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I started this blog when I was following the Life Journal Bible reading plan on YouVersion. (I've since completed that plan.) At that time, YouVersion didn't provide any way for people to respond to my notes, other than to "like" them. So this blog is here to remedy that problem. You may comment on my notes here in the comment section.
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Messiah King and tolerance

14/9/11 Ezekiel 36-37, Psalm 110, Revelation 19

S: Ezekiel 37:24 My servant David will be their king, and they will have only one shepherd. They will obey my regulations and be careful to keep my decrees.

Psalm 110:1-2 The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honour at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.” The Lord will extend your powerful kingdom from Jerusalem; you will rule over your enemies.

Revelation 19:11-16 Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

O: Ezekiel prophesied that Israel will eventually be restored with David as their king. Since the Jews didn't believe in reincarnation, they interpreted this to mean the Messiah, son of David.

David wrote this psalm which Jesus points out in Matthew 22:41-45 means that the Messiah existed before David and is greater than David.

The Revelation to John points out that this Jesus will be the eternal judge and ruler.

We are the Israel of God -- Jesus is not ruling the country we call Israel today because they have rejected Christ. (Though not all the Jews have rejected Christ, and there is a growing Messianic Jewish movement today.) The Messiah, son of David, son of God, is indeed ruling the Israel of God forever. This is the only sense which Ezekiel's prophecy is fulfilled.

The Jews of Jesus' time expected Ezekiel's prophecy to be fulfilled literally in the sense of a king who ruled the physical Israel on earth and threw out the Romans. But that wasn't the way God intended it -- Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world."

Different Christians have different interpretations of Revelations. Sometimes people will be so strong in their interpretations that they will say that people who disagree are somehow inferior Christians, or even not "really" Christian.

Ezekiel is the Old Testament book most like Revelations -- written in the apocalyptic style. And as we see here, it was so easy for the Jews of Jesus' time to take an all-too-literal interpretation of Ezekiel and miss the real message of the Messiah -- His Kingdom is not of this world -- His Kingdom is the salvation of all people -- both Jews and Gentiles.

In the '70s there were books like The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey which taught a literalist, premillennial, dispensational eschatology - that Jesus was going to come again very soon (they expected it before 2000) and that things were going to get worse and worse and you should interpret much of Revelations literally and match it to various things like the Soviet Union, etc.

Many Christians today still believe that this is the only correct way to interpret Revelations even though munch of Lindsey's book has already been debunked by subsequent events, to the point that they'll say that anyone holding a different view is not quite Christian.

A: We need to be humble about our eschatologies (views of the end times). I personally lean towards postmillennialism, but acknowledge that people who disagree with my interpretation can be also committed faithful Christians. Let's not be too dogmatic about secondary issues.

P: Father, I echo Jesus' prayer that we may be one just as He and You are one. In Jesus' name, amen.

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