A Christian Interpretation (Re-printed 1943)


Chapter X. J E Bradburn

http://www.godsplan.org.uk/history_files/image001.jpgEverything in human life and history moves towards an end. Due to man’s subjection to nature and finiteness this “end” is a point where that which exists ceases to be. It is finisBecause of man’s rational freedom [to choose] the “end” has another meaning. It is the purpose of and goal of his life and work. It is telos (A telos (from the Greek τέλος for "end", "purpose", or "goal") is an end or purpose).


This double connotation of end (The meaning that a word suggests or implies) as both finis and telos expresses in a sense, the whole character of human history and reveals the fundamental [underlying] problem of human existence http://godsplan.org.uk/whatsahead.htm. All things in history move towards both fulfilment and dissolution, towards the fuller embodiment of their essential character and towards death.


The problem is that the end as finis is a threat to the end of telos. Life is in peril of meaninglessness because finis is a seemingly abrupt and capricious termination of the development of life before it has reached its true end of telos. The Christian faith understands this this aspect of the human situation. It shares an understanding of the tension between time and eternity with all other religions. But it asserts that it is not within man’s power to solve the vexing problem of his subjection to, and partial independence from, the flux of time. It holds, furthermore, that evil is introduced into history by the very effort of men to solve this problem by their own resources. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/1000.htm


The evil thus introduced by the “false eternals” of human pride complicates the problem of historical fulfilment. The culmination of history must include not merely the Divine completion of human incompleteness but a purging of human guilt and sin by Divine judgement and mercy.


We have previously considered the implications of the revelation of God in Christ http://www.godsplan.org.uk/Jesusmission.htm for the interpretation of history http://www.godsplan.org.uk/hebrew.htm , and sought to establish that the Kingdom of God as it has come in power means a disclosure of the meaning of historybut not the full realisation of that meaning  http://www.godsplan.org.uk/dispensationalplan.htm.

For the http://www.godsplan.org.uk/housesofisrael.htm  and Juda and Ben.


That is anticipated in the Kingdom which is to come, that is, in the culmination of historyhttp://www.godsplan.org.uk/jehovah%27sword.htm. It must be remembered that a comprehension of the meaning of life  http://godsplan.org.uk/meaningoflife.htm and history from the standpoint of the Christian Revelation includes an understanding of the contradictions of that meaning in which history is perennially involved.

Such an understanding by faith http://www.godsplan.org.uk/faith.htm means that the world is in a sense already “overcome”; for none of the corruptions of history, its fanaticisms and conflicts, its imperial lusts and ambitions, its catastrophes and tragedies, can take the faithful completely unaware. 1


1 Thessalonians 5:3--6 (KJV)

“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape

“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief

5 “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness

6 “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober


The light of Revelation into the meaning of life illumines the darkness of history’s self-contradictions, in fragmentary realisations of meaning and its premature and false completions. But obviously such a faith points to an end in history’s incompleteness and corruption is finally overcome. Thus history as we know it is regarded as an” interim” between the disclosure and the fulfilment of its meaning. Symbolically this is expressed in the New Testament in the hope that the suffering Messiah will “come again” with “power and glory” 2  http://www.godsplan.org.uk/stars.htm  http://www.godsplan.org.uk/secondadvent.htm.


Matthew 24:30 KJV “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”


Men shall “see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.





This hope of the Parousia in New Testament thought is sometimes dismissed as no more than a projection of those elements of Jewish apocalypse to which the first coming of Christ did not conform http://www.godsplan.org.uk/Jesusmission.htm


and for the satisfaction of which a “second coming” had to be invented. On the other hand it has frequently been taken literally and has thus confused the mind of the church. The symbol of the second coming of Christ can neither be taken literally nor dismissed as unimportant. It participates in the general characteristic of the Biblical symbols, which deal with the relation of time and eternity, and seek to point to the ultimate from the standpoint of the conditioned. If the symbol is taken literally the dialectical conception of time and eternity is falsified and the ultimate vindication of God over history is reduced to a point in history. The consequence of this falsification is expressed in the hope of a Millennial Age http://godsplan.org.uk/messianicage.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/1000.htm  In such a Millennial Age, just as in a utopian one  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia, history is supposedly fulfilled despite the persisting conditions of finiteness. On the other hand if the symbol is dismissed as unimportant, as merely, or a primitive way of apprehending the relation of the historical to the Eternal, the Biblical dialectic is obscured in another direction. All theologies which do not take these symbols seriously will be discovered upon close analysis not to take history seriously either. They presuppose an eternity which annuls rather than fulfils the historical process.


The Biblical symbols cannot be taken literally because it is not possible for finite minds [definable limits] to comprehend that which transcends and fulfils history (without studying the Bible KJV).The finite mind can only use symbols and pointers of the character of the Eternal. These pointers must be taken seriously nevertheless because they express the self-transcendent character of historical existence and point to its Eternal ground.             


http://www.godsplan.org.uk/internalspirit.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/immortality2.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/immortality.htm


The symbols which point towards the consummation from within the temporal flux cannot be exact in the scientific sense of the word. They are inexact even when they merely define the Devine and eternal ground of history interims of contrast to the temporal. They are even more difficult to understand when they seek to express the Biblical idea of an eternity involved in, and yet transcending, the temporal [temporary].The eschata or “last things” in New Testament symbolism are described in three fundamental symbols.


1.      The return of Christ, http://www.godsplan.org.uk/secondadvent.htm 


2.      The last judgement. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/godcontrols.htm


3.      The Resurrection. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/originofthemind.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/originofthemind2.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/originofthemind3.htm


They must be considered in order.

Matthew 12:45 (KJV) “Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”


If we analyse the meaning of the two subordinate symbols of the “last judgement” and the resurrection it becomes clear that, according to Biblical faith, some aspects of history are refuted more positively while the meani9ng of historical existence as such is affirmed more unequivocally than in alternative conceptions.

2. The Last Judgement


The symbol of the last judgement 1


 Matthew 25:31-46 (KJV)

31 “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory 

32 “And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats

33 “And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”

34 “Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:’”

35 “For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in

36 “Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.”

37 “Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?’”

38 “When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee

39 “Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee

40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me

41 “Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels

42 “For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink

43 “I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not.”


44 “Then shall they also answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?’”

45 “Then shall He answer them, saying, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.’”

46 “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal


2 Corinthians 5:10 (KJV) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad


In New Testament eschatology contains three important facets of the Christian conception of life and history:


1.      The first is expressed in the idea that it is Christ who will be the judge of history. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/secondadvent.htm Christ as judge means that when the historical confronts the Eternal it is judged by its own ideal possibility, and not by the contrast between the finite and the Eternal character of God.  Augustine interprets the idea that we must be “made manifest before the judgement seat of Chris” as follows:

 “God the Father will in His personal presence judge no man, but He has given His judgement to His Son who shall sow Himself as a man to judge the world, even as He showed Himself as a man to be judged of the world.” De civ Dei, Book 14 chapter 27. The judgement is upon sin and not fineness [resurrection]. This idea is in logical accord with the whole Biblical conception of life and history, according to which it is not the partial and particular character of human existence which is evil, but rather the self-love by which men disturb the harmony of Creation; as it would exist if all creatures obeyed the Divine will.


2.      The second facet in the symbol of the last judgement is its emphasis upon the distinction between good and evil in history. When history confronts God the differences between good and evil are not swallowed up in a distinction less eternity. All historical realities are indeed ambiguous [cryptic]. Therefore no absolute distinction between good and evil in them is possible. 2 This is the point of the parable of the Wheat & Tares http://www.godsplan.org.uk/parables.htm, both of which must be allowed to grow until the harvest (final judgement) because they cannot always be distinguished from one another.


Matthew 13: 24—30 (KJV)

24 “Another parable put He [Elohim] forth unto them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:’”

25 “But while men slept, his enemy came [Satan] and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way

26 “But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also

27 “So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, ‘Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?’”

28 “He said unto them, ‘An enemy hath done this.’ The servants said unto him, ‘Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?’”

29 “But he said, ‘Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.’”

30 “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.’”


However, this does not obviate the necessity and possibility of a final judgement upon good and evil. To be sure the righteous, standing before the last judgement, do not believe themselves to be righteous, 3 Cf, Vol, Ch, II. Moreover, their uneasy conscience proves the final problem of history to be that, before God, “no man living is justified”. There is no solution for this final problem short of the Divine mercy and the “forgiveness of sins. We already noted the import of the Christian doctrine of the Atonement. It affirms that the ultimate mercy does not efface (Rub out) the distinction between good and evil; for God cannot destroy evil except by taking it into and upon Himself. The very rigour with which all judgements in history culminate in a final judgement is thus an expression of meaningfulness of all historic conflicts between good and evil. Yet the necessity of a “final” judgement upon all other judgements is derived from the ambiguity of these conflicts. (A situation in which something can be understood in more than one way and it is not clear which meaning is intended.)


3.      The third facet in the symbol of the last judgement is to be found in its locus (a place where something happens) at the “end” of history.) There is no achievement or partial realisation in history, no fulfillment of meaning or achievement of virtue by which man can escape the final judgement. The idea of a “last” judgement expresses Christianity’s refutation of all conceptions of history, according to which it is its own redeemer and is able by the process of growth and development to emancipate man from the guilt and sin of his existence, and to free him from judgement.


Nothing expresses the insecurity and anxiety of human existence more profoundly than the fact that the fear of extinction and the fear of judgement are compounded in the fear of death. The fear of extinction = the fear of meaninglessness. When life is “cut off” before any obvious completion; or when finis so capriciously [impulsive] frustrates the possibility of achieving telos [end], the very meaningfulness of life is called into question. However, before faith can apprehend the Divine mercy which completes our incompleteness and forgives our sins it must confront the Divine judge.  In that confrontation it is not death but sin as the “sting of death” which is recognised as the real peril. For the ending of our life would not threaten us if we had not falsely made ourselves [instead of God] the centre of life’s meaning. In one of the profoundest Jewish apocalypses, the fourth Ezra, the fear of extinction is compared with the fear of judgement. Judgement is regarded as preferable to mere extinction because it is a part of the consummation of life; “Woe unto those who survive in those days! But much more woe unto those who do not survive. For they that do not survive must be sorrowful knowing, as they do, what things are reserved in the last days but not attaining unto them.


Nevertheless, woe also unto them that survive, for this reason, that they must see great peril and many distresses even as these dreams do show. Yet it is better to come into these things incurring peril, than to pass away as a cloud out of the world and not see what shall happen in the last time 4 Ezra 13—15 forward; http://godsplan.org.uk/greattribulation2.htm. 


Literal conceptions of the allegedly everlasting fires of hell have frequently discredited the idea of a final judgement in the minds of modern Christians. But moral sentimentality in modern Christianity would probably have dissipated [dispersed] the significance of the idea of judgement, even if a literalistic orthodoxy had not seemed to justify the dissipation. It is unwise for Christians to claim any knowledge of either the furniture or the temperature of hell; or to be to certain about any details of the Kingdom of God in which history is consummated. But it is prudent to accept the testimony of the heart, which affirms the fear of judgement. The freedom of man [to choose], by which he both transcends and is creative in history, makes the fear of a judgement beyond all historical judgements inevitable. Many a court of opinion may dismiss us with a: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”; but we will deceive ourselves if we believe such a judgement to be final. If men are fully aware, they will discern an accent of the fear of judgement in the fear of death. The fear of death arises merely from the ambiguity of finiteness and freedom [to choose] which underlies all historical existence; but the fear of judgement is prompted by awareness of the mixture of sin and creativity which is the very substance of history.


3. The Resurrection


The idea of the resurrection of the body is a Biblical symbol in which modern minds find the greatest offence and which has long since been displaced in most modern versions of the Christian faith by the idea of the immortality of the soul. The latter idea is regarded as a more plausible expression of the hope of everlasting life.


Ecclesiastes 12:7 (KJV) “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it http://www.godsplan.org.uk/internalspirit.htm


St Paul declares….1 Corinthians 15: 49--57 (KJV)

49 “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly

50 “Now this I say, brethren, ‘that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit in-corruption.’”

51 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; ‘We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,’”

52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed

53 “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality

54 “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory

55 “O death, where is thy sting? ‘O grave, where is thy victory?’”

56 “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law

57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ


It is true of course that the idea of the resurrection transcends the limits of the conceivable; but it is not always appreciated that this is equally true of the idea of an immortal soul. The fact is that the unity of historical existence, despite its involvement in and transcendence over nature, makes it no more possible to conceive transcendent spirit, completely freed of the conditions of nature, than to conceive the conditions of nature transmuted into an eternal consummation. Either idea, as every other idea which points to the consummation beyond history, is beyond logical conception. The hope of the resurrection nevertheless embodies the very genius of the Christian idea of the historical.


·        On the one hand it implies that eternity will fulfil and not annul the richness and variety which the temporal (since the fall; temporary] process has elaborated (worked out with great care and nicety of detail).


·        On the other it implies that the condition of finiteness and freedom [to choose], which lies at the basis of historical existence, is a problem for which there is no solution by any human power. Only Jehovah God can solve this problem.


From the human perspective it can only be solved by faith.  http://www.godsplan.org.uk/faith.htm All structures of meaning and realms of coherence, which human reason constructs, face the chasms of meaninglessness when men discover that the tangents of meaning transcend the limits of existence. Only faith has an answer for this problem. The Christian answer is faith in God who is revealed in Christ and from whose love neither life nor death can separate us http://www.godsplan.org.uk/earthlytabernacle.htm.


In this answer of faith the meaningfulness of history is the more certainly affirmed because the consummation of history as a human possibility is denied. The resurrection is not a human possibility in the sense that immortality of the soul is thought to be so. All the plausible and implausible proofs for the immortality of the soul are efforts on the part of the human mind to master and to control the consummation of life. They all try to prove in one way or another that an eternal element in the nature of man is worthy and capable of survival beyond death  http://www.godsplan.org.uk/godcontrols.htm . But every mystic or rational technique which seeks to extricate [explain] the Eternal element tends to deny the meaningfulness of the historical process with its infinite elaborations of that unity.  Professor John Ballie has called attention to the fact in his profound study of the Christian hope of everlasting life that the Platonic conception of immortality is but a more philosophical version of the primitive and animistic sense of a shadowy survival after death. Such a survival, according to Professor Ballie, may be convincing but not comforting. And the Life Everlasting, Ch 4.The consummation of life in these terms does not mean the preservation of anything significant in either the individual or the collective life of man in history.

As against these conceptions of consummation in which man denies the significance of his life in history for the sake of affirming his ability to defy death by his own power, The Christian faith knows it to be impossible for man or for any of man’s historical achievements to transcend the unity and tension between the natural and the Eternal in human existence. Yet it affirms the Eternal significance of this historical existence from the standpoint of faith in a GOD, who has the power to bring history to completion.


In the symbol of the resurrection of the body, the “body” is indicative of the contribution which nature makes to human individuality and to all historical realisations. We have previously noted that human individuality is the product of both the self-consciousness of spirit, and the particularity of a finite natural organism. 2 Cf, Vol I, Ch III. In the same way every cultural and spiritual achievement, every social and political organisation in history, embodies both natural conditions and normative concepts which transcend and defy the particular and unique situation in which they develop. Climate and geographical limits, poverty and plenty, the survival impulse, and sexual desires, and all natural conditions leave their indelible mark upon the spiritual constructions of history. Yet historical achievements transcend these limits in varying degrees of freedom [to choose]. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul implies that Eternal significance can be ascribed only to that element in the historical synthesis which transcends into conditions. If this implication is followed to its logical conclusion nothing remains in eternity but an undifferentiated unity (not having any distinguishing features), free of all particularity and distinctions. We have previously observed how this conclusion is ruinously drawn, particularly in Buddhism and Neo-Platonism.


The doctrine of the resurrection of the body implies that Eternal significance belongs to the whole unity of an historical realisation in so far as it has brought all particularities into the harmony of the whole (in plain words “belongs to everybody”). Consummation (to bring to a state of perfection; fulfil,) is thus conceived not as an absorption into the Divine but as a loving fellowship with God. Since such a perfect relation with God is not a human possibility it depends upon the mercy and power of God. Christian faith can only trust His mercy to deal with the recalcitrance of sin (resisting authority or control), even as it trusts His power to overcome the ambiguity of man’s finiteness and freedom (to choose) http://www.godsplan.org.uk/whatishappening2.htm.


It is important to recognise that the rational difficulties which confront us in the doctrine of the resurrection are not all derived from literalistic corruptions of the doctrine; and they are, therefore, not all surmounted  (a problem or a difficult situation) if literalism is disavowed. Even if we do not believe that “the earth will give back those that it treasured within it and Sheol will give back that which it had received and hell will return that which it owes”


1 Similitudes of Enoch, LI, 2  https://otp.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/abstracts-lectures/the-similitudes-of-enoch/   


We are still confronted with the formidable difficulty of asserting what seems logically inconceivable, namely, that eternity will embody, and not annul, fineness, or, in the words of Baron von Hugel, that the “total abidingness of God” will not destroy our “partial abidingness”.  This rational difficulty partly explains the inconsistencies of Jewish apocalyptic writings, which furnished the background of new Testament conceptions. Sometimes they presented the consummation of history as something which occurred on this side of the “end of time”. In that case the “resurrection of the just” was believed to usher in a millennial age upon this earth http://godsplan.org.uk/messianicage.htm.  Sometimes, particularly in the later apocalypses, the fulfilment and the end of history were conceived as coinciding; and all limitations of nature and time were believed to be transcended in the consummation. 1  (A) Edwyn R Bevan observes: “As time went on, and the thought of the religious Jews became mature, it was largely realised that no Kingdom of God limited by the essential conditions of earthly life could satisfy the spirit of man “ The Hope of the World to Come”, Page 26.


Genesis 5: 18—24 (KJV)

18 “And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch

19 “And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters

20 “And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died

21 “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah

22 “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters

23 “And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years

24 “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him


Genesis 6:1—4 (KJV)

1 “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them

2 “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose

3 “And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years

4” There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”


Matthew 25: 31—46 (KJV)

31 “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of his gloryhttp://www.godsplan.org.uk/secondadvent.htm

32 “And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:”

33 “And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left

34 “Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:’”

35 “For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in

36 “Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.’”

37 “Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?’”

38 “When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee?’”

39 “Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?’”

40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.’”

41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels

42 “For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink

43 “I was a Stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not

44 “Then shall they also answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?’”

45 “Then shall He answer them, saying, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me

46 “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal


(B) R H Charles makes the same point, believing that eschatological thought gradually yielded to the conviction that “the earth, however purified, is no fitting place for an Eternal Messianic Kingdom


The second (B) idea is of course more tenable (capable of being held, maintained, or defended) than the first. But if the first had not preceded, and left its mark upon the second, the latter might well have had little to distinguish it from Greek conceptions of immortality. The whole Hebraic-Biblical http://www.godsplan.org.uk/dispensationalplan.htm  conception of the unity of the body and soul, and of the meaningfulness of the historical process was bound to lead to this wrestling of the mind of later Judaism with the insoluble problem. New Testament thought wrestled with it too. St Paul was convinced that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 2


1 Corinthians 15:50 (KJV) “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption


A Critical History of the Doctrine of the Future Life in Israel, page 220.

There is of course no absolute beginning for anything in history, including the beginning of “RevelationHowever, sharply defined the idea of divine transcendence may be in Hebraic prophetism, Martin Buber plausibly maintains in his Koennigtum Israel’s that this prophetic idea of divine transcendence is involved in the monotheism of Israel from the beginning http://www.godsplan.org.uk/2%20Peter%203.htm


Peter 3:5—6 (KJV)

5 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water

6 “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished


http://www.godsplan.org.uk/book1.htm The Fall of our parents. http://godsplan.org.uk/serpentofgenesis3.htm Enoch http://www.godsplan.org.uk/books.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/jubilees.htm (contrary to Satan’s world the Jubilee of Jehovah is 50 years: and with Satan it is 49 years on this fallen earth). http://www.godsplan.org.uk/ethhaadham.htm  Genesis 1 onwards to Revelation KJV. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/


According to Buber the highly developed concept of transcendent majesty in:


Isaiah 45:5—10 (KJV)

05 “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:”

06 “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else

07 “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things

08 “Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it

09 “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, ‘What makest thou? ‘or thy work, He hath no hands?’”

10 “Woe unto him that saith unto his Father, ‘What begettest thou?’ or to the woman, ‘What hast thou brought forth?’”


Is no different the idea implied in the Decalogue when God declareth: Nothing has been added or subtracted writes Buber, an unconditioned character, implicit at first, now expresses himself explicitly.


Deuteronomy 5:6—7 (KJV)

6 “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage  http://www.godsplan.org.uk/exodus34.htm

7 “Thou shalt have none other gods before Me


There is of course no possibility of determining to what degree prophetic conceptions have been read back into Israel’s history. But on the other hand Buber is right in seeing that something of the prophetic conception was implicit from the beginning, or, or the fully developed idea could not have gained credence.

  This whole question is important because it reveals the very dialectical between “natural” and “revealed” religion. The whole relation is determined by the very Character of human self-transcendence. Man transcends himself sufficiently to know that he cannot be the centre of his own existence and that his nation, culture or civilisation cannot be the end of history. This is the natural ground for Revelation. But he does not transcend himself in such a way as to be able to state the end of existence, except as, by faith, he apprehends the voice of God who speaks to him and “against” him.

  Isaiah predicts both a final judgement upon the Gentiles and the wicked in Israel, and a judgement upon the Gentiles and a vindication of Israel


Isaiah 17: 9—14 (KJV)

09 “In that day shall His strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel: and there shall be desolation.””

10 “Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips

11 “In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow

12 “Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters

13 “The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind

14 “And behold at evening tide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.”


Isaiah 13:9—14:2 (KJV)

09 “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it

10 “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”

11 “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible

12 “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir

13 “Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger

14 “And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land

15 “Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword

16 “Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished

17 “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it

18 “Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children

19 “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah

20 “It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there

21 “But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there

22 “And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged


01 “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.”

02 “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.” http://www.godsplan.org.uk/housesofisrael.htm



Paradise regained