Kingdom Uprising

Reclaiming Jesus' Hope, Gospel, and Way

Category: Kingdom as Hope (page 1 of 2)

Promised Land on Steroids (Papias)

Papias was the overseer of the congregation at Hierapolis, a city through which a major road carried many travelers. As Christians came through, Papias would ask them if they had known the apostles and if they knew any sayings of Christ. Around the year a.d. 130 he composed five volumes called Expositions of the Sayings of the Lord from what he had learned. Sadly his work did not survive until today, though we can get glimpses of it through the quotations of a few later Christians like Irenaeus and Eusebius. Here is an excerpt from that book:

The blessing thus foretold undoubtedly belongs to the times of the kingdom, when the righteous will rise from the dead and reign, when creation, too, renewed and freed from bondage, will produce an abundance of food of all kinds from the dew of heaven and from the fertility of the earth, just as the elders, who saw John the disciple of the Lord, recalled having heard from him how the Lord used to teach about those times and say: ‘The days will come when vines will grow, each having ten thousand shoots, and on each shoot ten thousand branches, and on each branch ten thousand twigs, and on each twig ten thousand clusters, and in each cluster ten thousand grapes, and each grape when crushed will yield twenty-five measures of wine. And when one of the saints takes hold of a cluster, another cluster will cry out, ‘I am better, take me, bless the Lord through me.’ Similarly a grain of wheat will produce ten thousand heads, and every head will have ten thousand grains, and every grain ten pounds of fine flour, white and clean. And the other fruits, seeds, and grass will produce in similar proportions, and all the animals feeding on these fruits produced by the soil will in turn become peaceful and harmonious toward one another, and fully subject to humankind.

(Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.33.3-4, trans. Michael Holmes)

Although it is impossible to say whether or not Papias’ saying really goes back to the historical Jesus, we should not rule it out completely because of its outlandishness. Consider, for a moment, that when the children of Israel first entered the Promised Land, two men carried a single cluster of grapes along with some figs and pomegranates on a rod between them (Numbers 13.23). In the kingdom age, this idea of incredible abundance gets amplified. Take a look at these prophecies from Amos and Joel:

Amos 9.13 [ESV]
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine And all the hills will be dissolved.

Joel 3.18 [ESV]
And in that day The mountains will drip with sweet wine, And the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; And a spring will go out from the house of the LORD To water the valley of Shittim.

Furthermore, Papias’ statement about the taming of animals comes straight from Isaiah:

Isaiah 11.6-9 [ESV]
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. 9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

Whether or not Papias’ information really went back to Jesus does not affect the fact that Papias himself clearly believed in a kingdom coming to the earth in which the land would produce abundantly and animals would abstain from violence. Considering the fact that he wrote very early (around a.d. 130) and reportedly knew the apostle John, we cannot merely dismiss his testimony as one later Christian did when he wrote:

The same writer [Papias] has recorded other accounts as having come to him from unwritten tradition, certain strange parables of the Lord and teachings of his and some other statements of a more mythical character. Among other things he says that after the resurrection of the dead there will be a period of a thousand years when the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this earth. These ideas, I suppose, he got through a misunderstanding of the apostolic accounts, not realizing that the things recorded in figurative language were spoken by them mystically. For he certainly appears to be a man of very little intelligence, as one may say judging from his own words.

(Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.31.3, trans. Michael Holmes)

So Papias is silly to accept scripture at face value instead of interpreting everything allegorically, like later Christians. (To read more about how anti-kingdom Christians used allegorical interpretation to undermine the idea of an earthly kingdom, see this article.) Ironically, I believe Papias intended the quote above to be taken figuratively. Obviously a grape cannot cry out, “I am better” nor can a head of grain contain 10,000 kernels. However, what does the exaggerated language mean? The saying teaches that the produce and grain of the earth in the kingdom will grow prolifically and that everyone will have enough food. Rather than people fighting over who gets the food, the food will fight over who gets the people. It is Eusebius who doesn’t “get it,” not Papias.

In conclusion, Papias stands as a strong witness to an early vibrant faith in the coming kingdom on earth–a time when God heals our world and causes it to flourish abundantly. Like Amos and Joel before him, Papias envisioned the kingdom age in terms of agricultural abundance rather than a disembodied flight to the celestial realm.

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History in the Making (Psalm 110)

Time for a little trivia! What Old Testament scripture is the most frequently quoted scripture in the New Testament?

In case you hadn’t already figured it out from the subject of the article, Psalm 110 is the most quoted scripture in the New Testament, and it can be found a total of 33 times! That sure says something about the importance that the New Testament writers placed on this biblical passage!

Let’s take a look at this popular text:

Psalm 110 [NASB]
 1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

2 The LORD will stretch forth
Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
3 Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;
In holy array, from the womb of the dawn,
Your youth are to You as the dew.

4 The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

5 The Lord is at Your right hand;
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
6 He will judge among the nations,
He will fill them with corpses,
He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.
7 He will drink from the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He will lift up His head.

In the New Testament, the first verse of this psalm is regularly applied to Jesus. In this way, the writers of the New Testament are identifying Jesus as the Davidic ruler to whom this psalm ultimately points, the one who is currently seated at the right hand of God in heaven and waiting for Yahweh, the LORD, to subdue his enemies before him.

The psalm goes on to say that Yahweh will extend the power of this Davidic ruler out from Zion, Jerusalem, and give him the authority to reign “in the midst of his enemies” and to crush opposing rulers and nations of the earth “in the day of his wrath.” Sure sounds like this Davidic ruler will be reigning over (and on) the earth, doesn’t it?

Well, that’s because he will be. In fact, that’s the good news that Jesus went around proclaiming: namely, that God, through his appointed agent Jesus, would establish God’s kingdom on the earth, and with it bring the justice and peace of God’s government into the created realm once again.

So, as you have probably figured out, we have yet to see this psalm brought to complete fulfillment because we are waiting on Yahweh to send back his son from heaven. When he returns, he will destroy those who oppose God and establish God’s just government.

Come, Lord Jesus!

 

 

 

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City in the Sky? (Hebrews 11.16)

Church hymnals are filled with songs envisioning the day we fly away to a city in the sky and walk celestial streets of gold. Cherished as these hymns may be, a closer look at the Hall of Faith chapter in Hebrews reveals a very different picture of the heavenly Jerusalem.

Hebrews 11:13-16 (NKJV)
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

Many Christians assume this passage teaches that our planet is little more than a pit stop on the road to heaven. The traditional interpretation is summed up well by the opening stanza of the famous gospel song “This World is Not My Home”:

“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.” [1]

But how well does this tradition hold up under scriptural scrutiny? In the verses leading up to the passage in question, the author zeroes in on the faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah. The Hebrew audience of this letter was well acquainted with the promise given to Israel’s patriarchs in response to their acts of faith. God specifically told Abraham that he and his progeny would one day be the permanent owners of Canaan:

Genesis 17:8 (NKJV)
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

At the time God made this promise, the land of Canaan was owned and inhabited by other people. Abraham and his family left a comfortable life in Ur only to become tent-dwelling transients in a foreign land.  Far from owning Canaan, Abraham had to ask the native Hittites for property to use as a burial ground (Gen. 23:4). This is why the author of Hebrews tells us in Heb. 11:9 that Abraham “dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country.”

The Greek word rendered “land” in 11:9 is ge, which has a range of meanings in scripture depending upon the context. It appears over 200 times in the New Testament and is variously translated earth, land, ground, country, and world. The word as it is used in Heb. 11:9 clearly refers to the land of Canaan. But when ge appears again just four verses later in Heb. 11:13, most translations render it differently. Here we read that the patriarchs confessed they were “strangers and pilgrims on the earth (ge).”

This gives the impression that the saints were not at home on our planet and yearned instead for an extra-terrestrial dwelling. Yet such a notion clashes with the context established in 11:9, which is about Abraham and his family living like strangers on a particular tract of land that God had promised to give them for an eternal home. Heb. 11:13 commends the patriarchs not because they died believing they would leave planet earth for heaven, but because they died believing God would one day fulfill his promise to give them Canaan. Thus a more consistent reading of 11:13 would be “strangers and pilgrims on the land (ge).”

Ultimately Abraham did not own so much as a foot of the land that was promised to him (Acts 7:5). However, according to Heb. 11:10, he died anticipating “the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” This city is described as “heavenly” in 11:16,[2] and identified as the “heavenly Jerusalem” in 12:10. Paul called it the “Jerusalem above” in Gal. 4:26,[3] while Jesus said that it “comes down from my God out of heaven” in Rev. 3:12.

More than a few Christians have taken this language to mean that the New Jerusalem is an invisible city floating in heaven. But it turns out that similar expressions are often used in scripture to denote things accomplished by the hand of heaven. For example, James wrote that every good gift is “from above” and “comes down from the Father of lights” (Jas. 1:17). Jesus once asked the Pharisees whether or not the baptism of John was “from heaven” (Mk. 11:30). And the author of Hebrews referred to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the “heavenly gift” (Heb. 6:4).

These things are of course experienced on earth, with the point being that they were brought about by the God of heaven as opposed to some other source. Likewise, the “heavenly Jerusalem” is not describing a metropolis floating somewhere in the stratosphere, but rather a city on earth that will be established and inhabited by God himself.

The Old Testament overwhelmingly confirms this fact. Numerous prophecies declare that the very same Jerusalem stained by sin and struck with tribulation will one day be cleansed and wondrously restored by God. Below is just a small sampling of these prophecies about the Holy City on Mount Zion:

Psalm 102:13-16
You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come. 14 For your servants hold her stones dear and have pity on her dust. 15 Nations will fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory. 16 For the LORD builds up Zion; he appears in his glory;

Isaiah 52:1-2
Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean. 2 Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

Isaiah 54:11-12
O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones.

Isaiah 60:14-15
The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. 15 Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age.

Zechariah 8:3
Thus says the LORD: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain.

Zechariah 14:9-10
And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one. 10 The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.

Zephaniah 3:14-17
Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. 16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Micah 4:6-8
In that day, declares the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted; 7 and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore. 8 And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, kingship for the daughter of Jerusalem.

Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the New Jerusalem is in fact Jerusalem Renewed. Abraham didn’t have the benefit of all these prophecies, but Hebrews 7:1-10 points out that he received an allegorical glimpse of the Messianic Kingdom when he met the mysterious priest Melchizedek (Gen. 14:14-20). This priest also happened to be the king of a city in Canaan called Salem, the ancient name for Jerusalem (Ps. 76:2). The name Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness” and the title King of Salem means “King of Peace.”

Melchizedek was a type of the resurrected Christ, foreshadowing Abraham’s future Messianic descendant who would one day reign from Jerusalem in righteousness and peace (Ps. 110, Isa. 9:7). Abraham acknowledged the superiority of Melchizedek by tithing ten percent of his war spoils to the priest-king. In so doing, Israel’s patriarch showed that he was looking forward to the day when the supreme High Priest and King takes his rightful place as ruler of Jerusalem and all the ends of the earth (Ps. 2:6-8).

How did Abraham and the rest of the saints expect to arrive at the New Jerusalem? Hebrews 11 answers this question by weaving the theme of resurrection throughout the chapter (11:19, 22, 35). The 11:22 reference to the faith of Joseph on his deathbed beautifully illustrates the true hope of the saints. In that scene Joseph made his relatives swear to take his bones along when Israel made the exodus from Egypt to Canaan (Gen. 50:24-25). The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown commentary explains:

“In faith he looked to God’s promise of Canaan being fulfilled and desired that his bones should rest there: testifying thus: (1) that he had no doubt of his posterity obtaining the promised land: and (2) that he believed in the resurrection of the body, and the enjoyment in it of the heavenly Canaan.” [4]

This world is indeed our home, but this present age and all of its sorrows are only temporary, thanks be to God. An age is coming when “the righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever” (Ps. 37:29 ). In that day we will behold the heavenly Jerusalem – not a city in the sky, but a city right here on our planet, restored and transformed into the very capital of heaven’s kingdom on earth.


[1] Brumley, Albert E. “This World is Not My Home.” 1965.

[2] The word “country” that appears in most translations of Heb. 11:16 is not in the original Greek and has been supplied by the translators.

[3] At the return of Christ, the mountainous regions surrounding Jerusalem will be leveled while Jerusalem will remain aloft in her place on Mount Zion, resulting in the literal elevation of the city above all her neighbors (Zech. 14:10, Mic. 4:1). Perhaps Paul had this in mind when he mentioned the “Jerusalem above.”

[4] Jamieson, R. (1871). Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/jfb/hebrews/11.htm.

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Pray for Renewal, not Removal (Matthew 6:9-10)

Time and again, Jesus proclaimed in words and actions the reality that one day, “God is going to make everything wrong in the world right.”

That in itself, the message and enactment of the coming kingdom of God, is incredible.

But what is even more amazing is that God allows us to join him in the process!

Consider Matthew 6:9-10 (NASB):

“Therefore, you should pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.”

Through prayer, we can participate in what God is now doing, and will do, here on the earth.

Let’s break down what Jesus is saying.

First, he is telling us to petition our Father in heaven to make his name, all that he is and stands for, be set apart, holy. How do we do that? Well, when we pray that God would be honored as holy, he changes hearts and our perspectives to help us to live in a way that glorifies him.

Second, Jesus is telling us to petition God establish his kingdom and enact his will here on planet earth. This prayer has both a present and future component: when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are praying for God’s reign, his will, to manifest in our lives today, and we are also praying for the establishment of the physical, earthly kingdom which shall come to fruition at the return of King Jesus, which he himself so often spoke of and demonstrated.

There is one thing that I would really like you to notice here: namely that God is concerned about the present and future state of the earth, and that his desire is to transform the misery and corruption that is our current experience. His plan is for the renewal of the earth, through you and I (and ultimately Jesus), not our removal from the earth after death.

That’s some great news, right?

So let’s make an earnest effort to follow in the teachings of Jesus and to participate, through prayer and action, in the restoration of all things!

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Please Him in the Present World to Receive the Future World (Polycarp)

Polycarp was a very early Christian author and leader who wrote a letter to the Philippians between the years a.d. 110 and 140. According to Irenaeus who had heard Polycarp speak once in his youth, Polycarp had been a follower of the Apostle John. As an old man, the government arrested and executed Polycarp on the charge of professing Christianity. Here is what Polycarp says about the kingdom. Unsurprisingly, it sounds very similar to what we find in the New Testament:

To the Philippians 5.2-3
2 Similarly, deacons must be blameless in the presence of his righteousness, as servants of God and Christ and not of people. They must not be slanderers, not insincere, not lovers of money, but self-controlled in every respect, compassionate, diligent, acting in accordance with the truth of the Lord, who became a servant of all. If we please him in this present world, we will receive the world to come as well, inasmuch as he promised that he will raise us from the dead and that if we prove to be citizens worthy of him, we will also reign with him–if, that is, we continue to believe. 3 Similarly, the younger men must be blameless in all things; they should be concerned about purity above all, reining themselves away from all evil. For it is good to be cut off from the sinful desires in the world, because every sinful desire wages war against the spirit, and neither fornicators nor men who have sex with men (whether as the passive or as the active partner) will inherit the kingdom of God, nor will those who do perverse things.

To the Philippians 11.2
But how can someone who is unable to exercise self-control in these matters preach self-control to anyone else? Anyone who does not avoid love of money will be polluted by idolatry and will be judged as one of the Gentiles, who are ignorant of the Lord’s judgment. Or do we not know that the saints will judge the world, as Paul teaches?

[Polycarp, The Letter of Polycarp to the Philippians, trans. Michael Holmes, 2007]

In Polycarp’s mind, how we live plays a great role in determining where we will end up. In other words, he does not separate our hope from our lifestyle. Because of our destiny to inherit the kingdom, we should live righteously in the present. Our aim is to please the Lord in this age so that we will receive the future age when resurrection happens.

Notice how Polycarp thinks temporally rather than spatially. He does not talk about going “up” to heaven or “down” to hell at death. Rather he looks “forward” to when the future kingdom arrives. He looks forwards not upwards. The question is not “Where will I spend eternity?” but “Will I enjoy the future age?” He understands, as Paul teaches, that those who turn away from sinful lives in the present will judge the world in the future.

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Continuity of Message from Jesus to Disciples and Beyond (Clement of Rome)

Clement of Rome wrote and epistle to the church at Corinth between a.d. 80 and 100 because the younger generation ousted the established leadership. In the course of his epistle he mentioned the kingdom twice:

1 Clement 42
The apostles received the gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ…Having therefore received their orders and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and full of faith in the word of God, they went forth with the firm assurance that the Holy Spirit gives, preaching the good news that the kingdom of God was about to come. So, preaching both in the country and in the towns, they appointed their first fruits, when they had tested them by the spirit, to be bishops and deacons for the future believers.

1 Clement 50
…All the generations from Adam to this day have passed away, but those who by God’s grace were perfected in love have a place among the godly, who will be revealed when the kingdom of Christ visits us. for it is written: “Enter into the innermost rooms for a very little while, until my anger and wrath shall pass away, and I will remember a good day and will raise you from your graves.”…

The first of these quotes shows that Clement recognized Christ’s disciples performed the same ministry as Jesus. Mark described Jesus’ own gospel message with the following words:

Mark 1.14-15
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

It is hard to miss the continuity between how Clement describes the disciples and what Mark said about Jesus himself. They both preached the kingdom as gospel. Furthermore we can also observe that Clement does not believe the kingdom came during Jesus’ ministry or even on the day of Pentecost. The disciples carried on the ministry of preaching the kingdom gospel right up until the time when they appointed overseers in the various churches that were present in Clement’s time.

The second text attests not to the proclamation of the kingdom message but to Clement’s own expectation. He looks for the time “when the kingdom of Christ visits us.” Thus, for Clement, the kingdom was undoubtedly a future expectation.

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Jesus Destined to Rule on David’s Throne (Psalm 2)

Psalm 2 is a short, but powerful psalm which effectively dispels the common notion of many believers today that “heaven is our home.” Let’s take a look and see what it says.

Psalm 2

1 Why are the nations in an uproar,
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against Yahweh* and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

7 “I will surely tell of the decree of Yahweh:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.'”

10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship Yahweh with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry,
and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him.

[quotation from NASB]
*Note:“Yahweh” substituted for “the LORD”  throughout psalm for clarity

In verses 1-3, the psalmist begins by rhetorically questioning the foolish behavior of the nations and the kings of the earth. Together they plot, seeking to free themselves of the dominion of the sovereign God and his messiah, (an anointed, earthly representative of God), the king.

The second section, verses 4-6, contains God’s response to the uprisings of the nations and the kings of the earth: derisive laughter. (It’s never a good thing when the God of the universe laughs at you with contempt!) Did the nations of the earth seriously think that their rebellion against the exalted Lord, the one enthroned in heaven, would succeed?

Yahweh’s mocking laughter leads to action, and God utters a decisive statement in his anger, in which he affirms the authority of his messiah: “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.”

In this statement, he not only affirms the authority of this king, but he gives us the locality from which he will reign: Zion, God’s holy mountain. Zion is another name for Jerusalem, the city of David (1 Kings 8:1).

According to God’s decree, this anointed king will reign on the earth, from Jerusalem.

In verses 7-9, the third section, Yahweh’s anointed declares the decree of the Lord, which further enforces the legitimacy and locality of his reign.

In verse 7, we read that the anointed king is considered to be “God’s Son.” This language of sonship recalls the covenant that God made with King David, in which God promised to raise up a descendant after him, the throne of whose kingdom, centered in Jerusalem, would be established forever:

 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:12-16 NASB)

Though David had many descendants, the fulfillment of this promise ultimately came to pass in Jesus (See Paul’s sermon in Acts 13:20-33). Thus, Jesus is the anointed king who will reign from Jerusalem, of whom this psalm speaks.

Verse 8 further confirms the reality of Jesus’ earthly reign, for in it, God announces that upon the request of his anointed, he will give to him the nations and the ends of the earth as his inheritance and possession!

Jesus is promised by God to reign over an earthly kingdom, centered in Jerusalem!

Typically, believers today are promised eternal life in Heaven, God’s abode, by their well-meaning pastors.

However, according to Jesus (and Psalm 2), this is simply not the case.

John records the promise of Jesus to believers in Revelation 2:26-28 [NASB]:

 “He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.”

According to Jesus, his followers who overcome will share in his authority and earthly rule! (Notice where this verse is coming from: Psalm 2:9!)

He also writes in Revelation 3:21 [NASB]:

 “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

Believers will reign with Christ. Where will Christ be reigning? Earth.

Heaven is not our home.

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An Immortal Longing

by Carlos Xavier

The Apostle Paul warns the reader not to “receive a different spirit from the one you received [nor to put up with] a different gospel from the one you accepted…because even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed [anathema]…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” [2Cor 11.4, 14; Gal 1.8]. The Apostle John likewise exhorts his reader not to “believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God [since by testing] those who call themselves apostles and are not, [we may find] them to be false” [1John 4.1; Rev 2.2].

The purpose of this article is to call on the reader to further “search and examine the scriptures” with a ‘Berean’ spirit [Acts 17.11; Isa 34.16], in order to “fight the good fight of the faith [so that we might be able to] take hold of the eternal life” that awaits us [1Tim 6.12]. As Christians, founded on Peter’s confession [“Son of God” Mat 16.13-20, and not God the Son], we should not be afraid to question what we have been taught[1] or whatever personal experience [no matter how vivid and real] we may have had in our lives. And although space may not allow me to fully tackle all the passages used by those who believe in the immortality of the soul[2] doctrine (i.e. Parable of Lazarus, Lu 16.19-31), my aim is to prove (as per sola scriptura) not only how this aberrant interpretation contradicts the gospel message, but how it is a stumbling block to our taking “hold of the eternal life” as promised by God.

In John 3.13 Jesus affirms that “no one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man”[3]. This explains why Jesus later says to his apostles “where I am going you cannot come—follow” [Jn 8.21; 13.33]. We know that the writings of John remain the source for most of the false doctrines that have developed over the ages [Trinity; Hell etc.], this is also true for those who share a [over] realized eschatology, from which the immortal soul doctrine originates:

“The assumption that John dispenses with [a literal] future resurrection [of the dead] would mean that he has significantly altered the view of ‘resurrection’ found elsewhere in the documents of the NT or in the Judaism of the period[4] [where] the dead are raised, not ‘spiritually’ or metaphorically, but bodily…the data of the Gospel [of John] do not bear out the assumption that John has collapsed the future resurrection into a present quality of life, even a divinely given life…Language of being raised up remains resolutely attached to the future, to the ‘last day’ [thus bringing] to fruition what the Father offers through the Son, the gift of life.”[5]

The belief “of the period” the writer alludes to here is the one that is founded on the prophetic visions experienced by men like Daniel [12.2] and Ezekiel [37], where a literal reanimation of dead bodies by the power of God’s spirit is in view. This unchanging understanding at the centre of what ultimately the gospel message promises [eternal life to be attained only in the KOG], is maintained by Peter at Pentecost in Acts 2.29-35:

“Brothers and sisters, we all know that the patriarch David died and was buried and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay…For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, ‘The LORD [YHWH] said to my lord [adoni, human superior]: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’ [ref. Psa 110.1].” [TNIV]

A closer look at this key passage reveals that not only Peter knew of David’s death[6] but everyone else within earshot was also aware of this fact. But, like Daniel and Ezekiel, David was also a prophet who saw “what was to come…the resurrection from the dead of the Messiah”, a sort of prelude to the core promises that the gospel message of the KOG can only provide.

So what does this mean? No one, including prophets, patriarchs or kings, is said to be currently alive [conscious and active] in heaven, where only Jesus is said to be at the present because he is the “firstfruits [first to rise from the dead] of those who have fallen asleep [dead]” [1Cor 15.20-23; cp. Acts 26.23]:

“1Cor 15.20: …If God raised Christ from the dead, then Christ truly was the firstfruits (Ex. 23:19; Lev. 23:10; Deut. 18:4; Neh. 10:35) or the first of many others who would also be raised from the dead. (See also Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:23; Col. 1:18.) The term “firstfruits” (Gk. aparchē) refers to a first sample of an agricultural crop that indicates the nature and quality of the rest of the crop; therefore, Christ’s resurrection body gives a foretaste of what those of believers will be like.” ESV study Bible[7]

If this isn’t clear enough for the reader, Paul reiterates Peter’s message in Acts 13: “when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep [died]; he was buried [laid] with his ancestors [fathers] and his body decayed” [v. 36]. The second part of this verse is variously translated as “slept with his fathers”. When you do a ‘phrase count’ [36 times in all] you will discover that all of the kings registered in the book of Kings [cp. Chronicles] are said to have “died [and laid to rest with their fathers]”, from Solomon to Jehoiakim; all of them[8]!

In a beautifully composed piece of poetry, Job mentions this fact when, in his distress, he wishes he had joined all who were already in this state of rest [and not enjoying the glories of heaven] rather than being born:

“Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace. I would be asleep and at rest. I would rest with the world’s kings and prime ministers [counselors], whose great buildings now lie in ruins. I would rest with princes, rich in gold, whose palaces were filled with silver. Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? For in death the wicked cause no trouble, and the weary [righteous] are at rest. Even captives are at ease in death, with no guards to curse them. Rich and poor are both there, and the slave is free from his master.” Job 3.13-19 NLT

If not one of the kings is said to be presently alive and conscious in the heavens [or under it], we have to surmise that the same applies to the “fathers [ancestors]” of David, which includes those patriarchs who came before him. How do we know? The OT testifies that Abraham was laid with his “fathers in peace” [Gen 15.15; 25.8], the same for Isaac and Jacob [Gen 47.28-31], Moses [Due 31.14-15; 34.5], King David and his son Solomon [2 Sam 7.12; 1K 2.10; 11.21; cp. 2Chro 9.21]. The NT again verifies the unchanging nature of their current state:

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance [via prophetic “utterances” and covenant promises]…Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Heb 11.13-15 [TNIV]

So I ask you, faithful reader, what sets us [or our dearly departed] apart from all the faithful? Why should we attain an immortal soul that is clearly not available to them, thus bypassing not only “the last day” but judgment itself? This will be a judgment that, according to Paul, even Christians like himself will come under [Rom 14.10[11]].

FOOTNOTES:

[1] “The doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God…” Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sec. 2, Ch. 1, Art. 1, Par. 6, Man, 2.366, 382; Art. 12.4.1035. 1992.

“The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption: [Gen 3.19; Acts 13.36] but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them: [Lu 23.43; Eccl 12.7]…” Westminster Confession of Faith, 32.1, 1646AD.

[2] The Bible presents the soul as the whole, individual person and not a separate “living entity [part]”. This is in lieu of the wrong interpretation of what Paul says in 1Thess 5.23, where he is simply using several terms [“spirit and soul and body”] to describe one and the same entity for greater emphasis.

[3] That some of Jesus’ sayings [not only in this verse but in others] include a figure of speech known as prolepsis, where a future event is referred to in the present tense [or in anticipation], is verified by the fact that some manuscripts add “who is in heaven”.

[4] Ed. Note: Cp. Gen 2.17; 3.19-22; Job 7.21; 34:14-15; Ecc 12:7; Psa. 6.15; 13.3; 30.9; 88:10-15; 103.14; 104.29; 115:17; Job 10.18-19; Jer 51.39; Ezek 18.4, 20; Eccl 3.19-20; 9.5, 10.

[5] The God of the Gospel of John, Marriane Meyer Thompson, p. 82-83, 2001.

[6] In the Bible sleep means “death” [koimao “asleep”, Mat 9.24; 27.52; Mar 5.39; Lu 8.52; Jn 11.11-13; Acts 7.60; 13.36; 1Cor 11.30; 15.6, 18, 20; 1Thess 4.13-15; 5.6, 10; 2Pe 3.4]. The OT equivalent is “slept with his fathers” (as shown throughout 1–2 Kings; 1–2 Chronicles). This is described as a deep sleep from which people will one day be awakened (cp. Dan. 12:2).

[7] WARNING: As good as most of the biblical commentaries sometimes are, they also get it wrong. The ESV Study Bible commentary for the following verse [1Cor 1.23] reads: “Until that time, those who have died exist in heaven as spirits without bodies.”?!

[8] 1 K 11.21; 14.20; 15.8; 16.6; 22.40; 2K 8.24; 10.35; 13.9; 14.16; 13.7; 16.20; 20.21; 21.18; 24.6; cp. 2Chro 9.31; 12.16; 14.1; 16.13.

[9] Luther’s Works, Vol 25, p 321, cited in Morey, p 201, Death and the Afterlife, Bethany, 1984.

[10] Commentary on Acts, ibid. p 209.

[11] “Rom 14.10-12: everyone will stand before God, who will judge all on the last day. The future day of judgment is prophesied in Isa. 45:23. Every person will give an account of his life to God at the judgment. Though justification is by faith alone, what Christians do will affect God’s evaluation of their service to him and the rewards they will receive (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10–17; 2 Cor. 5:10).” ESV Study Bible.

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Church Manual Affirms Coming Kingdom (Didache)

Dated between a.d 60 and 150 the Didache is an early Christian manual on how to do church, covering baptism, communion, righteous living, and other practical topics. It is one of the earliest Christian documents ever written apart from those which are in the New Testament.

Didache 8.2
Nor should you pray like the hypocrites. Instead, pray like this, just as the Lord commanded in his Gospel: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”

Didache 9.4
Just as this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains and then was gathered together and became one, so may your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom; for yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever.

Didache 10.5-6
5 Remember your church, Lord, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in your love; and from the four winds gather the church that has been sanctified into your kingdom, which you have prepared for it; for yours is the power and glory forever. 6 May grace come, and may this world pass away. Hosanna to the God of David. If anyone is holy, let him come; if anyone is not, let him repent. Maranatha! Amen.

Didache 16.6-8
6 And then there will appear the signs of the truth: first the sign of an opening in heaven, then the sign of the sound of a trumpet, and third, the resurrection of the dead—7 but not of all; rather, as it has been said, “The Lord will come, and all his saints with him.” 8 Then the world will see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.

The author(s) of the Didache believed the kingdom was in the future. Some Christians today say that although Jesus prayed for God’s kingdom to come, it arrived on the day of Pentecost. However, the Didache goes against such an idea, since they were still praying for the kingdom to come. We see a hope that God will gather together the church into God’s kingdom. At first this may not seem unusual until we realize how corporate the language is. Instead of individuals going to heaven at death, the Didache instructs us to pray that God would gather all of his church into his kingdom. This is an event that happens once at the end of our age. Lastly, this document teaches that Jesus is coming back to this earth with his saints. The goal is not to depart and join Jesus in heaven, but to meet him (presumably in the air on his way down cf. 1 Thessalonians 4.17) and escort him to his destination on earth.

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A Long Lost Hope

by Bethany Reise

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes that there is but one hope to which believers have been called.[1] Most Christians have been taught that the hope they are awaiting is eternal life in heaven, to which their immortal soul will depart after death. They would be surprised to find out that this is not the hope to which Paul was referring. Paul was speaking of the resurrection of the righteous which is to occur at the second coming of Christ. It is only at this time that the dead who have been sleeping in their graves will be awakened and clothed with immortality. They will live and reign with Christ in the kingdom of God which is to be established on the earth at the end of the age. At this point most would argue, “Well, what about when Paul said that he would ‘prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord?’”[2] “Or,” they contend, “When Paul said that his ‘desire to depart and be with Christ?’ Surely that proves that his hope was to die and immediately be in heaven with Christ!”[3] However, interpreting Scripture while under the influence of Greek philosophy is a dangerous idea. One must abandon the influences of pagan philosophy and adopt the perspective of the Hebrew writers of the Bible in order to understand Paul’s hope, the hope of all believers.

While the early church was growing, Paul implored believers adhere to the truth and warned them of the dangers of “philosophy and empty deception.”[4] Paul’s admonitions went unheeded, however, and Greek philosophy started becoming entangled in Christian belief, before it was finally welcomed into Christian tradition by the early church fathers. Platonic philosophy asserts that a separate and immortal soul inhabits the body while it is alive, but after death the soul is released from the body, departing to another realm. By the second century, the Platonic philosophical thought had made its way into the writings of influential church theologians and writers, such as Tertullian, Origen, and Augustine.[5] They adopted the belief that man was an immaterial and immortalized soul, housed in a physical body. Upon death, they asserted, the disembodied soul of the believer departs from the body and goes to heaven. Under their care, the precious hope of the apostles and all the faithful of times past were exchanged for a false hope.

Therefore, since most are under the influence of Greek philosophy, one must adopt a Hebraic understanding of the nature of man when trying to understanding Paul’s statements about the hope he professed. The Bible teaches that man is mortal. As author Greg Deuble rightly states, “The stubborn fact is that there is not one passage to be found anywhere in the Bible that teaches man has an immortal soul.”[6] God also defined mortal man as a living soul. In Genesis 2:7, the author states that “the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”[7] So, the “equation” for man is as follows: “body + breath of life = living soul.”[8] Man is a living soul; he is not some sort of combination of a physical body and an immaterial soul.

Accepting this definition of the nature of man impacted the Hebrews’ understanding of death and life in the age to come. For the Hebrews, death was simple: when a person dies, they rest in the grave in a state of unconsciousness, much like sleep.[9] It is in this state of unconsciousness that the dead wait, until they are resurrected on the last day.[10] On the last day, the Messiah will come and the righteous will be resurrected or “wakened” and clothed with immortality. At this time, the final kingdom of God will be established on the earth and God will dwell with His people.[11] Job expresses this hope in one of his discourses: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God.”[12] From this, it is evident that Job was anticipating that at future time after his death, he would be raised with renewed flesh. This raising was associated with his Redeemer coming to take his stand on the earth. This was the great hope to which the faithful of the past looked forward to, and the very same hope that Paul professed: the resurrection of the righteous, who would be clothed with immortality at the second coming of the Messiah.

Based on his letters to the early churches, it is possible to see that Paul’s eschatological view contained the same three basic elements as Job’s did, namely; the resurrection, the return of the Lord Messiah, and the change from mortality to immortality. These elements are evident in Philippians 3, where Paul expresses his hope of being awakened from the dead and receiving a new resurrection body at the second coming of Jesus, saying: “…If by any means I might attain to the resurrection from the dead… eagerly await a Savior from [from heaven], the Lord Jesus Christ… [who] will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”[13] Clearly, Paul’s eschatological view was consistent with that of the Old Testament writers.

There are some however, who would disagree, citing certain verses that Paul wrote in his letters to the Philippians and Corinthians. In the eschatological view they propose, the hope of believers is an individual event separate from the return of the Messiah, where the disembodied, immortal soul of the individual is released from its physical body immediately after death. The return of Christ loses most, if not all, of its significance and the hope of the faithful of the Old Testament is nullified; what kind of hope is a resurrection from the dead at the return of Christ, if believers are already Him in heaven immediately after death? This is a contradiction of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures, and even Paul’s own words! Therefore, in order to resolve the conflict, one must compare the verses that are unclear to the ones that are more so, all the while keeping in mind the context of the author and the passage.

The context of Paul’s clear description of the resurrection in I Corinthians 15, serves to undermine the traditional orthodox belief and support Paul’s hope of the resurrection. This chapter provides a similar foundation from which to explain II Corinthians 5:8, one of the commonly cited proof texts for those whose hope is heaven. In this verse, Paul yearns to “be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”[14] By looking back only chapter earlier, the context of Paul’s remarks in chapter five are clarified. Just as in his first letter to the Corinthians, he is speaking of the resurrection hope at the second coming of Christ when he writes in his second letter, written only a year later, that “He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.”[15] This directly correlates with the remarks of his first letter; “But now Christ has been raised from the dead… after that those who are Christ’s at His coming”[16] Thus, it can be seen already that the two letters share common ground; namely the hope of resurrection at the coming of Christ.

This connection is strengthened further by Paul’s use of a trio of identical metaphors, making it reasonable to conclude that the thematic material of both chapters is the same.[17] The first two of these metaphors are found to be located in close proximity to each other, even in the very same verse. The first describes the resurrected believer as being “clothed” and the second describes mortality as being “swallowed” up by immortality. In I Corinthians 15:54, Paul writes that when the perishable is “clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.””[18] He echoes this statement in II Corinthians 5:4: “we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”[19] Paul’s third parallel revolves around the idea that salvation in Christ will arrive from heaven. In I Corinthians 15:47, Paul writes that “the second man is the Lord [arriving] from heaven.[20] Later on in his second letter, Paul relates that the immortality that he so “earnestly desires to be clothed upon with [is the] house which is from heaven.”[21] According to Cambridge biblical scholar, John A.T. Robinson, to say that II Corinthians 5 suggests this, would be “to read the passage in clear opposition to 1 Corinthians 15.”[22] Thus, through these three repeated words and phrases found in both I and II Corinthians, an apparent unity in Paul’s eschatological view emerges.

Clearly, based upon the correlations between the two letters to the Corinthian church, it may be ascertained that there is but one hope to which Paul was referring, and it cannot possibly be a departure of the soul to heaven immediately after death. In fact, Paul expresses his horror at the very thought of such a prospect, when he adamantly stated “we do not wish to be unclothed” nor be “found naked.” Therefore, when Paul writes that he would “rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” he cannot possibly mean that he desires to be a disembodied soul in heaven before the return of Christ, because he just condemned that notion only a few verses earlier! Rather, Paul is eagerly anticipating the time when he will become immortal-an event which cannot be separated from the return of Christ. He is speaking of his two simultaneous desires, to be both “absent from the body” and “present with the Lord.” He did not say “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” that is a dangerous misquotation.[23] Therefore, there is no doubt that Paul remains consistent in his writings: the hope of Christians lies in the immortality that is to be realized at the return of Christ.

In light of Paul’s obvious aversion to the prospect of becoming disembodied, arguments over the other common “proof-text,” Philippians 1:23, dissipate quickly. In this verse, Paul says that he has a “desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better”[24] that to continue to live on in the flesh. If Paul is so strongly against the idea of being without a body, it is unreasonable to maintain that this verse suggests this. Paul’s remarks must be read in context and with respect to his character, which reveals Paul’s true motivation is to exalt Christ, either through his life or his death. As author Greg Deuble notes, “One this in sure: Paul is not seeking to escape his ministry by death just so that he can get some personal and selfish benefit,” as the traditional interpretation of Philippians 1:23 implies.[25] This would be contrary to his character and his hope. Rather, in this verse, Paul is once again expressing his hope that he “may attain to the resurrection from the dead,” at which time, he would finally be with Christ for eternity.[26]

Paul never wavered in his position that there is but one hope. Somewhere along the way however, the church lost sight of this hope. Yes, they propose that there is hope, but it is a different hope than the Bible presents. This false hope has presupposed immortality, effectively clouding over the reality that the precious gift of immortality is only to be given to the righteous at the second coming of the Messiah. Thus, the very hope that the entire New Testament has been trending towards is overlooked entirely, greatly diminishing the significance and unspeakable joy of the future resurrection of the dead and the glorious return of Jesus Christ. It is time to lay aside the false hopes and traditions, and to take hold of that which has been promised to us: resurrection from the dead, immortality, and eternal life in the kingdom of God on the earth. It is time to reclaim the lost hope of the church.


[1] Eph 4:4 (NIV)

[2] II Cor 5:4 (NASB)

[3] Phil 1:23 (NASB)

[4] Col 2:8 (NASB)

[5] Bacchiocchi, Dr. Samuele. Popular Beliefs: Are They Biblical?. http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/books/popular_beliefs/2.pdf

[6] Deuble, Greg S. They Never Told Me THIS in Church!: A Call to Read the Bible with New Eyes. Restoration Fellowship, 2006, p 295.

[7] Gen 2:7 (KJV)

[8] Deuble, Greg S. They Never Told Me THIS in Church!: A Call to Read the Bible with New Eyes. Restoration Fellowship, 2006, p 296.

[9] Ecc 9:5, 6, 10; Ps 13:3, 146:3; Jn 11:11-14 (NASB)

[10] Dan 12:2 (NASB)

[11] Dan 2:44; Job 19:24-26; Is 25:8; Ez 37:23 (NASB)

[12]Job 19:24-26 (NASB)

[13] Phil 3:11,14,20 (NASB)

[14] II Cor 5:8 (NASB)

[15] II Cor 4:14 (NASB)

[16] I Cor 15:20,23 (NASB)

[17] Deuble, Greg S. They Never Told Me THIS in Church!: A Call to Read the Bible with New Eyes. Restoration Fellowship, 2006, p 320.

[18] I Cor 15:54 (NIV, emphasis mine)

[19] II Cor 5:4 (NIV, emphasis mine)

[20] I Cor 15:47 (AKJV, emphasis mine)

[21] II Cor 5:2 (KJV, emphasis mine)

[22] Robinson, John A. T. In the End, God – A Study of the Christian Doctrine of the Last Things. London: James Clarke & Co, 1950, p 106.

[23] Deuble, Greg S. They Never Told Me THIS in Church!: A Call to Read the Bible with New Eyes. Restoration Fellowship, 2006, p 322.

[24] Phil 1:23 (NASB)

[25] Deuble, Greg S. They Never Told Me THIS in Church!: A Call to Read the Bible with New Eyes. Restoration Fellowship, 2006, p 325.

[26] Phil 3:11 (NASB)

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