Question: When Jesus spoke of "the light of the world" and a "city set on a hill," he was referring to:
A) His church
B) The United States of America
According to a spokesman for John Hagee's organization "Christians United for Israel," the answer is B) the United States of America:
"America is a shining city on the hill ordained by God. We have that tradition right here in America, and we do see Israel's promise in the Scripture"
Where did he even get the phrase "shining city on the hill?"
Jesus said to His disciples,
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Compare it also, to this description of a "shining city," which is the church:
Revelation 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
So, this spokesman for John Hagee's influential organization "Christians United for Israel" is taking a description of the church, the body of Christ, from the Bible, and applying it to the United States of America! And how many thousands of Christians are following this?
Recently we were having a discussion with some friends about "heaven." We had all attended a church service a few evenings earlier, the theme of which, coincidentally, was "what will heaven be like?" One of the passages the pastor quoted at church, and that we again referred to in our dinner discussion, was this from Revelation 21:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).
Our futuristically minded neighbors agreed with us that this is a description of heaven. A place of no more tears and no more sorrow. So we went on to discuss some other passages which identify the tears and the sorrow, and what removed them…we discussed the cross and the nature of our redemption. We discussed the "Revelation of Jesus Christ" and how it was not about the history of our planet, but the history of our redemption in Him, the restoration of innocence and presence with God. It struck me that while much "food for thought" had been brought to the table, the same question was still being asked, and the query remained pretty much unsatisfied: "Is this all there is?"
This is all very related to discussions even among "preterists" who acknowledge with their lips a completed redemption and yet in their hearts are far from experiencing the full impact of forgiveness. Could this be why the preterist view fails to be convincing to futurists? That often times those who present it focus on proving something that happened in the past, and have still not even experienced the impact of what they are "proving" for themselves? I am speaking of the power of the cross.
What we need, preterists and futurists alike, is revelation: The Revelation of Forgiveness. Because forgiveness *is* heaven. Forgiveness *is* home. Our futurist friends look forward to "going home" someday. So many of our preterist friends do too. No wonder we have nothing to offer to those who are seeking (regardless of their perceptions or paradigms) ultimate satisfaction and eternal comfort and rest.
As I was contemplating my neighbor's responses afterwards to our discussion of "heaven", it was very apparent that no "time statement argument" of what happened empirically in 70 AD was going to reveal forgiveness to her. And it is only *that* revelation which will answer the longing in her heart for her heavenly home. If the Bible equates forgiveness with heaven, and even supposed believers in heaven fulfilled are not acknowledging that *all* of their sin has been forgiven, then doesn't it stand to reason that this is where our focus as preterists needs to be?
Fulfilled eschatology = fulfilled redemption. I get really perplexed when people say they want to focus on soteriology rather than eschatology. The two cannot be separated, because either eschatology is fulfilled, or neither is our salvation. I just think there are a lot of "preterists" out there who have not really grasped the impact or the context of the forgiveness of sin and until they do, their "AD 70 message" is going to fall flat.
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
I have been married to my loving husband Keith for 26 years. We have three beautiful and brilliant children, ages 24, 22 and 20. Nothing cheers my heart more than having them all at home, yet nothing is more satisfying to my mind than watching them grow from afar. My personal passion is theology: the knowledge and experience of the Truth and Mercy found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and displayed in the lives and communion of His people. My husband and I love to travel, and because our children are often out and about in the world, we get lots of opportunities to see it! And we also love to fill our home with friends who love us, and love our wine collection.