GETTING IN TUNE WITH THE THOUGHT!
Three elderly, somewhat confused, men are at the doctor’s office for a memory test. The doctor asks the first man, “What is three times three?” “274,” came the reply. The doctor rolls his eyes and looks up at the ceiling, and says to the second man, “It’s your turn. What is three times three?” “Tuesday,” replies the second man. The doctor shakes his head sadly, then asks the third man, “Okay, your turn. What’s three times three?” “Nine,” says the third man. “That’s great!” says the doctor. “How did you get that?” “Simple,” he says, “just subtract 274 from Tuesday.”
Say what? Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone that seemed to make no sense whatsoever? Their “logic” came from “out there,” and you could not figure out just where that is? I must say in all candor that when I read some of the objections to Covenant Eschatology, that I am reminded of the three little old men. It is amazing how logically distorted most of the arguments hurled at the true preterist view really are. Most of us have experienced that. Well, consider Jesus.
Do you realize that Jesus’ contemporaries thought he was crazy, or at least deluded? One time Jesus said, “If anyone keeps my word, he shall never see death.” (John 8:51).Their response? They said, “Have we not rightly said that you have a demon?” (John 8:52).
Put yourself in that audience. You hear a guy say that if a man obeys him, he will never die. Man, that guy IS crazy, right? To make it worse, the guy says that before Abraham was born, he existed in eternity (John 8:55-58)! Wow! A real nutcase! The Jews responded to that by saying, “Now we know that you have a demon!” (John 8:52). John 8 is the interaction between Jesus and the Jewish audience. They were on totally different wave lengths. To them, Jesus was illogical, or just plain crazy. To Him however, they were carnal and unwilling to think spiritually.
We have the same problem today. We have folks that want to say, “The Bible means what it says and says what it means.” I can’t help but wonder how they would have responded to Jesus’ statement about if a man believes on him they will never die! Did he mean what he said, and say what he meant? Of course, but what they thought he said was not what he meant! They thought he was speaking of physical death. He was speaking of spiritual death. They thought he was crazy. Was he? Or did they need to think spiritually?
The Jews ultimately killed Jesus because they were so literalistic in their thinking that they could not, or would not hear what Jesus was saying about the kingdom. All they wanted to hear was kingdom, victory, and dominion. Jesus spoke about kingdom, victory, dominion, but he flatly rejected their concept of those things, and their offer to make him their leader (John 6:15f). He spoke spiritually, they thought literally, and Jesus died as a result of their refusal to bring their thoughts into alignment with Him.
Lot’s of times people talk about how hard the Bible is to understand. Maybe the problem is not what the Bible actually says. For instance, how hard is it to understand “There are some standing here that shall not taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom”? Really now, how difficult is it? Well, if are thinking like the Jews of Jesus’ day, and have the same kind of theological “blinders” on, then yes, it is difficult. But the language itself is unambiguous and emphatic.
Maybe, just like the ancient Jews, the problem is what we think the Bible says that is really the issue. If we today, like the Jews of old, impose our own prejudices, traditions, and presuppositions on the text, we might think the Bible is confusing. Perhaps we need to open up our minds to “compare spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2). By allowing the Bible to speak for itself we won’t be having to “subtract 274 from Tuesday” to get the right answers!