July 18, 2014 ©Homer Kizer
Commentary — From the Margins
New Heavens and New Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And He who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also He said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (Rev 21:1–5)
How should “a new heaven and a new earth” be read, considering that the first heaven and the first earth [both of which are physical] had/have passed away. In Hebraic poetics, the physical precedes and reveals the spiritual, but the Apocalypse is of Greek origin even though it was apparently written by an Aramaic speaker. Therefore, the new heaven and new earth should be spiritual, not physical, possessing no mass. If this is the case, something isn’t as it should be for tears are physical. Yes, God will wipe away tears, but in doing so, will God also wipe away physical people and thereby eliminate tears, crying, mourning, pain through non-existence?
If all things are made new, this physical world cannot really remain physical: making new cannot be physical.
Periodically I’m asked from where did the twenty-four elders come. Are they created beings, like angels? Or are they a different sort of entity, more closely aligned with God? And my stock answer has been that we don’t know; we don’t have enough information to know. But over the years I have wondered if that is really true.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus said,
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:12–15)
As friends, having heard from Jesus all that Jesus heard from God the Father, the Elect should know the answer to a simple question such as are the twenty-four elders angels … no, they are not angels. They preexist angels, created to be servants and created after heaven was created—and therein is the missing element needed to understand a new heaven and a new earth, one where sin will never exist.
For also in John’s Gospel, Jesus said,
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all that He Himself is doing. And greater works than these will He show him, so that you may marvel. … (John 5:19–20 emphasis added)
Human sons of God come from divine procreation, with the man Jesus the Nazarene the first to be born of the Father and with the Elect the next to be born of the Father through the indwelling of Christ Jesus. The less than precise English word for a person receiving indwelling heavenly life—a second breath of life—is glorified …the person is glorified when the person has life that comes from God the Father dwelling within the person. This does not mean that the person’s fleshly body has been changed. A man is still a man, his male gender still in tact, and the fleshly body remains unable to pass through walls. But the spirit of the man [to pneuma tou ’anthropou] that resides in the soul [psuche] of the man has been raised from death. The man only waits receipt of a non-physical body in which to dwell. The reality of receiving this new, imperishable body is assured; hence the souls of 1st-Century saints wait under the heavenly altar, sleeping as they wait for those who are to be killed as they were.
A person is not his or her fleshly body.
If nothing else of significance comes from America’s flirtation with homosexuality, the American culture should awaken to the reality that a person isn’t the fleshly body of the person.
Jean-Paul Sartre would have existence preceding essence, the individual defining for him or herself what it means to be alive—and when the individual gives meaning to life, culture becomes unstable. Society topples. And tyranny reigns.
But the Adversary is the one that is really in trouble when existence precedes essence; for the Adversary has consistently argued that angelic existence gives to angels the right to determine for themselves right from wrong; the right to define for themselves who they are. However, when humans apply this fundamental principle supporting the Adversary’s rebellion, there is no procreation. Orgasmic intercourse replaces intercourse for procreation. Birth rates decline to below replacement rates. For when orgasmic intercourse defines human relationships, does it really matter if a man lays with another man as he would with a woman—
It matters a great deal to God.
A question that needs addressed is why does a woman’s fertility end mid-life? A cat that is “old” in terms of cat years still brings forth kittens once or twice a year. Same for a dog, or a cow, or other beasts. So why is a human woman different? Is it simply because humans live longer in proortion to body size than other animals? Or is it more theological, having something to do with divine procreation that occurs for a season, then disappears from the end of that season on?
Is a human person defined by what the person does … in Ivy League universities, female students seem to be dividing themselves into “breeders” and “non-breeders,” with a non-breeder having orgasmic intercourse but no children: lesbianism is the easy means of having orgasms without becoming a breeder. Thus, female gender orientation has come to dovetail with saving the planet from overpopulation and climate change, with the woman who has no fear of climate change willingly becoming a breeder, producing children that bring forth grandchildren that bring forth great-grandchildren, with many of these children and grandchildren living in Texas, where all of the world’s population would fit if all lived in traditional four bedroom homes on suburban lots.
Fifty years ago, who would have ever imagined using fear of global overpopulation and climate change as a “pickup” line, the reason why a woman should dump men and have sex with other women. Why risk becoming a breeder?
Enough. Permit the non-breeders to die out by themselves, if Islamists don’t stone them to death first … there is little more hideous than female genitalia mutilation as practiced by Islamists (female circumcision), a practice that must be condemned wherever its exists. But if someone wonders how such a foul practice ever began, consider the outcome of purely orgasmic sexual intercourse.
Scriptural prohibitions on preventing procreation came not from a lack of persons in the days of Moses, but from the modeling that will have human procreation forming the shadow and type of divine procreation that ends at a day certain …
There are no words that can adequately condemn America’s flirtation with homosexuality—there is no better way to break the back of America than for a man to lay with another man as he would with a woman; there is no better way to destroy a nation than to make marriage about orgasmic sex. For no external enemy will have to risk life and limb attacking America. The nation has attacked itself with the most powerful weapon in the Adversary’s arsenal, asexuality. And collapse of the nation is assured; for the poison of asexuality is accumulative. It is no wonder that President Obama has encouraged Central American parents to send their children north; for Americans are not growing their own replacements. Americans are growing corn for ethanol, but they are not growing their own scientists and engineers. They have forgotten how. They are too busy posting themselves to their wall:
From Rolf Harris’ Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,
Tan me hide when I'm dead, Fred
Tan me hide when I'm dead
So we tanned his hide when he died, Clyde
And that's it hangin' on the shed!!
The hide of America will be too rotten to tan when the nation collapses.
The wound in the side of Christ Jesus, the second Adam, is analogous to the wound made in the side of the first Adam, the wound from which a rib with its flesh was taken, the rib used to make Eve in the narrative … the personification of the Adam and Eve creation narrative (Gen 2:7–22) is Christ Jesus on the cross, followed by Christ being three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, the resurrection, ascension, then return of Christ, with the glorified Jesus breathing on ten of His disciples (John 20:19, 22), thereby directly transferring to them the breath of life He had received from the Father, thus both giving birth to sons of God as well as creating the last Eve that would give birth to future sons of God in a two-track model of salvation, the first track based on having belief of God counted as righteousness (the Abraham track) so that sins are not remembered, the second tracked based on forgiveness of sin (the track based on the Law), with disciples empowered to forgive sin: “‘Receive spirit holy. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld’” (John 20:22–23).
I just crossed into theological territory where the only footprints are my own: in John, Jesus says,
For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:21–24 emphasis and double emphasis added)
The preceding is one model of salvation, the model under which the Elect receives the indwelling glory of God while still residing in a tent of flesh. For in this model, the Elect pass from death to life while still physically alive. They do so because their belief of God is counted to them as righteousness after the model of Abraham’s belief of the Lord being counted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6). In this model, the faith/belief [pisteos] of the Elect will be tested after the inner selves of the Elect are glorified (salvation cannot be lost in this testing, but this testing may well cause the Elect great pain and suffering similar to what Job endured).
The second model of New Testament salvation follows the first model:
Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself. And He has given Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:25–29)
In this model, the Son executes judgment of the dead, determining who has done good and who has done evil—not an issue for the foreknown and predestined Elect. In this model, the dead do not pass from death to life without coming into judgment. The dead have no life [spiritual life] until they are called forth from the grave.
In the first model, Christ Jesus functions as the second Eve, a life-giving pneuma (1 Cor 15:45) — there is no forgiveness of sin. There is simply the matter of belief of God. Because the person hears the voice of Jesus and believes the One who sent Jesus into this world—believes as Abraham believed the Lord in the matter of having his heir come from his loins—the person passes from death to life without physically dying first. The person’s belief of God; the person’s faith [in its Greek usage] is counted to the person as righteousness.
In the second model, the Church is the second or last Eve, giving birth to many Christians, none of whom are truly born of spirit until raised from death and the grave. In this model, the Church as the last Eve has the authority to forgive sin, but not the power to bestow spiritual life. But with the forgiveness of sin, the person is cleansed of disobedience and thus able to receive spiritual life. The reproach of death is washed from the person, but again, the person remains spiritually dead until called forth from the grave.
As with many subjects, there is but one set of footprints claiming this theologically territory that really needs to be shared with many … it is from this territory that the creation of heaven, in the form of a standing man, can be seen.
When Jesus said that He can do nothing of his own accord but only what He had seen the Father do, what had He seen the Father do? The context of this passage is the two track model of salvation. If Jesus can only give life as He had seen the Father do, with the Father being the one that raised the dead (John 5:21), then Jesus can only give life to the already living, which makes no sense if the life being given is the same life … it isn’t. The Father raises the inner self from death, and the Son gives to the living inner self [that the Father raised from death] of the person an imperishable body in which to dwell. This is all easily understood, the milk of the Word. This is not the learning of even a spiritual adolescent.
Going into what the author of Hebrews said was hard to understand—the solo set of footprints on the sand beach—the Logos was the Father of the man Jesus the Nazarene. The Most High God became the Father of Jesus when Jesus received a second breath of life, the breath of God [pneuma Theou]; thus, Jesus was born of spirit when the breath or spirit of God descended upon Him and entered into Him in the bodily form of a dove. Jesus was born from above or born again when He was raised from baptism, thus establishing the model for the fulfillment of all righteousness. And this is what Jesus saw, had seen, before He said that the Son can do only what the Son has seen the Father do.
In the Father giving birth to the inner self of the man Jesus, the Father brought life into an existing but dead shell or body, a body that Elohim [plural but singular in usage] had created. If what Jesus said was factually true, then the creation of Adam and of Eve came from Elohim, singular, witnessing the Father creating two living entities, sharing one breath of life, His glory, with the first of these living creatures created before there was anything else, and with the second created from the first.
There is no indication that God the Father created His Beloved. Rather, the two creations of God seem to be that of heaven, the third heaven, and that of the new heaven and new earth, neither of which are physical, with God in heaven [the third heaven] having given “birth” to angelic sons of God—and with God in Christ in the new heaven and new earth giving birth to New Jerusalem, a living city made up of living stones, glorified disciples.
The existence of humanity, male and female, produces the essence of what it means to be human, with the diversity of human persons looping around to ensnare the Adversary—
The issue of whether the creation account of Adam and Eve is true is without consequence; for the story exists apart from whether it is factual. And it is the existence of the story that produces its essence; it is the existence of the story that causes the story to be treated as true, a revelation about the creation itself. For existence of the Adam and Eve creation account discloses otherwise unknowable information about the Jesus Movement of the 1st and 2nd Centuries CE. But of perhaps more importance, the creation account of Adam and Eve has Eholim creating Adam outside the Garden as the man Jesus was humanly born outside of the Levitical priesthood; outside of temple service. Eve is created inside the Garden; the Church is the temple of God, making the inner selves of disciples analogous to the Levitical priesthood. Thus, for a short while, outside the Garden existed two living entities, Elohim, singular, and Adam. There were no other living entities, not even bushes or shrubs—and Adam did not create the Garden of Eden, Elohim did.
What is seen in Scripture is the creation of heaven when there were two living entities in existence, with these two having about them an equality that substantially differed from the relationship between Elohim [again, plural, its number two] and Adam. It would seem that in analogy, the twenty-four elders predate the creation of heaven and existed in what was before the Most High God constructed from Himself, heaven.
As Jesus constructed from Himself the Church to be the last Eve, while being Himself an Eve spirit (the second Eve), the Most High God constructed from Himself heaven to be the mother of His sons, then only angels …
So the question emerges, what predated heaven?
Is there any wisdom in building speculation upon speculation, constructing a house from the shadows of planks? No, there is not. It is enough for now to state that the twenty-four elders predated the construction of heaven, and that the rent in the fabric of heaven caused by the discovery of iniquity in an anointed guardian cherub dealt to heaven a wound that will not heal; hence, the need for a new heaven and a new earth, with the Elect in the new heaven and in New Jerusalem being analogous to the twenty-four elders in heaven.
Because the Father and the Son will make their abode with men [human sons of God], with nothing being said about the twenty-four elders being in New Jerusalem, speculation remains on whether heaven will survive its wound as the first Adam did, but as the fleshly body of the second Adam would not have. But judging by the structure of the metaphor, it would seem that the Father will leave New Jerusalem to the Bridegroom and will check-in with the twenty-four elders in heaven, who will be tasked with making repairs. It also appears that New Jerusalem will be the seal that mends the rent, the new heavenly tissue that covers that damage caused by the Adversary. But about all of this, human sons of God will just have to wait before they know anything for cetain.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."