As one peruses through my recent blog posts it doesn’t take a genius to see that I have been on a “gospel kick”. Isn’t that a healthy place to be? Coming out of my debate with Sam Frost really made me sit and think about the gospel message, i.e. the hope of Israel. Thus is why you have been seeing blogs dealing with such coming from me. The awesome thing is the “one accord” happening within the “fulfilled eschatology” camp concerning these things. Ahh…the understanding of the “mystery” and its effect is so glorious. Amen?
During my debate with Mr. Frost he attempted to discredit the “full preterist hope” by saying that we have no hope and he made mention of the following passage from Romans chapter 8:
“For in this hope we are saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently (Romans 8:24-25)”.
It is my position as a Full Preterist that this hope has already been fulfilled. Romans 8 is dealing with “the creation” and the hope of resurrection (which was the “hope of Israel”). As Hebrews chapter 2 very clearly shows this was dealing with Abraham’s descendants (check out verse 16). This is the context of the Scriptures, as I have pointed out “Hebrew exclusivity”, that is the theme throughout the Scriptures. Read Paul’s preaching of the gospel in Acts chapter 13. The Full Preterist community has dealt with the topic of “resurrection” time and time again, taking different routes, but it seems the “orthodox community” (as if a “united front” actually exists..) always tries a new route to persuade others contrary to the Scriptures.
Instead I want to deal directly with this fulfilled hope issue. Sam Frost (and his buddy, Jason Bradfield) tried to say that since I, as a Full Preterist, believe that the “hope of Israel” (which is the gospel) has been fulfilled I am without hope and in a “sad position”. Well, let’s see how that LOGIC works.
If I as a young man have the “hope” to one day own a restaurant to feed the homeless and then one day my hope is fulfilled. I own a restaurant dedicated to feeding the homeless. Has my hope been fulfilled? Yes! Am I and others still able to benefit from this “fulfilled hope”? Of course! And that is exactly what the “mystery” of God’s will was- go ahead and read through the book of Ephesians. This is what I call “living in the reality of the gospel hope”.
See how ridiculous this claim is? Then as the debate ended, we had a “heckler” from the audience try and say that since everything including judgment has been fulfilled and we are already “living in the reality of the gospel hope” then we are free to do whatever we want- i.e., drinking excessively, smoking pot, etc…ay yi yi, I will save my in depth response to that very frightening position in my next blog- KEEP YOUR EYE OUT FOR MY BLOG TITLED: DEAR MR.CHRISTIAN
So…what does it mean to live in the reality of the gospel hope? Well, as Ephesians claims that it was the “mystery” for all to be brought into one body, through Jesus Christ, and to be under one head, even Christ. This obviously is a Spiritually realized fulfilled hope as “the glory of the nations are brought into the kingdom (Revelation 21:26)”. Through Jesus Christ, those of us who have “washed out robes” have access into the Kingdom and can eat from the “tree of life” and drink the “water of life” (which I would point out is the “knowledge of God” through the Spirit of God) and we have the opportunity to offer this to others (Revelation 22:17).
There is a very clear BIBLICAL contrast here. What we see going on throughout the Scriptures is a “transition period” which had to do with Israel (remember this is dealing with the covenants given to Israel- see, Romans chapter 9). Israel was under the law of sin and death- and would be freed through Jesus Christ. Ahh…the veil would be taken away (see, Isaiah chapter 25 and 2 Corinthians chapter 5). I pointed out some of these details in my Transition series of blogs. Sadly, the modern “foreign gospel” has lost the context and made this a very personal and individual thing, as theology instructor and author, Tom Holland says, “…although each individual Christian has shared individually in the redemptive benefits of Christ’s death, it is not historically an individual experience. The description of salvation that Paul, and I would argue the rest of the New Testament writers give, is about the salvation of God’s people, corporately”. Or as Max King said, “The central theme of Old Testament prophecy, and therefore of New Testament eschatology, was the destiny of God’s covenant Israel”.
Philippians chapter 3 (a resurrection text) provides a great illustration of the contrast happening as the “hope of Israel”. What you see being contrasted is the Old Covenant “body of humiliation” which consisted of “legalistic righteousness” by way of fleshly circumcision, fleshly Israel, and “earthly things”. Whereas the New Covenant “glorious body” is characterized by circumcision without hands (Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11), worship in Spirit and truth (John 4), Christ’s righteousness (Philippians 3:9) and being in the “body of Christ”, which is clearly expounded upon in Ephesians chapter 2.
“The goal of the gospel is to produce a type of people consumed with passion for God and love for others. We certainly don’t seem to have that right”- J.D. Greear in his book, Gospel
So in accordance with what the “hope of Israel” was and the above quote by J.D. Greear, how should this effect US?
J.D. Greear makes an awesome statement in his book, “True love grows as a response to loveliness”. I call this “zeal empowered by knowledge”. The more we learn about what God has done, the more we love Him and His will. Sadly, religion has tried to force its adherence to submit, much like Mr. Christian I mentioned above.
God demonstrated Himself to Israel in Exodus chapter 19. Read through the chapter and notice Israel’s response to God’s demonstration. So, when the same thing is “Spiritually discerned” in 1 Peter 2:5-9, what should be one’s response? Wasn’t Israel’s response meant to demonstrate examples as per 1 Corinthians 10:11? I think a great start to understanding how we should respond in the 21st century as Christians of a fulfilled gospel hope is to learn how Israel responded when God chose them to demonstrate His glory through. Can I get an AMEN?
As Larry Siegle so eloquently demonstrated the revealing of the “mystery” that occurred in the first century, and how the Gentiles have come to enter into covenant with God- through Jesus Christ. Just as Israel was the “body” through whom God was displaying His will at that time, the body of Christ which was the “mystery of the ages” is doing the same. Tom Hollack said it well, “The Biblical perspective is that every person is a member of a community and that membership determines his/her self-identity”.
How can one say that there is “no hope” in a fulfilled hope when they read Revelation chapters 21-22? When I get “spiritual” and read through those chapters, I see “healing of the nations” (which would imply that those outside the gates- dogs, “sinners” and those without the robes to enter in; are still around), the gates are always open and we can offer them the water of life, utilize the “leaves of the tree” to bring healing, and offer them the “covenant covering” of Christ’s righteousness (“robes of righteousness”) to enter in the gates. The kingdom of God advances as being a marginalized, “Spiritual kingdom” in the world and not of it, a light on a hill. I would dare to say my hope is that the reality of God’s covenant with Israel being fulfilled (from natural to Spiritual) will continue to advance!
Hope of Israel- fulfilled! Bible prophecy leading up to the fulfillment of the “hope of Israel”- fulfilled! The spreading of that knowledge continued hope that is not deferred but happening daily! How about that as giving a reason for the hope that is within you? (smiles).
“It is one thing to understand the gospel but it is quite another to experience the gospel in such a way that it fundamentally changes us and becomes the source of our identity and security. It is one thing to grasp the essence of the gospel but quite another to think out its implications for all of life. We all struggle to explore the mysteries of the gospel on a regular basis and to allow its message to influence our thinking (Gospel by J.D. Greaar)”.
A covenant kingdom embodying the gospel message of being in covenant with God through Jesus Christ- displaying His righteousness, His love, His grace, His blessings, His peace, His joy, etc….Are YOU authentically doing that? Consistently with the TRUE GOSPEL?
Go in peace! -Mike Miano
Blogs of interest:
Be sure to check out Don Preston’s new series on Youtube concerning “How Shall We Live”