Category Archives: Eschatology

The Future of Jesus 7: The Feast of Booze

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It is not really the feast of booze; it is the feast of booths. It was a week-long feast when people made booths or tents to live in around the sanctuary. It was Old Testament Bible camp.

But it is easy to get confused not only when you say it out loud but when you read about it:

“You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.

“Whatever your appetite craves” is worth a bit of contemplation, but this is all beside the point.  So I will now get to it.  The feast of booths is the last of three feasts.  Here they are in Deuteronomy 16:

“Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 And you shall offer the Passover sacrifice to the Lord your God, from the flock or the herd, at the place that the Lord will choose, to make his name dwell there. 3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction—for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste—that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. 4 No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning. 5 You may not offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, 6 but at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell in it, there you shall offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, at the time you came out of Egypt. 7 And you shall cook it and eat it at the place that the Lord your God will choose. And in the morning you shall turn and go to your tents. 8 For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a solemn assembly to the Lord your God. You shall do no work on it.

9 “You shall count seven weeks. Begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain. 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. 11 And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your towns, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are among you, at the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there. 12 You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.

13 “You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. 15 For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

What does this have to do with the future of Jesus?  We should expect the Feast of Booths to relate to the future of Jesus because Passover and Pentecost are about the past of Jesus.  Jesus was crucified during the Week of Unleavend Bread and was dead during Passover.  Then he gave the Spirit on Pentecost.  Notice the relationship: first no leaven is allowed and then leavened bread is offered to God as a sign of new life (Leviticus 23.16, 17).

So we have moved from Passover in the death and resurrection of Jesus, through Pentecost in which the Spirit is given to the Church.

What are we moving toward?

The Feast of Booths also happens to be the time when seventy bulls are sacrificed leading to the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 29). Seventy bulls stand for seventy nations. The week commemorated God’s plan to gather in the whole world to his feast.

Jesus loves you and your Christian family but he did not die and rise again to have you in his private party. He died and rose again not only for you but also for the whole world.  He wants everyone to come to his table and he will eventually ensure that the whole world is present at his feast.

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From Adam to Solomon

Soon after Solomon became king he asked God for wisdom.  Here is how the request is recorded in 1 Kings 3:

You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day.  And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?

The request seems to presuppose that the ability to discern between good and evil denotes the wisdom with a ruler needs if he is to rule well.  Solomon was a child but it was time for him to leave childish things behind.  He needed wisdom.

But there was a time when it was appropriate for prominent members of the human race to be children.  Adam and Eve were new to the world when God told them both together that, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” (Genesis 1.29).  But then we know that one of the two who heard God’s declaration must have turned to the other and said, “God didn’t really mean that–at least not yet.”

Before Eve was created God told Adam, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2.16, 17).  So a rather hefty exception was left out of the declaration and gift which Eve heard with her own ears from God.

So did Adam contradict God?

I don’t think so.  I think the prohibition on the tree had to be temporary.  And the fact that the tree is called “of the knowledge of good and evil,” provides evidence that this must be the case.  Adam and Eve were each still “a little child,” but God had destined them to become kings and queens.  As they matured and grew they would eventually be ready.  At that point they would be granted access to the tree.  Years later Solomon was granted it in a different fashion.

The two basic temptations in front of any human and any culture are impatience and escapism. People grasp at things they are not yet ready for, but they also try not to move into new life and try to stay perpetually childish.

God loves babies but he also intends for them to grow up into kings.  Children have to learn to submit to their parents before they can rule.

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5.11-14).

Time to talk about it

When theological folks dichotomize, they often do it without regard to the reality of time. And this causes no end of trouble.

Given their assumptions about the political dualities of life, the anabaptist impulse to reject infant baptism is a shrewd one, because all these things are connected together. And infant baptism is a statement, among other things, about time. The tangles we get into over visible/invisible church, the City of God/city of man, kingdom of God/kingdom of the devil, heaven/earth all occur because we try to conceive of them all as static realities, and not as categories that exist in various forms of tension or battle over the course of history. Time matters; history matters. An infant you baptize is not the same person who goes to heaven, and yet is very much the same person. There is continuity/discontinuity, and much of it is revealed over time.

Read the rest at When Civilizations Are Baptized in Infancy.

This ends as a stellar response to some people who are 1) mistaken, in my opinion, and 2) acting as if their novel views are the standard of all orthodoxy and they have the right to treat those who disagree with them as unorthodox.

I loved that part.

But really, the words about the importance of time and our historic impulse to not talk about time is really much more profound than that single issue.

Could you even try to more directly contradict the Bible?

“Our task as Christians is not to try through social action or labors or endeavors of one sort or the other to usher in the new heavens and the new earth ourselves. We’re not the agents of that. That’s something God’s going to introduce Himself, at the last day.

via Guy Waters on the Christian’s Task « Heidelblog.

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

If Waters had stuck with “ourselves” he would have slipped through.  But not even agents?  And “usher in” is rather misleading.  Jesus says he’s already done it.  All that is left is growth and mopping up.  He’s now king.  A man is ruling at the right hand of God (new heavens) and the Spirit has been poured out (new earth).  The stone has shattered the empires and is now growing into a mountainPsalm 2 is fulfilled and now all nations are being given over to the Son as the Great Commission spells outPsalm 110 is being fulfilled and God’s enemies are being put under his feet.

What assumptions are being brought to the text that make this anything less than obvious?

Daniel [R]2[K]

In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.” They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.” The king answered and said, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm— if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.” The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.

Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.”

Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.” The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind.

“You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it landed on the image’s  feet of iron and clay, and yet it somehow passed through them like a spiritual rock that was there in some sense and yet left the image untouched. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together continued on into other kingdoms according to common grace principles. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth in a spiritual way like a ghost mountain that left the historical physical world unaffected.

“This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall leave in place all these kingdoms and they will rise and fall according to common grace having nothing to do with this spiritual kingdom, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it left undamaged the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of a spiritual kingdom that leaves earthly kings autonomous, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him a chaplain for the remnant of Israelites in the whole province of Babylon and a spiritual guide for the wise men of Babylon who wanted counseling or to join a Bible study when they were between assemblies. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over other chapels in the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.

The USA *alone* is not Israel

I think there is probably plenty to object to in the event, but this entry is confused.

Every nation is Israel now.  If God judged Ninevah and then had mercy when they repented, all nations now are much more under the judgment of God and also much more assured of mercy if they repent.

(Of course, it is true that no nation is now Israel in one sense, but it was also true that it would have been blasphemous for Ninevah to imitate God’s law by building a temple.  But the basic promise to save the repentant applied to Ninevah and it much more applies to any nation in the new covenant age.)

Jesus is “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (note this is from Revelation 1.5 but it gives Jesus’s present title, not a future prophecy).  He is the Davidic king who rules the all kingdoms, not just one.

When Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, he doesn’t say that a trans-dimensional rock falls to the earth in a different reality so that it leaves the kingdoms of the world unaffected in a common grace realm.  He says the rock shatters the image into dust and then grows into a mountain that fills and waters the whole earth.

Once only Israel was Israel, but now Jesus says to go and disciple all the nations because he has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28.18-20).

So, yes, the church is institutionally distinct, but it remains the case that all nations need to repent and believe the Gospel and trust God to save them.

Q. 191. What do we pray for in the second petition?
A. In the second petition (which is, Thy kingdom come), acknowledging ourselves and all mankind to be by nature under the dominion of sin and Satan, we pray, that the kingdom of sin and Satan may be destroyed, the gospel propagated throughout the world, the Jews called, the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; the church furnished with all gospel officers and ordinances, purged from corruption, countenanced and maintained by the civil magistrate; that the ordinances of Christ may be purely dispensed, and made effectual to the converting of those that are yet in their sins, and the confirming, comforting, and building up of those that are already converted: that Christ would rule in our hearts here, and hasten the time of his second coming, and our reigning with him forever: and that he would be pleased so to exercise the kingdom of his power in all the world, as may best conduce to these ends.

B. B. Warfield on the Golden Age

There is a “golden age” before the Church – at least an age relatively golden gradually ripening to higher and higher glories as the Church more and more conquers the world and all the evil of the world; and ultimately an age absolutely golden when the perfected Church is filled with the glory of the Lord in the new earth and under the new heavens.

“The Millennium and the Apocalypse,” p. 664.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world…

Passage: Romans 5 (ESV Bible Online).

Commentators agonize over why Paul says, “Therefore…” in Romans 5.12.

But surely the reason is in 5.1-11.  We were justified when death and sin were at their high point, when we were “weak” and “still sinners.”  And we can be sure that we will move from victory to victory, even through tribulation, from this point on.

So in 5.12, Paul is saying, Therefore this means that Christ’s obedience is bringing about a righteousness much greater than the condemnation from Adam’s disobedience.  Paul is “standing back,” so to speak, and showing that the victory we have been given and can expect in 5.1-11, means that sin and death and condemnation are defeated early and overwhelmingly in the course of human history.

Yes, it is all about how postmillennialism is true.

How does his life save us from wrath?

From Romans 5:

9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

N. T. Wright admits the two-stage structure of Paul’s argument here, but then refers back to propitiation in Romans 3 to explain how we are saved from wrath.  This essentially destroys the “much more” in Paul’s argument.  Schreiner refers to the intercession of Christ mentioned in Romans 8.

Romans 8, however, mentions many things, and the distance between the mention of intercession and this passage leaves me unconvinced that Paul can only be thinking of the intercession.

(Sidenote: Many times the way I hear Protestants describe justification leaves me wondering if the fact of Christ’s ongoing intercession is a challenge rather than a blessing–much as I remember seminary students wondering why Christ needs to continue to forgive us.)

The promise that God will “much more” save us from wrath by the new life of Christ is followed immediately by a promise of abounding grace that outstrips the condemnation that results from Adam, and then a description of how the new life of Christ empower our new obedience (Romans 6).  This abounding and new obedience stands in stark contrast to the description of how the world is going to Hell in a handbasket (Romans 1.18-3.20).  God has responded to sin in the nations by giving over the nations to more sin.  This downward spiral has now been reversed.  Now that Jesus has shed his blood as a propitiation for sin, God can, through the new life of Christ, bring the nations to new obedience.  The world movement from wrath to wrath has been replaced with an even more powerful dynamic from obedience to holiness.