic events detailed in 2Pet 3:10-12 would come to pass literally, because the purpose of the destroying earth is specified in:

2Pe 3:7: But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

We are not told that God would judge all the 8.7± million species of animals or half a million known plant varieties. The only species God purposed for judgment is human beings. It is quite unthinkable that God would massacre the entire flora and fauna for the sake of punishing a single species. (It may be argued that the entire fauna was destroyed during the Biblical flood, and all that God has promised then was not destroy everything by flood. I don't want to dwell on the topic, for the sake of brevity. Bear in mind that God did not destroy the heavens or the universe for punishing the inhabitants of this planet while he brought about the flood. 2Pe 3:6)

Have you noticed that 2Pe 3:7 mentions judgment? Doesn’t Mat 25:41 tell us that the ungodly men will go into eternal fire after the judgment?

Mat 25:41: Then he will say to those on his left: Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Either the ungodly men have to perish with the old earth while it is burned up OR they have to be cast into eternal fire. They cannot be tortured in eternal fire after they are burned up along with the earth.

If earth were to burn eternally, when will the new earth come into existence? And who will dwell on the new earth? Are we not told that the righteous are heaven-bound and the ungodly are hell-bound? If you are off to the new heaven, then why the new earth at all?

From the words of Apostle Peter it appears that the saints he was addressing were looking for both the new heaven and the new earth.

2Pe 3:13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Why should anyone look forward to a new earth in which righteousness dwells, if they are heaven-bound? Is it like our cleaning up our mess while vacating a house?

The true meaning of heaven and earth.

Have you noticed that Jesus associated the passing away of the Law of Moses with heaven and earth?

Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

This is not a figurative speech like "even if the heaven and earth pass...". It is a factual statement, and Jesus associated heaven and earth with the Law for a reason: Moses associated them with the Law. Consider this passage:

Deu 31:25 Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD,
Deu 31:26 "Take this Book of the Law and put it by the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against you.

Deu 31:28 Assemble to me all the elders of your tribes and your officers, that I may speak these words in their ears and call heaven and earth to witness against them.

After having said that the Book of the Law would be a witness against the children of Israel, Moses rephrases the statement, this time replacing heaven and earth as the witnesses. It may be argued that heaven stands for Jehovah God and He will bear witness against Israel. But, how will one explain Moses calling earth to bear witness against Israel? Jesus has affirmed that the Law of Moses will bear witness against Israel.

Joh 5:45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.

While Peter spoke about waiting for the new heaven and new earth where righteousness dwells, was he not hinting the removal of the Law that cannot make anyone righteous? (Gal 2:21; Rom 8:2-4 and many more passages.)

If it be so, has the Law passed away?

Jesus said:

Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
  • Avoiding duplicates, there are 613 commandments in the Law of Moses, as approved by Jewish scholars.
  • Of these, many are related to sacrifices, priesthood, festivals and offerings (almost 35% of the commandments). None of these are valid now as there is no temple and hence no priesthood.
  • Dietary restrictions and ritual purity (men & women with discharges) are not even followed by the defenders of the Law.
  • Of the 613 commandments at least 510 are no more applicable, that is a whopping 83.20%. 83.20% is not just a jot or a tittle!
There are Christians who claim that only the ritualistic laws and dietary restrictions have passed away, moral laws remain unaffected. Ask them whether they will stone their daughter to death if her husband were to make a genuine complaint that she was not a virgin at the time of his marrying her? (Deut 22:13-23) If their answer is no, they admit that the Law has passed away and they are not under the Law of Moses.

The Law came in through fire and it went away through fire.

In Exodus 19 and 20 we read about the giving of the Law. The children of Israel was required to sanctify themselves by bathing, washing their clothes and abstaining from sexual intercourse. People were asked not to go near and touch Mount Sinai, lest they would die. (Ex 19:14, 15). On the third day, the LORD descended on Mount Sinai, amidst loud thundering, lightening and fire:

Exo 19:16: And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
Exo 19:17: And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
Exo 19:18: And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

Though the scriptures say that the law was nailed to the cross (Col 2:14), the taking away of the law became manifest while daily sacrifices were taken away on 17ᵗʰ July 70 AD. By the end of August, 70 AD (9ᵗʰ of Av) the temple at Jerusalem was set to fire by the Roman army. Jerusalem was destroyed and, according to Flavius Josephus, 1.1 million Jews were massacred and 97,000 were captured and enslaved.

While the Law was given the people were cautioned to sanctify themselves, lest they would die. While the Law was taken away in 70 AD, those who refused to be sanctified by their faith in Jesus as the Messiah perished.

John the Baptist, Jesus and his disciples repeatedly warned the people of the wrath and destruction that was then to befall them, but to no avail.

Despite the repeated usage of hyperbolic language (often called prophetic or apocalyptic language), like 'heaven shall rot away', 'the skies roll up like a scroll' and 'hosts of heaven shall fall' universe exploding or imploding cataclysmic events never took place. They were used with symbolic meaning or to issue stern warnings. As parents don't we warn our kids with dire consequences if they misbehave? Every time that our kids misbehave do we punish them exactly according to the warning? (I don't, hope you won't, either.) God is a responsible parent, not a celestial monster awaiting an opportune time to pounce upon erring weaklings called human beings.

In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal

-: the end :-

Alternate Ending for those who are historically inclined.

While the Second Temple was constructed in Jerusalem, under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah, at the very spot where Solomon's Temple stood, it didn't have the ark of the covenant and Urim and Thummim, among many other things. The High Priest who offered up the incense and sprinkled the blood of the sacrifices did on the foundation stone upon which the ark of the covenant was placed in the Solomon's temple.

Jews believed that this Foundation Stone (Hebrew: אבן השתייה, Even haShetiya) or the Rock (Hebrew: סלע, Sela) to be the spiritual junction of Heaven and Earth. At present this foundation stone is at the heart of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.The present day occupants of the land of Israel offer prayers facing this rock. (Please follow the link to read the interesting details of the foundation stone in Wikipedia.)

What if Jesus and his disciples were telling their contemporaries that the Foundation Stone will cease to be the spiritual junction between heaven and earth, once the daily sacrifices are taken away and the temple is destroyed? Well, that is a conjecture, presented here as a suggestion so that brilliant minds may develop it further.

-: end (this time for real) :-

No comments:

Post a Comment