Dear Beloved Brother,
Warm Christian greetings!
It was a joy to be with you last night.
Today as I was scanning ahead in a book I have been reading I came across the appendix section that contains an article by David Chilton titled “Looking for New Heavens and a New Earth: A Study of 2 Peter 3″. Second Peter 3 is one of the passages we were considering last night. I thought to myself, I wish I could scan this and get it to you, but I don’t have a scanner. Then it occurred to me that I might be able to find it on the web - and I did! I am glad to continue to answer questions and dialog as God enables me. I want you to know and I am sure Mike would also say the same, that there is no requirement among us for a certain eschatological viewpoint. We are passionate about eschatology because we see that what one believes/anticipates about the future will determine to a large extent how he lives in the now. On the one extreme there are those who will not get married or have kids because they suppose the “tribulation” is coming or the rapture imminent and so “why have kids only to have them face the tribulation”, or, “no time to get married…pursue education…pursue a career…etc.”. On our side on the other hand, we believe Jesus is not coming soon (though He will certainly come at the end (last day), and in addition, He may come for you or me before the day is out today). We believe that there are generations yet to live on planet earth as God continues to work out the promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) which is fulfilled through Jesus Christ, but which is not yet fulfilled completely, for He must reign (presently) until (future) all his enemies are made a footstool for His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25-26; see also Romans 4:13; Matthew 28:18-20; Psalm 22:27-28; Isaiah 2:1-4). And so we, rather than thinking and acting (living out presently) the idea that Jesus could come anytime or is about to come to end history, we have a vision for the future that allows us to build for the future, to build generationally; to have kids, to teach them to move out into their own generation into every legitimate realm of human endeavor, and to raise kids to go forth and do the same in their generation (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). For our, and their’ faithful work will surely prevail in history (Habakkuk 2:13-14). So, without taking too much time and space here, it can be said that there is a difference in how life is lived that directly results from how one perceives the future.
There are many questions for you yet to be answered; you have been taught a certain way, and lived in that understanding perhaps from youth. Yet there are many verses and passages that can be seen in a different light that makes much more sense and fits with the whole Bible (notice how many places I have noted verses from Genesis into the New Testament; the whole Bible has a single testimony of what God is up to on planet earth). You have lived in the culture of Dispensationalism (from your youth?). Dispensationalism is a new way of viewing Scripture, originating in the early 1800’s, popularized by J.N. Darby and C.I. Schofield, and continues to be popular through the writings of Hal Lindsey, etc. But a vision of victory in history is taught from Genesis to Revelation; a victory which Christ’s people not only are given (by the “it is finished” of the Cross), but in which they also participate as in “The God of Peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). We follow Him who goes forth conquering His enemies (Rev. 19:11-14) until all His enemies are subdued (Heb. 10:12-13; Psalm 110:1; Rom. 16:20), and the final enemy, death, conquered (legally and effectively at the Cross by Christ “the firstfruits”) but not fully subdued until the “rapture”, the resurrection (conquered for all of God’s people - 1 Cor. 15:24-27, on the last day when no more days of earth history follow (John 6:39-40).
Well, here is finally, the article in the appendix of the book I am reading, but which I also found on line:
http://www.preteristarchive.com/Modern/1996_chilton_looking-heavens.html The book I am reading, by the way, is by Gary DeMar titled Why the End of the World is Not in Your Future: Identifying the God-Magog Alliance. It deals with Ezekiel 38-39, showing that this prophecy has already been fulfilled, and therefore is not to be anticipated for fulfillment sometime in the future as claimed by Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth, and most of the popular prophetic writings of today.
God bless you my dear brother! I believe that if you continue on this “eschatological journey” with us, you are in for much delight! I commend you for your passion for discovering and affirming what the Bible itself says; this is an excellent character quality. Don’t lose this. I praise God that you are like the Bereans (Acts 17:11), who were of more “noble character…for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
Before the Throne of Grace,