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The Gospel (Good News) of the Kingdom (more)
Believe in Jesus and you will inherit eternal life. But look at the context of John 3:16 for a true understanding of the Gospel. John 3:14-15, says: "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." The people of Old Testament Israel were told to look upon the serpent to be healed of sickness and disease. But Christ was lifted up so that we can be healed from sin. We must be saved from sin. All sins are habitual. If we still sin, we must continue to look to the cross in order to stop sinning – in order to be healed from our sinful habits, so that we no longer sin. Only then can we inherit eternal life. (more)
The early church distanced themselves from the Jews. For example, at the Council of Nicene in 325 AD, Constantine sided with those who wanted to stop observing Passover and start observing Easter. He said, "We desire, dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews, for it is truly shameful for us to hear them boast that without their direction we could not keep the feast. … It would still be your duty not to tarnish your soul by communications with such wicked people."
Also, the school of Alexandra specifically sought to interpret the Old Testament in a spiritual way such that the Greek mindset would be more accepting of the seemingly barbaric nature of Jewish Scripture. They did the same with New Testament Scripture. There was never much attempt to interpret the New Testament like a Jew would have done. So there was never much attempt to interpret the New Testament in the context of the Old Testament.
Because of this, we have distorted presuppositions about Scripture. We try to “reinterpret the Old Testament in light of the New.” These presuppositions cause us to have vast differences in interpretation between Catholics and Protestants, and between the various denominations of the Protestants. The New Wine System solves all this by truly interpreting the New Testament in the context of the Old in a very literal way. The Old Testament is also interpreted very literally.
The New Wine System literally applies Old Testament prophecies about Israel to the New Testament Church. Instead of trying to reinterpret the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament, the New Wine System interprets the New Testament in the context of the Old Testament. And the Old Testament is interpreted in the same literal way that the original Old Testament authors would have done, given their time and culture. There will be an age to come, after Christ returns, where the gospel goes to all the nations because of the Messiah’s earthly reign. Both the just and the unjust will be raised. And the final judgment is not until a thousand years after the resurrection.
The New Wine System interprets Scripture much more literally than even the dispensationalists. The souls of the dead are literally asleep. Those who mature in the Messiah will literally reign as priests and kings over the nations. Being “born again” is to literally get a new body. The meek will literally inherit the earth. Christ is literally the Savior of all people. Salvation is literally being saved from death (Hades/grave) at the resurrection. But being saved from death does not necessarily mean eternal life. There is still the literal second death (Rev. 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8) to consider. Heaven is literally up, and hell is literally down. The New Jerusalem is a literal city that will literally come when Christ returns. The kingdom is a literal kingdom. And you literally must overcome all sinful habits to inherit the kingdom and eternal life.
For example, consider the following verse. Paul references "the kingdom of His Son" and links it with redemption from darkness and forgiveness of sins. He also encourages all believers to give thanks for being qualified to share this inheritance as saints in light. A dispensationalist might ask, "How does this fit into the New Wine System? Is this kingdom different than the millennial kingdom?"
Colossians 1:12-13 ESV giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (13) He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
Literally speaking, this would be referring to the New Jerusalem. But until that literal kingdom arrives, the kingdom is a promise of that kingdom that is in our hearts. To reign with Christ, and inherit that promise, we must become righteous, living in the light instead of in the darkness. The promise of the Kingdom of Israel has always been a promise – unfulfilled prophecy. We live for that promise. We live lives of righteousness because only the literal righteous will literally reign when the Kingdom comes. And the only way to live lives of righteousness is to mature through a personal relationship with Christ (the King).
Even Old Testament Israel was a promise of a kingdom that was to come. But when Christ came, the people were not ready because they had not overcome all their sinful habits. They were not ready to reign with the Messiah. Therefore, Christ left and will return. The promise of Abraham remains a promise.
The promise to Abraham was a promise of descendants and land. That adds up to a kingdom. But they understood you can’t have a kingdom without a king. David served as a temporary king until the real king, the Son of David, would come. So, Israel is a promise of a literal kingdom that has not yet been fulfilled.
You must be literally “born again” to physically (literally) enter that promised kingdom of God (or kingdom of heaven). “Born again” literally means to get a new body. Flesh gives literal (physical) birth to flesh; Spirit gives literal (physical) birth to spirit. It’s a spiritual body because those who are literally born again can literally come and go like the wind (John 3:8), meaning you can appear in the middle of locked rooms. Our current bodies of flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom. You must have a “spiritual body” to inherit the kingdom, or enter the kingdom. Only the people of true Israel are chosen to inherit that kingdom. Only the people of true Israel will get spiritual bodies at the resurrection. Only the people of true Israel can literally (physically) enter the kingdom.
That kingdom, which requires a spiritual body to enter, is the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21-22, which will be in orbit around the earth when Christ returns. It’s the Paradise that Paul visited, which was in the third heaven at that time. When Christ returns, Paradise will move to the first heaven, which is orbit around the earth.
Galatians 4:25-26 ESV Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. (26) But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.
Hebrews 11:10 ESV For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Hebrews 11:16 ESV But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Hebrews 12:22 ESV But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
Hebrews 13:14 ESV For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
The “city that is to come” is a literal city which will literally come to the earth. This city is called Paradise, or The New Jerusalem.
You must have a spiritual body to enter (and dwell in) the New Jerusalem. But that doesn’t mean that the resurrected nations (literally saved from death and Hades/grave) cannot continue to dwell here on the earth during the millennium. Those in Christ will have rooms in the Father’s house (the New Jerusalem). The literal wedding banquet will be in the New Jerusalem, which is called the "Bride, the wife of the Lamb" (Rev. 21:9). In other words, that's where the Bride becomes the Wife. And after that, we will literally reign over the nations with Christ, literally being the top-level of the government (Isaiah 9:7). Old Jerusalem will serve as the capitol of the world. But our dwelling (living) place will be in the New Jerusalem, in the first heaven, which is to say it will be in orbit around the earth.
Preterism says the Church is a New Testament continuation of the Old Testament Israel. So, Israel is the Church. But preterists believe that if you were to interpret the Old Testament prophecies about Israel in the literal way the Old Testament writers would have done, that it would violate principles taught in the New Testament. Therefore, preterists use symbolism and allegories to reinterpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament by forcing Old Testament prophecies about Israel to be fulfilled in Christ’s first coming.
For example, Zechariah 14 talks about a time after all the nations of the world have attacked Jerusalem. All the nations of the world must go to Jerusalem each year to worship at the Feast of Tabernacles. Any nation that does not go up to worship at Jerusalem will not get rain. It would be hard to argue that Zechariah himself understood this as being anything except for what the text literally says. But preterists would say this would violate New Testament teaching.
Ezekiel’s temple has too many details described to think that Ezekiel himself would have considered the temple to be simply symbolic, and never to be a physical temple that will literally be built. Ezekiel’s temple is described with the details of animal sacrifice. So how can it be in harmony with the teaching of Hebrews? Therefore, preterists do not believe the literal temple will be built, even if Ezekiel himself would have disagreed.
Dispensationalists, on the other hand, place emphasis on interpreting Old Testament prophecies about Israel in the same literal way as the Old Testament writers would have done. In other words, Scripture must be interpreted in the context of the culture and the time of the authors and their immediate audience.
To make Old Testament prophecies compatible with traditional interpretations of New Testament teaching, dispensationalists simply separate Israel from the Church. The Old Testament prophecies about Israel are to be fulfilled with a different group of people than that of the New Testament Church. New Testament authors, however, often quote Old Testament prophecies about Israel and apply them directly to the Church. It’s hard to believe that New Testament authors saw any real distinction between Old Covenant Israel and the New Covenant Church. There is only one body of true believers. There is only one faith, and one baptism. All those who are in Christ are Abraham’s seed, and heirs to the promise of Abraham (Galatians 3:29).
Therefore, the Church today, both preterist and dispensational, has trouble applying Old Testament prophecies about Israel to the New Testament Church, if they are to be interpreted literally. But what if the problem is in how we interpret the New Testament? For example, what if we do not properly understand everything the author of Hebrews was saying? Instead of trying to reinterpret the Old Testament prophecies about Israel in the light of the New Testament, what if we were to interpret the New Testament strictly in the context of the Old Testament? After all, the Old Testament was the Bible for the New Testament authors.
Consider the Jewish Christians who read Hebrews during the first century. Would they have considered Hebrews to be the world of God if it caused Old Testament prophecies to be interpreted in a way that even the Old Testament authors would have rejected? Or would the early Jewish Christians have considered Hebrews to be God’s word if it caused a complete separation of God’s people into two separate bodies of believers, one for the Old Covenant and another for the New Covenant? Could it be that because of their Old Testament background, that they would have interpreted Hebrews a bit differently?
Would the early Jews, who had been raised from their childhood learning the Old Testament Scriptures, have read and interpreted the New Testament in the same way that we have traditionally interpreted it? The Jews believed in a future Messianic earthly reign, where Israel will rule the world. The gospel of the kingdom will go throughout the world because of that future Messianic reign. The early Church, especially after Augustine, did not believe there would be a future earthly reign of Christ. Could this difference strongly affect one’s interpretation of New Testament Scripture?
The Greeks believed one’s soul went to eternal bliss or eternal punishment immediately after death. To the Greek, Hades was a place of punishment. Over time, the word Hades was translated as hell. But to the first-century Jew, Hades was the place where both the righteous and the unrighteous went when they died to await the resurrection in the age to come. They did not go straight to heaven or hell when they died.
For the ancient Jew, the age to come was not eternity in heaven. The age to come is the next phase of God’s redemptive plan. So, for the ancient Jew, one’s eternal destiny would not necessarily have been established at the time of death. To the Greek, however, one’s eternity had to be established at the time of death, because you either went to heaven or to hell when you died. But this was not the case if one had been taught the Old Testament from childhood. Death was simply a time of rest, for everyone, to await the resurrection. Could this difference strongly affect one’s interpretation of New Testament Scripture?
The application of Old Testament Jewish eschatology to the New Testament Church solves seven major problems of Scripture, which have divided the Church over the centuries. Most of the authors of New Testament were Jews. The New Wine System literally interprets Scripture along the same lines as Jewish eschatology of that day.
1. Calvinism vs. Arminianism (election vs. free-will). Solving this major Church divider without the use of paradoxes, or two sides of the same coin.
2. Salvation is a free gift. But inheriting the Kingdom requires lots of work. Solving the friction between grace and holiness verses.
3. Does salvation require fruits of the Spirit? Solving the friction between Lordship Salvation and Free Grace Theology.
4. The millennium as a free-grace alternative to purgatory. Solving the differences in salvation verses between Catholicism and Protestantism.
5. Would a loving God have a merciful plan for our loved ones who have died having never heard or understood about Christ?
6. Jewish eschatology provides Scriptural evidence that children who die young do not go to hell.
7. Amillennialism vs. Premillennialism. Scriptural evidence for the purpose of Christ's Messianic reign. The millennium is the climax of God's plan of redemption for all generations.
Election is solved by interpreting the Church in the exact same way as Israel is literally interpreted in the Old Testament. We are elected to inherit the kingdom and rule over the nations. The resurrected nations can still mature in Christ to receive the free gift of salvation and eternal life.
Lordship Salvation says that some visible fruits of the Spirit are required for salvation. Free Grace advocates say that no visible change in one’s life is required for salvation. The New Wine System distinguishes salvation from inheriting the kingdom. To inherit the kingdom requires one to overcome all one’s sinful habits.
Catholics view salvation as a journey to complete holiness. If the journey is not completed in this lifetime, some time in Purgatory is required. The New Wine System shows how the millennial reign of Christ is an alternative to being cleansed by fire in Purgatory.
Many Christians believe that God has a plan for those who die having never heard about Christ. The New Wine System shows how a literal interpretation of Scripture reveals the Father’s plan for all his children of every generation. The Father didn’t leave anyone out of his plan.
Since God has a plan for all his children, this includes children who die young. Thus, there is no need for an age of accountability, which is not found in Scripture.
Amillennialists see no reason to have a millennial reign of Christ here on the earth before eternity begins. The New Wine System shows us the reason. The Church is just the tip of the iceberg as compared to the total number who will mature into eternal life during Christ’s millennial reign.