Dispensationalism’s ‘Battle’ of Armageddon is not Mentioned in the Bible

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Catapulta, Edward Poynter (1868) This is similar to the catapults used by the Romans. Source: Art Renewal Centre

Introduction

A great deal of speculation has been written about major events predicted in the Book of Revelation. Inevitably, the result is a misconstrued scenario of the ‘end times’.

It may surprise readers to learn that some of the most popular ‘end times’ topics taught today, do not actually appear in the Scriptures.

For example:

The Antichrist

The Thousand Years Reign of Christ

The Battle of Armageddon

My articles ‘Dispensationalism’s ‘The Antichrist’ is not Mentioned in the Bible’, and ‘Jesus Never Mentioned a Millennium Reign?’ explain my view in detail.

There is no doubt we are living in uncertain times; sadly, a world war is within the realm of possibility. Nevertheless, political leaders should not succumb to the promulgators of grossly exaggerated ‘end times’ theories. Dispensationalism’s ‘Battle of Armageddon’ has no bearing on the calamities that may befall our generation.

The purpose of this article is to examine whether Dispensationalism’s claim is justified that ‘the Battle of Armageddon’ is an impending, world ending event. I will attempt to explain what John meant by ‘Armageddon’, and affirm its AD 70 timeline.

The History of Armageddon

Adam Clarke (1760-1832) predicted future ‘self-inspired prophets’ would continue ‘Armageddon’ speculation whenever a warmongering dictator appears on the scene.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

‘Armageddon – The original of this word has been variously formed, and variously translated. It is הר־מגדון har-megiddon, “the mount of the assembly;” or חרמה גדהון chormah gedehon, “the destruction of their army;” or it is הר־מגדו har-megiddo, “Mount Megiddo,” the valley of which was remarkable for two great slaughters: one of the Israelites, 2 Kings 23:29, the other of the Canaanites, Judges 4:16; Judges 5:19. But Mount Megiddo, that is Carmel, is the place, according to some, where these armies should be collected. But what is the battle of Armageddon? How ridiculous have been the conjectures of men relative to this point! Within the last twenty years this battle has been fought at various places, according to our purblind seers and self-inspired prophets! At one time it was Austerlitz, at another Moscow, at another Leipsic, and now Waterloo! And thus they have gone on, and will go on, confounding and being confounded.’

Predictions continue to this day, the only difference is the greater degree of exaggeration. Some leading authors, preachers, and TV personalities, who insist on a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, now claim John and the prophets described 21st century helicopters and nuclear bombs!

The ‘Battle’ or the ‘Gathering’ of Armageddon?

A Quote from raptureready.com

Revelation 16:16 ‘Armageddon comes from the Hebrew word meaning “the Mount of Megiddo.” This ancient fortress is located in northern Israel, across the Plain of Esdraelon from Nazareth. Armageddon will be the gathering place for the final great battle, which bears its name.’

It is important to understand the context of Revelation 16:16 because it is the only occasion Armageddon is mentioned in the New Testament. It is astounding the innumerable sermons, books, and movies inspired by one verse of Scripture.

Rev 16-16 KJV And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

John wrote they ‘gathered’ at Armageddon, the ‘battle’ of Armageddon is not mentioned at all. Nevertheless, it has not deterred imaginations from running wild.

The Gathering at Armageddon

Rev 16:1-2 KJV And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. 2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

In my opinion, the Armageddon timeline was during the 1st century AD when the wrath of God was unleashed upon unrepentant Old Covenant Israel. The religious leaders and their misguided flock were the recipients of God’s judgement. The first vial of judgement was poured out on those having accepted the mark of the beast. The final outcome was the destruction of the temple, Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the nation.

My article ‘Dispensationalism’s ‘The Antichrist’ is not Mentioned in the Bible’ explains my view on the beast and his mark.

200,000,000 Army of Horsemen

I agree with Frank Di Mori, the ‘Bible Prophecy Man’, that the gathering at Armageddon was not to battle, but to commence a campaign against Jerusalem.

Rev 9:16-17 KJV And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.

However, I disagree with him that 200,000,000 horsemen from the East will literally gather in the near future.

A Quote from Frank Di Mori the Bible Prophecy Man

‘These nations include, Iran which at the present time has an army that numbers 954,000, Afghanistan has an army of 70,000, Pakistan has an army of 619,000 with a reserve of 528,000, Iraq has an army of 273,000, Kazakhstan has an army of 65,000 with a reserve of 237,000, India has an army of 1,414,000 with a reserve force of 1,155,000, and China has any army of 2,255,000 with a reserve force of 800,000. As you can see, if these nations want to attack together they won’t have any problem forming a huge military force of 200,000,000 men.’ http://endtimesresearchministry.com/200-million-man-army/

Seriously!

Frank Di Mori attempts statistically to support Dispensationalism’s view that a literal 200 million army could be formed by eastern nations, obviously, maths is not his forte. His statement accounts for 8,370,000, apparently the outstanding 191,630,000 have gone AWOL.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/armies.htm, makes interesting reading on this subject.

Is there any need for an army of 200,000,000 horsemen from China and eastern nations in this technological age? It is logistically unlikely, since there aren’t that many horses in the world. Surely, he doesn’t believe this army will literally travel and fight on horseback. On a positive note, it would be a good year for the roses.

John described figuratively an overwhelming demonically inspired army!

God’s Method of Judgement

I believe the campaign was the Roman/Jewish war of AD 66-AD 70.

The Roman Empire was God’s instrument of wrath during the final judgement upon Old Covenant Israel in AD 70. There are numerous examples in the Old Testament where God used neighbouring nations to fulfil His promised judgement on a wicked nation. For example, Isaiah 13.

My article ‘The Great and the Terrible Day of the Lord Is History’ examines this subject in detail.

The Army of the Roman Empire

Rev 16:14 KJV For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

A Quote from Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries

‘World G3625 οἰκουμένη oikoumenē oy-kou-men’-ay Feminine participle present passive of G3611 (as noun, by implication of G1093); land, that is, the (terrene part of the) globe; specifically the Roman empire: – earth, world.’

and of the whole world’ According to Strong’s translation, the armies of the Roman World/Empire gathered for the battle of that great day of God.

It was not unusual for the Romans to conscript the armies of subjugated nations to fight their wars. On this occasion, the Roman army mainly consisted of the nations surrounding Old Covenant Israel; all had a vested interest in its destruction, hence the extent of the devastation.

A Quote from Josephus ‘The Wars of the Jews’

‘So Vespasian sent his son Titus [who], came by land into Syria, where he gathered together the Roman forces, with a considerable number of auxiliaries from the kings in that neighborhood’.’ Book III, Chapter 1, Paragraph 3.

A Quote from Tacitus ‘The Annals & The Histories’

He (Titus) found in Judaea three legions, the 5th, the 10th, and the 15th, all old troops of Vespasian’s. To these he added the 12th from Syria, and some men belonging to the 18th and 3rd, whom he had withdrawn from Alexandria. This force was accompanied by twenty cohorts of allied troops and eight squadrons of cavalry, by the two kings Agrippa and Sohemus, by the auxiliary forces of king Antiochus, by a strong contingent of Arabs, who hated the Jews with the usual hatred of neighbours, and, lastly, by many persons brought from the capital and from Italy by private hopes of securing the yet unengaged affections of the Prince. With this force Titus entered the enemy’s territory, preserving strict order on his march, reconnoitring every spot, and always ready to give battle. At last he encamped near Jerusalem.’ Book 5 (1)

The Timeline of the Great Tribulation

It is possible to ascertain the 1st century Armageddon timeline from Scripture, since it would be at the close of the ‘great tribulation’. Therefore, if we identify the timeline of the ‘great tribulation’, we will establish when the Armageddon gathering took place.

Mat 24:29-30 KJV Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days’ Most scholars object to the view that the ‘tribulation of those days’ and Christ’s return took place by AD 70, due to the lack of empirical evidence. However, if the stars were to literally fall from heaven, the earth would not survive the impact. Jesus used prophetic, figurative language commonly spoken by the Old Testament prophets.

For example:

Isa 13:10 KJV For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Isaiah used prophetic language to describe the downfall of the Babylonian Empire. This was similar to the language used by Jesus during the Olivet Discourse.

Isa 13:17 KJV Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

Isaiah’s prophecy was not fulfilled literally; he explained the Lord’s method of fulfilment was the invasion of the Medes.

Rev 1:9 KJV I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

John and his generation lived during the great tribulation initiated by Caesar Nero. John encouraged the original recipients of the Revelation by aligning himself with them through the dreadful reign of the ‘man of sin’.

Jesus described the great tribulation about to unfold during His generation’s lifetime.

Mat 24:20-21 KJV But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

‘But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day’ If the great tribulation is a 21st century calamity involving the whole world, why would we pray that our flight not be on the sabbath day? It is obvious, the sabbath restrictions applied to Old Covenant Israel, not to the world 2000 years in the future. Jesus warned His generation of impending doom.

‘such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be’ Some futurists contend that the tribulation during the 1st century foreshadowed a 21st century tribulation. If so, why did Jesus declare there would never be another like it?

Luk 21:12 KJV But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.

and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues’ Luke wrote that those persecuted would be delivered to the synagogues. If the great tribulation is in the 21st century, will believers be delivered up to the synagogues?

Mat 24:34 KJV Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

In Matthew 24, Jesus said all these things would be fulfilled during the lifetime of His generation. Many today insert a 2000 years gap in a vain attempt to negate the impact of the simplicity of Jesus’ statement.

The Timeline of the Blood of the Martyrs

Rev 16:6 KJV For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

Not only had Old Covenant Israel forsaken the Lord and the Law, the nation was guilty of shedding the blood of the martyrs.

Rev 7:14-15 KJV And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

The faithful who paid the ultimate price for their faith during the ‘great tribulation’, rejoiced in the presence of God.

Rev 17:5-6 KJV And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

Who shed the blood of the saints and prophets? It was Jerusalem’s religious leaders. Mystery Babylon was not Rome; it was Jerusalem.

Mat 23:33-34 KJV Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for killing the prophets the Lord had sent.

Mat 23:35-36 KJV That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

Jesus warned of impending judgement on all who refused to repent… Luke 11: 50-51

The Timeline of the Great Day of God Almighty

Rev 16:14 KJV For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

A Quote from Duncan W McKenzie ‘The Antichrist and the second Coming: A Preterist Examination’

‘Revelation 16:16 doesn’t say the battle on the great day of the Lord was fought at Armageddon, just that that is where the kings of the earth gathered their troops for the battle. The Mt. Carmel range (the closest mountain to Megiddo) was near to where Titus gathered the Roman armies for the final assault on Jerusalem on the ultimate day of the Lord. Ogden writes the following on this: Josephus [The Jewish War, 5, 1, 1] tells us that when Titus left Egypt with orders from his father to subdue the Jews that he returned “to Caesarea, having taken a resolution to gather all his other forces together at that place.” Bear in mind that Caesarea was within sight of Mt. Carmel, the mountain of Megiddo, and that those armed forces coming from the northern regions must pass through Megiddo before reaching the appointed place of gathering. Titus stayed in the regions around Caesarea until most of the forces from the north arrived, and then moved on to Jerusalem for the battle of the great day of God Almighty.’ Page 321

Zec 14:1-2 KJV Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Titus was about to fulfil Zechariah’s prophecy. The utter destruction of the temple and Jerusalem was accompanied by the death of an estimated 1,100,000 Jews and the enslavement of 97,000.

Titus refused the victory wreath, and reportedly said he had not won the victory, but was only the instrument of their God’s wrath upon them.

Zec 12:11 KJV In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.

The great mourning was reminiscent of the mourning for King Josiah, who was killed in battle against King Necho of Egypt, in the valley of Megiddon.

A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Zechariah 12:11 ‘As the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon – This was the greatest sorrow, which had fallen on Judah. Josiah was the last hope of its declining kingdom. His sons probably showed already their unlikeness to their father, whereby they precipitated their country’s fall. in Josiah’s death the last gleam of the sunset of Judah faded into night.’

Conclusion

Josephus described the visible collateral damage, but not the spiritual warfare. However, John also witnessed the war in the unseen world between Christ the King and Satan with the forces of darkness.

‘The Day of God Almighty’ brought an end to Old Covenant Israel, and the establishment of the New Covenant Age. Jesus defeated all His enemies, it is time those ‘in Christ’ lived in the victory.

Many appear to be continually swayed by every false prediction of Dispensationalism’s impending ‘Battle’ of Armageddon, with its doomsday scenario that is void of scriptural support.

Having examined Armageddon and its timeline, I am convinced the event is history.

What do you think?

 

 

Jerusalem was Babylon the Great, the Mystery is History

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The Destruction of Jerusalem, Titus Wilhelm von Kaulbach (1805-1874) | Source: Preterist Archive

Introduction

Babylon the Great is not the rebuilt city of Babylon, pagan or Papal Rome, nor the apostate Church; the list of theories seems endless. New Yorkers can rest assured it is not their city either!

When attempting to understand the ‘end times’ our primary source of information should be the Scriptures, not the daily newspaper, international events, current affairs, or even the fictional ‘Left Behind’ paperbacks.

The Revelation

Rev 1:1-3 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass’ / ‘for the time is at hand’ The 1st century Church understood by these opening statements that the fulfilment of the vision was applicable to their generation.

keep those things which are written therein’ The saints had the capacity to understand the Revelation; otherwise, it would have been unreasonable to demand their obedience. Nevertheless, today it is considered the most enigmatic book in the New Testament. Taking into account context and audience relevance, 1st century fulfilment is a clear and obvious conclusion. In my opinion, our difficulty is our reluctance to believe the numerous impending time statements in the first and last chapters.

In search of Babylon the Great, I have selected a range of Scriptures to support my view Jerusalem was Babylon the Great.

Identifying the City Described as a Harlot

Rev 17:5-6 KJV And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

Isa 1:21 KJV How is the faithful city become a harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

In the Scriptures, the only great city described as a harlot was Jerusalem.

Mat 12:39 KJV But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

How is the faithful city become a harlot!’ God’s covenant with Israel was like a marriage. Nevertheless, Israel was unfaithful, following after the idols of surrounding heathen nations. The sign of the prophet Jonah was an antitype of Christ’s resurrection.

Luk 19:41-44 KJV And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Forty years later Christ’s prophecy was fulfilled to the letter.

A Quote from John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible

Luke 19:43 ‘Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee around – All this was exactly performed by Titus, the Roman general.’

Identifying the City by a Major Event

Rev 11:8 KJV And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

Many scholars believe the Revelation described Rome not Jerusalem, however, the clue is in the verse ‘where the Lord was crucified’.

Identifying the City by its Spiritual Names

Rev 11:8 KJV And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

What great city was ‘spiritually’ called Sodom? There was only one and it was Jerusalem.

Isa 1:8-10 KJV And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah. 10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah.

Jer 23:14 KJV I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

Jerusalem was called ‘Sodom’ and ‘Gomorrah’ by prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.

Mat 17:17 KJV Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

The city ‘spiritually is called Sodom’ after the wickedness of its inhabitants.

What great city was ‘spiritually’ Egypt? There was only one, Jerusalem, for its persecution of God’s people. The plagues that devastated Egypt were about to come upon that city.

Identifying the City by its Apparel

Rev 18:16 KJV And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

What great city was clothed in fine linen? There was only one and it was Jerusalem.

Eze 16:10-12 KJV I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers’ skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. 11 I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. 12 And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head.

The prosperity and grandeur of Jerusalem reached its peak during the reign of David and his son Solomon.

I girded thee about with fine linen’ This was emblematic of Jerusalem during a period when God blessed the city.

Identifying the City by its Persecution of the Saints

Rev 18:20-21 KJV Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

Mat 23:37 KJV O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.

Jesus warned 1st century Jerusalem of pending judgement and destruction because it was the city that killed the prophets.

Luk 11:50-51 KJV That the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, who was slain between the altar and the temple. Yea I say to you: It shall be required of this generation.

The fulfilment of Jesus’ prophecy was in AD 70, within the lifetime of His generation.

Luk 13:33 KJV Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

A Quote from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary

Luke 13:33 ‘it cannot be that a prophet, etc. — “It would never do that,” etc. — awful severity of satire this upon “the bloody city!” “He seeks to kill me, does he? Ah! I must be out of Herod’s jurisdiction for that. Go tell him I neither fly from him nor fear him, but Jerusalem is the prophets’ slaughter-house.”’

Act 7:52 KJV Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

Prior to his martyrdom Stephen condemned the religious leaders in Jerusalem for killing the prophets.

Rev 18:24 KJV And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

The Scriptures clearly ascertain Jerusalem was Babylon the Great.

Identifying the City by the Timeline of its Destruction

Dan 12:7 KJV And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

Daniel’s visions described the ‘last days’ of Old Covenant Israel, not the end of the world or the end of time. He prophesied that prior to the end of the Old Covenant Age there would be terrible tribulation for a period of 42 months, the outcome being the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish nation. This catastrophe took place in AD 70, when ‘the holy city’ was ‘tread under foot’ by the Roman army.

(‘a time’ = one year; ‘times’ = two years; ‘the dividing of time’ = half a year; forty-two months in total)

Luke 21:24 KJV And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Jesus not only endorsed Daniel’s prophecy in Luke 21:24, He continued by predicting the timeline of its fulfillment. The disciples asked Jesus ‘when shall these things be?’… Luke 21:6-7 and He told them ‘This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled’… Luke 21:32

Rev 11:2 KJV But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

Revelation 11:2 is in harmony with Daniel 12:7 and Luke 21:24. Jesus added the 42 months period to His previous predictions in the Olivet discourse.

Not only have we identified the timeline of Babylon the Great, we have also found Scriptural evidence that confirms the pre-AD 70 date for the writing of the Revelation!

Identifying the City by its Final and Tragic Demise

Rev 11:18 KJV And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.

Rev 14:7-8 KJV Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Joh 5:25 YLT `Verily, verily, I say to you–There cometh an hour, and it now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and those having heard shall live;

1Jo 2:18 KJV Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

John’s affirmation was consistent in his Gospel, Epistle, and the Revelation. Christ’s return, the resurrection, and the judgement, were about to be consummated at the imminent destruction of Jerusalem.

Luk 21:20 KJV And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

‘when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies’ Luke explained the meaning and timing of ‘the abomination of desolation’.

Mat 24:15-16 KJV When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation’ Jesus warned the disciples to flee Jerusalem. The remnant left the city before it finally fell, and history records they fled to Pella in AD 70.

Zec 13:9 KJV And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Rev 18:8 KJV Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

Rev 18:10 KJV Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

Rev 18:19 KJV And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

Zec 14:1-2 KJV Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Here we read a solemn yet vivid account of the wrath poured out upon Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman army.

The fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy was on the ‘Day of the Lord’ in AD 70.

Revelation 18:8 ‘Utterly burned with fire – Of what city is this spoken? Rome pagan has never been thus treated; Alaric and Totilas burnt only some parts with fire. Rome papal has not been thus treated; but this is true of Jerusalem, and yet Jerusalem is not generally thought to be intended.’ — Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Bible
The New Jerusalem

Identifying the City by its Antitype the New Jerusalem

John described the most beautiful city in the closing chapters of the Revelation, the New Jerusalem; earthly Jerusalem was it’s foreshadow.

Rev 21:1-2 KJV And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Rev 21:18 KJV And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

A Quote from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Revelation 21:2 ‘…On the phrase “new Jerusalem,” see the Gal_4:26 note, and Heb_12:22 note. Here it refers to the residence of the redeemed, the heavenly world, of which Jerusalem was the type and symbol. It is here represented as “coming down from God out of heaven.” This, of course, does not mean that this great city was “literally” to descend upon the earth, and to occupy any one part of the renovated world; but it is a symbolical or figurative representation, designed to show that the abode of the righteous will be splendid and glorious. The idea of a city literally descending from heaven, and being set upon the earth with such proportions – three hundred and seventy miles high Rev_21:16, made of gold, and with single pearls for gates, and single gems for the foundations – is absurd. No man can suppose that this is literally true, and hence this must be regarded as a figurative or emblematic description. It is a representation of the heavenly state under the image of a beautiful city, of which Jerusalem was, in many respects, a natural and striking emblem.’

Conclusion

The destruction of earthly Jerusalem was an outward manifestation of spiritual change; the introduction of spiritual heavenly Jerusalem.

Joh 4:23-24 KJV But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

In New Jerusalem, true worship is not restricted to any one place or nation.

Rev 1:1 KJV The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

The Revelation was a vision of ‘things which must shortly come to pass’ and subsequently did.

The annals of history reveal the identity of Mystery Babylon!

Can we now identify the city called ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great’ in the Revelation? I am convinced we have done so, and it is none other than Jerusalem.

What do you think?

New Jerusalem will not Physically Descend from Heaven

IMG_3730The New Jerusalem, Paul Gustave Dore (1832-1883) | Source: Dore Bible Gallery Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Introduction

A Quote from Dr David L Cooper, Biblical Research Society

‘Since God has the proper sense of proportion and since this New Jerusalem will be fifteen hundred miles in each direction, I conclude that the new earth to which it comes and upon which it rests forever will be an enormous one. It is impossible for us, with our limited comprehension, to understand these vast proportions.’

New Jerusalem will not descend literally from Heaven at some time in the future.

In my opinion, the emphasis on earthly Jerusalem and National Israel has had a detrimental effect on Christianity. Not only does Dispensationalism cause Christians to neglect the fact they are citizens of Heavenly Jerusalem, with its benefits and responsibilities, it has sidetracked the Body of Christ from its original focus, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I will seek to prove from the Scriptures that contrary to the teaching of Dispensationalism, New Jerusalem is a present day reality, a city inhabited spiritually, and to be enjoyed by all born again believers.

The Tabernacle of God is With Men

John alluded to Ezekiel 37:26-27 in Revelation 21:2-3. By doing so, he affirmed the New Covenant fulfilment of Ezekiel’s prophecy. The New Covenant, established in AD 70, is synonymous with the ‘covenant of peace’ and the ‘everlasting covenant’.

God’s dwelling place is not a future temple made with hands, He tabernacles within the hearts of His people today.

Ezekiel 37 vs Revelation 21

Eze 37:26-27 KJV Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Rev 21:2-3 KJV And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Ezekiel 37:27 ‘My tabernacle – The tabernacle wherein I will shew my presence among them. Their fathers had a tabernacle, but the Messiah shall bring with him a better, a spiritual, and an heavenly. They shall be my people – By my grace I will make them holy, as the people of a holy God; and I will make them happy, as the people of the ever blessed God.’ — John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

An Allegory of the Old and New Testaments

Hagar and Sarah were Symbolic of Two Covenants and ‘Two Jerusalems’

Paul encouraged the Galatians to be faithful to the Gospel he had imparted to them, and to beware of Judaisers who had infiltrated the Church. These false teachers insisted on combining the Gospel of Grace with the Old Covenant Law.

Gal 4:22-26 KJV For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Paul explained that Hagar being a bondwoman represented the bondage of the Old Covenant and correlated to ‘earthly Jerusalem’, while Sarah a freewoman represented the freedom of the New Covenant and correlated to ‘heavenly Jerusalem’.

‘Jerusalem which now is’ In bondage to the Law given to Moses at Mount Sinai, whereas ‘Jerusalem which is above’ is New Covenant freedom in the Holy Spirit, through the death, resurrection and glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gal 4:30 KJV Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

In a spiritual sense, Hagar the bondwoman typified the casting out of the Old Covenant, while Sarah the freewoman typified the establishing of the New Covenant.

The Church at Galatia had freedom, but was in danger of being rescinded if entangled in the bondage of Judaism and the Old Covenant Law.

Therefore, New Jerusalem is not a material city to descend from Heaven in the future, but a spiritual city to enjoy now in the New Covenant Age.

Are Believers Really Living in ‘The New Jerusalem’? Yes, Although Many Do not Realise it!

Heb 12:22 KJV But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

Many scholars today teach Heavenly Jerusalem is still future and will materially descend to earth from heaven. Nonetheless, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews explicitly proclaimed Heavenly Jerusalem, also called New Jerusalem, was and is a present reality… Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:2

There was no need for physical death and resurrection for 1st century believers to enter into the Heavenly City; they entered while still alive in their physical bodies!

A Quote from Alexander McLaren

Hebrews 12:22-23 ‘For, says my text, ‘Ye are come,’ not ‘Ye shall come.’ The humblest life may be in touch with the grandest realities in the universe, and need not wait for death to draw aside the separating curtain in order to be in the presence of God and in the heavenly Jerusalem.
How are these things brought to us? By the revelation of God in Christ. How are we brought to them? By faith in that revelation. So every believing life, howsoever encompassed by flesh and sense, can thrust, as it were, a hand through the veil, and grasp the realities beyond. The scene described in the first words of my text may verily be the platform on which our lives are lived, howsoever in outward form they may be passed on this low earth; and the companions, which the second part of our text discloses, may verily be our companions, though we ‘wander lonely as a cloud,’ or seem to be surrounded by far less noble society. By faith we are come to the unseen realities which are come to us by the revelation of God in Christ. ‘Ye are come unto Mount Zion.’

How can this be? They had come ‘To the general assembly and church of the firstborn’.

Jesus the Firstborn Among Many Brethren

Heb 12:23 KJV To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Christ is fully God and fully man; He was not a created being, as some falsely teach from this verse. In Scripture, firstborn often signified a well-beloved, or best-beloved son; one preferred to all the rest and distinguished by an exclusive right and privilege.

Exo 4:22 KJV And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

God called Israel his son and his firstborn.

Jer 31:9 KJV They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Ephraim was God’s firstborn.

Rom 8:29 KJV For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Paul said Jesus was the ‘firstborn among many brethren’ meaning that Christ was the Pre-eminent One, the Ultimate Model.

The General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn

Having already come to Heavenly Jerusalem and the church of the firstborn, citizenship of the 1st century Church did not rely on resurrection from physical death.

Rom 6:5 KJV For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

The 1st century believers had joined with Christ in His death and resurrection.

1Co 12:13 KJV For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

The Church was living in the Heavenly Jerusalem by the power of the Holy Spirit of Promise.

Heb 6:5 YLT and did taste the good saying of God, the powers also of the coming age,

During the transition period between the Old and New Covenant, the general assembly and church of the firstborn tasted of the powers of the New Covenant Age.

Conclusion

Heb 12:27-28 KJV And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Hebrews 12:27 ‘The removing of those things that are shaken – The whole of the Jewish polity, which had been in a shaken state from the time that Judea had fallen under the power of the Romans.
As of things that are made – That is, subjects intended to last only for a time. God never designed that the Jewish religion should become general, nor be permanent.
Those things which cannot be shaken – The whole Gospel system, which cannot be moved by the power of man.
May remain – Be permanent; God designing that this shall be the last dispensation of his grace and mercy, and that it shall continue till the earth and the heavens are no more.’
Due to the constant bombardment of Dispensationalism’s ‘end times’ pessimism, many Christians miss the present blessings our Heavenly Father has provided through His Son. ‘Blessed Assurance’ is quickly replaced by ‘Hold the Fort for I Am Coming’.

If New Jerusalem received the enthusiasm and resources given to earthly Jerusalem, the furtherance of the Gospel would benefit greatly.

Heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the Living God, is a present spiritual reality for those ‘in Christ’. It is not a literal, material city.

The question is, earthly or heavenly Jerusalem, which one is your capital?

What do you think?

Heaven and Earth will not be Destroyed by Fire

IMG_3725John at Patmos, Gustave Dore (1832-1883) | Source: Dore Bible Gallery Felix Just S.J. Ph.D.

Introduction

Rev 21:1 KJV And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Catastrophic or Covenantal

Many scholars today teach the ‘new heaven and a new earth’ will literally replace the existing heaven and earth after its catastrophic destruction.

I will attempt to explain why the term does not refer to the end of time or the end of the world, but to the end of Old Covenant Israel at the great and terrible day of the Lord in AD 70.

Peter and the Day of the Lord

2Pe 3:10 KJV But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements (stoicheion) shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

‘the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night’ Peter described the second coming of Christ. Jesus and Paul also used ‘the thief’ illustration to describe this event… Matthew 24:43; 1Thessalonians 5:2

Apocalyptic Language

Isa 13:7 KJV Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:

Isa 19:1 KJV The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

Peter used apocalyptic language similar to Isaiah when he described the end of the ‘elements’ of the Old Covenant world. My article ‘The Great and the Terrible Day of the Lord’ explains in detail.

‘the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements (stoicheion) shall melt with fervent heat’ The visible evidence was the fiery destruction of the temple and Jerusalem at Christ’s return in judgement In AD 70. Covenantal change took place when the Old Covenant polity past away with the establishment of the New Covenant.

Mat 24-34-35 KJV Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

At His return, Jesus fulfilled all the Law and the prophets concerning the establishment of the New Covenant, the Kingdom of God, the New Heavens and New Earth, and New Jerusalem. Consequently, sacrificial offerings for the forgiveness of sins on behalf of Old Covenant Israel came to a devastating end.

Mat 26:28 KJV For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sin.

In the New Covenant Age, only by faith in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross can mankind find atonement for sin, whether Jew or Gentile.

Dispensationalism’s Dilemma

According to Dispensationalism, the millennium reign begins at Christ’s second coming, the existing heavens and earth not being destroyed until the end of the 1000 years reign of Christ.

The following quote is a typical example of Dispensationalism’s interpretation of 2nd Peter 3:10-13.

A Quote from Got Questions.org

Question: “What does the Bible say about the end of the world?”

Answer: ‘The timing of this event, according to most Bible scholars, is at the end of the 1000-year period called the millennium…The Bible tells us several things about this event. First, it will be cataclysmic in scope. The “heavens” refers to the physical universe – the stars, planets, and galaxies—which will be consumed by some kind of tremendous explosion, possibly a nuclear or atomic reaction that will consume and obliterate all matter as we know it. All the elements that make up the universe will be melted in the “fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:12). This will also be a noisy event, described in different Bible versions as a “roar” (NIV), a “great noise” (KJV), a “loud noise” (CEV), and a “thunderous crash” (AMP). There will be no doubt as to what is happening. Everyone will see and hear it because we are also told that “the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”’

Got Questions answered by promoting Dispensationalism’s view of the ‘end times’, the timeline being after the millennium, but then proceeded to misquote 2 Peter 3:12 in support. The dilemma is that the context of 2 Peter 3 is the second coming of Christ, not the end of the 1000 years.

A Quote from John Lightfoot’s Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations

‘That the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state is described as if the whole frame of the world were to be dissolved. Nor is it strange, when God destroyed his habitation and city, places once so dear to him, with so direful and sad an overthrow; his own people, whom he accounted of as much or more than the whole world beside, by so dreadful and amazing plagues. Matt 24:29,30, The sun shall be darkened &c. Then shall appear the ’sign of the Son of man,’ &c; which yet are said to fall out within that generation, ver. 34. 2Pet 3:10, The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,’ &c. Compare with this Deut 32:22, Heb 12:26 and observe that by elements are understood the Mosaic elements, Gal 4:9, Col 2:20 and you will not doubt that St. Peter speaks only of the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the nation, and the abolishing the dispensation of Moses” (vol. 3, p. 452).(March 29, 1602 – December 6, 1675)’

‘the Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat’

2Pe 3:12 KJV Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements ‘stoicheion’ shall melt with fervent heat?

The Greek ‘stoicheion’ means elements, rudiments and principles. It was translated ‘elements’ in 2nd Peter.

In 2nd Peter, most scholars interpret ‘stoicheion’ as this present, material and physical world. However, it is inconsistent to do so. Close examination reveals ‘stoicheion’ invariably referred to the Law of Moses and the elements, rudiments, principles of the Jewish religion and polity.

Galatians 4:3 and ‘stoicheion’

Gal 4:3 KJV Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements (stoicheion) of the world:

The Galatians were previously in bondage to the elements, rudiments or principles of the world.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary of the Bible

Galatians 4:3 ‘The elements of the world – A mere Jewish phrase, éñåãé òåìí äæä yesodey olam hazzeh, “the principles of this world;” that is, the rudiments or principles of the Jewish religion.’

Galatians 4:9 and ‘stoicheion’

Gal 4:9 KJV But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements (stoicheion) whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

Paul warned the Galatians not to return to the elements, rudiments and principles of bondage.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary of the Bible

Galatians 4:9 ‘Now, after that ye have known God – After having been brought to the knowledge of God as your Savior. Or rather are known of God – Are approved of him, having received the adoption of sons. To the weak and beggarly elements – After receiving all this, will ye turn again to the ineffectual rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic law – rites too weak to counteract your sinful habits, and too poor to purchase pardon and eternal life for you? If the Galatians were turning again to them, it is evident that they had been once addicted to them. And this they might have been, allowing that they had become converts from heathenism to Judaism, and from Judaism to Christianity. This makes the sense consistent between the 8th and 9th verses.’

Colossians 2:8 and ‘stoicheion’

Col 2:8 KJV Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments (stoicheion) of the world, and not after Christ.

Paul warned the Colossians against those who ‘spoil’ by philosophy and vain deceit after the elements, rudiments or principles of the world.

Colossians 2:20 and ‘stoicheion’

Col 2:20 KJV Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments (stoicheion) of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

The Colossians in Christ were dead to the elements, rudiments or principles of the world.

A Quote from the People’s New Testament

Colossians 2:20 ‘Wherefore. Ye died with Christ, died to the world, and to its rudiments, or fleshly ordinances. See note on Col_2:8 and Col_2:12. Why, then, as though belonging to the world, should you be subject to obsolete Jewish ordinances?’

Hebrews 5:12 and ‘stoicheion’

Heb 5:12 KJV For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles (stoicheion) of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

The Hebrew writer admonished believers for their lack of maturity in the Scriptures. The solution was a return to the first elements, rudiments, or principles of the oracles of God.

A Quote from John Owen on the New Heavens and Earth 2 Peter 3:13

‘On this foundation I affirm that the heavens and earth here intended in this prophecy of Peter, the coming of the Lord, the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, mentioned in the destruction of that heaven and earth, do all of them relate, not to the last and final judgment of the world, but to that utter desolation and destruction that was to be made of the Judaical church and state; for which I shall offer these two reasons, of many that might be insisted on from the text:-

(1.) Because whatever is here mentioned was to have its peculiar influence on the men of that generation. He speaks of that wherein both the profane scoffers and those scoffed at were concerned, and that as Jews, some of them believing, others opposing, the faith. Now there was no particular concernment of that generation, nor in that sin, nor in that scoffing, as to the day of judgment in general ; but there was a peculiar relief for the one and a peculiar dread for the other at hand, in the destruction of the Jewish nation ; and, besides, an ample testimony both to the one and the other of the power and dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was the thing in question between them.

(2.) Peter tells them, that after the destruction and judgment that he speaks of (vers. 7-13), ” We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth,’ etc. They had this expectation. But what is that promise? Where may we find it? Why, we have it in the very words and letter, Isa. lxv. 17. Now, when shall this be that God shall create these new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness? Saith Peter, ” It shall be after the coming of the Lord, after that judgment and destruction of ungodly men, who obey not the gospel, that I foretell.” But now it is evident from this place of Isaiah, with chap. lxvi. 21, 22, that this is a prophecy of Gospel times only; and that the planting of these new heavens is nothing but the creation of Gospel ordinances to endure for ever. The same thing is so expressed Heb. xii. 26-28.
First, There is the foundation of the apostle’s inference and exhortation, seeing that all these things, however precious they seem, or what value soever any put upon them, shall be dissolved, that is, destroyed; and that in that dreadful and fearful manner before mentioned, in a day of judgment, wrath, and vengeance, by fire and sword; let others mock at the threats of Christ’s coming: He will come- He will not tarry; and then the heavens and earth that God Himself planted, -the sun, moon, and stars of the Judaical polity and church, -the whole old world of worship and worshippers, that stand out in their obstinancy against the Lord Christ, shall be sensibly dissolved and destroyed: this we know shall be the end of these things, and that shortly.’

Tabernacle in the Wilderness

Josephus was a Jewish historian who recorded his eyewitness account of the destruction of the temple, Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews in AD 70.

He also provided insight into the 1st century Jewish understanding of the phrase ‘heaven and earth’. The Jews considered the tabernacle and latterly the temple as heaven and earth.

Quotes from Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities

Book 3, Chapter 6, Paragraph 4, Section 123 ‘However, this proportion of the measures of the tabernacle proved to be an imitation of the system of the world: for that third part thereof which was within the four pillars, to which the priests were not admitted, is, as it were, a Heaven peculiar to God…’

Book 3, Chapter 7, Paragraph 7, Section 181 ‘When Moses distinguished the tabernacle into three parts, and allowed two of them to the priests as a place accessible to the common, he denoted the land and the sea, these being of general access to all; but he set apart the third division for God, because heaven is inaccessible to men.’

The temple was where heaven and earth came together; the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies was the most sacred place on earth, it was the symbol of God dwelling amongst His covenant people.

Isaiah and the New Heavens and a New Earth

Isa 65:17-18 KJV For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. 18 But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

Isaiah proclaimed the Lord would ‘create new heavens and a new earth’, when he described the New Covenant.

Paul

Isa 65:1 KJV I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.

Rom 10:20 KJV But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Romans 10:20 ‘But Esaias (the Greek orthography for Isaiah) is very bold – Speaks out in the fullest manner and plainest language, Isa_65:1, notwithstanding the danger to which such a declaration exposed him, among a crooked, perverse, and dangerous people: I was found of them that sought me not; I put my salvation in the way of those (the Gentiles) who were not seeking for it, and knew nothing of it: thus, the Gentiles which followed not after righteousness have attained to the law of righteousness, Rom_9:30, and they have found that redemption which the Jews have rejected.’

Paul wrote that the gospel he preached to the Gentiles was the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 65.

Jeremiah and the New Covenant Age

Jer 31:31-33 KJV Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

A Quote from Alert Barnes Notes on the Bible

Jeremiah 31:31 ‘A time is foretold which shall be to the nation as marked an epoch as was the Exodus. God at Sinai made a covenant with His people, of which the sanctions were material, or (where spiritual) materially understood. Necessarily therefore the Mosaic Church was temporary, but the sanctions of Jeremiah’s Church are spiritual – written in the heart – and therefore it must take the place of the former covenant Heb_8:13, and must last forever. The prophecy was fulfilled when those Jews who accepted Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, expanded the Jewish into the Christian Church.’

The Writer to the Hebrews and the New Covenant Age

Heb 10:16-19 KJV This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; 17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. 19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

The theme of the Epistle to the Hebrews is covenantal change. By alluding to Jeremiah 31, the writer declared the fulfilment of prophecy in Christ the Mediator of the New Covenant.

Haggai and the Shaking of the Heavens and the Earth

Hag 2:5-7 KJV According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. 6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; 7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.

The Lord shook the heavens and the earth when He gave Moses the Old Covenant Law at Mount Sinai… Exodus 19:18

Hag 2:21 KJV Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;

Haggai prophesied the Lord would shake the heavens and the earth when replacing the Old Covenant with the New.

The Writer to the Hebrews and the Shaking Not the Earth Only, but also Heaven

Heb 12:26-28 KJV Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

A Quote from Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Hebrews 12:26 ‘Whose voice then shook the earth – Namely, at the giving of the law on Mount Sinai; and from this it seems that it was the voice of Jesus that then shook the earth, and that it was he who came down on the mount. But others refer this simply to God the Father giving the law. Not the earth only, but also heaven – Probably referring to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, and the total abolition of the political and ecclesiastical constitution of the Jews; the one being signified by the earth, the other by heaven; for the Jewish state and worship are frequently thus termed in the prophetic writings. And this seems to be the apostle’s meaning, as he evidently refers to Hag_2:6, where this event is predicted. It may also remotely refer to the final dissolution of all things.’

The writer to the Hebrews encouraged his readers by quoting from Haggai and declared there was only one more shaking after the time of Haggai, and it would be in their generation.

Mat 24:29 KJV Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Mat 24:34-35 KJV Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

The Scriptures are clear as to the timing of this event, Jesus’ generation!

Heb 8:13 YLT in the saying `new,’ He hath made the first old, and what doth become obsolete and is old is nigh disappearing.

‘old is nigh disappearing’ This was a reference to the ministrations of the Old Covenant. Not only was it a material, but also a moral and spiritual event. This transition began at Christ’s advent and continued until His parousia in AD 70, with the removal of the ‘Old’ that was temporal, only Christ’s Eternal Kingdom remained.

Jesus and Till Heaven and Earth Pass

Mat 5:18 KJV 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.

‘Till heaven and earth pass’ If Jesus referred to physical heaven and earth, which obviously has not passed away, then the Old Covenant Law of Moses would still be in effect. Consequently, New Covenant salvation would still be on hold. Fortunately, when Jesus said ‘Till heaven and earth pass’, He was talking about covenant change from Old Covenant to New. All was fulfilled when the Old Covenant passed away at Christ’s return. However, many scholars today teach that salvation is still incomplete until a future return of Christ.

‘Till all be fulfilled. “Till,” says Dr. Schaff, “implies that after the great events of Christ’s life, and the establishment of his kingdom, the old dispensation, as a dispensation of the letter and yoke of bondage, as a system of types and shadows, will pass away, and has passed away (Eph_2:15; Col_2:14; Heb_8:13); while the spirit and substance of the law, i. e., love to God and man, will last forever.’ — The People’s New Testament

The Revelation and the New Heaven and a New Earth

Rev 21:1-3 KJV And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

John alluded to Jeremiah 31:33.

‘and there was no more sea’ Personally, I believe this phrase referred to the end of separation between Jew and Gentile. All believers now enjoy fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The establishment of the ‘new heaven and a new earth’ is a past event and synonymous with the arrival of the New Covenant Age.

Conclusion

Joh 4:21-26 KJV Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Jesus said 2000 years ago, ‘the hour cometh, and now is’, yet many scholars continue to project this time statement into the future. The new heavens and new earth is not a future material replacement for the present heaven and earth.

The new heavens and new earth is synonymous with the New Covenant and encompasses life in the Spirit, new principles, new ordinances, true worship, and of course, restoration and fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

What do you think?