Post Number: 689
|Posted on Sunday, September 02, 2007 - 10:38 pm: || |
Jeremy, doesn't the Bible refer to multiple heavens?
For example 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 says
I guess I feel a little uncomfortable stating that the Bible "clearly" states something on the basis of a single verse, or on the basis of conjecture. I agree that your intent is good, but perhaps the assumption is a bit strong considering the clarity of the evidence. Based on what I have seen so far I would have to be of the opinion that it is a possibility, rather than something that is "clear" to me, at least. I don't think that the portion of heaven where God dwells will be destroyed, but then that is just my opinion.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.
Post Number: 2105
|Posted on Sunday, September 02, 2007 - 10:55 pm: || |
Paul was speaking in the common Jewish understanding of the three heavens. The "first heaven" referred to the sky above our earth where the birds fly, etc. The "second heaven" referred to outer space where the stars and planets are. The "third heaven" was paradise, or what we usually call "Heaven."
When God says that "the heavens" will be destroyed it would certainly have to include all of the planets. When the Bible mentions "the heavens and the earth" it is talking about the entire universe (see Genesis 1:1 for example).
It's not just one verse that talks about the universe being affected by sin. It's Colossians 1, Romans 8, the passages that talk about the heavens and the earth being destroyed, perhaps some of the verses that talk about the kosmos, and probably others.
(Message edited by Jeremy on September 02, 2007)
Post Number: 2106
|Posted on Sunday, September 02, 2007 - 10:58 pm: || |
See the following link for more info on the "three heavens": http://www.carm.org/questions/threeheavens.htm
Post Number: 4241
|Posted on Monday, September 03, 2007 - 8:42 am: || |
The only way I can see the universe being affected by sin is that only a small portion of it has been penetrated by rockets and satellites and the space station and the people who have walked on the moon.
God's universe is awesome.
Post Number: 382
|Posted on Monday, September 03, 2007 - 8:52 am: || |
Along this line, I'm having trouble figuring out what Ephesians 3:10 is talking about.
"His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms," NIV
Since my understanding is that God IS the ruler and authority in the heavenly realms, why would the manifold wisdom of God need to be made known?
What are your thoughts on that?
Post Number: 1251
|Posted on Monday, September 03, 2007 - 2:13 pm: || |
My thoughts are that the "rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" are either angels who are witnesses to these events (see 1 Peter 1:12), or hostile spirtual forces opposed to God (see Ephesians 2:2;6:12).
Post Number: 383
|Posted on Monday, September 03, 2007 - 2:30 pm: || |
Thank you, Dennis. That does make sense to me.
Post Number: 11
|Posted on Monday, September 03, 2007 - 10:11 pm: || |
Ellen White was among many of her time, mostly secular, who believed that the universe was teaming with intelligent life. Nowadays, most Christians that I meet who believe in extra-terrestrial intelligence will take their arguments from science instead of the Bible. If one believes that life just forms spontaneously from commonly favorable conditions, as astronomers teach us, it is only a matter of time and chance. Given a hundred billion galaxies and fourteen billion years, voila! Easy come, easy go, life is cheaply obtained. As I move away from my agnosticism and from Adventism, life now seems rare and precious. I'm convinced that we live on a privileged planet with exceedingly rare conditions that favor sentient life. Life is a miracle, and what a price has been paid for us!
Post Number: 70
|Posted on Monday, September 03, 2007 - 10:21 pm: || |
"Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things" (1 Peter 1:10-12).
The richness of salvation is so great that even the angels longed to look at this redemption on the part of Christ.
The text in first Peter fits perfectly with what Paul wrote...“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 3:10)
The mystery of salvation in Eph 3:3 12 is found also in Romans 16: 25, 26 where it says the "revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past"
Colossians 1:26, "this mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the GLORIOUS RICHES of this mystery, WHICH IS CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of all glory."
And in Ephesian 6 where we are told our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, against the forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Verse 19 concludes, "Pray also for me that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly MAKE KNOWN THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."
1 Timothy 3:16 "Beyond all question, the MYSTERY OF GODLINESS IS GREAT: he appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory"
Don't all these verses point to the same thing? The mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ who is the power of salvation to all who believe.
What a great mystery has been revealed to us--all the power and glory belong to Christ!!!!
Post Number: 6723
|Posted on Monday, September 03, 2007 - 11:23 pm: || |
Yes, Lori—it is amazing! And Martinc, I completely agree. I remember thinking, as an Adventist, that any sin contaminating the universe would have been "leaked" out from earth.
I am realizing, the more I read of the epistles, that sin is a bigger problem than what we see on earth. Sin, after all, originated in heaven when Lucifer rebelled. It's effects are greater than we can possibly see in our three-dimensional world.
Consder these texts: "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven" (Col 1:19-20).
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now" (Romans 8:20-22).
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare" (2 Peter 3:10).
(Message edited by Colleentinker on September 03, 2007)
Post Number: 147
|Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 9:03 am: || |
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
Good one Colleen. Whole means all.
Post Number: 692
|Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 9:55 am: || |
Colleen and Larry, but what is “all” in a universe without limits? Does that include where God resides? If we say "No", then we have immediately started placing restrictions on at least two portions of the universe -- that with sin, and that without. If we say yes, then where is the Biblical support for a total destruction of even that portion of “heaven” where God manages the universe from.
In the "spirit" of Ellen White, I find it natural to think we have an answer for everything. That is why when we were Seventh-day Adventists we prided ourselves in having "knowledge from the Pen of Inspiration (or is that Information)" that "non-Adventists" didn't have. And we would state emphatically that we knew "clearly" that such and such was the case -- because she said so. I find myself still wanting to maintain that "security blanket" of certainty that I had as a Seventh-day Adventist. Since becoming a Christian, I have learned that there are many things that God has chosen not to reveal to me with the clarity that I previously thought I had. It has been a humbling experience.
For example, even within the Bible the term “world” was used by respective writers to refer to what they knew to be the “world” at that time. I can provide examples if you need them. There are numerous occurrences in the Bible of the writers using terms that the intended audience of the writer could understand. We see multiple occurrences where these same Old Testament passages were “refactored” to apply to New Testament experiences. Just one example is provided in Acts 15:16-18 where James “refactors” the prophecy to include the word “Gentiles”, wording that is clearly different than the text it is referencing in Amos 9:11-12. That doesn’t mean that the prophecy in Amos was in error. It just means that it was provided to and by Amos in terms his recipients at the time would understand. At least, that is my interpretation. I find numerous examples where a prophecy appeared to have a “physical” application in the Old Testament (or Old Covenant in many cases), but in reality it was fulfilled in a “spiritual” application in the New Testament. The “heavenly sanctuary” is another example we are all familiar with. Adventists say that since the Old Testament sanctuary was physical, that the New (Covenant) sanctuary has to be physical as well. The text in Hebrews 10:20 makes it “clear” (to me at least) that the term “his body” refers to a spiritual application of the physical representation provided by the Old Testament sanctuary service.
For me the evidence that I have seen, combined with collateral evidence that you were involved in publishing in Adventist Today from interviews with Richard Hammil and others, would lead me to say that I don't know enough to be certain how extensive sin affected “the universe”, but this one thing I do know, "That Jesus is my Savior, and he has revealed everything that I do need to know to be a child of His."
Post Number: 148
|Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 10:36 am: || |
Some angels took Gods side, but can it be said they were not affected by sin? I am not a theologian, but I bet they were affected, so maybe they groaned a little!
Sin originated in heaven, so can it be said that heaven was also affected by sin? Again, not a theologian, but perhaps a good gambler
Does the Bible say there was war in heaven?
I am sure you know more about this stuff than I do!
Post Number: 2108
|Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 11:19 am: || |
Who says we live in a universe without limits? And how do we know that "Heaven" is within our physical universe?
What I've come to see is that the whole Adventist worldview is completely different from the Christian/Biblical worldview. In fact, in issues such as these, the Adventist worldview is much like the atheist/evolutionary worldview, instead of the Christian/Biblical worldview.
Gilbert, you wrote:
Just one example is provided in Acts 15:16-18 where James “refactors” the prophecy to include the word “Gentiles”, wording that is clearly different than the text it is referencing in Amos 9:11-12.
Actually, James did not "refactor" or change the Scripture to say "Gentiles." The Greek word for "Gentiles" that James uses is ethnos, which means "nations" and is the word commonly used in the NT to refer to the "Gentiles" or "nations" (meaning non-Jews). Additionally, the Hebrew word that Amos used for "nations" (or "heathen" in the KJV) is gowy, which means "nations" and which is also the only Hebrew word translated "Gentiles" in the Old Testament (in the KJV at least). In other words, both Amos and James used the word in their languages which would literally be translated "nations" but which meant "Gentiles" ("the nations," meaning other than the Jews) in the Biblical context.
(Message edited by Jeremy on September 04, 2007)
Post Number: 693
|Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 12:00 pm: || |
Larry, good points. While in a sense we can say that the "good" angels were "affected" by sin, I am not aware of God replacing them. To my way of thinking there is a difference between being "affected" by sin, and having a "sinful" nature. One could take the position that even in the Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve "sinned" that "sin" existed on this earth -- and would continue to exist whether they sinned or not. There was after all a Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and we are told that Satan was allowed into the Garden of Eden (supposedly a place without sin) to "tempt" Adam and Eve...
And with all of Ellen White's Great Controversy baloney, what is the real story? I am eagerly awaiting anything that Pastor Mark might produce (per Jonah's request in another thread) to set us straight on all the damage done by the false doctrine we internalized from her book, "Great Controversy". To think that the Seventh-day Adventist Church today continues to push that book is a travesty!
We need a sequel of the movie, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" ("They're here already! You're next!") called "Invasion of the Mind Snatchers" starring the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Ellen White.
So where does it all stop? At times I don't know what to think, because so much of my thinking has come from Ellen White! Since, as you also pointed out, sin (of which God foresaw before Lucifer was ever created) supposedly originated with (or at least was manifested by) Lucifer in the presence of God's throne, does that get replaced too?
As Colleen so eloquently stated earlier in another thread, I think I understand the mindset of a Seventh-day Adventist better now than I ever did as a Seventh-day Adventist. Perhaps the most frightening thing for a Seventh-day Adventist is to not have an answer for everything. As Seventh-day Adventists we "knew it all". We had a direct "inside" connection to "truth" via Ellen White. Good or bad attributes within the denomination were irrelevant. We were on the "ark of safety". We had "knowledge" that no non-Adventist had. They could say what they wanted to, and it did not matter, because we "knew" everything. To have that "security blanket" removed is more than many Adventists can even deal with.
Even now, as a "former" Adventist, I observe that we "formers" want to "know" everything. We are in the "business" of replacing one "truth" for another. I don't mean for this to be a slam at anyone, but even myself I feel a need to possess "clear" answers -- with the same determination that I felt when as a Seventh-day Adventist I "knew" I had the "truth". Seventh-day Adventism dies hard!
One of the characteristics that I have observed since fellowshipping with Christians is the open admission that there are a lot of things we don't know. That is humbling when we look in the mirror and actually apply it to ourselves. It is so different than we were raised as Seventh-day Adventists where we "knew it all", and non-Adventists were ignorant and lost.
At times it makes me mad. If the Seventh-day Adventists think they know so much, and have an "inside connection" to God, why are they so afraid to actually host an interdenomination conference where they show leading theologians from other denominations their "special light" on 1844 and the Investigative Judgement?
While they are at it, they can have Doug Batchelor dance around with a Bible in his hand, and share with them the special end-time "light" that he pretends Seventh-day Adventists have. The Seventh-day Adventist denomination has not made any serious attempt to even dialog with leading theologians of a single mainstream denomination on these subjects -- and I predict that they won't. Other denominations would be shocked at all the baloney that makes up Adventist theology. There would be absolutely no doubt in their minds that Seventh-day Adventism is a cult.
I'd love to see Doug Batchelor tell leading theologians to their face that Seventh-day Adventism alone is God's "Remnant Church", Ellen White is proof of it, and non-Adventists are all mislead by the Beast and his image! When will these people ever be honest with themselves?
<End of Rant>
Post Number: 694
|Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 12:21 pm: || |
Larry, you are right -- and I really value your corrections
I was not very clear with my example, was I? I was busy with work, and just grabbed an example from memory.
Here is a much better explanation intended to show how the recipients of Amos's message would have understood it differently than those of Acts 15. It comes from http://ids.org/pdf/nctbook.pdf
While I don't agree with every conclusion presented in this paper, I have been greatly blessed by it.
Amos 9 and Acts 15
There is a prophecy in Amos 9:11-12 that is quoted in Acts 15:14-20 which will help us to understand how God interprets Old Testament prophecies concerning a future restoration of national Israel. Our first step in interpreting this prophecy in Amos is to determine its context within the Old Testament. Amos is prophesying against the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and dressing them down for their idolatry and social injustices. The prophecy focuses on the coming judgment God is about to bring on Israel with His chosen instrument, the Assyrians, in 722 B.C. At the end of a series of visions concerning God’s judgment on Israel, we read that God has plans to restore the nation of Israel:
“In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name," declares the LORD, who will do these things. "The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills (Amos 9:11-12).
“In that day” refers to a time after the judgment, which God promises to pour out on Israel. According to Amos, this “day,” or period of time after the judgment of Israel, would be a time of restoration of the nation. “David’s fallen tent” refers to the divided kingdom. When David ruled over Israel it was a united kingdom and it is considered the golden age of Israel. But at the time Amos was prophesying, the kingdom was divided and Israel was at a moral and political low point. God, through Amos, was saying that in a day in the future He would unify the nation of Israel and make it like it was in the days of David, and Israel would “possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations (Gentiles) that bear my name.”
Now if we look up Edom in a standard Bible dictionary we find that “The term Edom…denotes either the name of Esau…or the Edomites collectively… or the land occupied by Esau’s descendants, formerly the land of Seir… It stretched from the Wadi Zered to the Gulf of Aqabah for c. 160 km, and extended to both sides of Arabah or wilderness of Edom.”
So, when God promised Israel that they would “possess the remnant of Edom,” it was a reference to political and military supremacy over their national enemies. God, through Amos, prophesies that there would be a time in the future after the exile of Israel when the nation of Israel would have military supremacy over its enemies, political re-unification, and of course the expansion of its physical borders to its original size under David’s leadership.
When you turn to your New Testament you will find Amos 9:11-13 quoted by Luke who was recording the words of James in Acts chapter 15. In this section of the book of Acts, the Jerusalem council is meeting to discuss the questions: Can Gentiles be included in the people of God? If so, were Gentiles also required to keep the Mosaic Law? James addresses the first of these questions by quoting the book of Amos:
When they finished, James spoke up: "Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: " 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things that have been known for ages.’
"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath" (Acts 15:13-21).
James interprets Amos 9:11-12 to mean that God does save Gentiles and they too should be included in the people of God. We also know from James’ interpretation that the phrase “after these things” in Amos 9 refers to this period in which God is saving Gentiles, that is from Pentecost to the second coming of Christ. James understood that the period of time Amos prophesied about was actually taking place in the 1st century A.D.! He believed that the re-unification and restoration of Israel was happening. But it clearly wasn’t a national re-unification because it included non-Israelites, and Israel the nation was securely under the thumb of Rome at that time.
There is something else that is important in Acts 15. Notice that the reference to Edom seems to have been removed and the action resulting from the restoration of Israel has changed from possession of enemies to God’s election from among all peoples of the world. The restoration of national Israel in Amos 9 is interpreted by God in Acts 15 to refer to the gathering of God’s elect, both Jews and Gentiles, to be saved and brought together into the church. This is not left to some time in the future, but it was happening in the first century and it is happening now. This was not a political restoration of ethnic Israel, but a spiritual restoration of people from all nations.
In Amos 9, God spoke to the Jews about the New Covenant era. He spoke about the amazing things he would do in the future for His people. But He did so in the language of the picture. God spoke about this in terms of Davidic kingship, material wealth, and political and military power. This is the language of the physical kingdom. But we find that in the fulfillment of this prophecy the language of the physical kingdom and the physical people of God is interpreted in terms of the spiritual kingdom and the spiritual people of God. Amos was inspired to describe the New Covenant era in the language of the Old Covenant. Luke and James were inspired to interpret that language for us.
Post Number: 695
|Posted on Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - 12:22 pm: || |
I said Larry. I meant Jeremy. Hard to work at computer programming, and think about this at the same time! <grin>