20 Apr 2007

Heaven (1): Pie in the Sky or Meek Inheriting the Earth?

Author: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Christian hope, Contemporary Ethics, eschatology, Exegesis, Heaven, Kingdom
Texts: A Sampling

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1.1)

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen 1.31).

Cursed is the ground because of you” (Gen 3.17b)

So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden” (Gen 3.23)

Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth” (Isa 65.17)

As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure” (Isa 66.22)

For creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice” (Rom 8.20)

Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the
glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom 8.21)

The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth” (Rom 8.22)

We wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom 8.23)

In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth” (2 Pt 3.13)

I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away” (Rev 21.1)

I saw … the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven … ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men‘” (Rev 21.2)

No longer will there be any curse” (Rev 22.3)


Some of my closest friends believe that the goal of God’s salvation work is a pure “spiritual” existence they call “heaven.” These friends have loved ones that ask questions, reflecting that pure “spiritual” existence idea, like “will we know each other in heaven?” They ask this question because they have assumed that “I” won’t know “you” because you aren’t “really” you anymore. Rather you are some kind of disembodied spirit.

I believe in “heaven” fervently and pray for its coming everyday. Yet I completely reject as not only unbiblical, but as alien to the tenor of the scriptures that notion of pure “spiritual” existence some claim as heaven. The idea seems to reflect common Platonic and neo-gnostic views of creation and matter than what I read in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament and the Jewish literature of the day that illuminates the world of Jesus and the apostles. (This may or may not be true and will be investigated more fully. I do not wish to engage in ad hominem reasoning myself … just to point out there in the beginning of Christianity there were at least two very distinct worldviews and they have a bearing on this discussion). Some of my friends, when we have talked about this, have gone nearly ape on me. I think their emotional reactions are unfortunate. They have engaged in very little argumentation and even littler exegesis to demonstrate this pure “spiritual” existence.

I have no, absolutely no, desire to get into a debate on this matter or to be contentious about it. I hope to share my thoughts (briefly) on things I think pertain to this subject. Because I am a poor communicator I am sure that I will fail to do justice to the issues at hand Yet over the next several days I will be posting a series of blogs that deal with the criticism of renewed earth eschatology. I began the blog simply quoting Scripture. It is amazes me how the beginning of Genesis, the “plot” of Scripture that follows, and the end of Revelation all tie together around the idea of creation and new creation. God’s goal in redemption is to reverse the curse and restore the intimacy that was lost in the Garden. I believe the narrative of Scripture more than sustains this proposition.

Some try to “disprove” renewed earth eschatology by engaging in classic ad hominem arguments. I noticed this in a recent article published by a brother on heaven. This common fallacy is also known as “poisoning the well.” It is a very easy way to divert attention but never gets around to addressing the arguments put forward. For example when a critic associates the view with “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” “denominational writers,” “millennial doctrines” and “wandering off into sectarian ideology” he is simply wanting one to associate it with folks his or her constituents want nothing to do with … but it says nothing about the validity or the lack thereof of the position. In fact such smoke and mirrors is neither helpful nor even relevant. In fact this can be down right deceptive if by “millennial doctrines” our critics mean premillennialism (and through personal conversation I know this is exactly what some mean by “millennial doctrines”).

Renewed earth eschatology has been around long before anything looking like the premillennialism of Tim Lahaye and Hal Lindsey. Anthony Hoekema even articulates the view nicely while critiquing the premillennial point of view in The Meaning of the Millennium: Four Views edited by Robert G. Clouse. Further Alexander Campbell and Jonathan Edwards were anything but premillennialists. Neither is John Piper or James Packer. New Earth and premillennialism are separate issues and trying to stick them together is a mistake.

The attempt to wave a wand and dismiss renewed earth eschatology through ad hominem means is poor workmanship. The texts cited above are only the beginning but even these cry out for understanding.

Rather renewed eschatology is rooted in a specific belief regarding God’s purposes and goals in creation and what he accomplished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is further rooted in a specific understanding of the purpose of God’s good creation. It is rooted in the belief that Christ’s resurrection was bodily for a reason and that our own resurrection will be like his. And further it is rooted in the firm theological belief that Satan did not thwart God’s plan. Redemption goes as far as the curse is found. If Christ’s victory does not go as deep and far as the curse then what victory is it? But the blood of Jesus did overcome and the resurrection did overturn the curse.

Until next time …

Bobby Valentine

61 Responses to “Heaven (1): Pie in the Sky or Meek Inheriting the Earth?”

  1. Gregory Tidwell Says:

    I agree with the direction you are taking on this point of doctrine.

    One of my favorite treatments of the subject is __The Bible and the Future__ by Anthony Hoekema.

  2. Alan Says:

    Hi Bobby,

    Here are some more scriptures to add to the mix:

    1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
    1Th 4:17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
    1Th 4:18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

    1Co 15:42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;
    1Co 15:43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
    1Co 15:44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
    If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

    1Co 15:50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
    1Co 15:51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–
    1Co 15:52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
    1Co 15:53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.

  3. Bob Bliss Says:

    Have you read Wright’s Simply Christian? I know you asked me about it earlier. He has an entire chapter on this subject. I found it intriguing and interesting (I’m preparing a book review for my blog). To bring up Jim McGuiggan again, Jim stated in class one time that when all is over we will still be limited creatures and will still have the capacity to learn and will probably continue to do so. I don’t know if he still believes that but he stated it back then. I think that once “eternity” arrives we will all be surprised.

    BTW, what would life (and theology) be like if we didn’t explore different ideas? We can never be sure that our current ideas are “correct” or at least nearly correct if we don’t compare and discuss every once in a while.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    For those who might like a different perspective on this subject, check out the following:


  5. Laymond Says:

    Alan; I hope you don’t believe you are bolstering the idea that Bobby is putting forth, that this body will be raised and dwell on the renewed earth with God forever.
    If anything Paul said just the opposite. The body that we plant will be replaced not just changed here and there we will receive a new body, a spiritual body as God is. God is spirit and must be worshiped in spirit. Where was Jesus going when he said I will prepare a place for you in my father’s house. If you read Revelation carefully, I do believe you can see the golden city John saw in the vision, was reference to Christ’s Church where God would dwell with man on earth, well I will wait for Bobby’s posts to comment further. May god bless

  6. DJG Says:

    I am looking forward to this series. Good thoughts!

  7. Joel Solliday Says:

    Regarding our blessed hope, Paul wrote, “We shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:17).

    The Christian doctrine of heaven begins with a description of it as the home or throne of God. It is the place from which He “looks down upon us.” (Isaiah 63:15). Jesus referred to heaven as God’s “throne” (Matthew 5:34) and “house” (John 14:2).

    As the abode of God, heaven should not necessarily be thought of in terms of specific ‘space and time’ dimensions. If God exists beyond the realms of space and time, would he reside in a place bound to the human senses?

    Jesus makes frequent use of the phrase, “kingdom of heaven.” He sometimes describes it parabolically as something that grows. Sometimes it is something that is coming and other times, it is here. Elsewhere, the kingdom is described as an “inheritance” that was “prepared for us” BEFORE creation (Matthew 25:34). In this context, it is something we “enter into.” Many of Jesus’ contemporaries mistook his references to the kingdom as referring to an earthly realm. Jesus specifically said that his kingdom was “not of this world” (John 18:36).

    If the concept of the kingdom seems illusive, it is because it is not bound by our concepts of space and time. The best key for understanding the “kingdom” is to define it as “the rule of the King”.

  8. Joel Solliday Says:

    The association of “heaven” with the “sky” is metaphorical. The point is that, as God’s abode, it is transcendent (at least as I understand it from the NT).

    I view heaven also in terms of a transformation, not merely a destination. Paul wrote,

    “…we will all be changed, in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable,
    and we will be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

    Paul said, “Flesh and blood cannot enter the kingdom of God nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Cor. 15:50). He thought of our bodies as mortal “tents” to be replaced with an “eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

    Elsewhere, Paul again; “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20).

    Paul wrote, “No eye has seen, no ear has hear, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Cor. 2:9).

  9. Marion & Michael Morrison Says:

    Sir you said that Redemption goes as far as the curse is found. If the curse is to be removed for the humans and the earth do you also believe it will be removed for satan? Wasn’t he also cursed because of the fall of man?

  10. Alan Says:

    Hi Laymond,

    As you can see, I merely quoted a few passages that relate to the topic. These passages (and those you mentioned) will have to be adequately addressed in order to reach a biblical conclusion on the topic. Like you, I think those passages create a difficulty for the point Bobby seems to be making. But we’ll have to wait and see how he addresses those things.

  11. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Alan I do not think the passages you quote cause any trouble at all. This is but the beginning of the series. Our BODIES are raised from the dead. Why is that. Paul does not say that our bodies cease to exist. He says we shed incorruptibiility which is a result of the curse. Was Jesus a “spirit” when he returned to God? In what manner will he return?

    I appreciate Joel’s contribution too. But I likewise do not think these disprove the new heavens and new earth. But I will deal with those things further in future posts.

    Thanks Greg Tidwell for commenting. I agree that Anthony Hoekema’s book is insightful and well worth reading.

    For those interested you may wish to get one or more of the following:

    1) Randy Alcorn, HEAVEN

    2) Albert Wolters, “Creation Regained: Biblical Basis for a Reformationial Worldview (Excellent book)

    3) Ben Witherington III, Jesus & Paul and the End of the World

    4) Michael Wittmer, Heaven Is a Place on Earth

    5) N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God

    If you have access to the Millennial Harbinger check out Alexander Campbell’s stimulating essay called “REGENERATION” published in 1833 from pages 337 to 384. If you would like a copy (a portion of this is online but only a couple pages) let me know.

    Bobby Valentine

  12. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Anonymous suggested reading Wayne Jackson’s article in the Christian Courier. The address is included above.

    It will be clear and should already be that I believe that Brother Jackson’s piece is flawed seriously on a number of grounds. His ad hominem arguments work wonders for those who will embrace just about anything to avoid those mystical millennial doctrines. But as pointed out that simply an exercise in poisoning the well.

    Romans 8 is a critical text and Jackson desires it to be a difficult text that needs clarification via some other. But I think it fits with the biblical narrative nicely.

    Bobby Valentine

  13. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    MMM there is nothing in Scripture that suggests that Satan was cursed because of the Fall of humanity. The serpent is cursed to slither upon the ground but Satan had apparently already transgressed.

    Bobby Valentine

  14. Mark Says:

    Hey Bobby,

    I spent most of my life in the camp of “Who cares what we do to the earth? It’ll all be burned up, anyway.” I’m starting to lean a lot more in the direction you’re suggesting.

    Here’s my $0.02 on the subject:

    We will be changed, but we don’t know exactly what that means. When Paul talks about us being sown and raised, that tells me that my new body is to my current body what a flower is to a seed. It will be better, but it will be somehow connected. It will be able to live eternally in the presence of God, whereas right now if I saw God, it would burn my face off.

    But also, it never says that being a “spiritual” body means that it is a body “only composed of 100% spirit matter”. I believe God can make a physical body into one that doesn’t perish.

    I’m convinced that Christ still exists in a somewhat physical form, and that when we’re raised, we will be exactly like what he is now. He’s the firstfruits.

    I’m curious if you’re going to bring in any discussion about what exactly Jesus was after he was raised. Why couldn’t his friends quite recognize him? How could he zip through walls, but yet maintain the nail marks?

    I think we may also miss the mark on this because we presume to know exactly what it means to be “spirit”. When I say “Think of a spirit”, you might think of a vapor, a mist, or Casper–all physical things. I believe that we don’t even have a correct mental concept of what spirit is. It’s something I’m aware of, but not something I can fully comprehend.

    Your previous posts have really challenged my thinking about Heaven as a wonderful “place”. I’m looking forward to what else you have to say on this subject.


  15. Mark Says:

    Oh, and one other thing…

    I also think it is a significant point that we are to be baptized; born of “water and spirit”. Just as we have sinned with our minds, our bodies, and our spirits (Romans 1), we return to God with repentance (our mind) and baptism (body and spirit).

    If someone believes that our body is just a piece of dirt with no lasting significance, and that it is our soul that just flies away, why is it important that we are physically baptized?

  16. Greg Says:

    I just finished a series of 12 sermons on death, dying and destiny, including several sermons refuting the “doctrine” of eternal punishment. As for your thoughts and direction you are going with heaven, I think you are on very solid biblical ground. Not that what I think on it matters. I look forward to what you have to say on this. Had you done all of this last year, you would have saved me a ton of study! There was a LOT about Alcorn’s book that I found lacking, but there were parts equally intriguing and informative.

    Write on!!

  17. Alan Says:


    I think those passages do provide powerful evidence that we will be spiritual beings in heaven. For example, 1 Cor 15:44 says plainly that the body is sown as a natural body, but is raised as a spiritual body. That’s about as plain as it can get. 1 Cor 15:50 says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God–more plain language. It will take some fancy footwork to get around that.

    BTW, your statement about Platonism and Gnosticism is also an ad hominem argument… as are all the references to others of like mind. And even your indictment of others of a different opinion, who used ad hominem arguments, is itself another ad hominem argument. I realize you will present your reasoned arguments in future posts. I’m just pointing out that ad hominem arguments are an easy mistake to make, and neither prove nor disprove anything about the subject at hand.

  18. Laymond Says:

    Bobby; I must apologize to you for coming into your house and only speaking to one of your guests, and ignoring the proprietor. I was rude and I do apologize. I look forward to your post on this subject. May God Bless

  19. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Alan was there a connection between Jesus’ resurrection body and the one that died on the cross? Did the Jesus that died really come out of the grave?

    I believe that Jesus’ flesh was redeemed. It was made incorruptible. That is what Paul says is going to happen to us. That resurrection body of Jesus had scars and could even eat fish. What ever that body was it went to God. And if I read Acts correctly Jesus was not a spirit being when he went to the Father.

    The Gospel and First Epistle of John believe that the “material” matters in Christology. The word “became” flesh. Why did it do so? Was it not to “redeem” the flesh? John says that Jesus came and remains in the flesh in 2 John 7 (check out the verbs in this passage beloved).

    Immortality, to my knowledge, is never applied in Scripture to our “spirit of man.”

    I believe in resurrection–the reunion of our spirit and our bodies in an “incorruptible” union.

    Bobby Valentine

  20. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Laymond this is a community house. I took no offense. Glad you are having a cup of Java with me.

    Bobby Valentine

  21. Laymond Says:

    Bobby; does the following description of Christ fit the description of the nail scared and tortured body that left this earth.

    Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

    Rev 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

    Rev 1:14 His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes [were] as a flame of fire;

    Rev 1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

    Rev 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance [was] as the sun shineth in his strength.

    Rev 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

    Rev 1:18 I [am] he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

    May God Bless

  22. Vonnie Says:

    Thanks for posting about this. As I have told you before I had never heard anyone in the COC teach on this – you are opening my mind to new ideas.

  23. Alan Says:

    Hi Bobby,

    You begin by setting a very high bar for your proof. I quote:

    Yet I completely reject as not only unbiblical, but as alien to the tenor of the scriptures that notion of pure “spiritual” existence some claim as heaven.

    So you not only have to prove that your case is plausible, but that the opposing understanding is not. You must prove that the opposing view is beyond merely being unbiblical (or else you need to amend your initial statement of Certainty).

    The degree of Certainty I am perceiving is a little “off-putting”. I don’t think you can be that certain of these inferences. As it stands, some of your statements sound like an accusation of heresy, especially given the comparisons to 2 John.

    I believe the resurrection of Jesus included his physical body. I don’t think it necessarily follows that our physical bodies will be reconstituted into a functioning biological organism of flesh and blood which will live forever. I also don’t think it necessarily follows that Jesus is in his physical body as he sits at the right hand of God.

  24. Don Neyland Says:

    I am for the very most part staying out of this discussion for all the obvious reasons 🙂
    But [you all knew I had a but? right?]

    This renewed earth theory has many questions. But how about just this one.

    Jesus raised- Spirit
    Humans raised- Spirit
    earth renewed- spirit or physical/material?

    If the renewed earth is spirit then what spirit. Spirit isn’t ethereal part of spirit is being in the image of God. Is this earth “in the image of God”?

    Also if spirit what ‘substance’ (in the classic sense) would that be and has it ever existed before?
    Do we have a reference to or an idea what that might be.
    I know of no other ‘substance’ than spirit and spiritual beings.
    Does anyone else?


    BTW: Bobby that Michael dude had a good question too!

  25. Bob Bliss Says:

    Don, Luke records that Jesus himself said (Luke 24:37-43):

    37But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43and He took it and ate it before them.

    I’m not sure the full import of this passage but it does seem to me that Jesus is denying that he was raised as “spirit.”

    Paul tells us that in Php.3:20-21

    20For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.

    Paul also says in 1Corinthians 15:20

    But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

    It seems to me that these passages state that whatever state Jesus was in when he was raised from the dead is the state that we will be in when he comes back again. I don’t know the full import of all that, whether that means living on a renewed earth, but it does seem to indicate that our previous ideas concerning the substance of our post-resurrection body is perhaps different than what we have normally assumed. It will be a spiritual body (1Cor.15:35-49) but it will conform to the body that Jesus had at his resurrection.

  26. Alan Says:

    Are the bones of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob still in their graves? In what sense are they currently alive? (or were alive when Moses confronted the burning bush?)

    Luk 20:37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
    Luk 20:38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.”

  27. Bob Bliss Says:

    Alan, years ago I (just after finishing my first year of ministry) I was teaching an adult class on Hebrews. When we came to Hebrews 2:10-18 we discussed Jesus taking on human nature. I went on to claim that according to Hebrews 6:20 Jesus entered heaven as a “forerunner” on our behalf. He is reigning at the right hand of God as a glorified human being in the same glorified state that he had when he was raised from the dead. He has paved the way into eternity for us as a human. He is currently inhabiting our dwelling place as we will one day.

    In Acts 1:11 an angel (I’m assuming such even though the text does not say specifically who or what these men are) speaks to the apostles and tells them that Jesus will return in the same way that he left them. I do believe that Jesus is currently in his glorified human state and will remain so until he comes back again. We will then be transformed into conformity to his glorified state and that is how will be be for eternity. Exactly what eternity will be like I cannot say, I think Scripture is a little ambiguous on this question. But yes I do believe that Scripture teaches us that Jesus is still in his current post-resurrection, glorified human body state.

    Yes, I would assume that baring decomposition, Abraham’s bones are still in his grave. He has not been raised from the dead as Jesus has. But once Jesus comes back again then he like the rest of the redeemed will receive a spiritual body in conformity to Jesus’ post-resurrection body.

  28. Don Neyland Says:

    Oh Brother-
    Here I am making 2, count them, two comments.
    I should have used the phrase SPIRITUAL BODY instead of Spirit.

    Luke (Luke 24:37-43)is using spirit in that context to mean ‘ghost’ or ‘apparition’. Jesus is being accommodating in the situation and saying, ‘I ain’t a ghost’.

    Yes and Paul explains in 1 Corinthians that there are many ways to use the word “body”. And our “body” will be like Jesus’. And Jesus’ body is not a “physical body”. I know if I use flesh and blood someone will say it says flesh and bone. Well the disciples didn’t think a ghost had any kind of “body”.

    I promise this is it.


    On the point of the Patriarchs and their “bodies”. They are raised this moment as spiritual bodies. They are in heaven (here come the stones) or if it feels better- The Glorious Bosoms of Abraham. Which by the way means he has to have a spiritual body to have bosoms. And let us not forget the “saints” under the throne ALREADY in heaven askin’ “How Long?”

    that is it for ever i promise period.
    don has left the post.

  29. Alan Says:

    Hi Bobby,

    I understand that is what you believe. I happen to believe differently, and I think I am drawing my conclusions from scripture. Perhaps both of us are reading between the lines of scripture to come to our different understandings.

    It helps that you acknowledge a little ambiguity in this area. I think that by saying this, you are admitting that the position you prefer is not necessarily definitive. That seems to contradict your earlier statement that you “completely reject” the alternate view. But if you are now backing off from that just a bit, it will make discussion a lot less threatening toward those who see it differently. Instead of comparing one another to the antichrist in 2 John, maybe we are just comparing our imperfect understandings of ambiguous or difficult scriptures.

    Jesus made it clear in Luke 20 that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are currently alive. And since their bones are still in their graves–they must be alive outside their bodies. So the spirit of a man can live outside his physical body. If you agree with that, then the disputed question is just the nature of the new body we will receive.

  30. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:


    I am not accusing anyone of heresy. I do know what I believe though and I know why I believe it. It is my intention to present and defend this point of view.

    The reference to 2 John was not to say you or anyone else is a heretic. Rather the appeal to 2 Jn 7 is to show that for John the flesh of Jesus is of critical importance. Second John 7 can be translated as

    “Many deceivers have gone into the world who do not acknowledge that Jesus Christ came and remains in the flesh.”

    Most English translations capture this by using the word “coming.” John does not use past tense “Jesus came in the flesh.” The incarnation is not over according to John. It will be forever.

    This seems to me to have significant implications.

    Bobby Valentine

  31. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Bob thanks for bringing up Luke. I agree with your direction.

    I do deny that the NT teaches Jesus was raised as a “spirit.” I think the Luke passage makes this abundantly clear. But not only this so does 1 C 15.

    First Corinthians is critical here because the Greeks are not secular humanists. The Greeks (nor anyone else for that matter) is denying the belief of LIFE AFTER DEATH. Plato taught that clearly.

    The difference between the Greeks and Paul is clear in Acts 17. Luke makes it clear that Paul spoke of Jesus and his “resurrection.” Paul could have lectured until dooms day on the immortality of the soul and they would have loved it. But he did not When he “gave proof” of “raising [Jesus] from the dead” they “sneered at him” (17.32).

    The Platonists wanted nothing to do with the body. When you die they thought you had been liberated for the “real life.” But Paul insisted that resurrection not immortality of the soul is the Christian doctrine.

    Bobby Valentine

  32. Alan Says:


    The problem is you can’t have it both ways. 2 John 7 says anyone “who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” is the antichrist. “Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” So if the first phrase (“who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh”) means what you are saying it means, then it follows that everyone who disagrees with you on that point is the antichrist. You cannot take them into your home nor welcome them. That is, of course, unless the passage does not mean what you are saying.

  33. Josh Stump Says:

    I don’t have time to read all the comments so sorry if this adds nothing, but I agree. Having studied both Plato and scripture at some length (though certainly not claiming to be an expert in either), I can also say that the idea of Heavan being a solely spiritual realm bears much closer resemblence to Plato than to the Bible.

    On that last note, one bit of caution about the post. This is not a criticism of what you say, just a suggestion to be mindful of how you say it. It strikes me that beginning your commentary with an unexplained comment that the view you are about to criticize is closer to that of Plato and the Gnostics, may come closer than it ought to ad hominem given your later criticism of that very approach.

    Not saying that was your intent, but could be misinterpreted as the pot calling the kettle black and thus distract from your point, which, is an excellent one to be making.

  34. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Alan I don’t agree with the horns of the dilemma you are attempting to place me. I am not attempting to be contentious here. My point in appealing to 2 Jn is that it states Jesus remains in the flesh. Thus he is in agreement with Luke who makes it clear that Jesus was not merely a “spirit” when he returned to the Father. I am not calling you, Don Neyland or Wayne Jackson a heretic. I think it is an unhealthy road to go down in this discussion and I won’t be going down it. I ask for thinking about tenses of the verbs … they matter. Or John thought so … at least it seems so to me.

    Earlier you stated that I, like Brother Jackson, engaged in ad hominem arguments. Perhaps I am blind, but I don’t think so. From a historical standpoint the New Earth point of view was around for 1900 years before dispensational premillennialism. There are many PMs that explicitly deny a renewed earth eschatology. Some like James A. Harding were PM and Renewed Earth advocates but even in Harding’s view the Millennium was only a step to the goal–the new earth.

    The “pure spiritual environment” idea has very shallow roots in the history of Christian thought. In ancient Christianity it has practically none … except among the Gnostics. Justin Martyr’s treatise on the resurrection of the Body deals with this explicity (dates about 140ish), Irenaeus does as well.

    I do not believe that those who hold the “pure spiritual environment” are gnostics … but that notion does have more in common with the Gospel of Judas than it does with Revelation. This, in my opinion, is a simple fact. If I am wrong in my understanding of this I want to learn but my reading and reflection over the last several years has led me in a different path.

    And if Gregory Alan Tidwell is happy with the direction I am going I am quite satisfied that I am not embracing “sectarian ideology” as Jackson states.

    Blessings brother. I am enjoying our exchange and I hope and pray our love grows deeper through our exchanges.

    Bobby Valentine

    Bobby Valentine

  35. Bob Bliss Says:

    Bobby, you say “The incarnation is not over according to John. It will be forever.” Could you elaborate on this?

  36. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Alan, Josh, Don and others if I missed you: I have edited my post and explained more what I mean by gnostic and platonic. I do not wish to cause needless offense and I apologize for doing so before. I am not sure if my emendation will be totally satisfactory but I will let it stand and ask for mercy.

    Bobby Valentine

  37. Alan Says:

    Hi Bobby,

    I will let it rest for the moment,after these few comments. I do believe you are in an inconsistent position biblically to say what you are saying about 2 John 7 and still call those who disagree your brothers. My reason in pointing that out is not to try to put distance between us. Far from it. Instead I want you to consider whether you are prepared to embrace the inescapable biblical conclusions of your position–and if not, perhaps you should reconsider the position.

    You’ve read enough of my blog to know that I want people to embrace one another despite differences on disputable matters. I consider this one such disputable matter. It’s ok to have a strong opinion on a disputable matter, but one must be careful not to offend those who think differently. Our opinions on these matters are not important enough to allow these issues to drive a wedge between brothers. It’s always hardest to practice that on a topic you feel passionately about.

    My clumsy attempts here are aimed at that kind of mutual acceptance. I don’t think either of us has a corner on the market of truth. We can both learn something from our conversation. We don’t have to come to agreement at the end of this dialog but we need to be careful to protect the relationships and feelings.

    In “The Body Broken”, Jack Reese talks about a visitor who came to midweek church with him, and who heard a debate between the class teacher and another man on a topic on which they sharply disagreed. After church, Jack asked her how she liked church (somewhat apprehensively). She loved it. She said she did not understand much of what the two gentlemen said, but she was impressed that they obviously loved each other. Not surprisingly, the lady soon became a Christian. I think that’s the kind of dialog we should try to have. At the end of the day, everyone involved should realize that love is intact, and that the relationship is far more important than the issue.

    Sorry for taking up so much of the bandwidth on your blog!

  38. Matt Says:

    I am coming in to this 37 comments in but I don’t think I have seen anyone mention 1 John 3:2 – “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

    Jesus certainly had a mix of qualities that are like us yet so much more like Mark mentions. Maybe I am not looking at 1 John 3:2 right but it seems to me on the surface that it is a valid question to ask, “What was Jesus like after he was raised from the dead?” It seems to me that we will be very much like that unless something changed about him once he ascended and that we don’t know.

  39. Falantedios Says:

    Some thoughts from the Fumbling Nickster:

    1) Pointing out that someone is using an ‘ad hominem’ argument cannot itself BE an ‘ad hominem’ argument. Using that as an excuse to ignore the meat of their argument would be fallacious, but that is not what Bobby is doing, I don’t think.

    2) ‘Soma’ is ‘soma’, brothers and sisters. There were several words that the NT writers would have used if they intended to convey an intangible existence. ‘Soma’ is not one of them, and in fact leads the mind 180 degrees in the opposite direction from ‘intangible’. Because whatever else a body is, it cannot be ‘not a body.’

    3) I believe that the souls who rested under the altar in Rev. 6, the souls who reign with Christ right now in Rev. 20, and the promise to the thief on the cross tell us that souls CAN exist separate from bodies. Thus 2 tentative conclusions: Paradise / Abraham’s Bosom / under the altar is not a final resting place AND pneuma minus soma does not equal soma pneumatikos.

    4) 1 Jn 3:2 is an important point. Understanding it requires that we clear a bit of Enlightenment objectivity out of our heads. When John says, “What we will be has not been made known,” he doesn’t mean that nothing at all has been revealed about it. He means no one but Jesus has KNOWN it, by knowledge plus experience. Matt has a GREAT point, though. I believe that nowhere in the NT is it suggested that Jesus’ mode of existence changed after Acts 1. If he could keep himself from being recognized and still seem safe enough to invite into one’s home after walking to Emmaus, he can also appear as the one walking among the lampstands in Revelation 1-3. No change of mode or state is required… just ask Cleopas.

    5) Bobby, I think Alan does have a good point about 2 John 7. Whatever else John is saying there, he is DEFINITELY saying that whoever will not affirm the central statement of the sentence is both deceiver and antichrist.

    NRSV says, “…Jesus Christ has come in the flesh”

    ESV says, “…the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh”

    Both NIV and TNIV say, “…Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh”

    IF John is saying in this passage that “Jesus came, left, AND will return in the flesh,” then JOHN (not Alan or Bobby or Nick) is saying that anyone who will not affirm that is deceiver and antichrist. The question is, “Is that what John is saying?”

    6) 39 comments in less than 24 hours! That must be a SCD record!
    Speaking of records, I guess the Brew Crew just needed to get you out of Milwaukee so they could play good baseball! HAHA!

    in HIS love,

  40. Royce Ogle Says:

    It was preaching the bodily resurrection that got Peter and Paul in trouble with the religeous crowd and thrown into jail. Those early sermons of the Acts are powerful statements of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. “We saw, we touched”, ect.

    When Jesus ascended the two witnesses said “This same Jesus you have seen go away will come again in the same way”. He left in a glorified body and He will return in a glorified body. Our resurrected body will be “like” His own body.

    I am amazed that Christian ministers are denying one of the foundation stones of the historic Christian faith, the bodily resurrection. Anything short of a raised body is NOT a resurrection.

    Do those of you who doubt the resurrection also deny that God/Christ spoke and the created things lept into exisitance with a word?

    Do you doubt that Christ was conceived in a virgins womb by the Holy Spirit, that He truely was God’s Son?

  41. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    This is for Bob Bliss, Nick, Alan and anyone who wants to read. Several concerns are wrapped into one here. Bob asks me to elaborate on the “permanence” of the incarnation. Alan asks about 2 Jn 7 and Nick comments on it also.

    First, Alan I have not called you a heretic. Second I do not think my appeal to 2 Jn is misguided. 2 Jn speaks directly to the subject here: the materiality of Christ and his Incarnation. That is why I appealed to it and that is why I will appeal to it again. It is also related to Bob’s question. So let me reply to them all together.

    The historic Christian faith has believed in the permanence of the incarnation. Incarnation was not and is not a “temporary” exercise of the Trinity. The Word did not step out of eternity for a mere 33 yrs but FOREVER. The did not assume flesh but “became” flesh. John in his debates with the proto-gnostics makes this point crystal clear. John writes in 2 John 7 using the PRESENT and PERFECT tense which utterly guts their doctrine. John does not say that Christ “came” in the flesh (past tense) as though it was simply a historical occurance rather by using the present and perfect tense he talks of something that has occurred and CONTINUES to be. That is why the NIV renders the text as “has COME.” The Greek says quite literally Jesus Christ has come and REMAINS in the flesh. But this critical point is not made only in 2 Jn 7. John stresses it heavily in his First Epistle. In 1 Jn 2.28-27 and 4.1-6 this is hammered away at. For example in 4.2 the construction is very similar to 2 Jn 7 with stress again on the continuing nature of the Incarnation … which of course flies in the face of the denial of the false teachers of any incarnation! Now Bobby Valentine is not making this up. Any decent commentary is going to explore these issues. For example I suggest Howard Marshall’s THE EPISTLES OF JOHN in the NICNT series, see his introductory material called “The Thought of the Epistles (pp. 49-55); on 2 Jn 7 (pp.69-71, esp. note 7) and on 1 Jn 4.2 (pp.203-206).

    The incarnation points to the real cost that the Word paid for our salvation. Jesus Christ will be both Son of God and Son of Man for eternity. The Westminster Confession captured this historic position of the church clearly when it says of Christ,

    [He] being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures and one person forever.”

    The classic Chalcedonian Creed of the historic church puts it this way about the identity of Christ,

    ” We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood;
    truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body;
    consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood;
    in all things like unto us, without sin;
    begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood;
    one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably;
    the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ;
    as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to

    Christ remains in the flesh and will be so for eternity.

    Now how did early Christians understand these matters? Justin writing in the first half of the Second century takes on the same folks John does apparently. Notice what he says,

    “There are some who maintain that even Jesus Himself appeared only as spiritual, and not in flesh, but presented merely the appearance of flesh: THESE PERSONS SEEK TO ROB THE FLESH OF THE PROMISE.”

    Justin then demonstrates that the body itself has “value in God’s sight.” How does he do this? In this manner,

    “It is evident, therefore, that man made in the image of God was of flesh. Is it not, then, absurd to say that the flesh made by God in His own image is contemptible, and worth nothing?” (On the Resurrection, VII, ANF, p. 297).

    He continues,

    “Is the soul by itself man? No; but the soul of man. Would the body be called man? No, but it is called the body of man. If, then, neither of these by itself is man, but that which is made up of the two together is called man, and God called MAN to life and resurrection, He has called not a part but the whole, which is the soul and the body … And by God and His proclamation, not only has your soul heard and believed on Jesus Christ, and with it the flesh, but both were washed, and both wrought righteousness” (On the Resurrection, VIII, ANF, p. 297-98)

    He continues (skipping some awesome stuff btw),

    “The resurrection is a resurrection of the flesh which died … we are RETROGRADING when we listen to such an argument as this: that the soul is immortal, but the body is mortal, and incapable of being revived. For this we used to hear from Pythagoras and Plato, even before we learned the truth. If then the Saviour said this, and proclaimed salvation to the soul alone, what new thing, beyond what we heard from Pythagoras and Plato and all their band, did He bring us? …” (On the Resurrection, X, ANF pp.298-299, my emphasis).

    Quotations like the ones from Justin can be multiplied. That last question from Justin is one that needs to be reflected upon dearly in our churches today.

    We believe in resurrection of the BODY. Christ became flesh, lived as flesh, died as flesh and was raised by the power of Holy Spirit in the flesh and John insists that he “remains” in the flesh. Our resurrection is certainly like that of Jesus for his is the “first fruits.” First fruits means that more of the same coming. If I bring the first fruits of the grapes that means there is a whole bunch more “real” grapes. Our resurrected “body” will dwell in a purified and glorified earth.

    I think Justin was correct. I think Chalecedon was correct in the natures of Jesus. I think the Westminster Confession hit the nail on the head. Now it is true that we in Churches of Christ have not talked much about these matters but perhaps we have split hairs on the wrong stuff. The person, work, mission and victory of Jesus Christ is worth reflecting upon … and our discussion here has moved us, I believe, in that direction.

    Blessings on all and thanks for such a stimulating discussion (for me at least).

    And I do not think one has to agree with me to be my brother.

    Bobby Valentine

  42. Messianic Gentile Says:


    Go to bed.

    Sweet dreams…

  43. benoverby Says:


    Some of your readers might be interested in an overview of the problem (eschatological misunderstandings) which I discussed in a sermon a few weeks ago. It’s Paul vs. Plato at http://rochesterchurch.org/sermons/resurrection040107.mp3

    Just copy the address and paste it into your favorite player, or listen from our sermon page at http://rochesterchurch.org

    This is a controversial but extremely important subject. It’s great to see such interest. If we can get our eschatology on track, we might just begin to live into it’s reality.

    Good work, Bobby.

    Ben O.

  44. benoverby Says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. Joel Solliday Says:

    Bobby wrote; “I appreciate Joel’s contribution too. But I likewise do not think these disprove the new heavens and new earth.”

    It was not my attempt to prove or disprove “the new heavens and new earth.” Reasonable people, however, can interpret that phrase in various ways and a less litaral way is entirely fitting for its usage in the Apocalypse, which is quite visionary in the first place.

    I am not dogmatic about the nature of our eternal life one way or another. Our Lord has prepared that for us in ways beyond our imagination. I do know that Paul wrote, “We shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

    I also know that the Fourth Gospel says; “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting, that I might not be delievered up to the Jews; but as it is, my kingdom is not of this realm.'” John 18:36.

    And as for the so-called permanent incarnation, the NASB translates 2 John 7 with the phrase, “…those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” The author was talking about “deceivers” in that day who were denying the coming of jesus in the flesh. It may well not have been the author’s intent to refer to a future fleshly coming. After all, many other incarnational references in the NT are well translated in the past tense.

    I think that Jesus’ planned and purposeful incarnation which led from the manger to the cross was unique, and His return will be for a different purpose that will not require a human life from infancy to the death in that way again. As to His nature upon His return, i feel no need to define it in specific terms. His prerogative to reappear or to return in a tangible way remains plausible.

    I believe that Jesus “humbled himself” or “emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant” and that after His obedience on the cross, God exalted Him forever.

    But whatever the word “new” means in reference to the earth or our bodies, it will not be the same. It will be imperishable and beyond our imagination. It will be “with God” and it seems to me that there is something transcendent and glorious about that.

    I think a wide variety of understandings of that newness may be legitimate for discussion, but the specifics of that newness is a disputible matter and we should not be too dogmatic or divisive about it (not that anyone above has been).

  46. Messianic Gentile Says:

    I came to the discussion late last night. I saw that it was still cooking even then. I doubt my two bits will be influential, but we’ll see.

    I am one of those who is firmly in Bobby’s camp on this one. I don’t think he has even begun to scratch the surface with the over-whelming evidence in his favor. He has hardly begun to deconstruct the fallacy of the dualist position. I am sure he will offer a much more even handed and thorough case for it than I could. And I think the side show over 2 John 7 winds up bogging down in an off subject point like his original post warned about. I am not convinced it is necessary or sufficient for making the case, and it has proven to be distracting.

    Those who do not believe in the good work of the Creator God of the Jews need to sweat out the reasoning for those of us who do. At what point does the Creator ever say he will destroy the world? The Flood? Yes. And when it was destroyed what happened? It has profound continuity with what came before. A purifying/redemptive destruction, not unlike we see over and over in the lives of God’s creatures. The few settings where God regretted making the world or the people in it show us that ultimately he has remained true to his promise for it all. If you do not believe that, you need to demonstrate why, how and what god you believe in if you can’t.

    The most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16 where we are told that God so loved the cosmos that he gave is only son…. This actually keeps a rhythm with the story of Creation in Genesis. He spent 5 days loving Creating the physical world (all theretofore previously brooded over in the primordial waters by the Spirit which lovingly gestated our physical environment) and then on the 6th day gave it Adam (whom Luke’s genealogy terms “Son of God”).

    Again, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I feel sure that Bobby has tons more evidence of this style and plenty of linguistic/grammatical as well to load the truck he will drive right through the neo-Gnostic philosophical invasion the Enlightenment has unleashed on the church. Actually, there is hardly a fiber of the Bible that betrays this worldview, and when we begin understanding it on its own terms those stubborn parts that seem contrary begin crumbling faster than you can keep up.

    For instance, passage from I Thess 4 that Alan opens with is shown to be figurative speech, much like so much of Revelation. The trick, like when talking to Baptists and PM types about that book and those subjects, is discerning when and where language is figurative and when literal. But when historians find inscriptions on imperial stone using almost identical language as rising in clouds at the trumpet call referring to the parousia of Roman emperors, those historians do not then suggest that either the Romans or we should then take that language literally. And we believers in Christ should readily take stock of the confrontation such language from Paul holds for the Roman world order when he address Roman imperial subjects.

    This is like finding all the references to “hell” in our English translations standing in for gehenna in the Greek. When we follow up that term we find it really refers to the valley of Hinnom, the dump ground just outside of Jerusalem where invading enemies dispose of those they kill and their whole way of life upon conquest of the holy city. Sorry, but closer examination of your Bibles deconstruct our traditional views and render them fallacy time and again all over the place.

    It is certainly not wrong to question these things, especially since most of us are not greek and Hebrew language experts and do not all have equal access to the better research that reveals these things. But we have to be ready and willing to follow the evidence where it leads. And for those of us with limited access, we must be prepared to either trust those shepherd’s, like Bobby in this case, or call them liars when they plainly show us the evidence contrary to our simple opinions. Quite frankly the English Bible does not say what it means and mean what it says in such a flat wooden way.

    I, for one, have searched, and continue to search, for these answers for myself every day. My access is more limited than some, less limited than many. And after several years of searching and researching, I have seen enough holes blown out of the traditional dualist worldview than seemed soooooo solid at the beginning, that I do not trust it at all. And I actually question what kind of “nothing” god I used to believe in. I could not see him, touch him, taste, or smell him, and he only promised to “save” my soul – which I could not see, touch, taste or smell – from a solid existence that I have learned to love and call home, taking me to a vaporish heaven in a non-existant realm, when he planned to one day burn it all to nothingness like the stuff he was going to save. There is no substance in a god like that. And there is no substance in a hope like that. On the other hand, if the Creator God is Creating and Redeeming His Creation and/or making All THINGS New, then there is cause to really HOPE with substance for my stuff, as opposed to my nothingness, will really be saved by living in a REAL place. That is a trick the dualist god cannot pull off. My God crushes your god.

    Jesus is Lord!

  47. Messianic Gentile Says:

    BTW, Happy EARTH DAY tomorrow, everyone!

    Jesus is Lord!

  48. Bob Bliss Says:

    Bobby, I agree with you that Jesus Christ is currently a glorified human reigning at the right hand of God. I also believe that he will come back again as a glorified human being and that we will be transformed into conformity with his glorified human state. However, I have thought that 1Cor.15:20-28 says that when the end comes, Jesus gives the kingdom to the Father, the son once again becomes subjected to the Father (meaning Jesus returns to his pre-incarnate state) and God once again is all in all (meaning that the Trinity is back to what it was before creation).

    My thoughts on 2Jn.7
    1. The word “coming” is a present tense participle and does have continuous action but continuous doesn’t necessarily mean permanent.
    2. “Coming” doesn’t mean “remaining” as you state. I’ve checked BDAG and my grammars. If someone can show me where it means that I’ll check it out.
    3. I would think that one needs to check out how John uses his present tense participles to see if what you say is true.
    4. I’m not sure that John has in mind as part of this confession Jesus Christ coming in the flesh into eternity. It seems that “coming” limits John’s discussion to Jesus’ entrance into our world.
    5. 1Jn.4:2 John uses a perfect participle for “come” signifying a past action with continuing results. This is why I think that John is limiting his discussion to Jesus’ entrance into our world. John has in mind Jesus’ birth which makes him a real human being and he has not ceased being a real human being. But “coming” has reference to Jesus’ birth – his incarnation.
    6. I do think Alan is right that if you make 2Jn.7 mean that we must confess Jesus Christ not only as coming in the flesh but continuing in the flesh on into eternity that you must condemn as as deceivers. I don’t think you can have your exegetical cake and eat it as well here. 🙂
    7. Having said all this I hope we will continue to discuss this issue. I do agree that the Bible’s vision of our inheritance is quite different than the common one of today. However, I think the Bible is ambiguous on the subject on purpose. I would hope both sides will give us fence riders room to think this through.

  49. Laymond Says:

    Bobby you said the following; “Justin then demonstrates that the body itself has “value in God’s sight.” How does he do this? In this manner,”
    I don’t believe I have read a comment which stated the body was of no value. Everything God made had it’s purpose and therefore it’s value, but I believe it would be hard to argue the body had an equal value to the soul/spirit of man.

    Mat 5:29And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

    Mat 5:30And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

    Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

  50. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Bob check Howard Marshall’s suggested translation of the text.

    Laymond Justin relates the “value of the body” directly to the resurrection.

    Bobby Valentine

  51. Falantedios Says:

    Bobby writes:

    “And I do not think one has to agree with me to be my brother.

    Bobby Valentine”

    We know that, dear brother. But the text to which you’ve appealed, 2 Jn 7, says that one must agree with John in order to be John’s brother.

    in HIS love,

  52. Stoned-Campbell Disciple Says:

    Nick, Good morning this Lord’s Day. I pray all will be blessed for you today.

    John says we have to agree with him. And I “agree” with that. I think my good brothers are not heretics though in the sense that the full blown gnostics are. But I do believe that our lack of theological reflection in the Churches of Christ is glaringly present at the moment.

    The historic church has always confessed to the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection is intimately connected to the renewed Earth because a real body needs a real place. Second, the resurrection of Jesus has been confessed by the church as lasting for eternity. Christ will ALWAYS be the Son of God. He will ALWAYS be the Son of Man. I believe John teaches this and so did the Church Fathers (as did Luther, Calvin and anyone else I can think of).

    We have spent way to much time on trivia … it is time for us to get a healthy does of Christology.

    Bobby Valentine

  53. John Mark Hicks Says:

    In Revelation 21, the new Jerusalem descends to the new heaven and new earth. John is on top of mountain on the new heaven and earth watching it come down.

    It seems to me that the saints will meet the Lord in the air, but the text does not say they will be with the Lord in the air forever. Rather, they will be with the Lord forever. The term to “meet” is actually a word that entails going out to “meet” and then “usher” the person back to where you came from. So, we go to meet the Lord in the air–just as the saints went out to meet Paul coming toward Rome in Acts 28–and then go with him back to the renewed earth (new earth).

  54. John Mark Hicks Says:

    Bobby, my friend, you sure know how to stir up a discussion. 🙂

  55. Greg Says:

    Bobby: When you get all of this sorted out and settled down, perhaps you can take on a really controversial subject … like whether or not professional wrestling is real!! 🙂

  56. Alan Says:

    Hi John,

    You wrote:

    > Yet, in Hebrews, he cannot
    > be priest if he is not also
    > human.

    I don’t see that in Hebrews. I do see that he had to experience being human, but not that he had to remain human. Am I missing something?

  57. John Mark Hicks Says:


    I think we have to think within this homily in terms of the meaning of his terms–perfected, priest, etc.

    Our high priest is a perfected human. If he is no longer human, then he is no longer priest. And his “perfection” is something that is “forever” (7:28) just as his priesthood is forever (7:24). His priesthood is not merely going through the experience of humanity but to actually be human and remain the mediator between God and humanity by sharing both of their realities (communities). I think this is part of the point of Hebrews 1-2.


    John Mark

  58. Falantedios Says:

    Wow, JMH! That is a beautiful point.

    One cannot be a priest after the order of Melchizedek if one stops being “after the order of” Melchizedek.

    How does this relate to the pre-existence, though? Is the Hebrew writer trying to say that Jesus ALWAYS been a high priest like Melchizedek (“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek”), or that Jesus BECAME a high priest like Melchizedek when God called him?

    in HIS love,


  59. John Mark Hicks Says:

    I would think that the Logos became a High Priest through the incarnation and perfected suffering so that he could be both victim and priest. The “order of Melchizedek” is a construct to contrast with the order of the Levites. Since I don’t think the Logos was always human (there are some theologians who do), I think he became a High Priest.

  60. Brian Nash Says:

    Concerning this discussion “Don’t rush me. Ah’m a thinken, and muh head hurts!!”
    Other then that, I love the give and take of all concerned.


  61. Anonymous Says:

    Bobby suggested I look up his eschatology tagged items and I went back to the earliest one first. Of course, it had to be this one I read first 😉

    Despite the topic and it’s heaviness, this is a nice find for me. As a life-long member of the church of Christ, I don’t often get the opportunity to discuss (or even listen/read) these matters as openly as one would like. That is, trying to understand precisely what the Scriptures teach without the fear of being labeled a heretic or the like for even raising a question or two with fellow Christian brethren when those ideas may seem to conflict with what we’ve been taught the Scriptures teach (from a church of Christ perspective). My goal is to better understand for myself so that I don’t have to rely on what others say. I look forward to reading more and I’ll try to refrain from interjecting too much until I get a better feel for you all at this blog.

    Keep searching the Scriptures!

    Russ from Texas

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