Paradise. The place of bliss modeled by the Garden of Eden and apparently equivalent to New Jerusalem. The Greek noun for Paradise is parádeisos (3857), occurring but thrice in the NT (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7).
According to Thayer, "among the Persians [this term referred to] a grand enclosure or preserve, hunting ground, park, shady and well watered, in which wild animals, were kept for the hunt; it was enclosed by walls and furnished with towers for the hunters." These three NT passages do not necessarily give the word that flavor, but the OT passages do. We shall examine them in a moment.
Though these NT passages provide only limited clues as to the meaning of the word, something can be deduced from each. From Luke 23:43, we gather that Paradise is a place of bliss and comfort to which both Jesus and the believing, repentant thief on the cross were headed that very day after their deaths. From 2 Cor. 12:4, we gather that Paul was caught up into Paradise. So the direction to Paradise is upwards. By examining the context of that reference, we learn that Paul, in some sort of "vision" or "revelation" (2 Cor. 12:1) had been caught up into the "third heaven" (2 Cor. 12:2), perhaps in body or perhaps in spirit (2 Cor. 12:2, 3), a fact which only God knew (2 Cor. 12:3). While there he had heard "inexpressible words" which he was not permitted to rehearse (2 Cor. 12:4). From Rev. 2:7 we learn that believers in Christ who conquer difficulties and sins in this life will, in the next life, be granted the privilege of eating from the Tree of Life, which is located in the Paradise of God. Since we know that the Tree of Life is located on either side of the river of the water of life (Rev. 22:1-2), which is itself located within the confines of New Jerusalem (Rev. 3:12; 21:2, 10), which in turn comes down out of heaven from God and is situated either on or in orbit around New Earth (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1, 24), we conclude that Paradise is equivalent to New Jerusalem.
We learn more about Paradise from the Hebrew noun pardês (6508). According to BDB it is a Persian or Zend loan-word referring to a preserve or park that contains trees, including fruit trees and costly plants. It is used but three times in the OT: In Neh. 2:8 it refers to the king's forest. In Eccles. 2:5 it is translated as "parks," parallel to gardens; in these Solomon had planted all kinds of fruit trees. In Song of Solomon 4:13 it is translated as an "orchard" of pomegranates.
We conclude, then, that the Garden of Eden was the initial prototypical "Paradise." But man defiled it with his sin, and man was barred from any further access. Subsequently, New Jerusalem is to be identified as the ultimate Paradise. New Jerusalem is enormous, measuring some 1400 miles wide, long, and high (Rev. 21:16). It is difficult to get any type of feeling for a typical city that can be expressed in those dimensions. For myself, one possibility is to liken New Jerusalem to a gigantic Embassy Suites Hotel, built around a center atrium, complete with plants and fountains and rivers and animals. I believe that New Jerusalem is certainly large enough to contain the heavenly Mount Zion. I can visualize it covered with mountains, parks, farms, villages, and communities, all situated around the "City Center." In the City Center is located the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev. 22:1), the River of Water of Life streaming from the throne of God (Rev. 22:1), and the Tree of Life astride the River (Rev. 22:2). Paradise is, and will be through all eternity, a place of love and unity and fellowship and beauty and praise and worship and service of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:3-5).
Parousia. Though the word parousia can mean either coming or presence, as used in Christological contexts, it refers to Christ's glorious return.
There are certain uses of parousia which speak of Christ's return as an imminent event, one which could happen at any time. Other references to Christ's return (parousia) impose a series of signs that must be fulfilled prior to His return. So it is best to understand Christ's return as taking place in two stages: 1) He will return to retrieve His bride, the Church from earth to evaluate her and fit her for His eternal marriage to her. We call this stage the Rapture. 2) Having prepared His bride, He will return with her to the earth in great power and glory to destroy His enemies and begin His kingdom on earth. We refer to this stage as the Second Coming. See A Comparison of the Rapture and the Second Coming.
In this regard, the following contexts speak of His return for His bride, the Church (the Rapture) (1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1; James 5:7-8; 2 Pet. 3:4; 1 John 2:28), while the following passages speak of His Second Coming to reign (Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 2 Thess. 2:8). [A number of passages speak about the coming of humans other than Christ: - of Stephanas, Fortunatas and Achaicus (1 Cor. 16:17); of Titus (2 Cor. 7:6-7); of Paul's personal presence/coming (2 Cor. 10:10; Php. 1:26; 2:12); of the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:9). One passage speaks of the coming of the day of God (2 Pet. 3:12), a time of terrible judgment.]
Amillennialists do not believe Jesus' Parousia will include His literal reign upon present day earth; Dispensational Premillennialists do. Peter used the term parousia to describe Jesus' transfiguration on top of a high mountain (2 Pet. 1:16-18). A careful reading of the gospel accounts of that event (Matt. 16:28-17:9; Mark 9:1-9; Luke 9:27-36) reveals that the purpose of Peter, James, and John’s eyewitness of Jesus’ transformation was for them to be able to report to others what Jesus’ Kingdom here on earth would actually look like when His Parousia (Stage 2) takes place. These gospel accounts reveal what will, from a Jewish point of view, take place in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom: the glorious Messiah, deceased Jewish saints from a bygone era, and Jewish believers in their natural bodies all will coexist in the same time/space/matter continuum in a Utopian association on the present earth! (Note that this preview of Christ’s coming Kingdom took place on a high mountain on earth. No one was transported up to heaven or to a new earth.)
Participle. Greek Participle. A hybrid verb / noun or "verbal adjective." As such a participle can be parsed as a verb, that is it possesses Mood, Tense, Voice, and Person, as well as Number. But it can also be declined as a noun, possessing Case and Gender, as well as Number. Frequently participles are translated in English with an "ing" ending. For example, "going" in Matt. 28:19 is the Nominative Case, Plural Number, Masculine Gender, Participle Mood (with Imperatival force), Aorist Tense, Passive Deponent Voice, Second Person of poreúomai (4198); while "baptizing" in the same verse is the Nominative Case, Plural Number, Masculine Gender, Participial Mood (with Imperatival force), Present Tense, Active Voice, Second Person of baptídzō (907). Both words have a verbal action ("going," "baptizing") but they also name that activity.See Cory Keating's "Greek Verbs (Shorter Definition)." More technically, Participles can be used Adjectivally, Substantively, or Adverbially. Adverbially, they can be used as a Temporal, Causal, Instrumental, Telic, or Concessional Participle. See Cory Keating's longer section on "Greek Participles." See also Cory Keating's Chart on the Classification of Adverbial (Circumstantial) Participles.
Participle. Hebrew Participle. Participles also appear in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew participle is the aspect of a verbal rendering that exists as a verbal adjective or substantive. It has the idea of describing an ongoing action on the part of the subject. A participle possesses Gender and Number. It can appear in any one of the seven verb stems – Qal, Niphal (or Nifal), Piel, Pual, Hiphil (or Hifil), Hophal, Hithpael.
Passive Voice. In NT Greek, the grammatical voice that indicates the subject is the recipient of the action of the verb. If the subject is performing the action, the verb is said to be in the Active Voice. If the subject is being acted upon, the verb is said to be in the Passive Voice. At times the surrounding context indicates the identity of the agent acting upon the subject. At other times, the context does not reveal the identity of the agent, for that was not the purpose of the author. For example, in 1 Cor. 12:13 Paul writes that it was by one Spirit that all (of the Corinthians) were baptized (at a point of time) into one body -- the Body of Christ. "Were baptized" is the Aorist Tense, Passive Voice of baptídzō (907). Here the text explicitly reveals that it is the Holy Spirit who was the means by which the Corinthians were (passively) baptized into the one body of Christ. In Ephesians 2:22 Paul writes that the (largely Gentile) readers "also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." The phrase "are being built together" translates the Present Tense, Passive Voice, Indicative Mood of sunoikodoméō (4925). In this instance it was not important to Paul to indicate the identity of the agent who was presently building these believers into a dwelling of God. We as readers can guess that it was God Himself, or, perhaps better, the Spirit of God who was the agent. But we cannot know for certain, for the text does not say.
Paul, the Apostle. Saul of Tarsus, whom Jesus personally chose to be an Apostle. Saul was a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, brought up in Jerusalem as a Pharisee under the tutelage of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), a highly respected teacher of the Law (Acts 5:34). Saul was a man of great zeal. He was present at and approving of the assassination of Stephen, the Church's first martyr (Acts 7:57-8:1). Shortly thereafter he began ravaging the church, entering house after house, dragging off men and women and imprisoning them (Acts 8:3).
Paul's turn-around was nothing short of miraculous. En route to Damascus to imprison more Jewish believers in Christ, he was stopped dead in his tracks by the blinding appearance of Christ (Acts 9:1-6). The Lord Jesus commissioned a devout Christian named Ananias to instruct Saul concerning his mission as an Apostle of Christ (Acts 9:10-19). Paul regularly identified himself in his letters as an Apostle of Christ (Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1; 1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1. Jesus confirmed Paul's legitimacy as one of His apostles through miraculous signs (2 Cor. 12:11-12).
Ultimately, Paul changed from becoming the church's greatest adversary to becoming its greatest missionary. Though Peter was the Apostle most in view in Acts 1-12, Paul eclipsed him in Acts 13-28. Paul wrote more New Testament books (letters) than any other Apostle. He wrote Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. This amounts to 13 of the 26 NT documents. Paul's influence upon the progress and doctrine of the Church is arguably greater than Peter's, though the latter had an unmatched influence on the Church's founding.
There is a contrast between the ministries of the two Apostles. Though Paul was indeed commissioned to bear Jesus' name before the sons of Israel (Acts 9:15), he was primarily the Apostle of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:13; Gal. 1:16; Eph. 3:8). Peter, on the other hand, was especially the Apostle on behalf of the "circumcised" (Gal. 2:7-8).
Pentecost, Day of. The Greek name for a festival known in the OT as the "Feast of Weeks" (Lev. 23:15-22; Deut. 16:9-12). The Law provided for an interval of seven weeks plus a day after the sabbath following the beginning of harvest (Lev. 23:15-16). The Greek word pentêcostê (4005) means "fiftieth," and it refers to the fiftieth day (seven weeks plus a day) having elapsed since the Wave Offering of the Sheaf of the First fruits of the standing grain (Lev. 23:9-14; Deut. 16:9). The Day of Pentecost is referred to but three time in the NT (Acts 2:1; 20:16; 1 Cor. 16:8). The first occurrence, however (Acts 2:1), holds great significance for the Church. It was on this day that the resurrected, ascended Messiah sent forth the promised Holy Spirit upon his waiting followers (Acts 2:1-4). His arrival was marked by the sound of a violent, rushing wind (Acts 2:2), by what appeared as flickering tongues of fire alighting on the heads of each of the believers (Acts 2:3), by the filling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4), and by the believers' sudden, miraculous ability to speak in diverse languages (Dative Plural of glōssa, 1100) and dialects (Dative Singular of diálektos, 1258) they had never before learned. Jesus had just begun building His Church (Matt. 16:18)! Peter explained the significance of the miraculous signs to a fascinated Jewish audience, and 3,000 stunned people of those in attendance changed their minds about who Jesus was and were baptized in His name (Acts 2:37-42). Jesus has been building His Church for almost 2,000 years now. When the last person is added, Jesus will return for His waiting bride (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 2:1). We popularly call that event the Rapture. The Church begun on the Day of Pentecost and completed at the Rapture will, after her purification and marriage to the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9), ultimately make her eternal home in New Jerusalem, as represented there by the Twelve Apostles (Rev. 21:14).
Perfect Tense in Greek. In Koine Greek, the Perfect Tense indicates that the progress of an action has been completed, and the results continue. Sometimes they continue on into the present. At other times the progress and results continue to a stated point in past time. For example, in Eph. 2:12, the Gentile readers, now Christian, are said to have been "formerly" (Eph. 2:11) and "at that time" (Eph. 2:12) "excluded" (Perfect Tense) from the commonwealth of Israel." Whether, at the present time of the writing of the letter the Gentile Christian readers remained in a state of exclusion from the commonwealth of Israel is a point open to theological debate to be decided on other grounds. But the use of the Perfect tense of "excluded" (Eph. 2:12) does not demand that they presently are excluded because of the "past" time indicators stated in the text. Unlike the English perfect, which indicates a completed past action, under normal circumstances, the Greek perfect tense indicates the continuation and present state of a completed past action" (NTGreek.org).
Perfect Tense in Hebrew. The Perfect Aspect of the verb indicates an action that is viewed as "whole and complete, without respect to the time of the action." It "conveys the totality of an action without dividing up its chronological processes." (Yahowah Beryth). The Hebrew Perfect is also referred to as the "suffixed" conjugation. Its counterpart, the Imperfect, is referred to as a "prefixed" conjugation.
Perseverance of the Saints. The doctrine taught by Calvinism that true believers, despite some forays into sin and even carnality (fleshliness) (1 Cor. 3:1-3), will inevitably, through the predetermined plan of God, ultimately persevere in their walk with God. Put another way, genuine believers cannot and will not lose their salvation. Perhaps one of the strongest passages that teach this truth is to be found in Romans 8:29-30. (1) There are a group of people that God foreknew as His own from eternity past (Rom. 8:29). (2) This same group of people God predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). (3) This same group of people God called to Himself (Rom. 8:30). (4) This same group of people God justified, or declared righteous (Rom. 8:30). (5) This same group of people God glorified (Rom. 8:30). Obviously the glorification will not occur until the resurrection, but from God's perspective all of these events that occur before time and in time in actual experience, are equally certain. Romans 8:31-39 describes the believer's certain hope of eternal victory because of God's love. If God is for us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)? Since God has justified us, who can bring charges against us (Rom. 8:33)? If Christ died for us, who can condemn us (Rom. 8:34)? In fact, there is nothing in all of creation that can possibly separate us from the love which God has for us in Christ (Rom. 8:35-39). Another name given to the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints is Eternal Security.
There are some who object to this doctrine, even though it is clearly taught in Scripture. They rely heavily on passages like Heb. 6:1-8 and Heb. 10:26-31. To explore these sorts of objections, see the author's following articles: Can a Christian Lose His Salvation?; Does Hebrews 6:1-8 teach that Christians can lose their salvation?; Does Hebrews 10:26-31 teach that Christians can lose their salvation?; and What Does God Do With Christians Who Sin?.
Personal Sin. Acts of sin which humans commit. These are attitudes we convey or things that we do that are outside the will and the character of God. In the NT, the verb hamartánō (264), "I sin" or "I miss the mark" expresses the act of sinning against God. The devil sinned from the beginning, and the person who consistently practices sin (the noun hamartía, 266) is of the devil (1 John 3:8). The Scriptures assert, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Acts of sin are committed ultimately against God (Luke 15:18, 21), but also against other people (Luke 17:3, 4). Sometimes sin is against ourselves (1 Cor. 6:18), as well as against others. When we sin against other Christians, we also sin against Christ (1 Cor. 8:12). John asserts that if we Christians say we have not committed acts of sin, we are liars, and God's Word is not in us (1 John 1:10). No one who is born of God, who is remaining in Christ, habitually sins (1 John 3:6, 9; 5:18). Other categories of sin of which all are guilty include Representative Sin (sometimes termed Imputed Sin) and Inherited Sin.
Peter. The leading Apostle during the ministry of Jesus. The author of two letters, 1 Peter and 2 Peter. His fuller name was Simon Peter, brother of Andrew. He was a fisherman (Matt. 4:18). He was one of the original twelve apostles (Matt. 10:2). Peter was a natural leader, and sometimes more than a bit impetuous (Matt. 14:28-29; 16:22-23; 17:4; 26:35). He and James and John were Jesus' three favorite disciples (Matt. 17:1-3). At one point in Jesus' ministry He asked His disciples who people were saying that He, the Son of Man was (Matt. 16:13). The answers came back, "John the Baptist," "Elijah," "Jeremiah," or "one of the prophets" (Matt. 16:14). But who did they think He was (Matt. 16:15)? Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). To which Jesus replied, 17 "...Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are Peter (Pétros, 4074, a stone, or boulder), and upon this rock (pétra, 4073, large rock; bed-rock) I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:17-19). By this statement, Jesus certainly gave Peter an important role. But He certainly did not say He would build His church on Pétros, but rather upon pétra, by which I believe Jesus meant Himself (Rom. 9:33; 1 Cor. 10:4; 1 Pet. 2:8). Keys are for locking and unlocking. Peter unlocked the door to "The Kingdom of the Heavens" (Matt. 16:19) for the sons of Israel when He preached to the nation and 3,000 entered on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-42). He unlocked the door for the half-breed Samaritans after Stephen's evangelistic ministry there (Acts 8:14-17). And he unlocked the door for the full-blooded Gentiles who had gathered at the home of Cornelius (Acts 10:34-48). Whether Jesus' prophecy about Peter finds a yet fuller fulfillment when the King actually begins His Kingdom here on earth remains to be seen. Doubtless, all twelve apostles await a future significant role in that kingdom (Matt. 19:27-28).
So how do we assess Peter? Without a doubt, Peter was a major player in Acts 1-12. In my opinion, and it is only an opinion, his engineering of the selection of Matthias (Acts 1:12-26) was ill-advised. Matthias was the human choice of Peter and the others, but not the choice of Jesus. Jesus personally picked Saul, who became Paul (Acts 9:1-19). I believe the twelve foundations of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:14) will include the name of Paul, not that of Matthias. And the results bear out my opinion. We never hear of Matthias again in the entire NT. We hear repeatedly of Peter in Acts 1-12, but after that, he virtually fades off the scene. The dominant figure in Acts 13-28 is Paul. Paul wrote thirteen New Testament Epistles, Peter, but two. So, though Peter started out being the greatest apostle of the NT Church, he did not end up being the greatest apostle. Paul did.
The treatment of Peter by the Vatican Church is nothing short of scandalous. The Vatican has made a fetish of both Peter and Mary. The narrative of Rome is that Jesus said He would build His church upon Peter. That is blasphemous. Jesus, not Peter, is the Head of the Church (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18). The Vatican's fiction continues, insisting that Peter became the Bishop of Rome, and that those who succeed him succeed "in the supreme headship." The Vatican assumes the "Primacy of the Roman See." And the Vatican continues to justify the office of pope. All these are a fiction of Vatican tradition. Not one of them is to be found in Scripture, which is the only standard of truth.
We cannot prove from Scripture that Peter ever made it to Rome. We cannot prove from Scripture that Peter became bishop of Rome. We cannot prove from Scripture the existence of a monarchical bishop. We cannot prove from Scripture the primacy of the local church at Rome. And the office of a pope is never once mentioned in Scripture. Consequently we reject all these out of hand. The Scripture is inspired (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). Church tradition is not. It is merely the tradition of man. Jesus warned us about people who invalidate the Word of God by their tradition and who teach as doctrines the precepts of men (Matt. 15:1-9). Let the Word of God be found true, and every man a liar (Rom. 3:4)! The narrative of Rome about Peter and the Papacy is to be rejected out of hand. It has no Biblical support.
Philistines. Inhabitants of the Mediterranean seacoast along Israel's SW border during OT times. The English word "Philistines" is the plural of the proper noun Pelishti (6430). Philistia was a relatively small country, about 25-30 miles in length along the Mediterranean, and about half that wide. According to BDB, Pelishti are inhabitants of Philistia. They are descendants of Mizraim (4714) who immigrated from Caphtor (Crete?) to the western seacoast of Canaan. However, the Biblical text states that the Philistines descended from Casluh (Kasluchim, 3695), not Caphtor (Kaphtori, 3732) (Gen. 10:14; 1 Chron. 1:11-12). Yet, we are also told that the Caphtorim who came from Caphtor destroyed the Avvim, “who lived in villages as far as Gaza”. The Caphtorim then lived in the place which the Avvim had previously inhabited (Deut. 2:23). Evidently both are true.
Modern day “Palestinians” are unrelated ethnically to the Philistines who once inhabited the region. Modern-day “Palestinians” are expatriates from Egypt and from Jordan that were not permitted by their respective countries to return following Israel’s successful war for independence in 1948. The chief similarity between the ancient Philistines and the modern-day “Palestinians” is that both remained inveterate enemies of Israel. One day Israel will control the entire Mediterranean seacoast (Zeph. 2:6-7), as was long ago promised by God (Gen. 15:18; Josh. 1:4).
Physical Death. The separation of the immaterial part of man from his material part, his body. In Biblical terms, "death" rarely means the cessation of existence. It has the idea of "separation." There is no such thing as "soul sleep." Nor, at physical death, does the immaterial part of man simply cease to exist. People are of a higher order than animals. To be sure, man's physical body, at the point of death, rapidly begins to decay. Humans artificially maintain a facade of temporary non-decay by the process of embalming or mummification. But the immaterial part of man continues to exist. Jesus taught that both the "rich man" and Lazarus continued to exist after their deaths (Luke 16:19-31). Moreover, both the OT (Dan. 12:2) and the NT (John 5:25-29; Rev. 20:4-5, 11-13) teach of a resurrection of the dead.
Physical death is caused by human sin (Rev. 6:23), of which all are guilty (Rev. 3:23). God created our first parents, Adam and Eve, to live forever. But He warned them that violation of His command not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would result in death (Gen. 2:16-17). Man violated God's command (Gen. 3:1-6), and instantly died. That was not readily apparent, because physical death, in the case of Adam, would not come for another 930 years (Gen. 5:5). But there is more than one kind of death. Adam and Eve's greatest death was instantaneous Spiritual Death, separation of man from God (Gen. 3:8). If Spiritual Death is not remedied before Physical Death sets in, the horrifying and eternal consequence is Second Death. Second Death is defined as eternal separation of man from God in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone.
The remedy for all three aspects of death is forgiveness and being made spiritually alive. We must admit we are sinners against God (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). We must trust in Jesus the Messiah as God's only way of forgiveness, reconciliation with Him, and eternal life (John 3:16-18, 36; 5:24; 14:6; Acts 13:38-39; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).
For further reading on the three aspects of death, see "The Three Different Kinds of Death."
Piel. The Piel Stem of a Hebrew verb is used to intensify the action of the verb. For example, in the case of shabar (7665), the Qal stem means "he broke" (Jer. 28:10), while the Piel Stem means "he shattered" (Psa. 107:16). Piel Stem action is expressed in the active voice ("he shattered"), not the passive voice ("he was shattered").
Postmodernism. A time era and a movement involving a skepticism toward Enlightenment values, Western Civilization, objective reality and absolute truth. According to Brian Duignan,
Postmodernists deny that there are aspects of reality that are objective; that there are statements about reality that are objectively true or false; that it is possible to have knowledge of such statements (objective knowledge); that it is possible for human beings to know some things with certainty; and that there are objective, or absolute, moral values.
Practitioners of postmodernism deny that there is any objective reality in a document, and approve of "deconstructing" the original intent of the author or authors and imposing their own interpretation. Thus, in politics, they are justified in interpreting the US Constitution in such a way that benefits their agenda. And in theology, postmodernists are justified in making the Bible say anything they want it to say, regardless of the intent of the original authors.
Since it denies objective reality, postmodernism is relativistic and irrational. (There are no objective realities except what postmodernists believe, and they are absolutely certain about that.) Postmodernism, with its tolerance of (almost) all viewpoints, suffers under the illusion that Islam is just as viable as astrology or witchcraft or the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) movement. In the view of postmodernists it is a high crime of educated society to critique any movement (except, of course Biblical Christianity, which believes in absolute truth). Consequently, when a Muslim male slaughters 50 patrons in an Orlando Gay Bar, postmoderns are strangely silent. What can they say? They are not allowed to criticize anyone. Except Christians. Postmoderns are highly intolerant of conservative, Bible-believing Christians.
Politically, postmoderns are utopians who favor global Marxism. They repudiate nationalism. They are arrogant elitists who favor nations without borders. Of course, if nations have no borders, there can be no nations. There will be global anarchy unless the postmodern political class takes charge. They, of course will be among the elites who rule the world. And they, of course, will be very well paid. They are but precursors to a godless world dictator who will one day control every facet of postmodern society (Rev. 13:1-18).
Predestination. The activity of God to determine in advance certain events or people to accomplish His will. The Biblical verb "to predestine" is prooridzō (4309). It is used but six times in the NT, in Acts 4:28; Rom. 8:29, 30; 1 Cor. 2:7; and Eph. 1:5, 11.
In Acts 4:28 the early church acknowledged that the event of the crucifixion of Christ was something that God had predestined. Even though the human agents who killed Jesus were Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the peoples of Israel, they in their malevolence and miscarriage of justice were doing that which God's hand and purpose had predetermined (prooridzō, 4309) to do (Acts 4:27-28). In fact, the execution of Jesus was a fulfillment of Scripture (Acts 4:25-26; Psalm 2:1-2). So we learn that the crucifixion of Christ was predetermined to occur.
Romans 8:29, 30. In Romans 8:28, we learn the following blessed truth: "We know, moreover, that to the ones loving God, all things He works together for good." Those "loving God" are further defined as "to the ones according to God's purpose (prothesis, 4286) being called" (author's literal translation). How is it possible for God to work all things together for good for those who love Him? The surrounding context reveals the answer. First, it is because the Holy Spirit helps our weakness because He urgently intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26-27). Second, it is because those whom God foreknew, He predestined (prooridzō, 4309) to become conformed to the image of His Son, and those whom He predestined (prooridzō, 4309), He also called, and those whom He called, He also justified, and those whom He justified, He also glorified (Rom. 8:29-30). Consequently, part of the reason all things work together for good for those that love God is that God predestined (prooridzō, 4309) them to be conformed to the image of His Son. It is inevitable. Furthermore, not one single person of those foreknown, predestined, called, and justified will fail to be glorified, the final step of sanctification. It is inevitable. So we learn that those who love God, who are called according to God's purpose, are predetermined to be conformed to the image of His Son, and they will inevitably be called, justified, and glorified. All this because God knew His own intimately from eternity past.
1 Corinthians 2:7. God, in His hidden wisdom, decreed that Jesus the Messiah, the Jewish King, should be crucified to secure the salvation of those who believe in Him (1 Cor. 2:1-7). This hidden wisdom of God was predetermined (prooridzō, 4309) "before the ages (aiōn, 165) to our glory." Though this wisdom was hidden from this age (aiōn, 165) and from the rulers of this age (aiōn, 165) (1 Co. 2:6, 8), it was revealed to those of us who love God through the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:9-10). So we learn that the hidden wisdom of God to have Jesus, anointed to be the Jewish King, crucified to secure the salvation of believing Gentiles was a wisdom predetermined before the ages.
Ephesians 1:5. The "set-apart ones" (hagios, 40) and "those who are trusting" (plural adjective of pistos, 4103) in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:1) have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in the Messiah (Eph 1:3). One of these blessings is that they have been chosen (eklegomai, 1586) in Christ before the foundation of the world in order to be set apart and blameless before Him (Eph. 1:4). A second blessing is "sonship status." God chose them (Eph. 1:4), in love having predestined (prooridzō, 4309) them unto adoption (uiothesia, 5206) through Jesus the Messiah unto Himself according to His own good pleasure and will (Eph. 1:5). He did this for the praise of the glory of His grace with which He graced us in the beloved One (Jesus) (Eph. 1:6). The word "adoption" (uiothesia, 5206) refers to the sonship status God bestows on those who believe in Christ (Gal. 4:5) (so Friberg). According to Constable,
Sons adopted in Roman culture received the same rights and privileges as children born into the family. Likewise, our adoption does not imply an inferior status in relation to God. God "predestined us to adoption" because He delighted to bless us in this way.
So we learn that we believers in Jesus have been chosen (elected) by God, and that He has predetermined us to be adopted as His sons, with all the rights and privileges thereof. Election emphasizes the "who," and predestination emphasizes the "how" (Constable).
Ephesians 1:11. In the Messiah, Jesus, we, the "set-apart ones" (hagios, 40) and "those who are trusting" (plural adjective of pistos, 4103) in Him (Eph. 1:1) have been appointed as heirs (aorist plural passive of klêroō, 2820), having been determined (to that status) in advance (aorist passive participle of prooridzō, 4309) according to the foreplan (prothesis, 4286) of the One energizing (energeō, 1754) all things according to the deliberation of His own will (Eph. 1:11). We conclude, then, that we believers in Christ have been predestined to the status of being appointed as heirs to all that God has in store for us. I should mention that there is a great deal of difference in having been appointed as an heir to having received that inheritance. The former is true, the latter is not presently, but will be true much, much later. For that reason I do not agree with the NASB translation of Eph. 1:11, "In Him also we have obtained an inheritance." As a matter of fact, we have not yet obtained our inheritance. That is still coming. But we were predestined to be appointed as heirs. That appointment has occurred. We await the certain, future receipt of our inheritance in time.
Predicate Nominative (Greek). A noun in the Nominative Case that is linked with or further identifies the subject by means of a verb of equation, whether stated or implied. Verbs of equation include, most frequently, eìmí (1510), gínomai (1096), and hupárchō (5225). Three examples include John's statements about who God is: God is spirit (John 4:24); God is light (1 John 1:5); and God is love (1 John 4:8). In each of these instances, the subject, God, is prefixed with an article ("the"). That means that the equation cannot be reversed. It is inaccurate to conclude, for example, that "spirit is God," that "light is God," or that "love is God." Furthermore, in these instances, "spirit," "light," and "love" are only three of a number of attributes that identify God. These attributes, even though they are Predicate Nominatives, are not exhaustive. God, after all, is infinite.
Pre-Incarnate Christ. The pre-existence of the Second Person of the Godhead before He became man permanently. The Scriptures teach us that, the Second Person of the Godhead existed from eternity past (John 1:1-2; 17:5; Php. 2:6; Col. 1:17; Heb. 13:8; 1 John 1:1,2). Moreover, He created all things (John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2). It is my belief that Jesus, in His Pre-Incarnate state, appeared as the Angel of the LORD, or Messenger of the LORD (also known as the Angel of Yahweh) (see, for example, Gen. 16:7-14; 22:11-18). There were also other OT appearances of Christ. Though it is true these were Theophanies (manifestations of God), they were also, I believe, Christophanies (manifestations of the Pre-Incarnate Christ). A few samples would include the man with whom Jacob wrestled all night (Gen. 32:24-32); the Angel of the LORD appearing in the midst of a burning bush that caught Moses' attention (Exod. 3:2-6); the man with a drawn sword who appeared to Joshua by Jericho, announcing he was captain of the LORD's army (Josh. 5:13-15). At a point in time, the eternal Word of God (John 1:1-3) became flesh and lived among us. John and the other Apostles beheld His glory, glory as of the only-born of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). As a human of the royal line of David, Jesus became "the Christ," "the Anointed One," when God the Father anointed Him with His Holy Spirit immediately after His baptism (Matt. 3:16-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34).
Premillennialism. The position that Jesus Christ will physically return to earth to dispose of His enemies (Zech. 14:1-4, 12-15; Isa. 63:1-6; Luke 19:12-15, 27; 2 Thess. 1:6-10; Rev. 19:11-21) and judge all survivors of the Tribulation prior to establishing His Kingdom here on earth (Isa. 2:1-4; 9:6-7; 59:19-20; 60:1 - 62:12; 65:20-25; 66:12-13, 18-24; Zech. 14:9-11, 16-21; Amos 9:11-15). This kingdom will last a thousand years (a millennium) (Rev. 20:1-6). (It should here be noted that some Premillennialists do not believe the reference to a thousand years is to be taken literally. See below.) The term Premillennialism signifies that Christ returns to earth prior to His Millennial Kingdom. The prefix pre means before; the word millennium is a Latin word meaning "one thousand years." Thus, Premillennialists believe Christ comes to earth before He reigns over the earth for a thousand years. All Premillennialists share in common the following beliefs: 1) There is coming upon the earth a time of terrible trouble called the Tribulation. 2) Jesus Christ will return visibly and bodily to establish His Millennial Kingdom upon earth. 3) Believers from past ages will be resurrected at Christ's return. Both they and believers who survive the Tribulation will participate with Christ in His Millennial Kingdom. 4) Satan will be bound during this Kingdom, but at its end, He will be released, and will deceive many into rebelling against God and Jesus, God's anointed King. 5) Satan will be defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire. 6) God will destroy the existing universe and will create New Heaven and New Earth, on which He will establish His Eternal Kingdom with the redeemed of all ages.
Two significant differences exist between Premillennialism on the one hand, and both Amillennialism and Postmillennialism on the other. Those differences are these: First, Premillenialism sees Christ's Millennial Kingdom in connection with the present Earth as being future, whereas both Amillennialism and Postmillennialism view it as somehow taking place in the present between Christ's First and Second Advents. Second, Premillennialism interprets Old and New Testament prophecies as meaning that Christ's Millennial Kingdom will consist of a kingdom on earth that is both spiritual and political. Amillennialism and Postmillennialism believe that Christ's Kingdom in connection with the present earth is only spiritual. That being the case, advocates of these latter two views do not typically use the word Millennium in connection with Christ's Kingdom, inasmuch as they do not believe it will last a literal one thousand years despite John's statement in Revelation 20:1-7 that it will.
There are, however, two subdivisions within Premillennialism. These are Historical Premillennialism and Dispensational Premillennialism.
Historical Premillennialism. Historical Premillennialism was the view of the ante-Nicene church with regard to the millennium. Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and other early Christians generally held to this view (Alexander Reece, Historical Premillenialism).
Historical Premillennialists downplay the uniqueness of Israel both during the time prior to the Millennium and during the Millennium. Dispensationalists see the Tribulation period as uniquely a time of trial for Israel, the time of "Jacob's distress" (Jer. 30:5-7; Zech. 13:8-9; Rev. 12:13-17) and a time of God's wrath upon the nations (Rev. 6:16-17; 11:18; 14:10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; 19:15). Yet Historical Premillennialists see the Tribulation as a time of trouble which all peoples, including the Church, will experience. So Israel has no significant role in God's plan in the present. In their view, when Christ returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom, Israel will experience national salvation, but there will be no national restoration of Israel. So Historical Premillennialists see no role or special function for Israel in Christ's coming earthly Kingdom that is distinct from the Church (Michael J. Vlach, What is Premillennialism?).
Historical Premillennialists, moreover, do not distinguish between Christ's coming for His Church (the Rapture) and His Second Coming in Power to reign over and rule upon Earth. To them, Christ's translation of living believers into glorified saints and His resurrection of deceased saints of all ages takes place at the same time. This means, in effect, that Historical Premillennialists believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture.
This presents some difficulties chronologically speaking. Passages which describe the Rapture present it as an imminent event with no intervening signs that must take place before Jesus can return to retrieve His Bride, the Church (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:50-58; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Tit. 2:11-13). On the other hand, passages which describe Jesus' return to Earth in Power to judge and to reign depict multiple signs that must be fulfilled before Christ can return. (See Matt. 24; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; Revelation 6-19.) How can both be true if it is the same event?
There are, as well, some other logical difficulties with Historical Premillennialism. Its adherents believe that there will be a Satanically-inspired revolt against Jesus after the Millennium. But where are these rebels going to come from? In their view, Christ's translation of living believers into saints with glorified bodies happens at Christ's Second Coming. This means, logically, that there will be no believers left in their natural bodies to inhabit the Millennial Earth, for all will be resurrected at Christ's return. Who is going to be left in a mortal body, subject to sin, than can rebel against Christ and be killed with fire from heaven (Rev. 20:7-9)? Logically, it cannot be the children of these translated believers, for we are assured by Jesus that, in the resurrection, people are neither married nor given in marriage (Matt. 22:30; Luke 20:35). So, logically, there can be no marriage and no procreation to fill the Millennial Earth with descendants who will subsequently revolt against Jesus and be killed. Furthermore, there are passages that speak of both childbirth and death in the context of the Kingdom (Isa. 65:18-20). How can this come about if all are in their glorified bodies? Historical Premillennialism, in my opinion, cannot provide satisfactory answers to these problems.
Some Historical Premillennialists deny that the length of Christ's reign described in Revelation 20:1-6 (one thousand years) is to be taken at face value.
In an article entitled, How Does Historic [sic] Premillennialism Differ from Dispensational Premillennialism?, Michael Vlach outlines three major views that distinguish Historical Premillennialism from all forms of Dispensational Premillennialism:
1) "...Historic [sic] Premillennialists believe in New Testament priority in which the New Testament interprets/reinterprets the OT."
2) "...Historic [sic] premillennialists believe the church is the new Israel."
3) "...Unlike dispensationalists, historic [sic] premillennialists do not believe in a future restoration of national Israel." Even though they may believe in the future salvation of ethnic Israel, they view this salvation as an incorporation into the Church. "This salvation is different from the concept of restoration in which Israel is saved as a national entity with a role to play to other nations in the future."
Spokesmen on behalf of Historical Premillennialism include the late J. Barton Payne, the late George Eldon Ladd, Wayne Grudem, and Millard Erickson. Denver Seminary is a proponent of Historical Premillennialism. Craig L. Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung, both faculty members at Denver Seminary, co-edited A Case for Historic [sic] Premillennialism: An Alternative to "Left Behind" Eschatology.
Dispensational Premillennialism. This return of Jesus to reign on earth is to be distinguished from His prior return to earth to retrieve His bride, the Church, and take her to be with Him in heaven (the Rapture) (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). When Jesus returns to rule, He will administer His Millennial Kingdom on this present sin-cursed earth from His Davidic throne in Jerusalem, Israel. There He will rule over repentant, believing Israel and also over all the nations of the earth with a rod of iron (Psa. 2:8-9). Jesus' Millennial Kingdom is to be distinguished from His subsequent Eternal Kingdom (Rev. 21:1 - 22:5) in which He will reign as Co-Regent with His Father on their throne from New Jerusalem, the future, eternal home of both Israel and the Church. From there, assisted by His subjects, He will administer throughout eternity a spiritual, political kingdom not only over New Jerusalem, but also over the nations inhabiting New Earth. In these two separate, yet linked phases of the Messiah's reign, God will eternally fulfill His promises and His everlasting covenants, specifically, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant, all made initially with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. By the grace of God, the nations ("Gentiles") of the earth also partake of the eternal benefits of these Israeli covenants as ancillary beneficiaries. The careful reader will note several distinctives of Dispensational Premillennialism as understood by WordExplain:
1) A willingness to take statements at face value in both the Old and New Testaments (without denying the validity of symbolism and figures of speech).
2) The principle of Testamental parity. While both Old and New Testament reveal contrasting ways (dispensations) in which God administers his kingdom with regard to the earth throughout the ages, each Testament must stand on its own two feet. The New Testament can add understanding to the Old, but it cannot and does not alter or abrogate it. Specifically, the arrival of the Church in the New Testament added light to God's promises to the patriarchs to bless all the families of the world through them, but it did not alter God's everlasting covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to plant their physical descendants in a specific piece of real estate as an everlasting possession.
3) A distinction between Israel and the Church. The Church is not spiritual Israel, and it does not inherit the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the same way that believing Jewish people inherit them. Furthermore, I as a Dispensational Premillennialist believe that, not only is Israel to be distinguished from the Church, but that the distinction is an eternal one. Israel throughout eternity will exist as God's special nation with beneficent effect upon the other nations of the world.
4) An understanding that Christ's return to earth will come in two stages. Jesus will first return for His Bride, the Church, in the event known as the Rapture. Subsequently He will return in power and glory to establish His Kingdom upon earth.
5) An acknowledgment that, although Jesus is presently enthroned as Messiah in heaven, His present status leaves unfulfilled many OT prophecies regarding His future reign as Messiah upon this present earth as well as upon the future New Earth.
6) An understanding that the term Messiah fundamentally necessitates a reign upon earth over the nation of Israel, not merely a spiritualized rule in absentia up in heaven.
7) An understanding that ruling as King has, historically, always included the consent of the governed. Faith has always been the necessary coin for a relationship with God (Gen. 15:5-6; Heb. 11:6). How can the King of the Jews be said to ruling when the vast majority of Jewish people deny His legitimacy? And how can Jesus be said to be ruling over the nations of the earth when the vast majority are in rebellion against Him?
Proponents of Dispensational Premillennialism include: the late Lewis Sperry Chafer, the late C. I. Scofield, the late Alva J. McClain (see more on McClain), the late John Walvoord, J. Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, John S. Feinberg, and Michael J. Vlach. Dallas Theological Seminary is the best-known institutional proponent of Dispensational Premillennialism. (See also Dallas Theological Seminary.)
For a much fuller discussion of these issues, go to Dispensational Premillennialism.
Present Tense (Greek). Portraying action that is linear or durative. This tense is to be distinguished from the Greek Aorist Tense, which typically portrays action that is punctiliar, action at a point in time. For example, when the author of Hebrews states, in Heb. 12:6, "For those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines, both the verbs translated "loves" and "disciplines" appear in the present tense. Thus there exists a group of people whom the Lord continually or constantly loves. These same people He continually or constantly disciplines. By way of contrast, according to John 3:16, there was a point of time at which God loved (Aorist tense) the world – the point of time at which He offered up His Son Jesus upon the cross to pay for the sins of the entire world of men.
Priest. An individual who serves as a mediator between God and man. The first priest mentioned in the Bible was Melchizedek. He served as both King and Priest of Jerusalem, a portent of things to come (Gen. 14:18). God chose Moses' brother Aaron and his sons as priests to serve Him by representing the nation (Exod. 28:1-29:46). Later, God revealed that the Messiah would serve Him as a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4). When Jesus appeared on earth, God anointed Him with His Spirit at His baptism to be Prophet, Priest, and King. He served primarily as Prophet during His earthly ministry. He was offered as the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God at His crucifixion. After His resurrection Jesus ascended to heaven, where He presently sits at God's right hand, waiting until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet (Psalm 110:1; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 12:2). Presently Jesus' primary ministry is serving as Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:11-28; 8:1-3, 6; 9:11-14, 24-28; 10:11-14, 19-22). When He returns to earth to set up His Kingdom, Jesus' primary ministry will be that of King (Isa. 2:1-4; 9:6-7; 11:1-10; Zech. 14:9; Matt. 25:31; Luke 1:31-33; 2 Thess. 1:6-10; Rev. 19:11-20:6). Meanwhile we believers in Jesus have been appointed as His royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; cf. Matt. 28:16-20; Acts 1:8).
Priesthood. An order of priests or collection of people who individually, yet corporately serve as a mediator between God and man. Israel's prescribed priesthood through. The primary priesthood of the sons of Israel during the Old Testament and through the Gospels in the New Testament was the Levitical Priesthood. Aaron was the first priest and was designated as the High Priest. His sons were priests under him. From that point on sons of Aaron served as priests. There was always a High Priest. The Levites, who were descendants of Levi, but not of Aaron, served as assistants to the priests.
But there was another priesthood, glimpsed just briefly in the OT. When Abraham returned back to his land after having rescued Lot and the people of Sodom from from a four-king Persian confederation, he was met by Melchizedek (whose name means "King of Righteousness"). Melchizedek was King of Salem (an early name for Jerusalem). Melchizedek was a priest of God Most High (Gen. 14:18). In one of the most intriguing psalms, Yahweh swore to the Messiah, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4).
In the book of Hebrews we learn that Jesus the Messiah, whom God had anointed at His baptism to be King of Israel, was unqualified to serve as Priest of Israel because, though He was a descendant of the tribe of Judah, He was not a descendant of Levi, and certainly not of Aaron (Heb. 7:14). However, God appointed Jesus to be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, the prototypical King-Priest (Heb. 5:6; 6:20; 7:17-22). Jesus' Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek is an eternal priesthood with a superior sacrifice and a superior covenant, the New Covenant.
God's plan was for the sons of Israel to be a "kingdom of priests" (Exod. 19:1-6). Over-all, the nation did not succeed, and God temporarily took away Israel's priesthood. God has turned to the Church to be His "holy, royal priesthood" (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6).
Presently the Levitical priesthood is inactive, there being no temple and no sacrifices in Jerusalem. But that will change. There will be a temple with a priesthood briefly during the Tribulation period. When Christ returns, the Millennial Temple will be built and the Levitical Priesthood will offer memorial sacrifices upon the altar (Ezek. 40:5-46:24).
Preterism. The postmillennial view that, either fully or partially, Christ has already returned as He said He would in Matthew 24:27-51. According to preterists, the coming to which Jesus referred, particularly in Matthew 24:29-31 took place historically in A.D. 70, when Jesus supposedly returned in judgment upon the nation of Israel. Sam Storms is a partial preterist. By this is meant that he believes all of Matthew 24:1-51 was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Yet he acknowledges that Christ will also return as predicted in Revelation 19:11-21. In the following quotation he explains his view in his article entitled "Matthew 24 and the Olivet Discourse - Part III." Notice that Storms is compelled to use a non-literal hermeneutic to defend his view.
6) Finally, a somewhat more moderate version of the preterist view, is that (the verses of Matthew) 24:29-31 are not a literal description of the second coming but a symbolic description of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. It was a “coming” of Jesus in judgment. Unlike those who embrace 4) above, these preterists believe in a yet future “coming” of Christ to consummate the redemptive purpose of God. See the commentary on Matthew by R. T. France, as well as the writings of N. T. Wright, Peter Walker, David Chilton, Kenneth Gentry, and Gary DeMar. This is the view that I will now seek to explain and defend.
R. C. Sproul in his book, The Last Days According to Jesus, describes himself as a postmillennialist. Of the two types of post-millennialists - full preterists and partial preterists, he, like Storms, identifies himself as a partial preterist. See my critique of his book. Partial preterists believe that all of Matthew 24:1-51 and most of the book of Revelation fall within the time period prior to A.D. 70. Yet they believe in another coming of Christ at the end of history. (See, for example, Storms' article, "A Study of Revelation 19:1-21 - Part II.") Full preterists believe in no future coming of Christ.
It is my conclusion that the proponents of Preterism, or Post-Millennialism, though genuine Christians and sincere in their beliefs, hold to interpretations in the area of eschatology that are simply implausible. They can only maintain their views through an inconsistent, non-literal hermeneutic (method of interpreting Scripture) that refuses to take prophetic passages of Scripture at face value. Then, to support their views, they are forced to take exegetical leaps (interpretational decisions) that simply do not square with the rest of Scripture or with the context of the passage they are discussing.
Progressive Dispensationalism. A relatively recent development in dispensationalism that is, in my view, a compromise arising out of a dialogue between Covenant Theologians (Amillennialists), Historical Premillennialists, and Dispensational Premillennialists. Progressive Dispensationalists (PDs) have adopted, to a large degree, the realized eschatology ("already / not yet") of George E. Ladd, a covenant premillennialist, though they seek to distance themselves from him. 1Chief spokesmen for Progressive Dispensationalism are Craig Blaising, Darrell Bock, and the late Robert L. Saucy.
Although PDs agree that there is a future Millennial Kingdom in which Christ reigns, they assert that Jesus is presently sitting on David's throne in heaven. (See Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock, Progressive Dispensationalism, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, paperback edition, 2000, pp. 181-187.) This assertion blurs the distinction between Israel and the Church, and it relegates to heaven, albeit temporarily, the eternal kingdom that can only be consummated on the earth in connection with Jerusalem, whether on the present earth (during the Millennium) or in New Jerusalem (in connection with New Earth).
"One of the striking differences between progressive and earlier dispensationalists, is that progressives do not view the church as an anthropological category in the same class as terms like Israel, Gentile Nations, Jews, and Gentile people" (Blaising and Bock, p. 49). According to Michael Vlach, What Is Dispensationalism, "Progressive dispensationalists see more continuity between Israel and the church than the other two variations within dispensationalism. They stress that both Israel and the church compose the 'people of God' and both are related to the blessings of the New Covenant."
Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, in his book Dispensationalism (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), 164, characterizes PD as follows: It “(1) teaches that Christ is already reigning in heaven on the throne of David, thus merging the church with a present phase of the already inaugurated Davidic covenant and kingdom; (2) this is based on a complementary hermeneutic that allows the New Testament to introduce changes and additions to Old Testament revelation; and (3) the overall purpose of God is Christological, holistic redemption being the focus and goal of history."
WordExplain acknowledges that Jesus, as Messiah, is presently seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven, but disputes that he is seated there as King, and certainly not on David's throne. A primary conclusion of the author of the letter to the Hebrews is that Jesus is seated in the Temple in Heaven at the right hand of the Father as High Priest (Heb. 8:1-2) after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:6; 6:20). If Jesus is presently seated on the throne of David, why is the nation of Israel almost completely oblivious of the fact? If Jesus is presently seated as King, why is the world largely still in rebellion against Him (Psa. 2:1-3)? When Jesus appeared on earth the first time, He certainly presented Himself as the Messiah (Christ). But His primary office during His three-year ministry was that of Prophet. When He died, He functioned primarily as Priest. When He arose and ascended to heaven, He, as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, offered Himself as the complete and ultimate sacrifice for sins (Heb. 9:11-12). He is now seated at the right hand of the Father as High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. There he constantly makes intercession for His people (Heb. 7:23-28). Jesus' ministries as Prophet and as Priest have been inaugurated. His ministry as King has not. That awaits His return to earth, a fact which is made abundantly clear in Scripture (Ps. 2:1-12; 110:1-7; Zech. 14:1-9; Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43; 25:1-46; Luke 19:11-27; Rev. 19:11-20:6).
WordExplain also does not agree with PD's complementary hermeneutic in that it opens the door for sensus plenior (the hermeneutical principle that there is a deeper meaning of Scripture that God knows that alters what the human author originally meant) and layered meanings. Furthermore, WordExplain holds that, though Christ is certainly the focus of the Bible, the whole of the Biblical narrative is more aptly described as the Kingdom of God and the glory that accrues to Him through His Kingdom.
For an excellent critique of PD, see Problems with Progressive Dispensationalism by Ron Bigalke, Jr. See also the book Progressive Dispensationalism, edited by Ron Bigalke, Jr. See also the author's article, Not Already, Not Yet.
Prophet. Someone who receives messages directly from God and communicates them to people. In the NT, the noun is prophḗtês (4396). In the OT, a prophet was called a nâbı̂y' (5030) because he was a spokesman on behalf of God, or rarely, on behalf of another. God called Abraham a prophet because He communicated directly with the patriarch from time to time (Gen. 20:7). God called Aaron to be Moses' prophet (Exod. 7:1). Others who were identified as a prophet, nâbı̂y' (5030), were Samuel (1 Sam. 3:19-21; 2 Chron. 35:18), Gad (1 Sam. 22:5; 2 Sam. 24:11), Nathan (2 Sam. 7:2; 12:25; 1 Kings 1:8, 10, 22, 23, 32, 34, 38, 44, 45; 1 Chron. 17:1; 29:29; 2 Chron. 9:29; 29:25), Ahijah the Shilonite (1 Kings 11:29; 14:2, 18), Jehu, son of Hanani (1 Kings 16:7, 12), Elijah (1 Kings 18:22, 36; 2 Chron. 21:12; Mal. 4:5), Elisha, son of Shaphat (1 Kings 19:16; 2 Kings 3:11; 5:8; 6:12; 9:1), Micaiah, son of Imlah (1 Kings 22:7-8), Jonah, son of Amittai (2 Kings 14:25), Isaiah, son of Amoz (2 Kings 19:2; 20:1, 11, 14; 2 Chron. 26:22; 32:20, 32; Isa. 37:2; 38:1; 39:3), Shemaiah (2 Chron. 12:5, 15), Iddo (2 Chron. 13:22), Azariah, son of Oded (2 Chron. 15:8), Oded (2 Chron. 28:9), Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah (2 Chron. 36:12; Jer. 1:1-5; 20:2; 25:2; 28:5, 6, 11, 12, 15; 29:1, 29; 32:2; 34:6; 36:8, 26; 37:2, 3; 37:6, 13; 38:9, 10, 14; 42:2, 4; 43:6; 45:1; 46:1, 13; 47:1; 49:34; 50:1; 51:59; Dan. 9:2), Hananiah, son of Azzur. Hananiah was a false prophet (Jer. 28:1, 5, 10, 12, 15, 17), Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:3; 2:1-5), Ephraim (Hos. 9:8), Amos, who denied being a prophet (Amos 7:14), Habakkuk (Hab. 1:1; 3:1), Haggai (Hag. 1:1, 3, 12; 2:1, 10), Zechariah, son of Berechiah (Zech. 1:1, 7).
He was also called a "seer" (rô'eh, 7203), possibly because he was shown visions from God, which he could see. Another word usually translated "seer" is chôzeh (2374).
Prophets in the Old Testament include both non-writing prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, and writing prophets, such as Moses, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel. There are certain phrases that often characterize a prophet’s writings. Frequently we read, “The word of the LORD came to” the prophet (1 Kings 18:1; Isa. 38:4; Jer. 1:1-4; Ezek. 1:3; Jonah 1:1; Hag. 1:1), or “Thus says the LORD” (Ex. 4:22; Josh. 24:2; 2 Sam. 12:7; Isa. 37:6; Jer. 2:1-2; Ezek. 2:1-4; Amos 1:1-3).
In the New Testament, there were prophets such as Agabus (Acts 11:27-28; 21:10-11). Men like Matthew, John, Paul, and Peter were apostles of Christ as well as prophets (Eph. 2:20), and each of them wrote documents that are part of the New Testament. Luke wrote his gospel and his history under the tutelage of the Apostle Paul. Mark was associated with the Apostle Peter. Jesus, of course, is a prophet as well as a priest and a king.
Some mistakenly believe that being able to predict the future is the distinguishing characteristic of a prophet. That is not really true. What makes a prophet a prophet is that he speaks on behalf of God messages which he receives directly from God. On the other hand, prophets frequently did predict the future because God wanted to communicate future events to readers of the Bible. But there was also a sign value to predictions. A prophet who could predict something in the future could be validated as a genuine prophet of God (Isa. 7:10-17; Matt. 1:18-23; Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:4-6).
Teachers, as opposed to prophets, expound on prophecies given by prophets. In other words, teachers receive messages from God indirectly through prophets who have written Scripture.
Prophets have zero margin for error. There can be no mistakes or inaccuracies in a Biblical prophet. To err in a statement or a prediction is to invalidate oneself as a prophet and be liable to be put to death (Deut. 18:20-22). Prophets have a sacred trust to convey accurately the words God has spoken. No Biblical prophet has ever spoken as an act of his own will. These holy men were moved by the Spirit of God and spoke from God (2 Pet. 1:20-21).
It is misleading, in my opinion, to say that a preacher has a "prophetic" ministry. That could be taken to mean that he has the genuine gift of Biblical prophecy, which, again, in my opinion, he does not. I believe that, in the Church Age, prophets were given by God to the early Church before the canon of Scripture was completed. The canon of Scripture has been completed for hundreds of years. If there were Biblical prophets today, surely, some of their writings would be incorporated into Scripture. Paul predicted that gifts of prophecy would be terminated (1 Cor. 13:8). That prediction has been fulfilled. However, we also know that during the Tribulation period, God's two witnesses will prophesy (prophêteúō, 4395) (Rev. 11:3) during the days of their prophecy (prophêteía, 4394) (Rev. 11:6). For further study, see "Do Prophets Exist Today?"
There are both a noun and a verb connected with the office of prophet. See the next two paragraphs.
Prophecy. That which a prophet states or writes under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Greek noun for "prophecy" is prophêteía (4394). For example, Matthew identified Isaiah's statement as a "prophecy" (Matt. 13:14). Paul identified "prophecy" as a spiritual gift (Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:10; 13:2, 8; 14:6, 22). He exhorted the Thessalonians not to despise "prophecies" (1 Thess. 5:20). There were evidently prophecies made concerning Timothy's ministry (1 Tim. 1:18; 4:14). Peter indicated that no "prophecy" of Scripture was a matter of one's own personal explanation (2 Pet. 1:20), for no "prophecy" was ever "borne along" by the will of man, but men spoke from God, being "borne along" by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21) (author's translation). The contents of the Book of Revelation are termed "prophecy" (Rev. 1:3; 19:10; 22:7, 10, 18, 22). During the Tribulation, the "two witnesses" will have authority to withhold rain during "the days of their prophecy" (Rev. 11:6) (author's literal translation).
Prophesy. The act of uttering a revelation from God. The verb is prophêteúō (4395). The NT opens, interestingly, with individuals protesting, on the Day of Judgment, that they had prophesied in Jesus' name, cast out demons, and performed many miracles, yet were being excluded from the kingdom (Matt. 7:22). Members of the Sanhedrin mocked Jesus, blindfolding Him, slapping Him in the face, and asking Him to prophesy which of them had hit Him (Matt. 26:67-68; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:64). Jesus spoke of the authors of OT Scripture as prophesying (Matt. 11:13; 15:7; Mark 7:6). Zacharias the priest prophesied concerning the Messiah and his own son (Luke 1:67-79). Even the Godless high priest prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation of Israel (John 11:51). In his Pentecost sermon Peter quoted Joel's prediction that Israel's sons and daughter would prophesy (Acts 2:17, 18). When John's disciples became Christians under the tutelage of Paul, they were prophesying (Acts 19:6). Philip the evangelist had four virgin daughters who were prophesying (Acts 21:8-9). The most extensive uses of the verb occur in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. References include 1 Cor. 11:4, 5; 13:9; 14:1, 3, 4, 5, 24, 31, 39. Peter spoke of he prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to his readers (1 Pet. 1:10). Jude reported that Enoch prophesied (Jude 1:14). John was told that he must continue to prophesy about peoples, nations, languages, and kings (Rev. 10:11). Later, John was told of God's two witnesses who would prophesy for 1260 days (Rev. 11:3). Of particular interest is Paul's statement that, in this life, we know only a portion of what there is to know, and we prophesy only a portion of what there is to know (1 Cor. 13:9). God tells us what we need to know, but He does not tell us more than we need to know at any given time.
Propitiation. Legal satisfaction for sin. The act of God in which, through the death of His Son, Jesus the Messiah, He paid the full price necessary to satisfy the demands of law for the payment of sin. From the very beginning of man's time upon earth, God warned him,
16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Gen. 2:16-17)
God further declared that without the shedding of blood, no atonement could be obtained (Lev. 17:11), no forgiveness could be granted (Heb. 9:22). Through the death of Jesus, the Messiah, the perfect Lamb (amnos, 286) of God (John 1:29, 34; Rom. 8:32; 1 Pet. 1:19), God secured the full payment for all the sins of all the people of the world (1 John 2:2). Jesus, through His death is the legal satisfaction for man's sin, that which bars him from fellowship with God. Note also the many references to Jesus as the Lamb (arnion, diminutive for lamb, 721) in the book of Revelation.
There are two related Greek words used in the NT to convey the idea of propitiation: The first is hilastêrion (2435), translated "propitiation" in Romans 3:25 and "mercy seat" in Hebrews 9:5. The second is hilasmos (2434), translated "propitiation" both in 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:10.
Providence. The stance of God in being kindly-disposed toward His creatures and especially toward His chosen to provide for and care for them. This trait of God is closely related to His Sovereignty, but emphasizes His benevolence. God's providence can be seen in nature. God provides for ravens (Job 38:41). He provides water for animals (Psa. 104:10-13). He provides food and sustenance for man and beast (Psa. 104:14-17). All animals wait upon God for their food at the proper time (Psa. 104:27). Jesus spoke of God's providence. He pointed out that the birds of the air "do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them" (Matt. 6:26; Luke 12:24). Jesus also remarked that God is provident toward all mankind, regardless if they are good or evil (Matt. 5:45). The historical account of Joseph in the OT illustrates His belief in God's providence. He acknowledged that his brothers had sold him into slavery. They had meant it for evil, but God in His providence meant it for good so that he, Joseph, could provide for the physical well-being of his family during a time of terrible famine (Gen. 50:19-20). God takes special pains to care for those who love God. Even though they encounter adversity and pain, God, in His omnipotence, is able to work everything out for good in their lives (Rom. 8:28).
Pual. The Pual Stem is the passive counterpart of the Piel Stem in Hebrew verbs. It used to intensify the action of a passive voice. See the University of Iowa's paradigm. See the paradigm of Becoming Jewish.
1 Charles C. Ryrie, Issues in Dispensationalism, Wesley R. Willis, John R. Master, General Editors; Charles C. Ryrie, Consulting Editor, 1994, Moody Press, pp. 21, 22. (Now out of print.)