The Second Death, the Book of Life, and the Lake of Fire–Are They About the Endtimes or Something Else?

Revelation 20 tells about the Book of Life. When I was young, this was one of the most frightening passages of the Bible to me:

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

I knew my name was written in the Book of Life, but my confidence in my consistent salvation was very insecure. I imagined that anytime I sinned my name was erased from the Book of Life, but when I asked for forgiveness it was rewritten.

As I visualized the process I feared that the constant erasures would wear through the page so that there was no place left to write my name, and I would be thrown into the lake of fire. Such is the mind of a child.

Will People be Punished in the Lake of Fire?

In response to a recent post, I was challenged by a reader who commented:

You said that you did not think that God would compel people to be in His presence against their will, but that he would not punish them. What about Revelation 20:15 says they won’t be punished???

Remember that this passage reads:

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

She asks a good question; Revelation seems to say clearly that some will be thrown into the lake of fire. However, we must be aware what kind of book Revelation is; it is not a prophecy of the end-times, as many suppose, but a story of encouragement for Christians being heavily persecuted by the Roman empire and who thought, perhaps, that the church might be wiped off the earth.

Using apocalyptic literature, the writer of Revelation assures them that Rome will fail, Jesus will prevail, and the church will continue–which it did.

Apocalyptic Literature

The apocalyptic genre the writer uses was somewhat common in Jewish literature during that time. Many such writings were written to encourage Jews and Christians during periodic times of intense persecution from about 200 BC to 100 AD.

A quite popular one was the Book of Enoch. James H. Charlesworth, scholar of ancient literature, published a book containing apocalyptic documents from the period—a thousand pages of mostly apocalyptic works that most of us have never heard of.

Apocalyptic uses boundless imagery and exaggerated action. Motifs are pulled from a wide range of familiar sources and mixed together to produce a powerful, visual scenario. And all this is done to encourage those who feel helpless and hopeless. I think Revelation is a wonderful book, but unfortunately the genre is not part of our culture so we can’t understand it unless we become familiar with it elsewhere.

So the passage she quoted is not a description of something that will happen in the future; it means something else entirely.

So what does it mean?

What Does Revelation 20 Mean?

Since we don’t have access to what specifically was happening at that time, or what kind of pressure and discouragement Christians were undergoing, we cannot determine for sure what all this symbolism and metaphor represents.

The entire chapter is worth reading. Chapter 20 comes just after the place in the narrative (chapter 19) where a white horse appears, ridden by a person called Faithful and True (Jesus). The rider and his army defeat the beast and his army. The beast and false prophet are thrown alive into a lake of burning sulfur.

So much for the powerful Romans who seem on the verge of destroying the Christians!

Chapter 20 then describes what happens to those Christians who were killed by Rome—they are resurrected! Even those already martyred live again. We are also told that these will not be subject to the second death, which is explained later.

There is a battle with Satan, who is defeated, and we learn that: ‘The devil…was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.’ So the devil, himself, joins the Romans in the lake of burning sulfur; all three powerful persecutors of the Christians are defeated and now powerless!

But this is not all: the Book of Life is opened, and all humanity who have died are resurrected and judged. Now we discover what the second death is and what becomes of those who are judged:

Then death and Hades (the grave) were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

The Christians were a powerless group on their way to permanent extinction, but things changed. Satan, the Romans, and all those who did not respond to the Christian message are now trapped forever in the lake of fire. Only the Christians are excluded from the punishment—they have been vindicated! Though things seem dark and hopeless, they will change drastically.

So don’t despair, says the writer, be encouraged.

Revelation is not Prophecy of the End-times

Revelation does not relate to some grand drama of the future.

In reading the article, how many references did you encounter that you have always assumed related to the end-times? But Revelation tells us nothing about the end-times; it is encouragement for Christians under intense persecution.

Revelation was not written for us at all, but for Christians of the first century. However, it provides a great benefit for Christians of all times. Anytime, anywhere, Christians are under intense persecution, we can turn to the book of Revelation and be encouraged. All will turn out in our favor.

So read and enjoy Revelation, but do so without mistaken assumptions of end-times prophecy.

*****

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74 Responses to The Second Death, the Book of Life, and the Lake of Fire–Are They About the Endtimes or Something Else?

  1. tonycutty says:

    Remember that sulfur burns with a blue flame. Anyone who depicts Hell as being all orange and red flames is plainly wrong 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Interesting information, Tony; I am now enlightened!

      Liked by 2 people

    • crossroman says:

      Those not in Christ will suffer fire. It’s that simple.

      Liked by 2 people

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Hi Crossroman, you are entitled to your opinion of course but I cannot agree. If you are interested you can see why at https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/books-and-resources/hell/

        Like

        • crossroman says:

          No worries, we will all believe what we want to believe. Peace.

          Liked by 1 person

          • sheila0405 says:

            You made an assertion. Tim offered you a link to further resources. Then you merely say “we will all believe what we want to believe”. Did you check out the link? Are you even willing to listen to why a person disagrees with you? Is that a good way to uncover something you might not have considered before? I’m saying this to you b/c you made an assertion, implying that Tim is incorrect, then fail to explain why. This is maddening. You could have said “I believe those not in Christ….”. And, you even doubled down with “it’s that simple”. Tim is too polite here. If you are going to crash a party, better bring along something to back up those type of in-your-face-I’m-right-you’re-not comments.

            Like

          • crossroman says:

            Sorry to have ruffled your feathers Sheila, but it is true that people will believe what they want to believe, in fact, it is primarily what you want to believe that separates the sheep from the goats. There is no gain to be had by arguing the point because it becomes an endless discourse based on individual experience. The Lord’s servant must not quarrel. Apologies for any offence, I will refrain from commenting in the future.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. tonycutty says:

    I do think that the later chapters are, well, not end-time prophecy, but actually *post* end-time prophecy. I really do believe that the Heavenly City will be something like John describes, although I also think he was trying to describe the indescribable.

    And I also believe that we will see it with our own eyes. Now that *is* exciting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Tony, your comment here is interesting. If the book of Revelation is not written for Christians under Roman persecution and not to reveal details of the end-times, then why should we think the last chapters ARE about the future?

      Can you share more about your thoughts?

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonycutty says:

        Good question. There’s three reasons: firstly, I think that the imagery of the Heavenly City is far too ‘beyond’ anything that persecuted believers would need *unless it were actually true*, or at least true as far as we can imagine it. Secondly, although John was writing an apocalypse, he also claimed he was ‘in the Spirit’; the descriptions of Jesus fit to some extent with other ‘glorious’ sightings in the Bible like, for example, the OT theophanies; sometimes it isn’t clear whether it’s the Lord Himself, or an angel, who is speaking, but it all looks pretty similar. It’s therefore no stretch of the imagination to think that John really did see Jesus, plus you’d think he’d recognise Him even in His glorified state as he was one of Jesus’s best friends. And, knowing a little about being ‘in the Spirit’ I can say that I have experienced similar things to John the Revelator – I may not have seen Jesus (although my wife has) but I do know that all sorts of real things can happen when God does stuff, so why shouldn’t parts of Revelation be literally true? And finally, I don’t know how to put this any better so I’ll just say it: it resonates with my spirit. Something about it just gives me that internal witness that it’s true, whereas other parts of Revelation do not. Sorry I can’t be more empirical than that on this last point!

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Tony, I think I do understand your position. It is similar to what I thought for decades. But evidence for it does not hold up for me. The things you mention are normal for apocalyptic literature, like the imagery of the Heavenly City and being in the Spirit.

          A strong characteristic of apocalyptic is that it pulls familiar themes from other places and weaves them into the narrative, so that borrowing from the theophanies would fit right in. And if your experiences are similar to early Christian experiences then it is reasonable for the writer to use that too.

          Revelation is either literal detailed prophecy or it is written to comfort and guide the persecuted believers of that time. I can’t see how it can be both. Of course I have no difficulty with your opinion, but it is different than mine.

          Liked by 2 people

          • tonycutty says:

            “Revelation is either literal detailed prophecy or it is written to comfort and guide the persecuted believers of that time. I can’t see how it can be both.” – I think that’s the rub; although it’s definitely apocalyptic, there’s no reason why it can’t also have some prophetic elements in there too. Daniel’s prophecy was such a mixture; also in Isaiah he weaves in and out of prophecy and sometimes his own frustrations. For instance, the bit that Jesus quotes about “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, he has sent me to free captives, bind up the brokenhearted…..” etc – Jesus quoted it word for word then decided to stop after saying “To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” before He got to the bit about “…the Day of vengeance of our God”. Clearly at that point Isaiah at least had a break in the prophetic timeline, or was not recording God’s words, or something. But it was a mixture. See what I mean? It’s all a bit nebulous – most supernatural stuff is – but I don’t think there’s any rule that says a writer cannot switch in and out of different writing modes – poetry, prophecy etc. – as required. Or is there? Is there something here I don’t know?

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Tony, I think here we must agree to disagree on the futurism of Revelation. The support you bring to a mixed character of Revelation is simply unconvincing to me.

            I also have a different view of the Isaiah passage that Jesus quoted. I don’t see this passage as being a prediction of Jesus at all, but Jesus appropriated the passage (but not the part he found inapplicable to his mission). In fact, other writers of the NT often appropriated passage from the Old Testament to Jesus that did not have Jesus in mind when written; in fact many of the passages addressed completely different issues when written.

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        • mark says:

          Tony you said “Clearly at that point Isaiah at least had a break in the prophetic timeline, or was not recording God’s words, or something”

          .And a certain Hebrew Scholar, Dr. Shmuel Asher ( In his Book “The Asher Code”) supports the Idea of Scroll manipulations by the “newly” formed, in Babylon, Levitical Priesthood just released from captivity with Nehemiah for the rebuilding of the Temple . Not all of the Southern Kingdom went into captivity., there were still in the land remnants of the original Aaronic Priestly line that held the original and supposed un-corrupted scrolls. But being few in numbers could not maintain control of the Books nor the temple.

          Thus, they (Levites)became the “official” authorities over the Southern Kingdom of Judah and issued a new version of Torah. And in turn led to the creation of the sect known as the Pharisees. It’s an interesting story and it is supported in the OT account.
          So if it’s accurate it would shed light on why Christ singled out the Pharisees and their ridiculous teachings of the law

          Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      I believe the book of Revelations is true in that it is a message of encouragement for first century believers. But I do not believe the end-times interpretation of the book is true. I don’t think it was written for that purpose,

      Liked by 1 person

      • tonycutty says:

        Yeah I was meaning more that ‘we will be there’; that was a key part to my article linked to and I’d missed it off my previous posting. unfortunately I added the ‘Reply’ to the wrong time point in the discussion 🙂 Duh me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Tony, I agree that whatever happens–we will be there to witness it. I have no idea in advance what kind of scenario it might be; I don’t think the NT gives us that information.

          Like

  3. consultgtf says:

    To understand this, You need to understand, under what circumstances this was written?
    It was a Roman Empire, they had the final say on what was written or published, everything had their own style and signature stamped on them,
    St John Gospel is used more now, post resurrection as it was written few hundred years later, meaning it was/is from a era of its own not from Jesus time, So? it was SUITED to people, for whom it was written, So not a true story, it will have impact on it audience, for whom it was made.
    Not for others.!

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Consult, I agree with you about the importance of the circumstances under which Revelation was written. However, I am surprised that you say the Gospel of John was written a few hundred years after Jesus. It was actually written less than 100 years after Jesus.

      Like

  4. Chas says:

    The author pretended to be the author of John’s Gospel, but the writing style is quite different. So who is kidding whom?

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Chas, you are probably correct, but I don’t think that affects the value of the book. It was written by a first century believer for an important purpose; I don’t think it matters if we don’t know who the writer was.

      Like

      • Chas says:

        Tim, what most disturbs me is that the author deliberately contrived to deceive by writing this work. He told lies, but wanted those lies to be taken as the truth. How could he think that God would approve of such a thing? If lies are taken to be the truth, then the way is opened for those lies to be built upon.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I don’t think the author attempted to deceive believers. I think his readers would have understood his intent because they were familiar with the apocalyptic genre. Now he might have intended to confuse the Romans who would not have been familiar. In this way, he could use code to talk about them without their being aware of it.

          It is later generations of believers who, unaware of apocalyptic, read ‘facts’ and ‘truths’ into Revelation that are not valid; but that is not the fault of the author.

          Mark Twain wrote stories about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn that were completely untrue; but we don’t call him a liar of deceiver for it.

          Like

          • Chas says:

            I don’t think that Mark Twain’s work is a very good example, because it was written as a work of fiction and was intended to be taken as that. The writer of Revelation knew that he was writing something that was fictional, yet he made claims about his authorship to try to ensure that he was taken seriously, whatever his overall intention. My point is that we should all be careful to be truthful, because even a ‘white’ lie can cause its originator to be mistrusted in future, if it is found out. A specific example is that of Eric Clapton, who was illegitimate and was brought up by his grandparents, whom he thought were his own parents, and he was told that the woman who was really his mother was his sister. When he found this out, he was devastated, because all of these people closest to him had lied to him. Whom could he then trust?
            Another example of the possible effect of lies is my own daughter. My wife read the story of Pinocchio to her and told her that, if she lied, her nose would grow. However, she was clever enough to realize that she had lied, but her nose had not grown, so she knew that she had been lied to. The author of Pinocchio wrote a work of fiction, and it was intended as such, but other people used it to try to discourage children from lying, by lying! Maybe we should avoid works of fiction altogether.

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          • mark says:

            Tim it may be true that we shouldn’t blame the writer for the deception and that He meant well, but that then is a problem. Because of that and supposedly now most of the NT is of the same we have NO TRUE foundation to base Christian Faith on. We can’t say “well he meant well and did it in a spirit of love and encouragement” and assume all will be well. As Chas has said , when the lie is discovered it destroys the message. Yes I’m sure the writer meant well and was sincere….but he sincerely deceived the Church and all that follow who come looking for truth. What kind of Faith do we have and from where comes it’s power to deliver..when it’s based off of deception. Yes that’s a harsh depiction but it’s a realistic assessment.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, I think Mark Twain IS a good example. His first readers knew he was writing fiction and were not deceived at all. They did not even care that he ‘lied’ about who he was: he was not really ‘Mark Twain’ but Samuel Clemens. However, future readers, not understanding fiction, could be upset and disappointed to discover that his books are not historical. Should they accuse him of deception? Did he write ‘lies’?

            The author of Revelation was not writing to us but to the believers of his generation. They understood his genre; we don’t. So what we understand to be ‘lies’ were nothing of the kind to his readers. I think the problem is that Revelation became part of a ‘Bible’, which has acquired a very literal status in the minds of many people.

            This is true of other fictional works in the Bible such as Jonah and Job. Both are likely fictional stories that make really great points. But many people can’t get past the idea that they might be fictional in order to benefit from the points being made.

            In may opinion, fiction is not lies; nor is apocalyptic.

            However, I do not have any problem with your holding a different position. Good people disagree on certain things. I do agree though, that we should not tell lies to children–not about their having Pinocchio’s nose experience or that Santa brings them presents and watches them to see if they are good or bad. These are both manipulative.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Mark, I think I understand your objection. It is a comfort to believe the Bible is the very words of God and that everything can be trusted in what we think it says. But I think this is a false comfort. The Bible was written by people who felt strongly about God and wrote from the limitations of their own era, culture, and level of understanding.

            However, I don’t think this robs us of a foundation to base Christian faith on. My faith is not based on the Bible but on Jesus as he is presented in the Gospels from the memories of his earliest followers.

            Sometimes it is gut-wrenching to discover that the Bible is not inerrant; it certainly was for me. I wrote about my year of grief and anguish when I realized that, and also about my discovering Jesus as the foundation of my faith. If interested, you can see it at https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/about-tim-chastain/my-spiritual-crisis/

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          • mark says:

            Tim , Chas,..yes and yes I agree with you both on those points. Trust me I do. My statements are merely to give evidence to where I stand these days on the Bible controversy. Coming from way back as a DOGMATIC Fundie…it was very hard and bitter to swallow that the Bible was often in error.
            I do Believe GOD uses it to grow us from faith to faith. After being twice bitten you may say I no longer entertain Dogmatic Doctrine as The Truth and the only truth….and only our brand has it…if you follow what I mean?
            I’m not a doubting Thomas but am certainly skeptical of Mainstream Church views. While I will argue the scripture and Church history, I don’t let it cloud my feelings towards the other individual. Nor will I allow arrogant hate to cloud my actions to others. None of us need to agree on all points. I will stand and proudly defend your right to disagree with my views..As I hope you would to me as well. Truth of the matter is,..Not a single one of us know the entire story…only bits and pieces of it.
            Hopefully neither of you have taken what I have said as an attack against you…but merely positional debate as was intended. If I have offended any while defending my point of view,..then I humbly apologize for it.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Mark, I applaud both you healthy attitude toward religious beliefs and you mature approach to dialog in allowing the other person their opinion and not allowing hate to dictate your responses.

            You have not offended me in the least, and I agree that none of us know the whole story.

            Like

        • mark says:

          Tim yes I agree the Bible is not the object of faith for those who have grown spiritually.
          And like you I base mine of Christ..not the written works or traditions of me.
          However the greater portion of Christianity,..and very much so “new believers”, Look at the BIBLE as…hmmm pun intended here..”THE GOSPEL TRUTH”
          I remember back in the earl-mid 60’s sitting in church hearing many times over how the BIBLE was and is the PERFECT WORD of GOD..infallible and irrefutable. I’m pretty sure so did you and many others here. Okay so now that is the foundation of faith for all who come to the “LORD” . You know how it’s said; Faith come by hearing..from the word of GOD. So right from the git go believers are taught and indoctrinated to believe the BIBLE is actually the very word of GOD and it is true without doubt. That was my point in the above comment I made. Yes we are to put our Faith in JESUS , but where do we learn about JESUS?….ahhhhh..the BIBLE! Do you see what I’m saying here?
          Chas made and excellent point..about untruthful stories being promoted. The Bible contains so much garbage that any thinking and rational person who actually studies it and not just read it on occasion, soon begins to see the deception there on the pages.
          So the dilemma for that person is having proved that the Pastor taught and promoted a lie about ..blah..blah…what else have they lied about? In my years I have seen many people walk away from the faith and totally give up because of it.
          I know faith is the essence of things unseen….but to have faith in something that you cannot see nor touch, and the only evidence for it is a book now proven to be mostly bogus, does not and cannot establish faith…unless the person is a total brain dead non thinking zombie.
          I am not blaming this so much on the Bible as much as I am on the Clergy and the official Church “statement of faith” down thru the ages.
          By the supposed statement from Jesus…”by your traditions of men..you make the Word of GOD to no avail”
          I hope I made my point a bit more clear there…though probably not.

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          • mark says:

            Tim you said;
            “However, I don’t think this robs us of a foundation to base Christian faith on. My faith is not based on the Bible but on Jesus as he is presented in the Gospels from the memories of his earliest followers. ”

            Tim to me that seems like circular reasoning. The very source we use..that we know and understand to have discrepancies in even minor details and accounts, Is the very same that we use to understand and Know Jesus. Since that is our only source..how can we assume they told the “Honest to God Truth” about the account of Jesus? And since there is virtually no other outside source, historical or otherwise we are forced to believe what they say…just because they say so, have faith that what they say is true?
            It’s like saying the Bible is the word of God..because the Bible says so.
            Sorry my friend but critical thinking sends up a plethora of red flags to that.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Thanks for the clarification, Mark. I understand more clearly what you meant in your comment. I agree that, for many people, to admit the Bible is not dependable truth in some places creates a panic. Many say: If one part of the Bible is not God’s own word (inerrant), then how can we trust any of it?

            I understand the response; as I noted in the link on my spiritual crises, I was affected the same way and plunged into a year of deep grief and anguish. However, I found that the Jesus in the gospels, written from the memories of his earliest followers, were compelling to me. The stories of Jesus were also quite consistent and his character is well defined. It does not matter if his sayings are not word-for-word what he actually said,

            That is enough for me. It is a shame that believers think the Bible inerrant, because if they ever suspect that it isn’t it can cause tremendous despair.

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          • Chas says:

            Mark, Although the Bible is not the word of God, neither dictated by Him, nor inspired by Him, He has nevertheless allowed it to be as it is and has allowed people to believe that it is His Word. It does contain enough truth to allow us to believe that Jesus was the Son of God and that we were separated from God. We can only come out of that separation into a full relationship with Him if we can accept these as truths. Believing them might be called ‘faith’, but this relationship helps us to come closer to God, if we are willing.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Mark, regarding circular reasoning. I do not consider my statement to be circular reasoning at all. It is true we have basically no details about Jesus outside of the New Testament, but we have enough information in the NT to get a very good picture of what Jesus taught and how he behaved; and it provides a consistent portrait of Jesus.

            Even though we cannot be sure whether reports of what Jesus said are word-for-word, I believe they are sufficient because the original hearers report how the words impacted them. And the reports are consistent in tone.

            Also, I think I might have more confidence in the transmission of Jesus words and actions than some people. It is true that the gospels were written decades after Jesus lived–but not THAT long after. And the stories about Jesus were preserved through one or two generations by the oral tradition conserved and passed down in individual congregations before being written down, so what is written down is not something said years later, but things told by original hearers of Jesus.

            I think the message of Jesus is pretty clear from the stories of original hearers who were tremendously impacted by what he said and did. That is enough for me.

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          • Chas says:

            Mark. I had an interesting and relevant experience at church last week. The pastor told a lie about himself, and it was detectable as a lie because he contradicted himself during it. However, if he had taught something in which he sincerely believed, but which was really not true, based on his interpretation of the Bible, he would not actually have lied, but told an untruth, inadvertently.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. fiddlrts says:

    This certainly speaks to my frustration with Eschatology – particularly the obsession with figuring out “exactly” what is going to happen in the future. I think both the Pre-Tribulationist view (which is what I grew up with) and the Post-Millennialist view (which is at the heart of the Reconstructionist/Dominionist movement I spent time in) have serious problems in significant part because of their respective Eschatologies. For the Pre-Trib, the world will end any day now, so our only focus legitimately is making converts as fast as we can. For the Post-Mill, the focus becomes establishing God’s political kingdom on earth (which just happens to look a lot like the Bronze Age Tribalism of the Torah.) Neither case looks much like something Christ did while here on earth.

    I can’t help but think of the many brilliant theologians living in Christ’s time, who had the coming of the Messiah ALL figured out. And they completely got it wrong. It wasn’t because they were stupid or had evil motives either. The case for Christ as the fulfillment of prophesy only makes sense in hindsight – and not even a lot of sense then, if we are honest. (Romans, for example, reads like an argument Saint Paul is having with himself trying to figure out how it all works…) In the actual event, the attempts at prediction, apocalypse, and whatever – take your pick – missed pretty badly, and the coming of Christ was a great shock to everyone.

    I suspect that whatever happens at the end of time, it will likewise be NOTHING like anybody has predicted. As with the first, so with the second.

    For myself, I just have no idea, nor do I think it matters all that much to me. One of the great positive influences in my life was the (mostly) retired pastor of a church we attended when I was in Jr. High and early High School. He was kind enough to talk with me for a school project, and was one of the truly decent men in the world. I still remember his two aphorisms that he told me (and others) that have turned out to be the best advice I have received from any pulpit:

    “Love God, love your neighbor, don’t take yourself too seriously.”

    And the one on Eschatology: “I’m a pan-tribulationist. Since God is in charge, I believe it will all pan out in the end…”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chas says:

      fiddlrts, this example of Christ is another result of things being written for one intent and being taken differently. My reconstruction of the Original Gospel (by putting together the things that only occur in two or more of the Synoptic Gospels) indicates that the author did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God, born of a virgin, but that he was adopted into son-ship through an anointing, hence being an Anointed One. However, he also did not believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, because he used the quotation from the book of Psalms (the Lord said to my Lord) believing that it was written by David, to show that Jesus could not have been the Messiah. (In fact, the Jewish Messiah had to be the direct all-male-line descendant of David [the Son of David], which was impossible, as he was the true born Son of God). Further confusion has arisen because both Matthew and Luke thought that the ‘Christ’ meant the Jewish Messiah, so they wrote accounts leading up to the birth of Jesus, and also genealogies to support a descent from David, knowing that these latter were fictional. Luke probably tried his best to find out the truth about the birth, but what we have is only, at best, about a third hand version, with a lot of baggage attached.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mark says:

        Chas that is spot on. It also appears that the NT is a conflicting mishmash of Jewish and Christian points of view in regards to the “Law and Grace” and the “Messiahship” or divinity of Jesus. The early Believers tried and failed to prove from scripture (Torah) that Jesus the Nazarene was He who was spoken of from Isiah. Those passages had to be wrestled and massaged greatly to force link them to apply to JESUS. The virgin birth..the Messiah…deliver His people…none of it was written as future events…and we can’t find a blood sacrifice..
        Thus Gospels that are not in agreement with each other.

        All the “slight of Hand” and tampering due to agendas is why I believe we have the baggage we do have.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chas says:

          Mark, your mention of the Nazarene is a point of interest, because the archaeology has shown that the town of Nazareth did not exist at the time of Jesus; it came into existence in about 25AD. Furthermore, the Semitic root of ‘Nazarene’ means to guard or preserve as a verb, or a branch or shoot as a noun. We might have expected the branch to have been more likely, with the OT connections, but it seems more likely that early believers, who were being persecuted, perhaps in Jerusalem, set up camp in this area and began to refer to themselves as Nazarenes, meaning guardians, or preservers, of the faith. In time, the camp became a village known as Nazareth.

          Liked by 1 person

          • mark says:

            Chas yes. I had discovered that truth about Nazarene and Nazareth a few years ago. I was trying to harmonize the Gospel accounts by true History and not Traditions. Just picking up on those little inconsistencies made the fabric unravel. First we have “supposed” eye witnesses speaking about a community that wasn’t even there yet. Then we learn these Disciples did not pen these accounts but were composed by other people at a much later time. And it’s not just in the NT either. The OT has numerous textual problems that after searching out can be seen not as mistakes,..but purposeful tampering and manipulation . If we can’t trust them in accuracy over minor details, how can we ever put any credence in the larger important ones that set the base line foundation of the “Faith”
            It would seem Jeremiah 8:8 is spot on.

            Like

          • Chas says:

            Mark, I totally agree with you. The Gospels were written much later, by people who were not primary, or even secondary, witnesses. What I do believe, however, is that God used these bogus accounts to carry the true message forward to those of us who were able to ‘hear’ it. We have the three Synoptic Gospels, which were derived from one Original, but without these ‘doctored’ versions, we would not have had any useful message at all. We are dependent on God’s guidance even to see what we have been able to received.

            Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Fiddlrts, I like you comment a lot and the gem you included: “I suspect that whatever happens at the end of time, it will likewise be NOTHING like anybody has predicted.”

      Many believers DO have a preoccupation of trying to figure out what is going to happen in the future, and I don’t think it is helpful. I agree with you that both the Pretribs and the Postmills are seriously misguided; and I think both are doing a LOT of harm. The Pretribs are ready for an any-day escape, while the Postmills are ready to take over the world now–by political force (they are much different than the Postmills of the late 19th and early 20th centuries).

      My position is Amillennial, but that covers so much variety that I would have to clarify further. But all forms of Amillennialism are a bit dull and boring because nothing exciting is going on.

      I agree that speculation on the end-times doesn’t matter much to me; the only reason I talk about it so much is because of the great harm the speculative systems continually cause. Otherwise it would not be noteworthy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chas says:

        Tim, maybe the relentless focus on predicting the future is the result of many of the OT books being written long after the time they appear to have been, and the use of bogus predictions of the future based on known events that had already happened when they were written. True prophesy is God’s Word. Whether it tells us anything about what will happen in the future depends on God’s intent for it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I agree about OT books written after the predicted fact mislead many people into high expectations of finding end-times prophecy in the Bible. The main example is Daniel, which seems to have predicted many things very precisely–but did so AFTER the events had already occurred.

          Like

          • Chas says:

            Tim, the writer of the Original Gospel was also suckered into this, because he wrote the extensive ‘future prediction’ in the words he attributed to Jesus (as he sat on the Mount of Olives after telling the disciples that all the fine stones of the temple would be thrown down). A sudden question arises: the timing suggests that that was written BEFORE the temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD, so was it a true prediction of the future, or was it about something else? Was it saying that the Jewish authorities would destroy these temple decorations as infringing the graven image prohibition when the Herod of the time had died, or had that already happened when the Original Gospel was written?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, most biblical scholars think the original gospel was Mark, and that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a major source for their gospels. Mark was mostly about Jesus’ actions. In addition, scholars think that there was another source for Matthew and Luke that was a collection of saying of Jesus; scholars call this Q, and it provides a lot of material common to Matthew and Luke. In addition, Matthew and Luke both had independent sources, as well.

            As to the prediction of the destruction of the temple in Mark 13, I think Jesus likely did say something along these lines and that it had to do with the destruction in 70AD; but I would not call it a prophecy. Jesus was very perceptive, and it would not take a lot to realize that if the Jews kept up their resistance against Rome that the destruction would occur–and soon.

            What are your thoughts?

            Like

          • Chas says:

            Tim, I’m sorry to have to disagree with your points concerning the origins of the Synoptic Gospels, but they have made certain assumptions to reach their conclusions. My finding is based only on the assumption that anything that appears in two or more of these had to be in a document that preceded them. True, almost everything that is in Mark is in the original, (there are three items that were omitted) but there is much in the original (i.e. in Matthew and Luke) that is not in Mark. Then how could Mark be the document on which the others were based?

            In regard to your second response, I’m inclined to think that my suggestion regarding the removal of Herod’s decoration is probably right, but how can it be checked, unless it is in the Jewish religious records. However, the mention of siege ramps, etc. in Luke 19 might indicate that this book was completed after 70AD.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, there is no need to be sorry. Those who think often disagree with those who also think. It two people agree on all religious issues, then at least one of them is NOT thinking.

            There are many scholars who agree with you that the passage about the destruction of the temple was written after 70 AD when it occurred.

            Like

  6. mark says:

    Rome had many times attempted to pacify the Jews into peaceful compliance and was no different during this time. The focus was at the “new believers” whom were thought of as a troublesome splinter sect of Judaism and that was where the HEAVY HAND was applied. As we know , James, Peter, Paul and several others were put to death during this time and eventually Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple was destroyed in or about 70 ad. An elder by the name John was sent into exile at Patmos. Whether or not this was the Apostle John,..Biblical Researchers are not in agreement.
    There was NO Bible before 325 ad. only various letters and some remnants of Torah scrolls. As there were many “New Beliefs” about Christianity. being spread..most were mere opinions or theory…like the Divinity of Jesus ,was he was Man or Spirit,..and the invention of the “miracles” that have no basis of proof for evidence , no first person eye-witness accounts. Only later date recollections…Much later.
    The Gospels were unknown before circa 90 ad , and were written by anonymous authors in the “Name Of” Matt. Mark,Luke..and possible John. Some of these only showing up as late as 150 ad. Or so say the researchers and Biblical historians now.

    The First Council of Nicaea decided on what was to be doctrine and the basis for Biblical canon. However it wasn’t done with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but by Politics and the agenda set forth by Constantine. Numerous letters and writings were added and many discarded and considered heretical and illegal to posses….a death sentence was issued for any still holding or teaching from them.
    Here is a notation on how it was decided;
    …………………………………………..
    “”The canonical and apocryphal books it distinguished in the following manner: in the house of God the books were placed down by the holy altar; then the council asked the Lord in prayer that the inspired works be found on top and–as in fact happened–the spurious on the bottom. (Vetus Synodicon, 35) “”
    ……………………………………………..
    Oh yeah…we pick the books we like the best’est and the most’est .I often wonder if the vote had went the other way we may not even know who Paul was and our New Testament would look very different than what it does today.

    The book known as Revelation was not included in the early canon and appears to show up at a much later date than previously thought,…and was considered the writings of a lunatic according to some early Church Fathers.
    Search out Marcion, Tertullian,Origen, Polycarp, Ignatius,Justin Martyr and Epiphanius and see just how widely and wildly early Christianity truly was. Many had vastly opposing positions and beliefs. And please do remember these are the writings and opinions of those who were taught the FAITH by those who were taught by the actual eye-witnesses…the Apostles! 2nd Hand knowledge seems to trump what we arrogantly declare as truth today…nearly 2 millennia after the fact.

    Apocrypha books were added and taken out several times according to the dictates of the Official Roman Church according to whatever political agenda they wished to pursue at the time.
    I must agree with Tim ….. the Book of Revelation is not future prophecy but encouragement meant mainly for the early believers.And also a handy set of writings that could be used for spiritual domination and control of the masses..all politics is local they say.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Mark, it is apparent that you have done some good reading and study! I agree with you on much of what you said. I do understand the development of the Canon a bit differently though.

      By looking at several lists and comments on the lists by various early fathers through the years, it appears that some books were revered in some areas and other books in other areas. Over time consensus began to grow as some books became revered everywhere and some did not (such as Didache and Shepherd of Hermas). Some books like Jude and Revelation were late in being embraced everywhere.

      By the time of the councils, the consensus had already developed and the councils simply accepted the consensus. The Vetus Synodicon was written by an anonymous author in the late 9th century. The Vetus Synodicon is not considered to be a reliable source and is the first appearance of the story mentioned in the comment.

      Like

      • mark says:

        Tim I only used the Vetus Synodicon as an ensample and do indeed realize it was from a much later period of time. My point was to show how the opinions formed from political agendas set the tone of what would be considered cannon and doctrine.
        Various accounts from Nicaea back up your statement on Popularity of certain writings being used in place of others. But that only shows us what was in use at the time by a majority group in certain geographic areas. The assemblies from the East used certain works that were not used in the West and vice-versa. Again opinions.
        Here is another sample (sorry by my type key the one between W and Y has stopped working…got to fi that)

        The Council of Nicaea (325) repudiated Arianism, Arianism is a nontrinitarian belief that asserts that Jesus Christ is a Son of God, created by God the Father, distinct from the Father and therefore subordinate to the Father. It denies that Jesus is God the Son.
        {To (me ) I see no evidence in the NT to validate or even support the “Trinity Doctrine”}

        and also;
        The First Council of Constantinople (381) repudiated Arianism and Macedonianism, declared that Christ is “born of the Father before all time”, revised the Nicene Creed in regard to the Holy Spirit.
        The Council of Ephesus (431) repudiated Nestorianism, proclaimed the Virgin Mary as the Theotokos (“Birth-giver to God”, “God-bearer”, “Mother of God”), repudiated Pelagianism, and reaffirmed the Nicene Creed.
        This and all the following councils are not recognised by all of the Church of the East.

        So what do we say?..Are they not Christians because they do not support Mary Mother of GOD…or that they refuse the Triinity position? You see ..POLITICS. Thats the entity that decided what our FAITH would consist off…not the inspiration of the HS.
        So by that I would have to assume that since I don’t buy into the “Trinity” view or that “Mary Mother of GOD” position, then shortly after Nicaea I would have been labeled an Arianist and as such would have been deemed a Heretic and put to death.
        These Council’s were political and not Spirit driven.
        You see when the deciding vote was cast, It was the Emperor Constantine who cast it and it was cast in favor of the “church” leaders and power base in his locale. The entire thing was a charade put on to gain power and control of the movement by unifying it under one banner of belief. And that was determined by the Roman Empire.
        We are back to the start again….our commonly held faith is based of what GovCo says and not what GOD says. By the traditions of men you render the Word of GOD to no Avail.

        That was long winded and slightly off topic…..sorry about that.
        As was mentioned early in this thread…the END ain’t a gonna be like nothing we think.

        Like

        • Chas says:

          Mark, since I don’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah, they would have to label me the ‘Antichrist!’

          Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Mark, I certainly agree that the councils were political. What I am saying is that the results of the Nicene Council was not determined by Constantine.

          Constantine wanted all Christians to believe the same thing–to be unified. Athanasius of Alexandria, Egypt took advantage of that to push his political-theological agenda. But it was the Bishops–not Constantine that determined the conclusions. But then Constantine supported the results and put severe pressure on the Arians.

          Like

    • Chas says:

      Mark, your assessment is good. I strongly suspect that the Council of Nicaea picked the books that suited the personal views of the most powerful participants.

      Like

  7. Cannon is something you fire, used by armies as artillery. Canon means writings that are accepted as part of a whole truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. sheila0405 says:

    I don’t care a whit about Revelation. I agree about its genre, but there were other apocalyptic teachings around during the time of Jesus. My biggest concern was triggered by the very beginning of Tim’s post. He describes his fear of ending up in the lake of fire, and says “such is the mind of a child”. I think it is a terrible thing to tell a child that he is born damned before a perfectly holy God, and that he is destined for an eternity in flames if he doesn’t accept this God’s salvation through Jesus. Fear is a terrible motivator, IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Agreed, Sheila!

      Like

    • mark says:

      Yeah….a heck of a thing to teach kids.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      Since fear can cause permanent damage to the mind of a child, it shows that we need to exercise extreme care in what we tell them. I would normally be of the view that the truth could not damage them, but that might be dependent on whether they had already been damaged. It might be better to wait before giving bad news to a vulnerable child. What is clear is that we should never lie to, or deceive, them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chas says:

      My previous comment has raised another question: what should we do about fiction? It is written with good intent, yet children’s stories can cause unexpected fears, and some are deliberately scary. Other stories seem harmless, but how do we know how a child is likely to react to them?

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Chas, I think fiction is wonderful for children; it expands their imagination and introduces them to worlds outside their own. The problem is that parents sometimes use stories to manipulate children to perform as they wish them to perform; this is wrong.

        Parents and others in the family should read to children when they are very young, and if reader responds appropriately to the story–laughing, enjoying, being pretend scared–the child will realize that a story is only a story. Sometimes a child might be frightened anyway, but as CS Lewis says: One can never predict what might frighten a child.

        I believe adults reading to young children teach them how to later read fiction for themselves.

        Like

        • mark says:

          Yes. Lets just make dang sure we let them know it is fiction and not reality in any stretch of the imagination.
          ………………………………………………………………………………..
          I have enjoyed this Posting and it’s many contributions from all here who have spoken up. By entertaining the opposing dialogue and opinions of others , it goes to show me we are all at the Mercy and Grace of our Creator due to our inability to comprehend even the most simple of Christ’s teachings…to their fullest spiritual application and meaning .
          Just saying.
          Not a single one of us know truth in it’s entirety but just mere fragment that we must needs cling to to give our faith it’s substance and sustenance to survive the onslaught of the coming age. I have enjoyed this greatly and gotten to know each of you a bit more by you standing and comments than when we started. It seems we are all more alike than not.actually. Hmmm kinda reminds me of the personality differences of the Disciples…? Yet they all Loved the Lord.
          May the Peace Grace and mercy afforded at our FATHERS expense rest greatly upon each of you.

          Tim..I look forward to you net set of series

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Mark, I have enjoyed the dialog very much, as well. I think when we dialog we do learn from each other. And I agree that none of us know the truth in its entirety.

            I also agree that we need to make sure that young children know when we are reading them fiction that it is not at all real.

            Like

          • Chas says:

            Thanks Mark, your contributions have been very invigorating!

            Liked by 1 person

    • mark says:

      Shelila that is so true the comment about Fear being the motivator.
      I can’t imagine telling my Kids or my grandchildren that they are worthless and damned..which is in essence what we do when we go along with the Church Narrative..It’s awful isn’t it? That is not the “Love” I would want from my family.
      I remember sermons where the Pastor had read passages where GOD told the man he was as a worm…to another he was told to eat a “dung” sandwich… or to Chop his Prostitute wife up into little pieces. Ummm…Oh I love you for sure!!

      The OT is chock full of these type of passages,I really am surprised that more religious people don’t suffer from mental issue’s than what we are told… Due to the many lies of the “scribes”, we have to really think about who it is they are speaking about….is it our FATHER…or is it a local tribal god named molec or other…or simply the demiurge. Certainly those passages could not described the Creator who made all things and then declared “IT IS GOOD”……….chew the meat ..spit the bones.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Donald John says:

    Hell fire and also the Lake of swirling Fire & Brimstone is as biblically accurate as John 3:16.

    Liked by 1 person

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