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A second look at Dr Peter Bolt's view of Jesus going TO the Ancient of Days

Discussion in 'Eschatology - Endtimes & Prophecy Forum' started by eclipsenow, Mar 21, 2022.

  1. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

    Hi Randy, the last bit of this post had some formatting issues. Please copy and paste your post again with the correct formatting so I can read better - but up until that point I think we were on the same page theologically.
  2. DavidPT

    DavidPT Well-Known Member

    United States

    Maybe gazillion means something different to you than it does me. A trillion years is already a lengthy amount of time, a gazillion years is even lengthier than that. A thousand years could never mean a gazillion years, nor a trillion years, nor even a million years. You know why? Because from the time Adam was created until the time the great white throne is completed, this will only be involving thousands of years, and that the thousand years only involve a period of time when satan is bound. IOW, one can't fit a gazillion years into an age that doesn't even involve a gazillion years. If we apply that to this present age, then have it beginning at the cross, or maybe the ascension, then have it continuing until satan is loosed, that will only be involving maybe 2000 years, not a million years, not a gazillion years. And once this thousand years are finished there will never be another thousand years again because satan will be in the LOF after the thousand years and so will his followers, meaning after his little season.

    Even if a thousand years can mean two thousand years, it still can't mean a gazillion years no matter how you look at it. A better way to reason it, and I'm guessing it's how SJ might reason it, is that the thousand years symbolize an unspecified amount of time involving the NT church age, that assuming the thousand years fit in this age. That way they don't need to mean a gazillion years since there is no such thing as an NT church age involving a gazillion years to begin with, meaning between His ascension and His return in the end of this age.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2022
  3. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

    So you assert, but we're not there yet.
    Also, I'm not saying it's trillions - just a vague word meaning a LOT.
    Also, you haven't provided a single case of the bible using 1000 literally with time.
    Also, there's more.

    Psalm 50: "I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills."
    = Is the literal futurist really going to argue that God only owns a thousand hills? What about the other million or so on Earth?

    Deuteronomy 1:11 - "11 May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!"
    = God was *only* going to grow his people a thousand times - from the literal number of people standing before Moses that day? What happened to more than the stars in the sky and grains of sand on a beach?

    Deuteronomy 7:9 - "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments."
    = Is the literal futurist really bold enough to insist God is only faithful for a thousand generations? A generation was 40 years - so in 40,000 years God is unfaithful!!!???

    Psalm 105:8 - "He remembers his covenant FOREVER, the promise he made, for a THOUSAND generations"
    = Well, which is it? Forever, or a thousand generations / 40,000 years?

    Psalms 84:10 - "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked."
    = Is one day at church better than 1000 days aka 2.7 years, or is this a qualitative assessment of where it is better to DWELL for a long time?

    Psalm 91:7 - "A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you."
    = Is it a thousand or ten-thousand? Is it a gazillion or ten gazillion?

    Isaiah 60:22 - "The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation."
    = You mean there are limits on God's kingdom - it will ONLY grow 1000 times in size from Isaiah's lifetime?

    Judges 15:16 - "Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.”
    I love this one - as I've been a soldier. The image of a Sampson having a bookkeeper counting his kills is just hilarious. "997, 998, 999, 1000 - that's it Sampson! You're done for the day! Stand down Sampson - I'm writing this down!"

    Job 9:3 - "Though they wished to dispute with him, they could not answer him one time out of a thousand."
    Could Job's 'friends' actually answer his suffering 1 time in a thousand, or is the emphasis of this story that they had NO answers - only God had the authority to answer Job (and decided not to tell Job the real reason anyway. Job was just to trust God anyway, without an answer!)

    You can see from the above why I chuckle a bit when futurists insist the 1000 in the most symbolic book in the bible is 'literal' - an actual number. That's just absurd.
  4. RandyPNW

    RandyPNW Well-Known Member

    United States
    Let me know if it got fixed? Thanks.
  5. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

    There's a sense in which as the gospel advances, Satan's kingdom retreats. But I think I agree that the kingdom now is 'limited' but I would say something like "Not fully eschatologically actualised / realised."

    Nice to hear of his character.

    I think the NT presents religious freedom as essential, for each should be convinced in their own minds and not under compulsion etc. The gospel is grace, not law. I guess this is where we differ because I think the church will do fine in a tolerant modern democracy. As an introduction to this topic I'd love you to listen to Dr John Dickon's podcast "Undeceptions". He's a theologian with a Phd in history that runs apologetics topics from a historical angle, and also interviews experts in periods of history outside his field.
    (He's a Roman historian. I once went to a fancy dress party he was at - proud of my Medieval Poet's cape and beret. He SMASHED my outfit by turning up - of course - as Julius Caesar himself. The rest of the night I had cape envy! ;-) )

    Religious Freedom - Undeceptions
    The irony here?
    He finishes off this podcast by reminding people that the next week's episode was on the Crusades. From religious tolerance and freedom (touching on separation of church and state) to the Crusades! Ouch - now that's a rough transition!
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2022
  6. RandyPNW

    RandyPNW Well-Known Member

    United States
    This is kind of a sore subject for me right now. I was just booted off of another forum because of my views on this--temporarily, but I don't think I'll be going back. I would love for you or your friend to take another look at this. It is easily misunderstood because things are understood a little differently today than they were in the past. And my views are based on something that is past, and not likely to return any time soon.

    I hesitate to get into it again because of the turmoil I've just been through, though I love talking about it. In my sense of a "Christian State," the State can be a democracy, a republic, a monarchy, etc. What makes it a Christian State is the fact the vast majority of citizens are Christians, and agree on a common morality, based on the religious standards. Agreeing on a standard, broad Christian Theology, such as the creeds, does not require that there be a State Church.

    It can also tolerate those of other faiths as minorities, assuming they live by the same moral standards as Christianity would require. It is not about persecuting people who must be motivated, as you said, by their own conscience.

    Liberal Democracies can be Christian but they tend to be mixed, as I see it. Liberal Theology is tolerant of a diversity of Christian views, including heretical Christian views. Historically, liberal theology tended to depreciate the idea of the supernatural, miracles, and personal spiritual change, or mysticism.

    It also tended to view God as a philosophical concept more than a knowable Being, rendering different faiths similar without critical differences. Muslims, Jews, and Christians may all be viewed as similar monotheistic faiths. And other religions may even have a sense of supreme Being, or even a good vs. evil.

    In the founding of the US Constitution, the idea was religious and Christian, but it was as much deist as it was the more conservative kind of Christianity. And so, liberal democracy in America and in Europe tended to be tolerant of all religions, and wished to avoid establishing Christianity in the State.

    And due to the deterioration of Christianity I'm not shocked that liberals and the philosophes rose up against traditional Christianity and State Christianity. However, what they proposed was the opposite of what God had proposed with ancient Israel. Whereas God required all within a believing State to accept only the one true God, liberal Christian States began to accept many gods in the legal sense.

    While I think that checks and balances are important to counter the abuses of a Christian State, getting rid of the Christian State entirely is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Even worse, it is defying what God's ideal was with ancient Israel. So there is that.

    I would just add this. I state my beliefs here not under the illusion that Christian States will be restored before Jesus' return. On the contrary, I think Paul's promised "apostasy" (2 Thes 2) has been taking place since the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.

    However, I believe we must uphold biblical standards as to what we *should* believe in, so that too much tolerance of false religions does not become a part of our Gospel testimony. This will not bring a complete repentance, and it will justify some in their false sense of security in faiths that have some "good" in them.

    Thanks for the link--I'll check it out.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2022
  7. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

    Please listen to it before I reply to your thoughts here.
  8. RandyPNW

    RandyPNW Well-Known Member

    United States
    Okay, I've listened to it, and it is really what I expected--a comparison of secularists' views of religious freedom with many Christians' views of religious freedom. And as I said, the problem with this is, it is mixing up ideas of religious conscience with the necessity of a uniform morality within society. And it ignores the differences in political conditions between a secularist or pagan State and a definitive Christian State.

    Again, established Christianity is not the same thing as intolerance of religion, nor is it acceptance of all religion. To guarantee a specific moral baseline, there is a necessary theological requirement, if only broadly put. If the Christian standard is too loose, then all kinds of moral questions enter, such as is abortion okay, is homosexuality okay, etc.

    By the way, when I say there must be a theological prescription for the Christian State, I'm suggesting that orthodoxy be required only as an acknowledged standard for Christian churches, even if heretical churches are tolerated. There need be no punishment for being unorthodox except in matters of State policy towards the favored religion. The State may, for example, donate tax money to orthodox churches, while not showing the same favor towards heretical churches.

    The important distinction here is that the Christian State acknowledge what is truly orthodox and what is heretical, without having to punish the corruptor of true Christianity. For example, the Jew would be identified as against the NT without having to be punished for it.

    Standard Christian theology would prohibit the loosening of certain moral conventions, which is necessary in a just society, from a Christian pov. Paganism in the State may justify genocide, or any number of abominable non-Christian practices.

    Jews, and even Muslims, tend to have similar moral standards to Christianity, although Islam tends to be both ethnically-biased and aggressive. Jews have an ethnic bias, but have not been in a position to be aggressive, outside of Palestinian claims to that effect.

    The assumption that establishment of a theological Christian base in a State is oppressive is the secularist argument--not the Christian argument. Tertullian may have argued as a minority, having to deal not just with Roman paganism but also with his own heretical Montanism. So it was hardly anything more than a justification for free religious expression, and certainly not a recipe for a Christian State.

    It is important, I think, to recognize the changing tides of Christianity in the State, and that Christians cannot treat the State as any more Christian than those who lead it. There has to be a deference to current conditions, honoring political leaders, even when there is disagreement on a biblical basis.

    The biblical standard for the true religious State discards even the rights for heretics under the assumption that all know God and are not in transition from paganism to conversion. In many Christian States, the secular rulers were Christian but not entirely Christian.

    Still, the biblical standard is without exception an orthodox prescription. There was tolerance for other faiths in ancient Israel insofar as they were sojourners, who would choose to reside in Israel only if they converted and accepted the religious standards.

    Otherwise, sojourners had to practice the accepted morality even with their religious differences. If they refused to commit to Israel's standards, they would remain sojourners, and would not become permanent residents. The exceptions were mistakes on Israel's part.

    Paul below applies the same principle in a mixed religious marriage...

    1 Cor 7.15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

    The following verses show the similarities and distinctions between Israel and the foreigner in a theocratic State. There was to be love, justice, and compassion for the foreigner, but also a high degree of moral compliance, and even acknowledgment of the theological distinctions of the theocracy.

    At the same time, the differences were acknowledged such that it was actually a curse to have the foreigner ascend above the majority and their high level of covenant commitment to God.

    Exo 22.21 Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.
    Exo 23.9 Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

    Lev 18.26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things.

    Lev 19.10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.

    Lev 19.34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

    Lev 24.16 Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

    Lev 24.22 You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God.

    Deut 14.21 Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to the foreigner residing in any of your towns, and they may eat it, or you may sell it to any other foreigner.

    Deut 15.3 You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you.

    Deut 17.15 be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite.

    Deut 23.20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a fellow Israelite.

    Deut 28.43 The foreigners who reside among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2022
  9. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

    Hi again,
    I'm troubled by the uniformity you require to have a 'Christian State' given that Jesus pretty much taught we'd always be in the minority (that is, until he returns). Consider:

    Matt 7:13 "13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

    John 16:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.

    And the many verses on how it will be hard in the last days (which started 2000 years ago, see Acts 2 and Hebrews 1.)

    Rather I would say we can have a Christian influence on the State - a battle which we will win in some issues and lose on others - precisely because of the fact that we will pretty much always be in the minority. Yes, Constantine's conversion was a thing - but I think that was a rare occasion in history. Also, a turning point for many wins in political life that are still considered normal today, such as a first for hospitals and many things we consider part of the welfare state today. So now we look out at our nations and fear how they are becoming immoral - but sometimes forget how far we have come.

    I like how former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd raises various questions as we think through the Christian's impact on the state.

    ...In particular, I would like to reflect on the various models of political behaviour adopted by Christian politicians themselves.

    Model number one is what I call the "vote for me because I'm a Christian".

    This is the model that I find to be most repugnant.

    It is the model that says that simply on the basis of my external profession of the Christian faith, that those of similar persuasions should vote for me.

    This is about as persuasive as saying that because I am a Sydney Swans supporter, that all other Sydney Swans supporters should vote for me as well because we ostensively adhere to the same belief system.

    This model is alive and well in the United States. Thankfully it is much less alive and much less well here in Australia. Although there are some dangerous signs that for certain Christian constituencies within our country, this represents an increasingly appealing message.

    It is a model for which I can find no underpinning scriptural, doctrinal or theological authority.

    Model number two says "vote for me because I'm Christian and because I have a defined set of views on a narrowly defined set of questions concerning sexual morality".

    Regrettably this model has an increasing number of supporters within the broader Christian community.

    It is a community which tends to read down rather than read up the ethical teachings of the New Testament " producing a narrow "tick the box" approach to passing so-called Christian "morals" tests.

    I see very little evidence of that approach in the Gospels.

    I see much more evidence of it in 17th and 18th century European pietism.

    Once again it will come as no surprise to you here that I am not attracted to model number two either.

    Model number three says something like this: take models number one and two above and add to them the additional tag of "family values". That is "vote for me because I am a Christian; vote for me because I have a defined set of views on questions of private sexual morality; and vote for me also because I wrap myself in the garments of something called "family values'".

    Regrettably it is my view that the term "family values" has become one of the most used and abused terms in the Australian political lexicon....

    ...much more at this link...

    Kevin Rudd on politics and Christianity
  10. RandyPNW

    RandyPNW Well-Known Member

    United States
    I understand--thanks for making the point, and it's both a good point and a relevant point, as I see it. However, I can't also help thinking that God has asked for the right and best system, even while knowing the best and right system would not be properly observed over the long run.

    In other words, the presence of sin in humanity has not stopped God from asking of nations that they do the right thing, even while knowing they would not continue doing the right thing over the long run. Many systems of government run with a minority ideology in power, whether monarchies, communist governments, or even systems of democracy where only a minority party rules. We agree to live by a minority position, and the majority supports it, if only because we have no choice.

    We all, as a group, will disagree on what the right thing is, and what religion is reasonable, acceptable, and right. But we should all agree that someone must be in power maintaining a semblance of peace in our society. And so, some fraction of our country must lead, and we will swear allegiance to it, even if it doesn't totally represent our own beliefs.

    So the most obvious example of this is the Hebrew Theocracy itself under the Law. God established, through Moses, a society based on belief in only one God, one Religion, and one basic theological system undergirding a single moral system of justice, righteousness, and compassion. And God did this while at the same time stating that Israel would not always continue in it.

    In fact, God insisted on this system, even after it failed, requiring that it reconsolidate and reinstate it properly, because after all, it is the way, the truth, and the life. What else would God request? Even with all of the inevitable failures of mankind, under any political system, the best system is what God would ask of us, because in doing this, the best operation of justice is given to all.
  11. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

    I don't think he has.
    The OT is shown to be inferior to the NT kingdom of God - as per Gospel and Kingdom.

    Was the Roman Empire the correct system? Their taxation system sponsored temples to pagan deities.
    Yet in Romans 13 Paul says OF THE ROMANS of all governments!...

    13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    Jesus' kingdom is not of this world.
    This world will hate us.
    We are the narrow path.
    Honor the (pagan) authorities.
    Love your enemies.

    AND almost every time we Christians get control, within a few generations we become oppressive.

    I'm not sure how much the New Testament even thinks in terms of nations? But when Jewish ideas like the Sabbath rest for God's people (like Joshua entering the land for security) end up being transformed into heaven, I think the emphasis is on the gospel kingdom, not any earthly kingdom. When John writes in Revelation a basic 'compare and contrast' between Babylon and the New Jerusalem, we see that this time will be a time of woe and our hope is in the gospel kingdom (in the now and not yet). When we are told to 'make every effort to enter that rest' and the rest is heaven, again the emphasis is not on earthly government systems.

    Not that we don't care about government systems or policies - but I don't think we see any real endorsement of any systems or national identities etc. It's more a matter of righteousness and corporate justice in the church, and then trying to do the right thing by our non-Christian neighbours.

    Indeed - the same Paul that wrote to honour the Romans because they wield the sword as God's system of justice also wrote:

    What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”​

    It's almost like Paul is saying get your own house in order first, and let God do the rest with the government of the day. BUT - in a democracy - our voice is important, and that's where Kevin Rudd's essay above comes into play.

    Indeed, as a climate activist myself, I care about our Australian government's inaction on climate change. If someone is skeptical that we can ever replace coal, see my signature. Renewables + nuclear can definitely do the job. But we get so much money from cheap coal exports that we're addicted to it and our governments cannot stop. It's horrendous, and why I'm listening to an ABC podcast by a journalist who used to go to my church - all about the inaction of politicians on climate change in Australia.
    If You’re Listening

    Because, as the NT explains, he set this up with the cross and the church in mind, right from the beginning.
  12. JulieB67

    JulieB67 Well-Known Member

    United States
    The thing is we can't change word meanings. Reign simply means to "rule" No matter how many experts you listen to won't change the meaning of this word. We need to study to show ourselves approved -rightly diving the word.
    A Phd in theology is not needed to look up a word. Or study the bible for that matter. Yes, it's good to have teachers but we have to do the work ourselves in the end and always back up what they say in the bible. It's good to have proper tools because certain words can get lost in translation especially when utilized in certain verses- but these tools are readily available.
    And God specifically says we are not to put our trust in man, only him. I was guilty of doing that back in the day as well but upon studying over 20 years or so dropped many so called doctrines I once believed were true taught by people with degrees in theology because they could not be backed up in the bible.

    Greek word -936 basileuo- from 935;, to rule-, king, reign.

    Says the person who is also more influenced by others than yourself. Something you admit. Yes, Scofield did some major damage (pretrib rapture being one) but that should only drive ourselves more into the Word than continue to let others influence our way of thinking when it comes to the bible. In fact that's why I went into my studies with an open mind, dropping any preconceived notions. And it's is a lot harder for some to unlearn something than it is to learn -especially if one has been indoctrinated with certain beliefs. But I found myself easily dropping certain ones, I only wanted the truth. And I'm still studying but it's me doing it because I want to show myself approved.

    If you're comfortable with their teachings and think they can be backed up, fine. But I for one would stop at changing entire meanings of words. Especially when we can readily look them up ourselves. And once we start changing entire meanings to words, what else will we change to suit certain beliefs?
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
  13. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

    Sure if you just look it up in the English dictionary and don't study the bible too hard. But what happened to hermeneutics? What happened to reading around a bit to check that we aren't imposing our modern expectations and paradigms onto an ancient text?

    For example, before you get too carried away looking up an individual Greek word and plucking it out of context and pouring all your assumptions over it, how about seeing where else in the bible it is used?

    For instance, it's a bit tricky. Try Romans 5: same root word!

    20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.​

    Sure, the concept is about ruling. But look what rules? Grace and righteousness - not dictators or governments.

    In the same way, Jesus reign in the NT might be a bit alien and different to how we imagine it. Rulers to use conjure up images of military dictators. But we worship a king who died on a cross. So what does his reign look like, and is he already reigning?

    Revelation 20's "Millennium" is describing the reality that Jesus reigns now. But where does he reign from? Heaven! We know this because Revelation's 'thrones' make an appearance - this is the same throne room where we saw the thrones earlier in Revelation. This means the martyrs are safe in heaven, reigning with Christ from there. I mean, it's not the earth! Where does Revelation 20 say Jesus came down to earth? It doesn't. The martyrs are safe in heaven, brought to 'life' again to reign with Jesus and safe from the 'second death' which is hell. They reign during the "gazillion years" or "long time" between Jesus resurrection and his return. (That's pretty much how the OT uses 1000 years sometimes - but sometimes it even means forever!)

    How do we know Amils are correct? Because good Reformed bible interpretation interprets scripture with scripture. But FIRST they get their guidance from the clearer texts, and only then make judgements about the less clear texts. So what do we see in the rest of the NT about Jesus now? Why - they describe exactly the scenario we saw above! Jesus reigning from heaven through an outbreak of his kingdom on the earth - the church. That's our job description? What does it look like?

    Ephesians 1: "That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."

    Now, some high school comprehension.
    Who reigns over all authorities? Jesus.
    When? Now and in the future age.
    Who is he CURRENTLY the head over? The church.
    What does the church represent? His body in this world - the fullness of Jesus who can fill the world with his love.

    Or try Colossians 2:9 "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority"

    Who is the head over every authority - right now? Jesus.
    What do the Colossians get? Fullness.

    Does he really reign over us now - or do worldly governments and nations rule over us? Trick question - because in this age it appears to be both!

    1 Peter 2
    "9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."
    What are we? God's people living God's way as his priests and holy nation.
    What does this mean? Being his priests and nation means he rules us - now!
    But what does the rest of the passage tell us? Serve our masters and governments with godly living and loving service.

    I mean, even Revelation itself shows us this duality of Jesus reigning in the "now but not yet" phase of kingdom rule through the church.

    Revelation 5:
    And they sang a new song, saying:
    “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

    How does it describe his people from every nation? They are a KINGDOM and PRIESTS.
    What does a kingdom do? Get ruled over by its king.
    What do priests do? Bring God to humanity.
    What does Revelation 5 tell us? That the Lord REIGNS on the earth through his kingdom of priests!

    Sure there is more to this story to be revealed one day.

    but that's in the New Heavens and New Earth. Otherwise, the Amil reading of 'the millennium' is both true to how the bible seems to use 1000 symbolically every time it refers to time - and true to how the rest of the NT sees Jesus reigning from heaven NOW, but also NOT YET enthroned by ALL in this reality. Yet he does reign!

    More here from the Bible Project. (6 minutes - 3.1 MILLION views.)

    More here on the past, present and future of the kingdom.
    The Kingdom of God - The Gospel Coalition
  14. RandyPNW

    RandyPNW Well-Known Member

    United States
    The OT is "inferior" only in the sense that God never intended for it to bring eternal life, or final Salvation to Israel. It is certainly not inferior as a national system, as compared to other political systems. God established the Theocracy for Israel, and that indicates His wish for all the world, in my judgment.

    And this is my argument, that what God gave to Israel was *not* an inferior political system, but rather, the model political system for the world, a theocracy based on faith in the one true God, and a single moral system with the necessary theological basics guaranteeing that morality.

    Christianity was designed to encourage Christian theocracies in many nations, as promised to Abraham. And it certainly happened in Christian history. Christianity was also designed by God to enable Christians to survive and continue in the Gospel ministry through any kind of government, flawed Christian government or pagan government.

    The fact Christianity was set up to begin in a time of Israel's failure and without any other nations being Christian is not establishing a model of separation between Church and State. It was merely a model intended to lead to the eternal Theocracy, while in the meantime pursuing the establishment of many Christian States.

    Christian individualism lacks the Social Gospel, which involves Social Justice and Christian involvement in the whole spectrum of national concerns. A Christian minority may certainly survive on its own, but its message has always been to restore the whole world to God, and not just a few people. The Gospel is an outreach, and a message of renewal for the entire world.

    As I said Christianity was designed to support State governments, pagan or flawed Christian governments. But the message is ideal, and pursues God's conquest of the entire planet. It is a message that the world belongs to God, and eventually will be given to those worthy of it.

    That is true to *every kind of government,* Christian or not. That is not reason to replace Christian government with pagan government!

    In our day and age of Christian apostasy the whole idea of Christian nationhood is ignored and rejected in favor of liberal democracies or purely pagan systems. Christianity is viewed as Voltaire saw it, an "accursed thing."

    But the Abrahamic Covenant clearly suggests many nations would be adopted in the same way Israel was adopted, as theocracies. We've seen this in history as "Christian States," which in our day of religious apostasy is viewed as "the Inquisition" and "the Crusades.*

    Christian rule is viewed in its worst light, and only in the sense Christian theocracies ultimately fail, just as all political systems eventually fail. But what is to replace them? The fix for the failure of Christian politics is secularistic politics with its supposed checks and balances.

    Here in the US those checks and balances are already beginning to fail. Yesterday I read how some high up in the Democrat Party are recommending President Biden ignore our Supreme Court! Wealthy heads of corporations and media powers are without consequence interfering in our elections. And a political class has emerged that cares more about wealth and personal ambition than serving the country.

    There is no real dichotomy between heaven and earth since heaven includes the earth and rules the earth, albeit for now in a limited way. The focus on heaven is to emphasize the ideal Kingdom of God, which is what our Gospel should be proclaiming now.

    But it is not to diminish the fact that God's heavenly rule is what is judging the earth today, even though the ultimate sentencing will take place in the future. Our message should be unabashed declaration of what should be and what will be so that mankind can properly prepare for it today, and avoid judgment by means of that message.

    The Gospel of the Kingdom is, by default, a declaration of a preferred political system, although God's patience has prepared the Church to survive in less desirable conditions, just as Jesus lived through the time of the pagan Roman Empire. The Gospel of the Kingdom is a declaration of what should be now, and what will be later.

    Declaring what should be does not mean that God wants to immediately impose it as a political system, since His wish is for people across the world to make their own choices, as you indicated--it is an opportunity for conscientious expression of choices for or against God.

    In our Democracy, and in many other democracies across the world, our participation is often without effect. I used to say the Communists offered a democracy of one candidate up for election by only one party--the Communist Party. Here in my country, the US, we were given only two viable candidates, through only two parties that had a realistic chance. What if both parties are bought off?

    If our democratic system is largely pagan, we will never fix the problems for long. The thing that changed the pagan Roman Empire was when the Church witnessed to it--not by casting votes for political candidates or giving their two cents worth on legislation. Even after seeing the Roman Empire convert, the system itself remains vulnerable to destruction, and Rome did eventually fall.

    I personally believe climate change is an elitist scam, to forge new political alliances, and to get the world to depend on them and on their particular constituencies. On the other hand, it is an effort to get free of dependence upon corrupt governments that use energy to control national policies. And I would completely agree with that.

    It's not like I hate the environment. I live in the Pacific NW Washington State US, and it's all about the environment, pristine lakes, bays, and streams, and hiking through the mountains. I want clean foods, and preservation of trees, soils, and clean water.

    I don't believe that fossil fuels are destroying the world! That's like saying dropping a bottle of poison in the ocean will pollute the ocean. Volcanoes are going to pollute the atmosphere, and I'm not sure it can be proven that whatever impact man-made pollutants make on the atmosphere is sufficient to do great harm to our quality of life.

    But thanks for the conversation. I respect your views nonetheless. And I do believe it is important to govern and to regulate how we use our energy sources.

    Nuclear power is clean, but it is also dangerous, and subject to terrorist attacks, with great consequence! Personally, I'm hoping we find a means to use hydrogen as a cheap and unlimited source of energy.

    But that would never make the energy companies, the politicians, or superpowers happy who benefit from control of energy resources. Too bad! ;) But the biggest problems are spiritual, and not material, which is what this problem exposes.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
  15. JulieB67

    JulieB67 Well-Known Member

    United States
    Sometimes we have to let scriptures speak for themselves. It's not that hard. Christ is on the throne but his physical co reign with his elect has not started. At that time, he will rule (shepherd) with a rod of iron.

    Revelation 2:26 "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:"

    Revelation 2:27 "And he shall rule (shepherd) them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father."

    The elect do not have power over the nations. You said spreading the gospel is just that. Well spreading the gospel can still get you killed in some nations. How is that power over the nations? Here in the US, we are moving away from Christianity, how is that power over the nations? Christ is not talking about spreading the gospel at that time. He's talking straight up authority over the nations. At that time, they will be under the rule of Christ and his elect. There's a difference between the Kingdom of God (many membered body) and actually physically ruling the nations with authority and power. Something that is promised to God's elect.

    Not tricky at all. Makes perfect sense.

    John was taken in the spirit on the Lord's day/Day of Christ and told to write about the past, present and future of that specific day. So naturally he would see visions of Heaven.

    Revelation 20:9 "And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."

    This is our Heavenly Father at this point at the end of the 1000 years. Christ has already been ruling at that point.

    Revelation 19:11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war."

    Revelation 19:12 "His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself."

    Revelation 19:13 "And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his
    name is called The Word of God."

    Revelation 19:14 "And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

    The armies have followed him. Since they were in heaven, we know for a fact he and they have left heaven.

    Revelation 19:15 "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

    This starts the reign on Earth. Again, we know for a fact, he has left Heaven.

    Further on it specifically describes the beast and FP being thrown into the LOF. This is after Christ has returned.

    Revelation 19:20 "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a like of fire burning with brimstone."

    Satan has not even been thrown into the pit at this point.

    "Revelation 20:2 "And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,"

    Revelation 20:4 "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

    This is the very same beast we just read that was thrown into the LOF "after" Christ has returned. So, yes, Christ is on the earth at this point.

    Later on after Satan is released and has his little season once more he's thrown into the LOF where the FP and Beast already had been thrown in.

    Revelation 20:10 "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    The martyrs are the ones that that had not worshipped the beast. The very same beast that gets thrown into the LOF after Christ returns.

    The second death is the death of the soul just has Christ describes in Matthew 10:28.

    So, of course Christ is already on earth before Revelation 20 because it would be impossible for him not to have returned if the FP and beast are in the LOF already. We just read it plus saw that those reigning with Christ are the ones that didn't worship the beast.

    Says the person who posted in another thread that the 10 tribes had long been destroyed in OT although we find them alive and well in the NT. I'll use my own comprehension, thanks.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
  16. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

    Not at all. Abraham was promised that he would be the father of God's people living God's way in God's land - and that this would eventually bless the whole world.

    That's what we see in the church. We are a kingdom and priests to bless the world as Jesus clearly reigns now from multiple sources in the NT.

    It is. See this post to Julie above. It just doesn't look like what you tell me you think it should look like.


    I honestly don't know how you get that from the NT.

    It's a good thing that the church isn't individualistic but a community then! And it's also a good thing that Christian consciences have profoundly impacted the world through Christ's love. It's messy, and we're not always in sync with Jesus commands. But we have changed the world. Do you listen to audiobooks? John Dickson (from Undeceptions podcast you listened to) has an award winning book called "Bullies and Saints" which answers the Richard Dawkins charge that the world would be better off without religion. Yes, the church has messed up horrifically in its 2000 year history. But the benefits to the world are overwhelmingly positive! Buy the paper back or subscribe to Audible and get the audiobook to listen to when you're on a walk or doing the dishes.

    But will pretty much - a lot of the time - be in the minority.
    We are not to compel people to be Christian.
    John Dickson covers that in his book. That's when we become Bullies.

    Yes, they were terrible mistakes as we were corrupted by the power and became Bullies.

    So it should be! Listen to the book!

    Here in the US those checks and balances are already beginning to fail. Yesterday I read how some high up in the Democrat Party are recommending President Biden ignore our Supreme Court! Wealthy heads of corporations and media powers are without consequence interfering in our elections. And a political class has emerged that cares more about wealth and personal ambition than serving the country.​

    Freedom must be fought for, I agree. As Churchill said,

    ‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’​

    You wrote many more comments, but maybe you can copy and paste them across to this new thread I've created in the Christian History section?

    Given the Crusades etc, what do you make of the idea of a Christian State?
  17. eclipsenow

    eclipsenow God cares about his creation as well as us.

    But it obviously is on Revelation as no two futurists can agree on anything.

    Amils cluster around a few ideas - but futurists come in about six hundred and sixty six varieties. (See what I did there with number symbolism?)

    Yeah, one of the only areas some futurists can agree on is that they want to insist the 1000 years is literal, even though the rest of the bible would say no. And it does, especially with regards to theological statements about God and time. Futurists also cannot really explain why the number they want to read is literal but so many other things in Revelation are NOT - like Jesus having 7 eyes and 7 horns. Or like the futurists that turn various beasts and insects and heavenly events into tanks and choppers and nukes. Um, it's literal, or it's not guys - get a grip!

    You raised Revelation 2:26 - but it is a different chapter about how the churches have been suffering but if we remain victorious, will end up reigning with Christ in the New Heavens and New Earth. There IS a Judgement Day coming, and the language of ruling with an iron sceptre and getting God's enemies to 'dash them to pieces like pottery' is the language of Judgement Day. So no - 2:26 is not evidence for a literal Millennium on earth.
    John says why he is writing to us.
    1. "to show his servants what must soon take place" (verse 1)
    2. " blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it" (Verse 3). This means they must obey it. How could the early church obey something about 2000 years later?
    3. "because the time is near." (verse 3) Yes, there is a sense in which the final Return of Jesus is also described as 'near' in Revelation - but this does not undermine this immediate sense of near in the introduction to this letter because....
    4. "I, John, your brother and partner in the TRIBULATION and the kingdom and the PATIENT ENDURANCE that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." (Verse 9 - ESV - capitals mine.) John already SHARES in *their* TRIBULATION! John was already in jail because of his gospel work, and already demonstrating the common theme throughout the rest of Revelation - that we overcome THIS time we are in by "patient endurance".

    Revelation is a symbolic sermon, not a timeline. It's about how to stay faithful in the time between Jesus Ascension and his Return on Judgement Day. John uses powerful biblical symbols to describe (not prescribe) what this time will be like. And it could be a long time before Jesus Returns. The number 1000 is commonly used to mean "a gazillion" - like when Psalm 50 says God owns all the sheep on "a thousand hills." What about the other million hills - does God not own all those two? So Revelation describes a long time.

    Now you raise the Judgement Day on Earth as evidence that the previous chunk of the chapter was also on earth. This is not correct. The vision changes focus from the safety of the saints in heaven at the end of 6 to Judgement Day when Satan is 'released' in 7 to bring to a climax the idea that the very worst of Satan and all God's enemies aligned together in one last magnificent battle WILL NOT be a battle but an anticlimax. There they are, all assembled - in all their terrifying power that John's generation of Christians must have been traumatised by watching their kids getting cut in half - and suddenly it's over. "But fire came down from heaven and devoured them." God's victory will be SO sudden and SO final, it's almost an anti-climax!

    So stay faithful Christian, because God is worth it! That's the message of this passage. Stay faithful, because even if you die you'll be safe with Christ. Stay faithful, because Judgement Day is coming and you don't want to be on the wrong side of that.

    Revelation 19 is one vision of Judgement Day from one perspective, Revelation 6 is another, Revelation 20 is another. We see the end of the world a number of times in this book. Go figure. This is more evidence that it is not a linear timetable.
  18. JulieB67

    JulieB67 Well-Known Member

    United States
    Much of Revelation is not in chronological order. Chaper 6 is to be "sealed" with knowledge. That's what a seal is -a signet/stamp. It covers the entire tribulation. And some of the language is symbolic in nature and some is very literal.

    Revelation 12 covers, past and the future. But Revelation 19 and 20 obviously follow one another (remember there were no chapters) because of what I posted. The FP and beast are thrown into the LOF after the return of Christ. They are described as being still there in chapter 20 after the 1000 years when Satan is thrown in.
    So can you explain that? Because that's what many of us can't get past. It's impossible. Do you really believe in Rev 19 Christ came physically with the saints , the FP and the beast are thrown into the LOF and then they returned to Heaven once more? Because that's what you're suggesting. But obviously you can't see that. We just want to know how that's possible. Instead of just glossing over this that it's another summary, we want to know how is it possible that Christ and his armies are definitely returning in 19 and the beast and FP, (not Satan) are thrown into the LOF. And then in chapter 20 "after" the 1000 years Satan is thrown in where they are listed as already being there. And it's the very same beast that the martyrs gave witness about. The same testimony that Christ talks about in Matthew 24 as well as these verses, If these martyrs are reigning with Christ, that means Christ has already returned because it's the same beast that's thrown into the LOF after his return.

    Sorry to be so wordy but many of us can't see past this particular truth. It's one of my main sticking points in not believing in a we are already in this "1000 year time period" And I'm usually very objective. As I said in another post, I have dropped certain beliefs before when I found them not biblical.

    Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."

    Revelation 20:4 "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

    Revelation 19:20 "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a like of fire burning with brimstone."

    Again, and sorry I'm repeating myself but if we believe this is the same beast in both verses and obviously they are, then we would have to believe that they are thown into the LOF after the return of Christ. It's clearly in the verses. That means it's impossible that the 1000 years have started. Because it's those same martyers that stood up to the very beast that is thrown into the LOF after Christ returns and it's they that "lived" and reigned with Christ a 1000 years. If we are currently in a 1000 years symbolically than Christ would have already returned with his saints.

    David has made these points as well about the martyrs.

    And the thing is, whether or not we believe the 1000 years is literal or more or less than that figure, we know for a fact it doesn't start until "after" Christ returns because of what transpires with the beast and FP.

    "Revelation 20:3 "And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season."

    He just literally deceived the entire world playing fake savior, this was first prophesized back in Isaiah 14 that he would do so. And he's going to do it again when he's released for his little season.

    For one thing, it's not a "sermon" , it's prophecy -

    Revelation is to reveal/unveil, make known.

    Revelation 22:19 "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    And another, the problem is many won't stay faithful when Satan arrives playing savior. It will happen to one generation and that's why Paul says one must need the armour for -the wiles of the devil which is trickery. And to be able to stand in that "evil" day. Satan will be here before the 7th trump which is Christ return. Anyone in that specific generation is in danger of "falling away" He looks like the lamb, Christ. But spoke as a dragon -Satan. That's why Paul states he is disguised as an angel of light. He will be Messaiah to the entire world. Christians have to be prepared for that. The Foolish Virgins weren't. This is why Christ states he come at an hour that most do not expect. That's because most of the world will think he's already arrived. And then suprise, the thief in the night -Christ returns. Only those prepared and on watch will know this. People will be thinking peace and safety and bam, God's wrath. That is the side we don't want to be on. And we have been warned.

    If you're comfortable with your beliefs, that's fine. I am as well. We'll see in the end.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2022
  19. RandyPNW

    RandyPNW Well-Known Member

    United States
    In Gen 17 God promised Abraham that he would spiritually father many nations. Jews may think that he simply had a lot of children through different wives, who ended up founding a number of nations. But in the NT we are told that this promise is fulfilled in the Church, which is a spiritual inheritance.

    Gen 17.5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
    Gal 3.8 Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”

    So the "nations" promised to Abraham were Gentile nations beyond the nation of Israel, in particular when they are designated as "Christian nations." And if they are to be called "Christian nations," they must have Christian States, or governments.

    Since the Enlightenment, the whole idea of Christian States has been denounced. And to some extent, the criticism is warranted. However, that doesn't mean modern liberal states are superior to Christian States in the ideal sense, ie when Christian States are properly working. But you're certainly entitled to your opinion.

    I would distinguish, first of all, between the majority of Christian citizens in the Christian State and the minority group of *true Christians* that number among them. Those who truly follow Christ are always a smaller number than "Christian citizens" in a Christian State.

    However, acceptance of a Liberal non-Christian State in place of a Christian State is a concession to the ideal of a pagan majority. And that means the Christian witness no longer challenges a pagan consensus and the need for mass repentance in the world. This is not, I believe, the Gospel! This is a withdrawal from politics and from a message that is universal, and a retreat into a kind of "individualism," as I describe it.

    Actually it would be nice to withdraw and let society have their "Dawkins." However, he can't resist advertising on buses, etc. No, I would do audiobooks, but I don't do a lot of traveling in my car anymore--that's where I would find them most useful.

    Please don't think that because I disagree with your podcasts that I think they're anything less than stellar! I can easily see the quality of these men. I just have to address things that are of interest to me, which isn't so much important to Christian fellowship as much as an attempt to make our witness more straightforward and effective.

    I don't think we are going to change the world if our message isn't stronger than the political systems the world is advocating for. Christianity is always going to be oppositional, in a sense, because it is a universal call to repentance, applicable to all men and to all of their systems.

    I do my dishes in 2 minutes after every meal, and I don't go for casual walks--I'm too busy in projects of various kinds. I do the occasional walk around the park because I love nature, and would rather see things than listen to things! ;)

    But I used to do a lot of driving, and loved to listen to what we call "Talk Radio" over here, largely conservative political opinions. My brother is huge on Audio Books in his car, particularly since his Glaucoma has gotten much worse.

    Christian States didn't come into existence by "bullying." The strong Christian witness proved itself in the history of States, with its failures and succeesses, and the leaders ultimately recognized a growing conscience among the people.

    Establishing a religion that was already ascendant in the population was not "bullying." While society is corrupt and abusive, reform may appear to be very attractive to the whole.

    But as Christian States are declining and the populations capitulate to temptation and to sin, such as greed and lust, people are less interested in maintaining a conscience.

    In the current day and age, I don't think we could establish Christianity in the State without "bullying." People are moving away from religion, though there are still pockets of intense interest.

    So we agree--Christianity should never be forced upon the public. A Christian State happens when a large majority of the population call for uniform Christian standards for the public.

    And it has often allowed freedom of conscience and expression. It is when heretics openly attacked Christian orthodoxy that the problems began. It became an issue of social order, and not just religious differences and "conscience" issues. It is one thing to hold an aberrant opinion, and another to challenge the public orthodoxy and morality.

    Whether I agree or not, you appear to have a lot to contribute. I'll try to address your points as they come up. Thank you much! We have much more in common than not. :)
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2022
  20. Timtofly

    Timtofly Well-Known Member

    United States
    "As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations."

    If you claim this is spiritual, you just declared Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are all equal spiritual nations, and legitimate before God.

    That may not have been your intention, but the spiritual is way bigger than just following Jesus Christ. The word "nations" is plural. I don't think this is spiritual. The spiritual aspect comes from Christ on the Cross, not Abraham's "spiritual offspring". Abraham's offspring includes Ishmael and Isaac. That is plural. Now one may claim all of Ishmael died out thousands of years ago, but there is no proof of that. I don't see how this verse can say one nation is physical and great, and one nation is spiritual and great, thus 2 nations. Many nations implies more than just 2. More than just 3, as well. 2 physical, and 1 spiritual. All nations have a spiritual component whether they accept it or deny it.