We're NOT living in "The Last Days", "The Last Hour", or "The End of The Ages".
Hebrews 9:26 “He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, ONCE AT THE END OF THE AGES (of Old Covenant Israel), He HAS (past tense) appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
Acts 2:16 "But THIS IS THAT (First Century Present, not 2,000+ years into the future) which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass IN THE LAST DAYS (THOSE last days of Old Covenant Israel, prior to 70 A.D.), saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: (Figurative Hebrew language speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, Old Covenant Israel, The Levitical Priesthood and its practices...to include animal sacrifices. Such figurative language is common in the Old Testament and was not taken or fulfilled literally. The ancient Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, will give you the "play-by-play" if you study his writings.) 21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Delivered from the wrath to come in 70 A.D.. Jesus gave detailed instructions as to how and where they were to flee..."the mountains"/Pella).
1 John 2:18 "Children, IT IS THE LAST HOUR (First Century Present, Not Future); and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that IT IS (First Century Present, Not Future) THE LAST HOUR (Of Old Covenant Israel). 19 They went out from us, but they were not [really] of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but [they went out,] in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father."
It was "out with the old and temporal" and "in with the new and eternal"! We're a NEW CREATION living in a NEW HEAVEN and NEW EARTH which has been FULLY inaugurated, but not yet consummated! It's time to usher in more of THE NEW DAY, instead of worrying about DOOMSDAY!
The Black Panther movie was a strong reminder of where the church has been, where she ought to be, and where she will be.
Much of the church isn't aware of the PRESENT TRUTH that, through the finished work of Christ, we already dwell in the "Land of Vibranium" (Seated in heavenly places in Christ)...and on earth, simultaneously.
Many hide out in their cocoon communities...away from "the world"...awaiting its destruction rather than cooperating in its healing. Some would love to use a sort of Anti-Vibranium (not exercising real power...just acting like mice with religious megaphones) to bully and conquer the world through fear-mongering, political and military means. For others "Justice" requires vengeance, by means of their own wrath.
It brings me great joy to know that Jesus, our Glorious Leader, has a Kingdom of Priests who will ultimately use all of "Wakanda's" Resurrection Power and resources for Earth's good!
I'm no movie expert, but I give this one an A+!
It was great...and on so many levels. I especially loved the way that it beautifully portrayed African people and people of African descent.
I'll save my comments about the constant presence of very strong women, throughout the film, for another post.
Those who refuse to believe that Jesus already, once and for all, upstaged all temples built with human hands are constantly looking for a new temple to be built by human strength, ingenuity, and political posturing.
We either recognize Jesus as the consummate fulfillment of Jacob's Ladder (Bethel- "The House of God"/God's Temple) or we strive to construct Towers of Babel in hopes of making a name for ourselves. All attempts to "reach God" by the sweat of Adam's dead brow can be likened to an offering of pig's blood.
People fall into grave error whenever they fail to recognize the Body of Christ, with Jesus as the Head, as God's eternal City/Temple/New Heaven and New Earth and the Truth that Spirit always trumps natural architecture and geography.
Isaiah 66:1 “Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? 2 For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word."
John 4:19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God didn't take a seat at the front of the bus for Rosa Parks, pray while Bishop Desmond Tutu kept his mouth shut, save Jews while Oscar Schindler hid and counted his money, go to the impoverished for Mother Theresa, or speak audibly for Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela while they remained silent. He didn't nail Luther's 95 Theses to the door at Wittenberg, nor does He desire to be "IN TOTAL CONTROL" of mankind...as some erroneously teach.
During Jesus' 3.5 years of ministry as a man on Earth, The Father didn't just "Control Things" while Jesus sat around playing video games or just passively "said His prayers". Note: I understand the importance of prayer and like video games!
God has given mankind DOMINION over the earth...and everything in it, besides each other. He had delegated His Authority in such a way as to do things WITH and THROUGH us...not INSTEAD of us!
While we are not usually responsible for things like sunrises, sunsets, and keeping planets in their proper orbit, we cannot passively and lackadaisically allow our lives or planet Earth to run on autopilot while claiming that "God is in control!".
To view "The Great Commission" and "The Great Commandment" as being separate from the initial, Divine Narrative of the "Eden Mandate" is folly!
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
1 O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9 O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
While our free will cannot over-ride His ultimate Sovereignty and plan for planet Earth, our character, words, and actions are nevertheless extremely weighty and consequential! Seventh Grade History students know that much!
Part of what was revealed in that manger in Bethlehem was the truth that God never intended to destroy the earth. He, instead, took on the same earthly substance from which He created the First Adam (while remaining fully God)...in order to be the ultimate sign to us that heaven and earth shall remain and be in union forever through Christ! Jesus didn't come to fix God's great big, creation mistake! He came to fix ours! The Gospel is all about Love, Redemption, Reconciliation, and RESTORATION...not the false narrative that Jesus was too weak to finish the job or that God's ultimate intention for earth was ever condemnation and destruction!
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Let that sink in!
In order to destroy the earth, after the Incarnation, He would have to literally destroy Himself...which is IMPOSSIBLE (since He Himself is God embodied in a glorified, EARTHEN vessel)! The Incarnation cannot and never will be undone! His Divinity and Humanity remain forever inseparable! The Resurrection proved that He is the INDESTRUCTIBLE God-Man, the Prototype Son, and the Firstborn among many brethren!
If you are wondering about what Jesus meant when he said, "Heaven and Earth will pass away" and want a proper definition of "A new heaven and a new earth", you need to look no further than what every First Century Jew understood when they heard these phrases in their historical and cultural contexts.
The Temple and Jerusalem were considered to be the place where heaven and earth met...and were referred to as "Heaven and Earth". Noah's Ark, Jacob's Ladder, The Tabernacle and Ark of the Covenant, David's Tabernacle, and Israel's Temples all foreshadowed the New Covenant Temple (JESUS- The "Place" and eternal consummation of the whole "Heaven and Earth" reality).
While speaking of His Body, Jesus declared..."Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up again." He DID just that...along with including ALL of mankind in this New Covenant Temple reality. Belonging is a given. Participation is a choice. "God was in Christ reconciling THE WORLD to Himself"!
He also destroyed the Old Covenant Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and abolished its priesthood along with their ceremonial practices (i.e.- The "elements" which Peter prophesied would be destroyed by fire).
"Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God?" The Church in Christ is The New Heaven and New Earth...and The New Jerusalem...which John saw coming DOWN...not going up!
Jesus is the Sure HOPE for all mankind...and planet Earth!
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth (Which Ecclesiastes declares... "Remains forever") as it is in heaven! See Matt. 6:10 and Ecc. 1:4.
Of the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no end. See Is. 9:6.
The meek shall inherit the earth and unto Him there shall be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen! See Matthew 5:5 and Eph. 3:21.
All creation groans and travails not for its own destruction, but for the manifestation of the sons and daughters of God! See Romans 8.
We were not created for the ultimate purpose of becoming disembodied spirits who live in a far away place in the sky called, "heaven". Our final inheritance and destination is a much better earth and our final, eternal form will be a glorified, immortal body...just like the one Jesus has! The meek shall inherit THE EARTH!
Our mission, by His Grace, is to unceasingly participate in the coming of His Kingdom while fleshing out His Will on earth (visible realm) as it is in heaven (invisible/spirit realm).
The imminent sign of His ultimate, physical appearing (unlike prophecies concerning 70 AD...i.e.- Mt. 24, Revelation, etc...) will be an Earth that resembles Heaven so strongly (SO MUCH LOVE!)...that the only missing ingredient will be His Physical return. Yes, He will feel "at home"!
The problem with much Western Christian belief is that it has people longing to be disembodied spirits in the sky, when Jesus longs to physically inhabit the earth again...WORLD WITHOUT END. It also leaves the earth with no ever-increasing/coming Kingdom and no meek people to inherit it!
Jesus' resurrection required a glorified, immortal, physical body. So will ours, along with the souls of all who have preceded us in death! Resurrection requires a BODY. Where there is no body, there is no resurrection!
What about the phrase, "Heaven and Earth shall pass away"? Any First Century Jew could tell you that "Heaven and Earth" was an extremely common reference to the temple and physical Jerusalem....which were destroyed in 70 AD.
What New Covenant "Temple" replaced the one that was destroyed? The answer to that question reveals the identity of the "New Heaven", the "New Earth", and the "New Jerusalem"...which John saw coming DOWN to EARTH!
Hint: 1 Corinthians 6:19,20.
The Future: Glorified bodies on a perfect earth! Better than Adam & Eve and better than the original Garden!
You may not know this, but Jerusalem and her Temple were referred to as "Heaven and Earth" by the Jewish people during and prior to the First Century. An understanding of this, along with a historical understanding of what happened in and around 70 AD, will allow you to read the New Testament through a completely different lens than Dispensationalism has allowed.
I submit to you that there are many present "New Heaven and New Earth" realities which have been untapped due to the error of many who have mistaken historical events for imminent or future apocalyptic happenings. The answer to the question, "Who is God's Temple and New Jerusalem now?", will help you to unlock the mystery of "The New Heaven and New Earth". Christ in us is the Hope of Glory!
The following verse will also come in handy...when you realize that "this generation" was THAT generation (The Generation of Jesus' original audience).
Mt. 24:34 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place."
Additional note: This is NOT "replacement" Theology.
It has always INCLUDED both "Jew & Gentile"..."The ONE NEW MAN"!