Thursday, November 16, 2006

Whose Land Is It?

Hey Friends,

I would like you to check this article out and let me know what you think (begins on page 6):

http://www.lcms.org/graphics/assets/media/Lutheran%20Witness/Witness%20Nov06.pdf

I think Dr. Lessing brings up some pretty insightful points and causes us to fix our eyes on Christ, rather then have our whole theology centered upon events in the Middle East. I particularly think his definition of "Israel" as the people of God today (Christians) is biblical. I'm curious to hear your opinions.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Steve said...

Reading that article, it does seem to me that Israel is considered the church.

But the questions I asked in my email yesterday were not answered in the article: if Israel doesn't figure into the end times, and if the temple is truly not to be rebuilt again, what are the prophecies in Daniel regarding the desecration of the temple by the antichrist and refered to by Jesus (when he was describing his second coming) in Matthew describing?

Matt 24:15 - So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand”, which refers to several verses in Daniel.

Dan 9:27 “He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

Dan 11:31 - "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.”

Dan 12:11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days [which is 3.5 years, or halfway through a “seven” or “week” in Dan 9:27]”

Do you believe in the "great tribulation"? Do you think the plagues and judgements of the scrolls, trumpets and bowls are figurative or literal? Do you think some of the judgements have already taken place, or that they will all happen in the seven year period?

Thu Nov 16, 01:36:00 PM EST  
Blogger Augustine said...

Hey Steve,

Concerning the prophecies in Daniel which were written by him in 530 BC (before the temple was rebuilt after it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC) - they have been fulfilled. In 168 BC Antiochus Epiphanes set up an altar in the temple to the pagan god Zeus Olympus. We are certain that this was a fulfillment of the abomination that causes desolation spoken by Daniel. Today, liberal scholars who don't believe in predictive prophecy cliam that someone other than Daniel wrote the book after 168 BC after he saw the procphecy fulfilled.

The first part of Matthew 24 can be divided up into three parts: 1) v. 4-14 The End of the Age, 2) v. 15-22 The Destruction of Jeruslam, and 3) v. 23-31 Christ's 2nd coming. In Matt. 24:15 Jesus was not talking specifically about his 2nd coming, but the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It is important, Steve, to recall the beginning of the chapter which says:

"Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down" (Matt. 24:1-2). Some people disregard this context and see Jesus' words as only relevant to his 2nd coming. While Jesus does speak of his 2nd coming, he also speaks of the fall of Jerusalem which is a type of his 2nd coming.

Some see the fulfillment of Jesus' words concerning the abomination that causes desolation fulfiled when the Roman Emperor Caligula (37-41 AD) ordered a statue of himself to be put into the temple. But this is doubtful since this order was never carried out. More probable is Titus who placed an idol on the burned temple in 70 AD. Other likely fulfillments may have been the mockery of the Jewish priests by the Roman soldires inside of the temple prior to destroying it.

When Jesus, the Anointed One (Dan. 9:25, 26) arrived he was "cut off" and "had nothing" in that he was crucified. After this the "city and sanctuary was destroyed." When Jesus came He put an end to sacrifices and offerings since He was the perfect sacrifice without spot wrinkle or blemish. The thought of some today who think the sacrificial system will be re-instituted make a mockery of torture Jesus went through in atoning for their sins.

"For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near" (Hebrews 10:1).

"Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,but a body have you prepared for me" (Heb. 10:5).

"And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins" (Heb. 10:11).

Sat Nov 18, 10:26:00 AM EST  
Blogger Augustine said...

Concerning your other questions, Steve, "tribulation" is what Christians experience today, and what will increase and reach its consumation prior the Christ's second coming. The word tribulation is used in both senses in the Book of Revelation:

1) "'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2:9).

Here Jesus is speaking to a 1st century church.

2) "I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev. 7:14).

Here we see a vision of people that went through the great tribulation prior to Christ's second coming.

In OT times trumpets served to announce certain events and signified the beginning of war. The seven trumpets announce a series of plagues more severe than the seals but not as completely devastating as the bowls. What is most important is what the trumpets, etc. announce, not if they are literal or figurative.

Further, since the series of visions that John has are a symbolic representation of the entire NT era, yes, some of the things described have already occurred. The Church Age is equivalent to the Last Days.

The seven year period that you speak of, I fear has been derived from Daniel. Seven is the sacred number of completeness and should not be taken literally, and in apocoplyptic language describes the full attainment of redemption which will arrive on the Day of the Lord.

Sat Nov 18, 10:46:00 AM EST  
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