Thursday, April 16, 2009

Prophetic Language in the NT (Esch 355)

Jesus and Prophetic Language
In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus has been predicting the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple when he uses imagery strikingly similar to Isaiah.

“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (Mark 13:24-25).

Has Jesus all of a sudden shifted from talking about the destruction of the temple to describing the end of the world? Not at all. Jesus is talking about the end of the Jewish world. The Jewish leaders will be overthrown and the Jewish world will come to an end with the destruction of the temple.

John and Prophetic Language
The apostle John gives a similar description.

“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind” (Revelation 6:12-13).

John’s language has been taken by many to be a description of the end of the world. However, this is not the end of the world, but the end of a world, namely, the end of the Jewish world.

Thus, we need to be careful about passages that seem to describe the “end times.” They are probably describing the end of a nation or an era rather than the end of the universe.


Frontier Forest said...

Pastor Eric, in reading over your thoughts, this takes me to my some recent Bible banter I have had with my dear Dispensational cousin. My cousin said: “I think the single biggest issue that separates Dispensational with Reformed Covent theology is what to make of Israel? How do you handle the verse, “Has God forsaken Israel? May it never be… The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29).
My reply: “Doug, as a newly Reformed Calvinist in training, this is the way I interpret: In Romans 11-25-30; Paul is referring to "ALL OF Israel will be saved" as all of "Spiritual Israel" will be saved, of which every believer shares in the mystery "promise of salvation."
The Word says this about “All Israel Will Be Saved”: “ 25I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
"The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27And this is[f] my covenant with them when I take away their sins." 28As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now[h] receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. 32For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”
Pastor Eric, do you think my interpretation and reply to my cousin was correct?

Eric Adams said...

Woody, that is Calvin's view, which I do not think is sustainable.

There are a couple of plausible explanations for Romans 11. I review some of them here:

If God still has a future for ethnic Jews, it is for their conversion to Christ, not for a return to Judaism. They become Christians and part of the church.

Frontier Forest said...

Thanks Eric, I will check out your blog reference.