So many believers today have cut their teeth on Jesus Second coming being just around the corner that taking this away from them is tantamount to taking the tires off a high performance car. They honestly don’t know how to walk their Christian walk once the information has taken root. Additionally, many Christians who embrace Preterism experience a disconnect on how to read the Bible – so much so that many of them actually give up reading it all together! Again, when a person has been trained to read the Bible as if it was written to them in this day and age it can be challenging to retrain oneself to see it as having been fulfilled but having great spiritual applications to all people since it became available. Finally, people wonder, amidst what they are perceiving as spiritual chaos, what the purpose of life is if Jesus is not coming to rapture believers up and to destroy the world. Let me conclude with a brief summary followed by some insights and suggestions.
1. The Bible is a written record of God dealing with the Nation of Israel start to finish. That’s what it is physically and materially. Nowhere, anywhere, does God ever in the text suggest that it applies to us literally and materially today – nowhere. Hear me clearly – this does not mean it does not bless us spiritually – it certainly does – in more ways that we can even articulate, but we must not allow ourselves to read the Bible as if it was written to us – it was written to them and was immediately addressing the circumstances and situations they faced – including the promised Messiah, his birth, life, death, resurrection and His return upon them with judgment. The record is done. The events over. The author and finisher of our faith, overcoming sin and death and rendering Satan powerless (not ineffective but having no power to put us in chains) now reins over a spiritual Kingdom at the right hand of the Father bringing sons and daughters to God by His grace through faith in Him.
2. All that was recorded, reported, and commanded in the Bible, since Jesus wrapped the physical applications up with Judgement falling upon Jerusalem continues to serve believers today. But instead of taking the book and trying to do what they were actually doing nearly 2000 years ago and in some very different circumstances, we read, and study and consult the Bible for spiritual insights, to increase our faith and to learn from its contents about the nature and person of God through Christ. Everything that was materially played out then is spiritually played out in our lives today. This concept is not so far-fetched. All we have to do is look at the Old Testament relative to the New and we see the same situation.
3. When men and women try and recreate the early apostolic church based on what is described in the New Testament they miss the whole point: Jesus told Matthew that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. He was correct. And the Apostolic Church He sent His chosen apostles to was not touched. Then in 70 AD He came and took it - a church full of His brethren (brought in by the Apostles and the Holy Spirit).
4. But Jesus also called Paul, whose purpose was to take the Good News out to the rest of the world. Those of us who believe do not make up His Church, we do not reside in a brick and mortar institution – we are His Body. Hell cannot touch the Body of Christ, but it has certainly prevailed against every single brick and mortar institution men have created in an attempt to replicate the Apostolic Church.
5. As a Body of Believers we look to, study, learn and consult the Bible realizing that everything has occurred but God is sanctifying us by the washing of His Word in conjunction with His laws which He has written in our hearts.