Early eschatology

Author: keithprosser ,

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  • keithprosser
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    Is it the case that the first Christians did not conceive of 'eternal life' in terms of the survival of ethereal souls in heaven?   I get impression that the new order was imagined more like a re-establisment of a pre-fall Eden right here on Earth,  where life was easy and there was no death or suffering, 

    It was only when that failed to materialise that it was re-interpretted in terms of posthumous survival of souls.
  • ethang5
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    Your "impressions" of Christianity are from the perspective of an anti-theist, don't trust them.

    Christianity has never hidden the fact that it is progressively revelatory. Adam did not know that God would rectify his fall with a sacrifice of His own son. Abraham did not know that God would bring His children out of Egypt with Moses, David did not know Jesus would come again. Even John was told by God not to record certain facts because it was not time.

    Because clearly God could not give us everything at once. So you need not resort to your "impressions", the reasons why are there for people who take the time to read it.
  • Mopac
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    Go on a yarn with me for a moment. Read these key scriptures, and then I will explain at the end. The key here is The Word of God.

    As God spoke through Isaiah the prophet...

    "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
    Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
    And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
    The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
    The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
    The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever."



    And as the Apostle Peter writes...


    "And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:  Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

    Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."


    The Apostle John writes...

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."
      
    The Apostle James writes...


    "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."



    So what does all of this mean?

    Eternal Life is The Truth, and the entire Christian discipline is abiding in The Truth, because everything else is destined to burn eternally in the fire that is reserved for the devil and his angels.

    What makes life for you? What is your identity? Is that who you really are, or is it an illusion? In the end, everything will be revealed for what it truly is, in a way that we, as creatures who were made to not see things as they truly are can fathom.

    So what is eternal life?


    "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

    Jesus Christ is The Word of God, and as you can see from that quotation from John, everything was created by and through the word of God. Jesus Christ is here among us. This is the mystery of The Word being made flesh if you can understand.

    "Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God."


    Salvation is of God The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.


    Simply put, God Saves. If you abide in death, you will die eternally. If you abide in The Truth you will live eternally.


    It's all about God. 

    Or as John the Baptist said, and really, all Christians should say, "I must become less, so that He becomes more."








  • PGA2.0
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    --> @keithprosser

    Is it the case that the first Christians did not conceive of 'eternal life' in terms of the survival of ethereal souls in heaven?   I get impression that the new order was imagined more like a re-establisment of a pre-fall Eden right here on Earth,  where life was easy and there was no death or suffering, 

    It was only when that failed to materialise that it was re-interpretted in terms of posthumous survival of souls.

    More to the case is what Jesus taught. He taught a spiritual kingdom and that those living on earth had access to it. The OT presented the truths of God in the physical world. Jesus presents these same truths in a spiritual sense. Page after page of the OT is a mirror of a greater truth pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the first Adam who separates men from a relationship with God and the second Adam (Jesus) who again restores the relationship. The first Adam is barred from the presence of God and prevented from taking of the tree of life. The Second Adam is the tree of life, giving everlasting life to those who will believe. What the first Adam is incapable of doing the Second Adam does on the believer's behalf. The Promised Land of the OT is a physical Land. The Jerusalem (city of peace) and its temple is a physical reality. The second Promised Land is the heavenly country that we can taste of in this lifetime (see Hebrews 11 and 12). The first Moses leads them out of the land of bondage to the Promised Land but does not go in. The Second Moses leads them into the Promised Land, the heavenly country (Jesus preached His kingdom is not of this world or realm yet the believer experiences it in this world). Moses leads the first Exodus that took God's people on their journey to the Promised Land that lasted forty years. Jesus takes His people on the Second Exodus that also lasts forty years (see Hebrews 3-4). The first Moses is told to build a tabernacle and instruments for worship after a pattern. That pattern is Jesus Christ. He is our way back to the Most Holy Place. The Old Covenant has a priesthood with animal sacrifices that can never take away sin (see Hebrews 9). The New Covenant has a High Priest who always intercedes for His people and who has provided a better sacrifice for sin, one that does not have to be repeated. That is why God abolished the Mosaic Covenant in AD 70. He took it out the way (see Hebrews 8:13). I can go on and on showing the OT types and their fulfillment, but I think you get the idea and why 1 Corinthians 2 says this:

    10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
    14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

     

  • Stephen
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    Christianity has neverhidden the fact that it is progressively revelatory.
    Which reads:  When its hypocrisy is highlighted and exposed,it is  forced to change its mind.

  • RationalMadman
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    --> @keithprosser
    OT God is the character Satan/Shai'tan/Iblis in NT and the Qur'an. Lucifer became Jesus, later Allah via still remaining in Holy-Ghost-form capable of possessing Muhammad as he (Allah)'s the real 'devil'.

    When the word 'devil/Iblis' is used in NT and Qur'an it is referring to Lucifer himself but when the word Satan/Shaitan is used it is referring to God of OT (the actual God). When both Satan and devil are used together, it is when the most bullshit is being spewed and you may as well ignore those verses entirely because it contradicts itself purely to do exactly that; make you confused what the devil really is or what's really being expressed.

    The OT teaches us that life is a case of being good for the sake of it and that's a fine reward in and of itself. This is actually purgatory if you read the OT properly. We are in purgatory, there's no actual Hell. The 'Heaven' is when we have done enough in life to be 'released'. If you want to be evil and a jackass to everyone it is your reputation and the 'you' in the minds of others that experiences hell. Do you see?
  • ethang5
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    --> @Stephen
    At least it has a mind.
  • Stephen
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    At least it has a mind.
    Indeed. the minds of men and not gods you clown.
  • ethang5
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    That makes you a mindless clown.

    Fitting, as you post mindless nonsense.
  • disgusted
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    Indoctrination prevents you from reading what is written, it must do because you can't be a godist otherwise.
  • EtrnlVw
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    The reality of the survival of "ethereal souls" predates Christianity, it is a fact with or without that particular belief. However, it is clear that Jesus taught the reality of soul surviving death it is no interpretation other than observation.  
  • keithprosser
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    Whether souls survive death I doubt, but the writers of the OT didn't think so and the Sadducees rejected the resurrection of dead in the time of jesus (Acts 23:8 - "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection").


  • EtrnlVw
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    --> @keithprosser
    Whether souls survive death I doubt,

    Doubt all you want, you will experience leaving the physical body as we all will. Don't be surprised remember what I told you. 

    but the writers of the OT didn't think so

    I don't care.

    and the Sadducees rejected the resurrection of dead in the time of jesus

    The Sadducees were spiritual idiots, they had no clue what was going on. 




  • Stephen
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    The Sadducees were spiritual idiots, they had no clue what was going on. 

    I can go a long way into agreeing with you here.. They, like many thousands christians and ethang5, certainly didn't understand what "signes" Jesus was talking about although he couldn't have given them a better clue than when he said:

    “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times”.Mathew 16:2-3. (KJV).


  • PGA2.0
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    Whether souls survive death I doubt, but the writers of the OT didn't think so and the Sadducees rejected the resurrection of dead in the time of jesus (Acts 23:8 - "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection").
    What OT verses are you thinking of?

    Isaiah 53:8-12
    That He was cut off out of the land of the living
    For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
    His grave was assigned with wicked men,
    Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
    Because He had done no violence,
    Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
    10 But the Lord was pleased
    To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
    If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
    He will see His offspring,
    He will prolong His days,
    And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
    11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
    He will see it and be satisfied;
    By His knowledge the Righteous One,
    My Servant, will justify the many,
    As He will bear their iniquities.
    12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
    And He will divide the booty with the strong;
    Because He poured out Himself to death,
    And was numbered with the transgressors;
    Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
    And interceded for the transgressors.

    Daniel 12:2-3, 13
    Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever...13 But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.”


  • keithprosser
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    PS115;17
    The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD, for they have gone into the silence of the grave.

    PS 6.5
    For there is no mention of You in death; who can praise You from Sheol?

    PS 31:17
    O LORD, let me not be ashamed, for I have called on You. Let the wicked be put to shame; let them lie silent in Sheol.

    PS 88:10
    Do You work wonders for the dead? Do departed spirits rise up to praise You? Selah

    isaiah 38:17
    For Sheol cannot thank You; death cannot praise You. Those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness.


  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @keithprosser
    As for this heaven thing, I'm not sure our common understanding matches what the Bible actually says.

    Attributes like an absence of sadness, war, or sin are common knowledge, as are the pearly gates, but there are quite a few obscure elements which separate Christian heaven from other depictions. For starters, the ultimate heaven isn’t a place yet; the Bible says that a new Earth, where heaven will be, won’t be created until after Armageddon. Until then, the dead are just sort of waiting in an intermediate heaven, feeling no passage of time. The book of Revelation says that there will be a great city, unparalleled in beauty, with walls made of precious jewels and streets made of gold. God is said to dwell among the humans who make it to heaven, where they worship him for eternity. There is a lot of debate over whether or not those in heaven remember their lives, and the Bible is a little ambiguous on the subject, but Jesus’s promise to see his disciples there has been taken as meaning they do.



    It seems like Jesus will have lots of work for us to do, so we might not have much time to visit...

    What Will We Do in Heaven?

    In heaven, believers will worship God, judge and rule (I Corinthians 6:2-3), rebuild cities (Amos 9:14, Isaiah 61:4), compose music (Revelation 14:13), farm, raise livestock, and continue using their God-given talents they had on earth to honor God, according to Enns. But medical doctors and dentists will need to find new vocations, he noted, since the heavenly bodies will be perfect.



    Heaven, as described in detail in the book of Revelation 21:4; 7:17 is 2,250,000 square miles (1,500 sqm X 1,500 sqm) which is roughly the combined surface area of the 16 largest states in America.  With an estimated 1.5 billion dead Christians (and counting) it might be hard to find individuals.

    Estimated number of Christians in total -


    Because the city is at least 1,400 miles in length, width and height, it could be shaped like a cube or pyramid. Does the height refer to the wall that surrounds the city or the tallest building? Rev. 21:17 says the wall around the city is about 200 feet, but ESV, NASB and KJV bibles don't specify whether this is the thickness or height. The NIV bible says this is about 200 feet thick, but the footnote says "or high". A cube-shaped city would make sense in the sense the Most Holy place in Solomon's temple(1 Kings 6:20) was shaped like a cube. However, scripture does not provide a definitive answer as to whether the city is cube or pyramid-shaped.

    The visual aid (model of heaven to scale on a globe) at this link is hilarious -

  • PGA2.0
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    PS115;17
    The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD, for they have gone into the silence of the grave.
    18 But as for us, we will bless the Lord From this time forth and forever.
    Praise the Lord!

    How can you bless someone forever if you are dead?


    PS 6.5
    For there is no mention of You in death; who can praise You from Sheol?

    PS 31:17
    O LORD, let me not be ashamed, for I have called on You. Let the wicked be put to shame; let them lie silent in Sheol.

    PS 88:10
    Do You work wonders for the dead? Do departed spirits rise up to praise You? Selah

    isaiah 38:17
    For Sheol cannot thank You; death cannot praise You. Those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness.


    Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed of the Lord who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead.” Again Naomi said to her, “The man is our relative, he is one of our closest relatives.”

    How can you be kind to someone who no longer is?

    Job 14:13-15
    13 “Oh that You would hide me in Sheol,
    That You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You,
    That You would set a limit for me and remember me!
    14 “If a man dies, will he live again?
    All the days of my struggle I will wait
    Until my change comes.
    15 “You will call, and I will answer You;
    You will long for the work of Your hands.

    Job 19:25-27 (NASB)
    25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
    And at the last He will take His stand on the
     earth.

    26 “Even after my skin is destroyed,
    Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
    27 Whom I myself shall behold,
    And whom my eyes will see and not another.
    My heart faints within me!

    1 Samuel 2:6 (NASB)
    “The Lord kills and makes alive;
    He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

    Psalm 16:9-10 (NASB)
    Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
    My flesh also will dwell securely.
    10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
    Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.




  • keithprosser
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    I've spent some time looking for a good resource on the Hebrew concept of Sheol - this seems pretty good.

    I hope people read it because there can be no doubt that views on the nature of afterlife change radically between the old and new testaments.
     

       



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    --> @keithprosser
    I've spent some time looking for a good resource on the Hebrew concept of Sheol - this seems pretty good.

    I hope people read it because there can be no doubt that views on the nature of afterlife change radically between the old and new testaments.

    I read it, Keith. The concept of life after death (resurrection) was still present in the OT.
  • keithprosser
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    Well, I side with the Sadducces!
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    Well, I side with the Sadducces!

    Well, that is pretty sad, you see.
  • disgusted
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    The reality of the survival of "ethereal souls" predates Christianity,
    It's not reality although the claim is old.
    Of course it does it's the reason gods were invented in the first place, the fear of death, the desire to still be alive after you're dead. The exact same reasons you believe in your fantasies, it won't make any difference in the end it's all the same you will be dead and rotting and unaware.

29 days later

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    Is it the case that the first Christians did not conceive of 'eternal life' in terms of the survival of ethereal souls in heaven?   I get impression that the new order was imagined more like a re-establisment of a pre-fall Eden right here on Earth,  where life was easy and there was no death or suffering, 
    In the OT you get the physical reality, a physical country, physical temple, physical sacrifices, physical law, the physical journey to that land, and Moses as the prophet and leader to bring them there, physical idols, the physical law on tablets, physical food along the way, etc. In the NT you get the heavenly country (Hebrews 11:16), the heavenly temple made up of believers (1 Peter 2:5), spiritual sacrifices (Romans 12:1), a spiritual journey to that land (Hebrews 3), spiritual food along the way (1 Corinthians 10:3), and Jesus as the prophet-priest (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22), and king to bring them there, physical and mental idols, the law as written on the hearts of the believers instead of on stone, etc.  

    which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

    But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

    However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

    Not only this but what was lost in Eden is restored to the believer in AD 70. So Eden or that intimate relationship with God is made available once again where humans do not have to hide from God or only have access once a year into the MHP (Most Holy PLace) or inner temple but have access all the time via the Advocate and High Priest after the order of Melchizedek,  the King of Peace (Hebrews 7:1). 

    Acts 3:20-22 (NASB)
    20 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you.


    It was only when that failed to materialise that it was re-interpretted in terms of posthumous survival of souls.

    While this is a claim, what evidence do you have to support it?
  • keithprosser
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    It was only when that failed to materialise that it was re-interpretted in terms of posthumous survival of souls.

    While this is a claim, what evidence do you have to support it?
    More reading on my part reveals the popular notion that 'the dead go to heaven' is more recent than I thought! It is such a familiar idea I assumed it was ancient, but - appaently - it is not.