I personally don’t know John Burton, but I sincerely appreciate his humble, godly, sober and biblically accurate response to Kris Valloton’s recent post: “My 8 Eschatological Core Values”.
Kris a good man and a man with a voice in the Christian community. It is therefore important for that community to respond to one another’s differing opinions in a godly and biblical manner. And I believe John Burton has done so:
Without rehashing what John has said so succinctly, I do feel it would be good to add just a little.
SOME TENT PEGS OF OUR FAITH:
God is good, and that goodness is centered around holiness. Ps 73:1
He is not willing that any should perish, and yet people perish. 2 Peter 3:9
He has always been a righteous Judge. 1 Kings 8:32, 2 Timothy 4:8
God was not a raving maniac in the OT who was calmed down by the work on the cross. In fact, it is in Malachi that we are told God never changes, and because of His constancy, we are not destroyed. Still, we remain most accountable to Him. Mal 3:6, Ps 78:38, 2 Pet 2:12
Believers are invited to tremble at the word of God and to never dig our heels in to any position that cannot be fully supported by the fullness of the biblical text. That goes for post-trib, pre-trib, no-trib, dominionism, progressive troubles up to the return of our Lord, smooth-sailing til the wedding party, etc.
1 Thus says the Lord:
“ Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
Where is the house that you will build Me?
And where is the place of My rest?
2 For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the Lord.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.
It is important for us to understand that the OT was written for the NT saint:
1 Peter 1:10-12
10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things which angels desire to look into.
And it would be wise to appreciate what our Lord declared regarding the fulfillment of all things written in the law (Paul uses the word “the law” in 1 Corinthians 14:21 when he quotes Isaiah – so this statement ought not be limited to the sin-propitiation requirements of the Mosaic law being fulfilled by the work on the cross).
1 Corinthians 10:6-12
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty- three thousand fell;
9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;
10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
PLEASE NOTE – Our Lord, in telling us WHAT NOT to think is making a preemptive strike against easy doctrines that He knew would be propagated in an attempt to drive the NT saints away from and out of the everlasting truths of the OT.
17 “ Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Besides the warning, above, of diminished reward for those who would teach in that manner, it ought to be noted that both testaments confirm it has never gone well for anyone to declare what they refuse to embrace or won’t allow, when such “unacceptable” positions happen to be in alignment with biblical text.
AN OT EXAMPLE:
NOTE: THIS IS A “FOREVER AND FOREVER” DECLARATION, so we might always understand the ramifications of desiring easier things than the Lord might be saying:
8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet,
And note it on a scroll,
That it may be for time to come,
Forever and ever:
9 That this is a rebellious people,
Children who will not hear the law of the Lord;
10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,”
And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.
AN NT EXAMPLE – here we see a warning that NT saints can even twist things to their own destruction – even in this age of grace:
2 Peter 3:14-18
14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;
15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation — as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
Exemplary of what I would consider as being inaccurate eschatology is where Kris writes:
“4. I will not allow any interpretation of the scriptures that destroys hope for the nations and undermines our command to restore ruined cities.”
We undoubtedly are called to actively evangelize the entire world, to preach to all nations, to warn every man. That said, and without contradiction, the word of God tells us there are nations and regions that will defy God up until the flaming-fire return of Messiah, and those nations are destined for destruction. The word of God says the following – concluding with the sovereign challenge: “who will turn it back?”.
Will anyone’s refusal to embrace this prophetic word stop this prophetic word?
24 The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying,
“Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass,
And as I have purposed, so it shall stand:
25 That I will break the Assyrian in My land,
And on My mountains tread him underfoot.
Then his yoke shall be removed from them,
And his burden removed from their shoulders.
26 This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth,
And this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations.
27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed,
And who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out,
And who will turn it back?”
Even as we hear (and pray for) the salvation of Muslims in the Middle East, of some having open visions of Yeshua the Jewish Messiah and converting, we still understand that sadly most of the enemies of Israel will remain the enemies of Israel.
The Assyrians will be broken, by a sovereign work of God, in God’s land.
I don’t think anyone would argue that land is Israel. To that point and supporting Isaiah’s word:
2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.
Further to that point, Psalm 110, mentioned more times in the NT than the birth of Christ, confirms the following – the return of our Lord will be marked by violence and judgment:
5 The Lord is at Your right hand;
He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath
6 He shall judge among the nations,
He shall fill the places with dead bodies,
He shall execute the heads of many countries.
The word of God is what it is. The word of God is what it is.
We can argue. We can take issue. We can refuse to embrace it. We can even try to soften it. Or we can tremble at the word in its entirety, respecting its validity, recognizing what has been fulfilled and what has yet to be fulfilled by a loving God who has declared war on injustice and evil and everything else that stands in the way of holy love.
Thanks again, John Burton.
(All Scripture NKJV)