I still really must admit that I do hold to a literal return of Jesus and a new heavens and a new earth. Be interested in your thoughts
I responded:I do not see a future coming of Jesus -- for if we are waiting for a literal/physical fulfillment of prophecy, then we are going *backwards* into what is lesser/inferior. I see that the spiritual always trumps the physical. AND, I see that we are now in, and have been in, the new heavens and new earth ... it's one and the same as the new covenant. We've just been prevented, by the traditions of man, from seeing, and thus experiencing, what we have, and who we are.
(I see that the Jews, insisting on a literal fulfillment of a King on a throne, missed the coming of Jesus the first time ... and Christians, insisting on a literal fulfillment of a King on a throne, missed/are missing the coming of Jesus the second time. To insist on a literal fulfillment is to miss the point, and to miss the significance of what is *at hand* ... will the world, the environment, the interactions of mankind improve, in the future? YES! As more and more awaken to what IS, rather than believing the insanity of the Christian forever-in-limbo, tread water 'til Jesus comes to fix it all -- and fry the majority -- message...!)
The entire old covenant was tangible/physical/external ... and the fulfillment was spiritual/internal. The spiritual is superior to the tangible. Always. Law on stone became law on hearts ... circumcision of flesh became circumcision of "hearts" ... external observation of Sabbath became internal Sabbath rest (way of Life) ... seeing God as external/distant became realizing God as internal/nearer-than-breath/within. The Kingdom, as Jesus put it, does *not* come by observation (IOW, we cannot see it with our physical eyes) ... it is within us, in our midst, accessible by way of understanding ... repenting (turning from) the carnal/egoic mind, and realizing that we HAVE the Mind of Christ. This happens one heart at a time, not in a cataclysmic world-wide "enforced from outside of us" event. God has done all that needs to be done ... "It is finished." The only thing remaining is for us to *awaken* to what *IS*, to what God has done, to who we ARE, so that all of creation will be released from the madness of our egoic/separation-mentality thinking...!
Of course, the Spirit IS leading us into all truth, and Christ IS drawing all men to Himself, so it's inevitable ... we all must be willing to examine what we've been taught to believe (or have assumed), and willing to let go (i.e., "die to self") so that our minds can be renewed, so that lies can be replaced with truth, so that what is in the way can fall away, and we can HERE AND NOW experience the Abundant Life with is our ultimate reality.
As a man thinks in his own heart, so is he. I had to ask myself, "is what I believe enabling me to live the Abundant Life? Is what I believe leading me to Fear, or to Perfect Love?"
IOW, how are your current beliefs working for you...?
Yeah, that makes sense. But it doesn't mean that he can't come again, know what I mean? That all makes sense - although verses about taking the throne of David come to mind that make me wonder. But I'm not talking about the old law. I'm talking about what's to come next. I just can't help wondering, you know?
I respond: I wonder if literalizing the prophecies renders them moot..? I see that Jesus used parables to teach truths that were beyond-the-surface ... with the point being to look *beyond* the surface. Why wouldn't God, who never changes, also have employed the metaphorical lessons in prior generations ... as in, wouldn't the OT scriptures (including the prophecies) also have the purpose of using the tangibles to demonstrate, to symbolize, a deeper meaning?
So, I see the throne of David given as a tangible demonstration of what would later be fulfilled in a far-superior spiritual realization. Everything else demonstrated in the OT as tangible (Law, Sabbath, circumcision, Kingdom) was fulfilled in a spiritual way (law on hearts, sabbath as way of life, Kingdom within). Why would the throne of David be the sole literal exception to that...? Especially given that Jesus said that His Kingdom would *not* come by observation (we cannot see it) ... but would be (is) in our midst, within us. The Abundant Life is achieved by faith, by grace, not by being overwhelmed with physical evidence and proofs ... then it would no longer be faith.
It is fun to fathom the possibilities of the future ... but for me, the way I frame the story makes all the difference for how I live here and now. And I notice that NOW is all there is. The past is gone, and the future never arrives ... all I have is NOW. God is the I Am, not the I Was (& too bad we missed it), or the I Will Be (sorry it's taking so long..!). If I'm waiting for God to *do* something in the future to "fix this mess", then I miss that He wants me, as part of the Body of Christ (NOT the Christian/church definition, BTW), to be His hands and feet, to cooperate with Him here and now, to make a difference in this world, to bring healing to others' minds, bodies, lives ...!
The traditional Christian message of "this will get worse and worse and then Jesus will show up to liberate the few and fry the many" renders me to treading water (in limbo) at best, and cowering in fear at worst (what IF I'm one of those to whom He'll say, "I never knew you"...?) ... and further, I'll regard this planet & most humans, as future flame-fodder (why bother to heal them?), and I will thus rejoice as things escalate in "appearances" of evil. I see that the story of a future-return of Jesus has brought much pain and destruction upon mankind and this planet ... so that Christians actually celebrate when tragedies happen (thinking it means Jesus is soon coming!) ... and has rendered most of us to be self-insulated and passive, rather than participating fully in the Abundant Life we have here and now, being salt and Light and Love to those who are dying from a perceived lack, and an erroneous notion of being separated from God ...
So, that's why I'm passionate, that's why I think the fulfillment understanding matters.
Yes, of course, God can do anything He chooses ... but I see that all of the scriptures (from which we derive our notions of future happenings) is now, and has been fulfilled. So, whatever happens in the future, is speculation -- we have nothing telling us, in scripture, of what happens in the future (everything written in Scripture has long been fulfilled).
I want to be about the business of living, of healing, of sharing, of shining my Light, of BEING Light, to this (self-imposed) dark world ... recognizing that He is HERE now, even more so than when He was walking the planet (Jesus said it would be better for us if He physically left, so that the Spirit came -- i.e., that we became more aware of the Spirit who is always here, within us, AS us) ... for I see that the unseen/spiritual reality is more real than the seen/tangible appearance of reality.
LOL, now I'm preaching ...! Ok, I'll shut up...!