I Wonder as I Wander

John 6:66-71 (oh no, the mark of the beast!)

As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore. Jesus said therefore to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?’ Now He meant Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray Him.”

Talk about foreshadowing! The betrayal of Judas doesn’t sneak up on anyone, does it? Oh yes it did. Hindsight is 20/20. Yet Jesus not only knew who would betray him but how much he would charge to do so and where he would die. “And I said to them, ‘If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!’ So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages. Then the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.’ So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw them to the potter in the house of the LORD. Then I cut my second staff, Union, in pieces, to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.”

My mind wanders– want to come with me?

Etymology is important. Our English word for church comes from the German word “Kirche” which itself is derived from medieval Greek (not Koine Greek [pronounced Koy-nay]); Kuriakon, meaning “Lord’s (house).” But the Koine Greek word is transliterated as Ekklesia; called out assembly. If Jesus used the word “church” it would have been redundant, reading something like, I will build my my house. We don’t want to wrangle over words but they are important.

Judas Iscariot; Judas is simply the Greek translation of Judah. Iscariot most likely means “man from Kerioth.” Kerioth was in southern Judah, AKA; Hazor. Hazor was the seat of Jabin who attempted to attack Joshua. Notice Joshua 11: “Then it came about, when Jabin [the man from Kerioth] king of Hazor heard of it, that he sent to… [a confederation of kings and many people]. And they came out, they and all their armies with them, as many people as the sand that is on the seashore, with very many horses and chariots. So all of these kings having agreed to meet, came and encamped together at the waters of Merom, to fight against Israel…And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, so that they defeated them, and pursued them as far as Great Sidon and Misrephoth-maim and the valley of Mizpeh to the east; and they struck them until no survivor was left to them…Then Joshua turned back at that time, and captured Hazor [Kerioth] and struck its king [the man from Kerioth] with the sword; for Hazor formerly was the head [rosh; we will come back to this] of all these kingdoms.”

Joshua is almost identical in Hebrew to Jesus. The definition of both names are synonymous. Given time and transition, Jesus and Joshua are essentially the same name with the same meaning. Also, Joshua is a type of Jesus. A question of conclusion: was Judas a type of Antichrist? If I had two wishes it would be to get rid of the word Antichrist and the word church because we don’t know what either one means (I suppose we could throw Rapture in their too but we actually know what it means; we simply turn the verb into a noun and assign a doctrine to it rather than understanding the metaphorical meaning). As for Judas, like pharaoh, he never had a chance. Not because Jesus was against him but because he was against Jesus– anti-christ. The Lord didn’t draw him to himself to save Judah from Kerioth, I mean Judas Iscariot, but to fulfill that which was promised. Don’t worry, I have confounded even myself. My point is that there is always more to the story than meets the eye. My other point is that God knows the future but doesn’t share a lot about it with us despite the dubious discourse of the dogmatic dispensationalists and prophecy pundits.

Even if 1/3 of the Bible is prophecy yet left unfulfilled, what do we really know about the future?

According to the dogmatic dispensationalists, Russia is bad and Israel is good. Russia is going to invade Israel like Jabin king of Hazor, with a confederation completely outnumbering Israel. They will search for spoil; “1,000 gold drachmas, 50 basins, 530 priests’ garments. And some of the heads of fathers’ households gave into the treasury of the work 20,000 gold drachmas, and 2,200 silver minas.”

Whoops, I ripped that out of context. Let’s try this:

“hangings of fine white and violet linen held by cords of fine purple linen on silver rings and marble columns, and couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and precious stones.”

Wait, I lied, I ripped that out of context too, it will actually be “silver and gold…cattle and goods.” Sounds similar though, doesn’t it? Most likely it’s because both quotes are from the same events and one from the prophecy pointing to the events. The one prophesied is in Ezekiel and the others are fulfilled in Esther and Ezra, even Nehemiah and not in some far future epoch from the time in which it was written. “Rosh” doesn’t mean Russia; there was no “Russia” until the ninth century. Even then it wasn’t called Russia. Of course the dogmatic dispensationalists are quick to point out that God knows the future and knew the future name of the “land of the north.” Why then are the rest of the names contemporary to Ezekiel’s day? Rosh means “cheif” or “head,” as in Rosh Hashana and as we saw in Joshua. We could delve deeper and should but for time’s sake, see the similarities between Judas, Pharaoh, Rosh Prince of Meshech and Tubal, Jabin and a thousand other Anti-christs, chosen by Christ. They were all against God’s people but part of God’s plan.

The dogmatic-dispensationalist prophecy-pundits would agree with me that these men and others, such as Nebuchadnezzar, were against God’s people. The problem is that they believe “the church” is a temporary subset of God’s people and that ethnic Israel is God’s true chosen people. Paul tells us over and over again that this is not the case; “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” But what does Jesus say? “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?”

Am I the only one who finds it utterly ironic that the one Jesus chose, who would betray him was named “Judah?” We will come back to this as we wander. Remember, all who wander are not lost.

Paul writes; “it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: ‘THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.’ That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is a word of promise: ‘AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.’ And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.’ Just as it is written, ‘JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.’ What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, ‘I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.’ So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.’ So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”

Chalk one up for Calvinism. Yet I am ever weary of all the “isms.” Nevertheless as an attempt to explain salvation with worldly words, Calvinism attempts to explain salvation with wordly words. Are you willing to wander with me a little further? Paul was not preaching Calvinism in Romans 9. Don’t let the “ism” steer the ship.

Let’s look at the most common “isms” concerning our eschatologies. Pretribulationalism, midtribulationalism, posttribulationalism, premillennialism, amillennialism, dominionism and postmillennialism. In short, some believe that Jesus returns to rapture his church (two questionable words themselves) before a great tribulation, halfway between a great tribulation or after a great tribulation. Regarding the millennium; some believe Jesus returns before a literal thousand years reign, some believe that the thousand years is figurative, some believe it is the souls in heaven and some believe Jesus returns after an either literal thousand years reign or after a figurative thousand years reign– and there are other views– Preterism for example. Also there are interminglings between views. Most postmillennialist are partial preterists but not all preterists are postmillennialist.

Picture this: a large tribe of people who have managed to keep themselves aloof from the rest of the world are found, willing to have contact with the outside world after 200 years, yet very cautiously and limited. Amazingly, they speak and read English. They were visited by by missionaries in 1898 but the only remaining vestiges from that time is the speaking in, and ability to read, English. Two, christian missionaries are sent but the Bibles they bring are lost in transit. The only Bible that survives the trip is a Bible carried by one of the missionaries and the last two pages are missing.

The missionaries begin going through the Bible slowly starting in Genesis. After several months of teaching the people to consider the context and reading long parts at a time, the missionaries head home. But they leave behind the Bible with the last two pages missing after teaching their way through half of the Old Testament. The people are well equipped to continue considering the context. By the time they finished going through the Bible sans the last two pages, what type of eschatological “ism” will they be?

The answer is; none. We base our eschatology models on one chapter of one book and that book is a difficult book and the chapter is a difficult chapter and it is at the end of the entire Bible less 2 chapters. It’s also a relatively short chapter. My point is that we read “isms” into the context, even if we think we have an an excellent example or examples of explanation. If all the “isms” were true, the Bible would not have to be nearly as long as it is.

We can’t explain all concerning salvation with “Tulip” and certainly can’t predict what will happen tomorrow based on prophecy in the Bible. How one reads texts depends on the “isms” to which they hold. Don’t fall for the false narrative but read the Bible for all its worth, letting Scripture interpret Scripture. You can utilize a hermeneutical tool such as the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics, where; Context is king, Author’s Aspirations to his Audience are apex, Genre is the general, Expository Exegesis of Examples enlightens and Dividing rightly the Word of Truth either confirms or cancels our preconceived notions and presuppositions.

While Romans 9 has certainly created more than a cadre of Calvinists, was that Paul’s aspiration to his audience? Please don’t misunderstand my musings, the Bible clearly teaches about “a chosen people,” and this applies to both sides; Paul, Peter and John but also Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Caesar Augustus and Judas. The question is why? The answer is to execute God’s plan in his sovereignty. It has the same purpose as prophecy, so that we will believe.

My problem with the “isms” ie. the modes and models, is that they tend to be the end all be all. Dispensationalism demands that God has two distinct people with two distinct plans even though Paul writes that such is not the case, over and over again. Calvinism must wrangle with the following words: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance.” In a very similar way, dispensationalism also must wrangle with these words. Both “isms” do exactly that but explain away the context.

Beware the false narrative and explaining things away. But rather engage with and consider the context, letting the Bible interpret itself and not any particular “ism.” The most Calvinisistic in Calvinism don’t preach Calvinism. The thought is, and rightfully so, that if Calvinism is true, it will be apparent by the study of Scripture in its context without emphasizing the “ism.” That is, they don’t preach Calvinism but the Scripture. In other words, don’t force the model onto Scripture. This is why I am a partial preterist with a postmillennialish eschatology. Clearly the millennial kingdom is figurative and not a literal thousand years but Daniel’s 70 weeks of years are not over two thousand years on hold. Why? Because of the context and the true narrative.

I neither let Calvinism nor postmillennialism steer the ship. Partial preterism merely means that the predominant part of prophecy is in the past but that doesn’t steer the ship either because history repeats itself, even in the Bible. However after much Bible study, considering the context I see the followers of Calvin’s points, and I see a non-literal, postmillennial, return of Christ, even though I still have objections to some of the wording and points put forth by the models. Yet I am fully convinced of partial preterism; Matthew 24 was fulfilled by the end of 70 AD. Nevertheless, history repeats itself for those unwilling to learn from it.

Look at Pharoah, Jabin, Rezin, Aram, Tiglath-pileser, Nebuchadnezzar, Sanballat, Haman, Ceasar Augustus, Claudius, Nero and Judas Iscariot, all were against God but working for God. They all are very similar to each other and cover over a millennia of history. Even in the New Testament we see similarities. The Pharisees and Sadducees, Alexander the coppersmith, Hymenaeus and Philetus. But all of these men were eventualy found out to be false, even though chosen by God to test his people and accomplish his greater goal of saving the world and teaching his people to trust him.

It reminds me of Sid Roth. Yet after being more than wrong, he is still on the air, meaning people still support his ministry. What are we doing?

Jesus chose Judas but there is a but. Notice; “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” Ok, it’s not exactly a “but” however it is close. Notice also that Jesus uses rhetoric, metaphor, hyperbole and irony. Judas wasn’t a literal devil; just a Jewish man from Judah, named Judah.

Let’s look at Young’s Literal translation: “Jesus answered them, ‘Did not I choose you — the twelve? and of you — one is a devil.'” But don’t forget the context. Because of Jesus telling the multitude of people, and his perhaps 70 or more disciples, that they had to eat his flesh only the 12 remain. Jesus asks them; “You do not want to go away also, do you?”

Peter responded for the twelve; “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” Not one of the 12 departs at this time. It appears that for now, they all agree with Peter’s assessment. Yet Jesus knows the future but didn’t fully reveal it to them.

This is where Calvinism goes too far: and or; comes up short, in my opinion based on Tulip. Calvinism as a mode and model, using Tulip, cannot explain the betrayal. Jesus did not choose Judas to betray him but because he would betray him. Jesus didn’t choose Judah (Judas) to save him from his sins but because of his sin. Jesus doesn’t force Judah (Judas) to betray him, rather Jesus came to save him but the strictest models of Calvinism won’t let one accept this.

Judah (Judas) died under the Law and not grace, even though he saw Jesus face to face. If you have not figured it out yet, Judas is the microcosm of his namesake, Judah.

Speaking about the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Judah, after Israel’s exile but before Judah’s exile, Jeremiah writes; “God says, ‘If a husband divorces his wife, And she goes from him, And belongs to another man, Will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted? But you are a harlot with many lovers…’ Then the LORD said to me in the days of Josiah the king, ‘Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. And I athought, “After she has done all these things, she will return to Me;” but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. And it came about because of the lightness of her harlotry, that she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,’ declares the LORD. And the LORD said to me, ‘Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go, and proclaim these words toward the north and say, “Return, faithless Israel,” declares the LORD.'”

Pop quiz? How many disciples were from the northern part of ancient Israel; the region of Galilee? How many were from Judea, the region of Judas, or Judah? It’s easy to answer the question when the answer is found in the question, even if one doesn’t know the answer.

I honestly don’t know why I write, if I can’t prove to anyone that the great harlot in Revelation was Jerusalem or that neither of the beasts in Revelation were the Antichrist defined by John in his second epistle, how can I convince anyone of anything? don’t believe me, believe the Bible. John defined the great harlot in Revelation itself. Yet he also alludes to the Old Testament. In the same way the Antichrist is defined by John but not in Revelation. Don’t get me started on the last days…simply ask; “the last days of what?” Then consider the context.

Calvinism, dispensationalism, preterism and all the “isms” place the Bible in a box. All of our “isms,” true or false, can keep the Bible CAGED. We don’t want our “isms” to steer the ship. We should want to mine for gold and let the Scripture interpret Scripture, seeing the sublime string by considering the context, aspirations of author, genre, examples and then divide rightly the word of truth.

When you have done this to a great extent it’s probable that you will be a Calvinist, a partial preterist and a postmillennialist. Nevertheless don’t make the “isms” the engine that powers your study or the rudder that steers the ship. Don’t worry about tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. Only God knows the future and despite many of our “ism,” he doesn’t tell us our tomorrows. Anytime someone sneezes in the middle east, the prophecy pundits proclaim that it’s part of prophecy. Guess what was a major part of prophecy but even until it happened, no one saw it coming? Even with multiple warnings in the Old Testament and Jesus telling his disciples it would happen, until it happened, they didn’t believe.

Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?

 

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