Our discussion on August 28 took enough twists and turns to make it difficult for me to get it all down in this blog. Here are some of the highlights:
One of the many possible symbols around the autumn Biblical feasts is how they progress from the new moon on the Feast of Trumpets to the full moon that signals the start of the Feast of Tabernacles. As noted in the entry about Trumpets as being on the “sabbath of new moons,” the number 7 for the month and the first sliver of light on the moon are important in understanding the meaning of the day for Christians who want to look back at them.
The number 7, of course refers back to the creation, and implies completion. This month is therefore the month of completion of the great harvest of souls that continued throughout humanity’s time of failure to believe in and obey God. The time has come to finish the processes of salvation and judgment.
In John 1:4 John claims that Jesus’ life is “the light of all people.” [NRSV] Marion pointed out that in John 8:12 Jesus calls Himself “the light of the world.” In one sense His first coming introduced light into the world, and His return will light up the entire creation. Thus there can be said to be a progression from dim light to full day-like brightness in Jesus entire ministry.
I began to wonder, however, whether Jesus’ return will have any instantaneous, lasting illumination of the world. Maybe not. There is a distubing note about the end of the Millennium in Revelation 20:7-10. Satan is released, and causes what seems to be the entire world’s nations to attack “the camp of the saints and the beloved city.” This is after Jesus’ rule with His saints has caused one thousand years of peace on the earth. Following this comes judgment, with every human being who has ever lived accounting to God for their lives and being either saved or punished in Rev. 20:11-15.
It is probably safe to say that Jesus’ return will not immediately produce the eternal peace and harmony suggested by such prophecies as Isaiah 65:17-25, Isa. 11:1-9 and Micah 4:1-4. It will be the beginning of light, but not quite the fullness. Even Isa. 65:17 suggests that the main fulfilment is at the time of a new heavens and earth (compare with Revelation 21:1-5).
The world will be in darkness as Jesus returns to bring light. He will still have to minister for 1000 years (assuming a literal millennium in Revelation), then go through a judgment process (beginning with “firing” the rebellious armies in Rev. 20:7-10). This judgment process seems to fit the ideas in the Day of Atonement very well, as will be covered in the post for that day.
Finally, after final judgment, will come the universal peace and justice that we believers have been waiting for faithfully for thousands of years. I like to think that this is pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles, which is lit by the full light of the moon, and which featured the light festival mentioned in a previous post.
Several topics not resolved during and after the above involved the literality of the impossible ecology of Isaiah 65 and the literality of humanity returning to the fruitarian diet first mentioned in Gen. 1-2 and suggested by the return of the tree of life in Rev. 22. A final unresolved topic was the compostion of the resurrected body, whether a “spirit body”, a “spiritual body” or a resurrection to physical life sustained by the tree of life, empowered by a renewed spirit.