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Offline Doc

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I'd like your input on this
« on: June 09, 2009, 12:08:49 AM »
Regarding a literal vs. figurative interpretation of Revelation. Can we answer his points, or is he right?

http://www.martinzender.com/clanging_gong/Volume1-Issue17.pdf

God does not instruct us to pray to change His mind. He wants us to pray so that we'll know His mind.
 
"Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me." --C.S. Lewis

God never had or needed a Plan B. He's still on Plan A.

Res Veritas Loquitur

Online jabcat

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2009, 12:18:01 AM »
Wow!  Hang onto your hat, here we go now! :dsunny:

This will be fun.  Thanks a lot Doc.   :icon_jokercolor:

Good question.  I personally haven't "made up my mind yet".  One thing I have realized a while back, is although many do say the word "signifies" means all is symbolic in Revelation;  I did a little looking at that word and I found this as also being a definition of the word, in some cases, the primary definition;  "to make known"... :dontknow:
« Last Edit: June 09, 2009, 01:28:01 AM by jabcat »
Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting--all of which are out of character--but rather thanksgiving.  Eph. 5:4  **  Saved 1John 3.2, Eph. 2:8, John 1:12 - Being saved 2Cor. 4:16 2Peter 3:18 - Will be saved 1Peter 1:5 Romans 8:23

Offline WhiteWings

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2009, 12:59:42 AM »
I think it may be both spiritual and literal.
Even the literal meaning is easy imo.
Quote
John actually saw seven lampstands. As part of a vision, the lampstands did not literally exist at the time; rather, they represented something literal that would occur.
So something that is going to happen in a non spiritual way; but the lampstands are symbolic.

What about this one? Is there really a very large woman standing on the moon? A real dragon?
Yes and no.
IMO this is speaking about a certain alignment of stars. (zodiac)
Not 100% sure but it looks like that alignment took place at the birh of Jesus.

Take a starsign. A few stars and it is supposed to look like a lion, ram, scorpio....
So IMO both explanations of signify fit. Even if only applied to the literal.


Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
Revelation 12:3  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.


Good night :lazy:
1 Timothy 2:3-4  ...God our Savior;  Who will have all men to be saved...
John 12:47  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
Romans 4:5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous ...

Paul Hazelwood

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2009, 02:08:38 AM »
Regarding a literal vs. figurative interpretation of Revelation. Can we answer his points, or is he right?

http://www.martinzender.com/clanging_gong/Volume1-Issue17.pdf




My first question in considering articles is concerning claims of the absolute made to support their point of view that I have never actually heard of.

Zender writes

Quote
There is a law of scriptural interpretation
that reads: "Literal if possible."

Where is such law given to us by God concerning scriptural interpretation?  Chapter and verse please.   


L Ray Smith cites a grammar Law that does not exist, where does this one exist?



Offline Doc

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2009, 03:02:04 AM »
Regarding a literal vs. figurative interpretation of Revelation. Can we answer his points, or is he right?

http://www.martinzender.com/clanging_gong/Volume1-Issue17.pdf




My first question in considering articles is concerning claims of the absolute made to support their point of view that I have never actually heard of.

Zender writes

Quote
There is a law of scriptural interpretation
that reads: "Literal if possible."

Where is such law given to us by God concerning scriptural interpretation?  Chapter and verse please.   


L Ray Smith cites a grammar Law that does not exist, where does this one exist?




I had kind of been wondering about that one myself, Paul.
God does not instruct us to pray to change His mind. He wants us to pray so that we'll know His mind.
 
"Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me." --C.S. Lewis

God never had or needed a Plan B. He's still on Plan A.

Res Veritas Loquitur

Offline Cardinal

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2009, 06:37:59 AM »
 :cloud9: I think it's both. How do you tell the difference? You don't; that's what revelation knowledge is, ie. something revealed by the SPIRIT that was hidden in the literal natural witness, be it the written Word or the creation.

I see an anxiety almost in some of the body out there at large, nearly frantic to "decipher" the meanings, particularly of the book of the Revelation, fearful of what's going to happen next "out there". The Spirit brings peace and if there is no peace, then the wrong spirit is trying to do the "works" with this.

It's not up to US to "translate" that which is letter into that which is Spirit revelation, and He will not give you an ounce more revelation than you are able to bear at that moment in time.

The reason is, if it's been made LIFE in you (not head knowledge), you are accountable for it, and that means some "dying time" is in order, as we must decrease so that He can increase.

So we should study, but REST in the knowledge that the times and the seasons (in us) are the LORD'S. Blessings....
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor

Offline Doc

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2009, 07:56:42 AM »
Ok, I've heard two votes for "both" so far. The problem is, that one interpretation seems to lead us to very different conclusions than the other. Obviously, Zender is some form of dispensational futurist (his being pro-universal salvation aside). That seems to be the road "literal" interpretation leads down. The guy has some really good things to say, but I can't find myself agreeing with him on everything.
God does not instruct us to pray to change His mind. He wants us to pray so that we'll know His mind.
 
"Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me." --C.S. Lewis

God never had or needed a Plan B. He's still on Plan A.

Res Veritas Loquitur

Offline Dallas

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2009, 11:05:48 PM »
It's niether....

The symbols being refered to are a return to biblical imagery.

Since the start of the Bible certain ideas were layed out and were built up upon by Moses, and Isaiah and Jeremiah etc.

By the time we get to John and Revelation there are well thought out references to images that were established through the history of Isreal...

Example...

Deuteronomy 31:16 "The LORD said to Moses, "Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them."

Israel will become the harlot

Isaiah 1:21 "How the faithful city has become a harlot,She who was full of justice!Righteousness once lodged in her,But now murderers."

Jerusalem has become the Harlot

Jeremiah 3:6 "Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there."

Ezekiel 16: 2 & 26- 2"Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations" 26"You also played the harlot with the Egyptians, your lustful neighbors, and multiplied your harlotry to make Me angry."

Hosea 4:12 "My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner's wand informs them;For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray,And they have played the harlot, departing from their God.

Hosea 5:4 Their deeds will not allow them to return to their God.For a spirit of harlotry is within them,And they do not know the LORD.

Hosea 4:15 "Though you, Israel, play the harlot"

Revelation 17:1 "Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,"

So now by the time we get to Revelation we can finally understand....

Revelation 17
The Doom of Babylon
   1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,

2with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality."

   3And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.

   4The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality,

   5and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."

   6And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly.


It's obvious that the Whore of Babylon is Jerusalem. And these chapters are refering to Jerusalem's punishment.

These images of harlots and harlotry was passed on by Moses and through the prophets until it was realized and explained by John in Revelation. So the symbol isn't a symbolic or literal but a well formed and understood biblical image.

The bible will interpret itself... ALL of itself.

Offline Doc

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2009, 11:49:14 PM »
Regarding a literal vs. figurative interpretation of Revelation. Can we answer his points, or is he right?

http://www.martinzender.com/clanging_gong/Volume1-Issue17.pdf




My first question in considering articles is concerning claims of the absolute made to support their point of view that I have never actually heard of.

Zender writes

Quote
There is a law of scriptural interpretation
that reads: "Literal if possible."

Where is such law given to us by God concerning scriptural interpretation?  Chapter and verse please.   


L Ray Smith cites a grammar Law that does not exist, where does this one exist?




Hey, Paul. I actually e-mailed Zender with the question of where he got this rule of scriptural interpretation. Here is his response:


"I first heard the "literal if possible" law from A.E. Knoch, but I know he didn't invent it. Dr. Bullinger also espouses this, I believe. It's common sense, really. We practice it all the time--in reading and speaking and listening--without having to call it anything. Unless words mean something consistently, we can't know anything. Without this, we can't even understand figures of speech, because all figures are based on the literal meaning of words."
God does not instruct us to pray to change His mind. He wants us to pray so that we'll know His mind.
 
"Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me." --C.S. Lewis

God never had or needed a Plan B. He's still on Plan A.

Res Veritas Loquitur

Offline peacemaker

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2009, 07:08:43 AM »

Unless words mean something consistently, we can't know anything. Without this, we can't even understand figures of speech, because all figures are based on the literal meaning of words."


It's the Bomb!

Literally, or is it a slang expression (figuratively speaking) having the meaning of something being cool; the Bomb that Never Was a Bomb.

"Slanguage of the day."

peacemaker

Paul Hazelwood

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2009, 03:54:13 PM »


Hi Doc, I do not completely disagree with that, I probably would not call that structure a law because it can depend on how we look at it.

Biblically I think there is another aspect that whatever is determined should not contradict Gods Character.

In my opinion maintaining that God literally wiped out people in the old testament is opposite Gods character.  I think the wars and destruction in the OT are literal events and they are associated with what God will do to us spiritually.

If that is a law then upon reading "God is a consuming fire" we must conclude that it is not "impossible" for God to be literal fire consuming things,  so burning buildings and such is witnessing God first hand.  While possible,  I'm not going with that as a correct intention of the words.


Offline Molly

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2009, 05:36:58 PM »
Definitions ofsignify :

mean: denote or connote; "`maison' means `house' in French"; "An example sentence would show what this word means"
convey or express a meaning; "These words mean nothing to me!"; "What does his strange behavior signify?"
make known with a word or signal; "He signified his wish to pay the bill for our meal"



al·le·go·ry (l-gôr, -gr)
n. pl. al·le·go·ries
1.
a. The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form.
b. A story, picture, or play employing such representation. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and Herman Melville's Moby Dick are allegories.
2. A symbolic representation



...and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
 2Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.


--Rev 1



Jesus is making his revelation  known through an angel to John who will testify to the word of God and witness to everything he saw..



If one knew the meaning of all the allegories used in the book, the revelation would be made known to him, also.  In that way, it is literal and to be taken literally.


Thanks, I enjoyed the article!

Offline Doc

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2009, 09:12:54 PM »
Well, that's the problem isn't it? Words do have to mean something, but interpreting literally I agree is not always the right way to go, which is probably why he states it as "literal if possible." However, as you pointed out Paul, we can run into problems even with that.
I found a two page document linked from another UR site entitled "The Case against Jesus", which is written from a Pharisee's scriptural point of view, hence the title. The aim of the paper is to point out the danger of literalizing our interpretations. I'll see if I can track down the link and post it here.

Here's the link, hopefully it works:

 http://www.evangelicaluniversalist.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=212
« Last Edit: June 11, 2009, 09:19:36 PM by Doc »
God does not instruct us to pray to change His mind. He wants us to pray so that we'll know His mind.
 
"Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me." --C.S. Lewis

God never had or needed a Plan B. He's still on Plan A.

Res Veritas Loquitur

Offline Doc

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2009, 12:58:06 AM »
Well, Zender is on a roll. Here's his next and latest offering, which is tied in to the previous one I linked to. Seems his main point in this one is that Babylon is to be a literal place (again), and not a figure of the church system, as such.

http://www.martinzender.com/clanging_gong/Volume1-Issue18.pdf
God does not instruct us to pray to change His mind. He wants us to pray so that we'll know His mind.
 
"Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me." --C.S. Lewis

God never had or needed a Plan B. He's still on Plan A.

Res Veritas Loquitur

Doug

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2009, 09:37:34 PM »
At the web site that was referenced I found the following:

Quote
There is a law of scriptural interpretation that reads: "Literal if possible." This is not only a fundamental law when interpreting scripture, but when reading any other form of literature. Only when the literal is clearly impossible should we look for a figurative meaning.

The New Testament provides us with many examples of how the prophecies and types and stories in the Old Testament should be understood, and these examples offer little real support for the above quoted statement, but rather show that the opposite is true, especially for prophecy.

For example, in Acts 15:16, James interprets a prophecy about the tabernacle of David, from Amos 9:11, and applies it to the church.

Peter in Acts 2 said all the prophets gave witness to Christ. But in order to understand this, we have to interpret the Old Testament prophecies like the apostles did. The shepherd called David in Ezekiel 34:23 is symbolic of Christ, for example. Jesus declared that he himself is the "good shepherd" in John 10:11.

Similarly, in Ezekiel 37:24, we read, "David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd." Again, this can only refer to Christ.

Another example occurs in Paul's first letter to Timothy, 1 Timothy 4:

Quote
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Paul attributes what he wrote above to the Spirit. It is therefore necessary to interpret the things he said, and indeed, they don't make sense taken literally. Paul says, referring to "meats" or foods, "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."

Taken literally, that would be obviously incorrect. There are many things one should not eat.

One fellow, who promotes Judaism, and campaigns against Paul, misinterpreted this. He quoted it, and then began to rail against Paul. He wrote,

Quote
I use to think that this "teaching of demons" was the Catholic Church but having opportunity to look from another vantage point, I understand Apostle Paul was speaking of the teachings of the Torah. He clearly says EVERY creature of YHWY is good and this goes totally against what the Torah teaches.


I responded, with an interpretation of some of Paul's comments in 1 Timothy 4:1-4. 

Paul knew the scriptures of the Old Testament, and he would have been well aware of the story of the two trees in the Garden of Eden. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil stood in the midst of the garden of Eden, beside the tree of life (Gen. 2, 3). Adam and Eve were forbidden to take of the fruit which grew upon it.

He would also have been aware of numerous other plants that are unhealthy to eat. Here are some examples from:
http://christiananswers.net/dictionary/plants.html

Tares - the bearded darnel, mentioned only in Matt. 13:25-30. It is the Lolium temulentum, a species of rye-grass, the seeds of which are a strong soporific poison. It bears the closest resemblance to wheat till the ear appears, and only then the difference is discovered. It grows plentifully in Syria and Palestine.

Gourd
(1.) Jonah's gourd (Jonah 4:6-10), bearing the Hebrew name kikayon (found only here), was probably the kiki of the Egyptians, the croton. This is the castor-oil plant, a species of ricinus, the palma Christi, so called from the palmate division of its leaves. Others with more probability regard it as the cucurbita the el-keroa of the Arabs, a kind of pumpkin peculiar to the East. "It is grown in great abundance on the alluvial banks of the Tigris and on the plain between the river and the ruins of Nineveh." At the present day it is trained to run over structures of mud and brush to form boots to protect the gardeners from the heat of the noon-day sun. It grows with extraordinary rapidity, and when cut or injured withers away also with great rapidity.

(2.) Wild gourds (2 Kings 4:38-40), Hebrew: pakkuoth, belong to the family of the cucumber-like plants, some of which are poisonous. The species here referred to is probably the colocynth (Cucumis colocynthus). The LXX. render the word by "wild pumpkin." It abounds in the desert parts of Syria, Egypt, and Arabia. There is, however, another species, called the Cucumis prophetarum, from the idea that it afforded the gourd which "the sons of the prophets" shred by mistake into their pottage.

Hemlock
(1.) Hebrew: rosh (Hos. 10:4; rendered "gall" in Deut. 29:18; 32:32; Ps. 69:21; Jer. 9:15; 23:15; "poison," Job 20:16; "venom," Deut. 32:33). "Rosh is the name of some poisonous plant which grows quickly and luxuriantly; of a bitter taste, and therefore coupled with wormwood (Deut. 29:18; Lam. 3:19). Hence it would seem to be not the hemlock cicuta, nor the colocynth or wild gourd, nor lolium darnel, but the poppy so called from its heads" (Gesenius, Lex.).

(2.) Hebrew: la'anah, generally rendered "wormwood" (q.v.), Deut. 29:18, Text 17; Prov. 5:4; Jer. 9:15; 23:15. Once it is rendered "hemlock" (Amos 6:12; R.V., "wormwood"). This Hebrew word is from a root meaning "to curse," hence the accursed.

The Artemisia absinthium of botanists

It is noted for its intense bitterness (Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4; Jer. 9:15; Amos 5:7). It is a type of bitterness, affliction, remorse, punitive suffering.

In Amos 6:12 this Hebrew word is rendered "hemlock" (R.V., "wormwood"). In the symbolical language of the Apocalypse (Rev. 8:10-11) a star is represented as falling on the waters of the earth, causing the third part of the water to turn wormwood.

The name by which the Greeks designated it, absinthion, means "undrinkable." The absinthe of France is distilled from a species of this plant. The "southernwood" or "old man," cultivated in cottage gardens on account of its fragrance, is another species of it.

Hemlock was well known as a poison in ancient times, as Socrates is supposed to have died by drinking it.

The word translated "meats" in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 (brwmatwn) does not mean animal flesh, but simply "solid food." A person who abstains from solid food is limited to a liquid diet. That is the plain, literal meaning of the text, but it would make little sense, so there must be a deeper meaning intended here. Was the Spirit showing that false teachers would promote a simplistic, superficial form of the Gospel, that missed many of the deeper, underlying truths? Such a view would lead to a superficial, immature form of Christianity, one that had "a form of godliness, but denied the power thereof."

Taking the above verses of 1 Timothy 4 literally, one would think it was about people who would come, teaching about what foods can be eaten, and what must be avoided. There are vegetarians, for example, who avoid eating animal flesh. Paul goes on to say that the foods subject to censure were created by God, to be received with thanksgiving, by them that believe the truth. What does the truth of the Gospel have to do with our diet? The truth is, our food preferences are not particularly significant. Paul said:

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Was Paul saying that every sort of food is okay to eat? No! Apparently he was not telling us that these deadly things were okay to eat, but he meant something else. The teaching that we should abstain from "meats" or foods must be a metaphor, as arguments about foods and diet are of minor consequence.

If the false teachers that Paul referred to tell people to abstain from "solid food," they would have to limit themselves to a liquid diet, such as one would feed to babies; in other words, milk. "Milk" and "meat" (or solid food, victuals) are metaphors used elsewhere in the NT.

1 Peter 2:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

The false teachers tell people to abstain from "solid food," they have to limit themselves to a liquid diet, such as one would feed to babies. They take superficial, strictly literal approach, and deny the deeper, hidden, spiritual one. The word of God includes both "milk" and "meat." The author of Hebrews said those who use only "milk" are babes.

Hebrews 5:13-14
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Perhaps this explains what the prophecy in 1 Timothy 4:3 means. The false teachers influenced by seducing spirits command people to abstain from the figurative or symbolic interpretations of prophetic scripture, and they say, "stick to the literal interpretation."

Isaiah said, that for one to be taught of God, he has to be "weaned from the milk."

Isaiah 28:9
Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

The "milk" represents basic things about God's word, that are relatively easy to understand and believe. They are the essentials of the Gospel, and are thoroughly explained and understood by most Christians.

Solid food, or "strong meat" is for those who are more mature in the faith. Prophecy is often given in the form of parables, metaphors, and symbols, and many prophecies are also riddles. These take some figuring out. But the scripture is its own interpreter.

Those who insist on "abstaining from meats" treat the whole bible as "milk." They take it literally, as though it needs no interpretation. They give heed to "seducing spirits," who deceive many, and their victims are the stars cast down to the earth in Revelation 12:4, saints who are drawn by the "tail of the dragon."

Isaiah said the "tail" represents false prophets.

Isaiah 9:15
The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.

Doug

Offline Doc

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2009, 09:43:30 PM »
Zender believes that (Mystery) Babylon is a real city to be rebuilt from the old Babylon. His reasoning is that it is called a "city" in Revelation. But New Jerusalem is also a "city", yet we know that New Jerusalem is the body of Christ (us). So I think his reasoning falls apart on this.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 10:17:48 PM by Doc »
God does not instruct us to pray to change His mind. He wants us to pray so that we'll know His mind.
 
"Prayer doesn't change God, it changes me." --C.S. Lewis

God never had or needed a Plan B. He's still on Plan A.

Res Veritas Loquitur

Offline Cardinal

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Re: I'd like your input on this
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2009, 12:17:16 AM »
 :cloud9: Amen Doug  :thumbsup:
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor