Sunday, April 22, 2007

Re: Thoughts on your web page - Jesus' return #3

AN

Continued from part #2.

[Above: Jesus curses a fig tree (Mark 11:14), The Brick Testament]

----- Original Message -----
From: AN
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2007 6:47 AM
Subject: Thoughts on your web page - Jesus' return

>In response to his disciples' question in Matthew 24, Jesus gives us the parable of the fig tree. The fig tree of course typifies ISRAEL! Jeremiah 24 and Hosea 9:10 help us to understand the parable of the fig tree and also Jesus' cursing of the barren fig tree in Matt 21. I understand that fig trees acquire fruit first and leaves afterwards - the fig tree in Matt 21 was therefore boasting that it had fruit.

Agreed, that the parable of the fig tree (Mk 11:12-14,20-21 = Mt 21:18-20) signifies Israel (Hos 9:10, Mic 7:1-2; Jer 24:1-10; Lk 13:6-9). But that does not directly pertain to the Second Coming of Christ, so I have not included that in my study on "The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."

I do however have under "Signs of Second Coming" an uncompleted sub-section:

Acceptance by Israel "Repent, then, and turn to God ... that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus" (Ac 3:19-20); Mt 23:39; Ac 1:6-7; Lk 13:35; Rom 11:25-26.

>Touching on the Genesis account of creation. I had been prepared to accept that creation took up to 6,000 years on the day for a year principle. Not knowing how to answer the Ex Nihlo evening and morning comment, I've tended back towards the literal six days of creation view, I think that a previous creation is quite possible and that the earth and sun etc existed long before creation. Any thoughts?

This sounds like the Gap Theory. If so, it has major problems as follows:

"Gap Theory. The gap or reconstruction theory is a scheme to reconcile the long geologic ages in the earth's history with the Genesis creation account. It basically advocates that the first two verses of Genesis I describe a condition that lasted an indeterminate length of time and preceded the six days of creation in Gen. 1:3ff. There was creation (1:1), followed by a catastrophe (1:2), in turn followed by a re-creation (1:3ff.). All the needed geologic ages in earth's pre-Adamic history may be found either between 1:1 and 1:2 or during 1:2. Early expressions of the view can be traced to Episcopius (d. 1643), a theologian who taught at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, and to the scientist J. G. Rosenmuller (d. 1815). In nineteenth century England it was espoused by the theologian Thomas Chalmers, geologist William Buckland, biblical scholar John Pye Smith, and church historian J. H. Kurtz. In the United States the view was widely disseminated by G. H. Pember, Harry Rimmer, and the first edition of the Scofield Reference Bible (1909). For many today the day-age theory has replaced the gap theory as the best explanation of the geologic ages and Genesis 1. Others have adopted flood-catastrophism. Criticism of the gap theory has arisen from various circles, and summaries may be found in the works of Allis ["God Spake by Moses," 1951], Ramm ["The Christian View of Science and Scripture," 1954], and Young ["Christianity and the Age of the Earth," 1998] cited below. In essence the criticism involves (1) the improbability that only one verse (Gen. 1:1) deals with the original creation while so many sentences are devoted to a secondary or re-creation process; (2) the lack of solid exegetical evidence to support the rendering of the Hebrew verb `was' [Heb. waw] in Gen. 1:2 as `became'; (3) the sense of `without form' and `void' [Heb. tohu and bohu] meaning nothing more than `empty,' `uninhabited' [Isa 45:18; Jer 4:23]; (4) elaborate theories of angelology and demonology derived from Isa. 14 and Ezek. 28 and inserted in Gen. 1:2 being unjustified; and (5) such a theory turning the entire field of geology over to the geologists since the Bible [then] yields no reference to earth's earliest formation." (Johnson, A.E., "Gap Theory," in Elwell, W.A., ed., "Evangelical Dictionary of Theology," [1984], Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1990, Seventh Printing, p.439. Emphasis original).

As for "Not knowing how to answer the Ex Nihilo evening and morning comment," i.e. the first six days (but not the seventh) of Genesis 1, ending with "And there was evening, and there was morning" (Gen 1:5,8,13,19,23,31), you may be interested that Cyrus I. Scofield the main populariser of the gap theory through this note in his Scofield Reference Bible:

"[Gen 1:]2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. ...(1:2) Two main interpretations have been advanced to explain the expression `without form and void' (Heb. tohu and bohu). The first, which may be called the Original Chaos interpretation, regards these words as a description of an original formless matter in the first stage of the creation of the universe. The second, which may be called the Divine judgment interpretation, sees in these words a description of the earth only, and that in a condition subsequent to its creation, not as it was originally (see Isa.45:18, note; cp. also notes at Isa. 14:12; Ezek. 28:12)." (Scofield, C.I., ed., "The New Scofield Reference Bible: Authorized King James Version," [1909], Oxford University Press: New York NY, Revised, 1967, p.1. Emphasis original)

in another note on the very next page, conceded of "The use of `evening' and `morning'" that "the frequent parabolic use of natural phenomena may warrant the conclusion that it simply means that each creative day was a period of time marked off by a beginning and ending":

"([Gen ]1:5) The use of `evening' and `morning' may be held to limit `day' to the solar day; but the frequent parabolic use of natural phenomena may warrant the conclusion that it simply means that each creative day was a period of time marked off by a beginning and ending (cp. Ps. 90:6). In any event the sun did not become a measure of time before the fourth day, as seen in vv. 14-18." (Scofield, Ibid., p.2)

Also, as the late evangelical theologian Bernard Ramm pointed out, "If one takes a metaphorical interpretation of the word yom ["day"], then mutatis mutandis the expression evening and morning, must be metaphorical":

"The expression `evening and morning' is capable of several interpretations. Some take it to mean a period of rest and a period of creation. Others take it as a graphic means of describing a cosmic day. If one takes a metaphorical interpretation of the word yom, then mutatis mutandis the expression evening and morning, must be metaphorical. They do not mean that there is a day of a million years of light followed by a million years of darkness. The expression refers to something in the process of creation. No objection to the theory can be made on the basis of forcing a literal meaning into the expression `evening and morning.'" (Ramm, B.L., "The Christian View of Science and Scripture," [1954], Paternoster: London, Reprinted, 1960, p.146).

For my interpretative approach to "the Genesis account of creation," see under "Genesis 1" of my FAQ post "What I believe about Creation, Evolution and Design" where I state that "Of the various main interpretative approaches to Genesis 1 ... I consider the ... Literary Framework interpretation to be the best fit of the data of the text itself and the evidence from nature":

"Genesis 1. Of the various main interpretative approaches to Genesis 1, including: Literalist, Gap theory, Day-age, Proclaimed days, Revealed days and Literary Framework; I consider the latter Literary Framewor- interpretation to be the best fit of the data of the text itself and the evidence from nature (general revelation). See my post of 31-Aug-06 for more details."

In the post of 31-Aug-06 that I refer to, I quoted perhaps the world's leading conservative evangelical theologian, J.I. Packer, that of the "four opinions, basically, about the seven days," "the so-called framework view, sometimes called the literary hypothesis ... is the only viable one. ... Because ... light appears on the first day while God only makes the sun and the moon and the stars on the fourth day" and "That fact alone ... shows that what we have here is not anything that can be called science, but rather an imaginative pattern of order replacing chaos" (my emphasis):

"There are four opinions, basically, about the seven days. The first is the literalist hypothesis which maintains that what we are reading about is twenty-four-hour days by our clocks; what we are being told in Genesis 1 is that the whole world came to be formed within what we would recognize as a working week. The hypothesis assumes that what we have in Genesis is descriptive prose, of newspaper type. The second view is that each of the days of the creation is an allegorical figure. What each of the references to the evening and the morning represent is a geological epoch, a very, very long period of time, hundreds of thousands of years at least. There has been much effort in this century by those who have understood the days this way to try and show that the order of things in Genesis 1 corresponds to the best scientific account that can be given of how specific items emerged and took their place in the order of the world. A witty Roman Catholic writer described this method of understanding as an attempt to raise Moses' credit by giving him a B.Sc. Those who take this 'concordist' view, as it is called, assume that part of the purpose of Genesis 1 was to give us scientific information about the stages by which things came to be. Third is what is called the revelation day theory, which takes the six evenings and mornings as signifying that creation was revealed in a story with six instalments, each instalment being given to the inspired writer on a separate day. After the first instalment had been given, the writer said there was evening and there was morning. That is a way of saying that God gave him the next bit of the story the next day. Fourth there is the so-called framework view, sometimes called the literary hypothesis. This view says that the six days, evening and morning, are part of what we may call a prose poem, that is a total pictorial presentation of the fact of creation in the form of a story of a week's work. Without going into the details of argument about these different views, let me tell you straightaway that in my judgement this fourth view is the only viable one. Why? Because in this account light appears on the first day while God only makes the sun and the moon and the stars on the fourth day. That fact alone, it seems to me, shows that what we have here is not anything that can be called science, but rather an imaginative pattern of order replacing chaos ..." (Packer, J.I., "Honouring the Written Word of God: The Collected Shorter Writings of James I. Packer," Vol. 3, Paternoster Press: Carlisle UK, 1999, p.179)

>Kind regards from AN

>PS: A few thoughts that you might find interesting:
>
>Will Jesus be mistaken for the Antichrist when he returns?

No. For starters, when Jesus returns there will be no Antichrist, because "Jesus will ... destroy" him "by the splendor of his coming" (my emphasis):

"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming." (2Th 2:8).

As Leon Morris commented, "terrible though the lawless one" (Antichrist) "will be, he cannot stand before the Lord for a moment. There will not even be a contest ... For the Lord even to show himself is to destroy the enemy":

"[2Th 2:]8. And then (tote) indicates that these further events will follow more or less immediately after the removal of the restraining power. The lawless one is, of course, identical with 'the man of lawlessness', and now for the third time he is said to be revealed, which puts a certain emphasis on the supernatural aspect of his appearing. Paul's primary aim is not to gratify curiosity about this being and he gives no details of his activity; he goes straight from his appearance to his destruction. Throughout this whole section there is the underlying note of God's unchallenged sovereignty; thus the revelation of the lawless one is naturally followed by his destruction (described in words reminiscent of Is. 11:4). .... The breath of his mouth (here only in the New Testament; Cf. Ps. 33:6) shows that, terrible though the lawless one will be, he cannot stand before the Lord for a moment. There will not even be a contest - the breath (or 'the word', Calvin) of God is sufficient (cf. Rev. 19:21). There is a parallel thought: and destroy by the splendour of his coming. For the Lord even to show himself is to destroy the enemy. Destroy translates katargesei... which has the basic meaning 'to make idle' and thus 'to render null and void'. It does not mean that the lawless one will be annihilated, but that he will be made completely powerless." (Morris, L.L., "The Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians: An Introduction and Commentary," Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, [1956], Inter-Varsity Press: Leicester UK, Second Edition, 1984, p.132. Emphasis original)

[...]

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).


Exodus 16:21-34. 21Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much-two omers for each person-and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses. 23He said to them, "This is what the LORD commanded: 'Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.' " 24So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25"Eat it today," Moses said, "because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any." 27Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28Then the LORD said to Moses, "How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29Bear in mind that the LORD has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go out." 30So the people rested on the seventh day. 31The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. 32Moses said, "This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.' " 33So Moses said to Aaron, "Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the LORD to be kept for the generations to come." 34As the LORD commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna in front of the Testimony, that it might be kept.

2 comments:

Melanie Stephan said...

If Jesus did return would anyone believe it? Now when Jesus was here people called him a liar. Now if Jesus came back again and talked to someone like me I don't think anyone would believe it. Now no one believes that Jesus came and told me the meaning of First is Last and Last is First. I am just about worn out telling everyone. Then on top of that they think I am a liar or loony. What does Jesus have to do to get you to believe that it is very possible for him to return and talk to someone? Really, what would it take? Melanie Stephan

Stephen E. Jones said...

Melanie

>If Jesus did return would anyone believe it?

When (not if) Jesus returns in His Second Coming (Heb 9:28; Acts 1:11; Mt 16:27), everyone will believe it!

That is because, it will be both: 1) visible, to "all the nations of the earth" who will all "see" Jesus "coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory" (my emphasis):

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." (Mt 24:30 = Mk 13:26 & Lk 21:27)."

That means every individual in those "all the nations of the earth" will see Him:

"Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him ..." (Rev 1:7. My emphasis)

And it will also be 2: audible to everyone.with Jesus' own "loud command", "the voice of the archangel" and "the trumpet call of God":

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God ..." (1Th 4:16).

Jesus Himself said His return would be announced by "a loud trumpet call" (my emphasis):

"And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." (Mt 24:31. See also 1Cor 15:52).

and even "all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out":

"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." (Jn 5:28-29).

See my "The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."

[...]

Stephen E. Jones