Saturday, April 30, 2016

The New Jerusalem, HAS BEEN HERE FOR LONG! - Part #2 - What's New in it?

Dear in Christ,

This is Part #2 of Rev 21: The New Jerusalem, has been here for long!, you may read Part #1 here.

Behold, I make all things new.

We have already seen that the events of Rev 21 do not take place in a renewed or refurbished planet earth. We have also seen that the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem are believers in Jesus Christ.

What's new, then?

One may argue that 2ⁿᵈ Peter 3ʳᵈ chapter mentions about even elements melting in fervent heat. Assuming that Apostle Peter really meant elements as we have in periodic tables, does it not mean that everything in the sky and earth would be destroyed? If that is the real intent or import of Apostle Peter's statement, I ask again, why evildoers are alone spared from such massive destruction? Why are they present even in the new earth under the new heaven?

Please let the Holy Spirit use hyperbolic/figurative language!

We use hyperbole and other figures in our speech and in our writings, but while it comes to the word of God, we won't allow the Holy Spirit to use figures of speech.
  • While Jesus said: “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matt. 23:24) could he have meant that Pharisees swallow camels? 
  • While Job said: “The rock poured me out rivers of oil.” (Job 29:6) could he have meant that his riches came from rocks? 
  • While it is said about the cities in Canaan: “The cities are great, and walled up to heaven.” (Deut. 1:28), do you really understand that the walls were reaching up to heaven? 
  • Do you really believe that people who said to have constructed a tower in Shinar/Babel (Gen 10) had the know-how to construct a tower that reaches up to heaven?
We can go on and on citing the usage hyperbole in the scriptures. Shorn of all the hyperbole, the essence of  2 Pet 3 and Rev 21 is the destruction of evildoers.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
We will come back to these passages again.

Judgment by deeds.

The terms "judgment" (2Pe 3:7) and "second death" (Rev 21:8) connect both these passages to Rev 20:11-15. Whereas 2Pe 3:7 talks about heavens and earth being reserved unto fire, Rev 20:11 talks about heaven and earth fleeing away. Which one is literal? Which one is figurative? Since they cannot flee away after being burnt up, is it likely that they will flee away and then get burned up? Frankly, my friend, the talk about burning up and fleeing away of the heavens and earth is figurative in nature.

If it be the will of God, we will see in a detailed study on Rev 20 and Matt 25 that the white throne judgment in both these chapters are based on deeds.
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

To the best of my knowledge, most of the (Protestant) Christians believe that they are saved by grace. But, when it comes to judgment, they want to be seen on the right side of the throne with those who are there because of their deeds! If your final judgment is based on deeds, why faith at all? If a Christian is to be based on deeds, how they are different from a non-Christian who can rightfully claim of good deeds?

Frankly, my friend, the judgment of Matt 25 and Rev 20 has nothing to do with Christians. If Christians cannot be among the sheep on the right side of the throne, none alive today could be on the left side as well.

Whoremongers, idolaters ...

Back to Rev 21:8.
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liarsshall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
For many Christians words like "whoremongers", "idolaters" and "sorcerers" stand for non-Christians like Hindus. They, somehow, lose sight of the fact that the Old Testament is replete with the narratives of the idolatry, whoredom and abominations perpetrated by the children of Israel. I think it is redundant to cite scriptures to prove this.

Is it some coincidence that Apostle Paul refers to Jews (to whom law was given) with almost the same terms that is used in Rev 21:8?
1Ti 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

1Ti 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
Is it some coincidence that:
  • the judgments in Rev 20 and Matt 25 are based on deeds and not faith, 
  • and the characteristics of the people mentioned in Rev 21:8 matches more or less with those mentioned in 1Ti 1:9, 10?
As we will see in our study of Rev 20, this passage is about the judgment executed on national Israel in the first century.

[It is quite likely that the evildoers mentioned in Rev 22:15 is not the same group of people mentioned in Rev 21:8, as the new heaven and earth that is mentioned in Rev 21:1-2 comes down from heaven after the old heaven and earth are destroyed for the destruction of evildoers - 2Pet 3:7. This holds true, unless one can prove that destruction of the old heaven and earth is different from lake of fire, which is second death - Rev 20:14. The evildoers in Rev 22:15 have the option of entering the city through the gates which are open always, after they have washed their robes - Rev 22:14.]

What is new in new heaven, new earth and new Jerusalem?

While 2 Peter 3 and Revelation 21 draw a phantasmagorical imagery of old heaven, old earth and old Jerusalem passing away, something not any less important happened uneventfully: believers in Christ became the Israel of God.

Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature (new creation in other translations).
Gal 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God
In the same passage, above, have you noticed the term "new creation"? This passage along with the following one defines new creation.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (new creation in other versions): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Every (Protestant) Christian professes that he/she is a new creation in Christ. They also admit that they are "born again" which Jesus terms as "born from above" or "born again".

Consider this:
  • While you became a new creation (creature) was that preceded or succeeded by any cataclysmic event?
  • While you became a new creation (creature) did any biological change happen to you?
  • Have you noticed that the scripture says that: "if man be in Christ" ... "old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new"? Now, tell me, what is not included in ALL?
  • While you were "born again" or "born from above" did something outlandish happen to you, except, probably, a change in your perceptions?
If you are a new creation without any biological changes happening to you, why the universe has to renewed or refurbished in order to become new creation?
Continued in Part #3
In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal