Message

When/what is the End of Days?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.

When/what is the End of Days?

Postby John2 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:51 pm

To be honest, I don't like apocalyptic writings or thinking (even in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which I otherwise enjoy). But Rakovsky's got me thinking about the nature of the "End of Days" (acharit ha-yamim). And when I think of the End of Days I think of things like Is. 2:2-4:

In the last days [acharit ha-yamim] the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law [Torah] will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."


I was familiar with the Dead Sea Scrolls before the New Testament, so the idea of a suffering Messiah figure or community members atoning for sins seems like a non-issue to me (and I also appreciate the elements of this in Rabbinic Judaism).

This concept is expressed in 1QS (the Community Rule) col. 8 and 4Q541, for examples.

https://books.google.com/books?id=ew50B ... nt&f=false

So if there are elements (or "signs") of this kind of thing in the OT, or even if they are only imagined to be there, fine.

The DSS sect viewed the Temple as being polluted so they atoned for sins in a different way while waiting for the Temple to be purified or a new one could be built in its stead (or perhaps by performing their rituals in a different location of the Temple, like Josephus says of the Essenes). Acts 21 also presents Christians as performing sacrifices in the Temple after Jesus' death.

So let's say Jesus' crucifixion atoned for sins. I don't understand how or why that would nullify the observance of the Torah. I don't get this impression at all from End Time prophecies in the OT (like Is. 2:2-4 above, which says that the Torah will go out from Zion).

I'm trying to keep an open mind, but it seems "crazy" to me that the Torah or the OT could be valued for having messages (whether "hidden" or in the plain meaning) about the End Time and a suffering Messiah in a way that nullifies the observance of the Torah. As Dt. 4:30 puts it:

"When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days [acharit ha-yamim] you will return to the Lord your God and obey him," and the overwhelming impression I get from the rest of Deuteronomy is that this means to observe everything in the Torah forever and without adding to or taking anything away from it.

Can someone explain how this works for me by using the OT in a way that doesn't sound "crazy"?
Think this through with me, let me know your mind.
John2
 
Posts: 1013
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Advertisements

by »

 

Re: When/what is the End of Days?

Postby Ben C. Smith » Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:18 pm

I suspect the urge to nullify or to mitigate the Torah in any way derived from dealing with gentiles. There are arguments (the "New Perspective") that even Paul did not envision the law coming to an end for Jews: he was writing strictly about the gentiles' relationship to the law in those famous passages, and he himself was divinely commissioned to "live like a gentile" strictly for the purposes of his evangelism.

If these arguments are correct, then things are pretty easy to explain overall for many different groups: nobody imagined the Torah no longer being in effect for Jews, but the gentile question was a very different matter, and the Torah itself could be interpreted in different ways in this regard. There would be much pressure in some quarters to relax certain regulations for people who had not grown up with them and therefore were not used to them (the progressives); and there would be pressure in other quarters not to compromise, not one inch (the conservatives).

If these arguments are incorrect, then yes, we need a pretty good explanation for why certain Jews or Jewish groups would abandon the Torah themselves.

It is a thorny question all around, and I am not committing myself to either side (or to any other permutations). Just popping in to widen the inquiry a bit.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ
User avatar
Ben C. Smith
 
Posts: 3106
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA

Re: When/what is the End of Days?

Postby John2 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:28 pm

Thanks Ben (and nice to talk to you again). Okay, but I get the impression from the OT that gentiles are to observe the Torah too. Take Dt. 31:12, for example.

"Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law."

Or Zech. 14:16-21:

"Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.

On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them."
Think this through with me, let me know your mind.
John2
 
Posts: 1013
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: When/what is the End of Days?

Postby Ben C. Smith » Thu Dec 15, 2016 6:47 pm

John2 wrote:Thanks Ben (and nice to talk to you again). Okay, but I get the impression from the OT that gentiles are to observe the Torah too. Take Dt. 31:12, for example.

"Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law."


This one could easily be interpreted as applying only to gentiles actually living in Judea, not to gentiles living in their own countries.

Or Zech. 14:16-21:

"Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.

On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them."


This one mentions only the Feast of Tabernacles, not the keeping of the entire law.

The issue is really not one of how reasonable or unreasonable an interpretation might be, however. Nearly any text may be interpreted favorably with a bit of ingenuity. The issue is how much social and/or political pressure there might be, at least in some quarters, to relax the strict regulations of the Torah in order to attract and keep gentile converts. I think the answer to that question can be only: a lot.

You find the same thing in modern churches regarding, say, the stance on homosexuality. Some churches are conservative, and they have some pretty powerful texts to back them up (it is incorrect to say, as some Christians do, that only the OT mentions the issue; there is always Romans 1.27). Other churches, however, feel a lot of pressure to be more lax on the issue and admit homosexuals, just as they are, into the fold; these latter either reinterpret the key verses in their favor or do not follow a strict position of biblical infallibility in the first place.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ
User avatar
Ben C. Smith
 
Posts: 3106
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA

Re: When/what is the End of Days?

Postby John2 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:39 pm

This one could easily be interpreted as applying only to gentiles actually living in Judea, not to gentiles living in their own countries.


Alright, but "when in Rome," at least, in this case.

This one mentions only the Feast of Tabernacles, not the keeping of the entire law.


But Sukkot is symbolic of the wandering in the wilderness, where Israel received the Torah, and Zechariah presents the Torah as being in effect in the End Time and that gentiles will at least offer sacrifices in Jerusalem (which is something that requires being ritually pure too).

And we have to consider Is. 2 along with it, which says that a Temple will be standing in the End Time (like in Zechariah) and the Torah will "go out from Zion."

"Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law [Torah] will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."

So there is at least a healthy respect for the Torah (and the Temple) and the expectation that it will be in effect in the End Time (and at least to some extent for gentiles as well) in these verses.
Last edited by John2 on Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Think this through with me, let me know your mind.
John2
 
Posts: 1013
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: When/what is the End of Days?

Postby Ben C. Smith » Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:56 pm

John2 wrote:
This one could easily be interpreted as applying only to gentiles actually living in Judea, not to gentiles living in their own countries.


Alright, but "when in Rome," at least, in this case.

This one mentions only the Feast of Tabernacles, not the keeping of the entire law.


But Sukkot is symbolic of the wandering in the wilderness, where Israel received the Torah, and Zechariah presents the Torah as being in effect in the End Time and that gentiles will at least offer sacrifices in Jerusalem (which is something that requires being ritually pure too).

And we have to consider Is. 2 along with it, which says that a Temple will be standing in the End Time (like in Zechariah) and the Torah will "go out from Zion."

"Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law [Torah] will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."

So there is at least a healthy respect for the Torah (and the Temple) and the expectation that it will be in effect in the End Time (and at least to some extent for gentiles as well) in these verses.


I tend to agree. Would your interpretation, which is probably quite valid with respect to its original meaning, force somebody living a few centuries after the prophecy to apply the Torah to all gentiles throughout the world? Or would it be possible for somebody either to ignore this passage or to reinterpret it (and others like it), in the face of cultural pressure, more in favor of letting gentiles get away with more than Jews can?
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ
User avatar
Ben C. Smith
 
Posts: 3106
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA

Re: When/what is the End of Days?

Postby outhouse » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:13 pm

John2 wrote:The DSS sect viewed the Temple as being polluted



First little is known of the DSS sect.

Second the reason the temple was viewed as being polluted were the Hellenist in charge who built the temple and had a goal to bring "Judaism light" to the Diaspora.

The reason Christianity spread so fast was directly due to the temple pre programming "Judaism light" Herods temple was a money making machine for Rome more so then any religious center by any Israelites standard, yet built as gods own house even the disgruntled Israelites were drawn to its splendor. Some resisted.

the End Time and a suffering Messiah in a way that nullifies the observance of the Torah.


It does not. Remember the only reason there was less observance ties into what Ben stated. "Judaism light" was popular in the beginning of the first century. As more from the Diaspora grew to it Proselytes and gentiles less observance was practiced. Remember in the beginning of the first century Hellenistic jews would consider others as jews simply by swearing off pagan deities. Judaism was so diverse in the first century, there was no orthodoxy of any kind and beliefs were so wide and varied, no one looked twice at semi jews unless you were an oppressed Israelite Jew who often had more pious practices and adherence to laws.
outhouse
 
Posts: 3051
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: When/what is the End of Days?

Postby John2 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:14 pm

Thanks again, Ben. I'll chew on that. I have to get ready to leave work now so I won't be able to respond again until tomorrow.
Think this through with me, let me know your mind.
John2
 
Posts: 1013
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: When/what is the End of Days?

Postby John2 » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:17 pm

MrMacSon wrote:

First little is known of the DSS sect.


Real quick, because it's all I have time for. We know what their writings say about them, and there are a lot of them. I feel very familiar with who they were that way.
Think this through with me, let me know your mind.
John2
 
Posts: 1013
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: When/what is the End of Days?

Postby outhouse » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:41 pm

John2 wrote:MrMacSon wrote:


I am Outhouse or John Winford, not him.


I feel very familiar with who they were that way


Really ?????????????

You judge a sect by a collection of text from different times and cultures using multiple languages ?
outhouse
 
Posts: 3051
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Advertisement

by »

 

Next

Return to Christian Texts and History

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot], Charles Wilson, davidbrainerd, Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], JoeWallack, lsayre, Majestic-12 [Bot], Michael BG, MrMacSon, MSNbot Media, outhouse and 44 guests