Vocational Direction and Motivational Strength and Purpose for Believing Christians

 

 Compass

(On the Dangers of Cessationism, Dereliction & Nihilism)

by Mark E. Mountjoy

Scripture text: "No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules" (2 Timothy 2:4-5).

Introductory Remarks

The propagation of unsystematized, sensational and ill-defined information within the churches and throughout the world holds unintended consequences and hidden dangers for both churches, individual Christians and even non-believers. For churches, their reasons for their existence will come into question; for individual Christians their purpose and the respective responsibilities of their vocation as fellow-workers in the kingdom of God will be put in immediate doubt. For non-believers, they may gain the impression that Christianity is a fascinating, but ultimately inconvenient or impractical ideology.

Any ideology and any theology that has no utilitarian value certainly cannot answer or address the problems mankind has in the real world.

Without intending to do so, spiritual strength could be sacked and the reasons churches and Christians should continue to exist or do anything could be affirmed by the erroneous and unforgiving winds of preterist cessationism, dereliction and nihilism.

This essay aims to spell out what that threat is and define the meaning and purpose the truth of Jesus Christ and the ethos of the holy Apostles holds for both Christians and the world.

Defining Terms 

To begin with let us define what "Preterist," "cessationist, "dereliction," and "nihilism" mean. Preterism is the doctrine that the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus happened in the past--in the A.D.70 destruction of Jerusalem.

This tenet is based on a great quantity of passages and verses in the New Testament that, if taken at face value, demand that a Second Coming and speedy end of the world have already happened in the lifetime of the contemporaries of Jesus and the Apostles.

This idea can be found not only in the Synoptics and John, but also in Acts and the epistles. Matthew 3:2-12 and 10:7-23, Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 24:29-34 and 26:63-64 (and their cognates in Mark and Luke).  These and many other chapters, passages and verses make it crystal clear that the Lord Jesus conveyed his intention to return in the clouds of heaven before all the people alive at the time of his ministry had passed away.

This notion is particularly striking in John 21:20-23.  But as with any other idea, whether knowledge of that event is used for good or for ill greatly depends on the intentions of the person who believes that information or who passes it on to others.

Full Preterism is a very specific doctrine: It teaches that all Bible prophecies came to pass (or fruition) in A.D.70. Even though the Bible upholds the idea that Jesus' Second Coming would happen in the lifetime of Jesus' contemporaries, it does not support the notion that Jesus' contemporaries all died in A.D.70--and therein lies the weakness of the view.

Cessationism

Cessationism in Christianity is the doctrine that Apostolic gifts ceased with the original twelve apostles. This is generally opposed to the view of continuationism, which teaches that the Holy Spirit may bestow the sign gifts to persons other than the original twelve apostles, at any time in the Church age. Cessationism is by no means unique to Preterists.  Many churches and sects teach it, doubting and limiting God's ability to do the unusual in the lives of Christians and in the world in the here and now.

Dereliction 

Dereliction is a possible outcome if controversial or sensitive information is given or passed on without also being attached to a sense of accountability, responsibility and obligation.  But what exactly is dereliction?

Dereliction: der·e·lic·tion ˌderəˈlikSH(ə)n/ noun the state of having been abandoned and become dilapidated. "every year valuable gardens start the slow slide to dereliction" Synonyms: dilapidation, disrepair, deterioration, ruin, rack and ruin; More abandonment, neglect, disuse "buildings were reclaimed from dereliction" the shameful failure to fulfill one's obligations. Noun: dereliction of duty.

Teaching advanced Bible doctrines to people who have no intention of being Christians or even using that information to prove the opposite of what the Bible claims is irresponsible and dangerous.  Even in everyday life technical institutes, say, for example, Journeyman's School do not hand out wire-cutters and highly technical and dangerous tools to passersby. If they did they would soon go broke and they would not see an increase in qualified electricians to fulfill public needs and service requests.

People enlist for training and certification so they can receive papers that testify that they are equal to the task; the Christians should be no different in their handling of eschatology as a way of equipping ministers of all kinds to handle pastoral responsibilities in local church settings.

Any and all information must be dispensed in a specific framework and for specific purposes. It makes little sense to provide information without a ecclesial setting for that information to be used in. To do otherwise not only wastes time and effort but also invites trouble!

In other words negligence, delinquency, failure--the abuse of knowledge can come about by simply wasting knowledge by failure to convey it in a proper sacred context--a context designed to promote the continuation of New Testament worship, ministries and services.

Indeed, inaction and non-involvement strike a deadly blow at the very heart of the New Testament's notion of the Christian people as light and salt, and a body. A light shines and is meant to be seen, salt preserves and hinders deterioration and blight and a body moves, and acts and responds. But the unchecked spread of dereliction would, like cancer, mutilate and maim individuals and whole congregations, destroying whatever good was being done without the knowledge of a Second Coming fulfilled.

But how would it do this?

The Effects of Nihilism

I have been told that there are scores of Full Preterists who have become atheists.  I have heard stories of people who believed in fulfilled prophecy and then walked away from Christ and the Church. How could something like this happen?  First of all, we must realize that even among Futurist believers people have become atheists, too. A church split, or disagreement, divorce, a personal tragedy, the loss of a loved one or any number of things could lead a person to give up believing in God and walk off into the sunset.

We also know that people walk away from Christ and the Church, even in Futurist circles (it is not unheard of).  The Apostle Paul himself wrote,

"Demos hath forsaken me having loved this present world" (2 Timothy 4:10).

What we can say for sure is that nobody has a magic bullet to boast of a pristine retention rate; nobody knows how to curb falling away 100%, and even among Futurists people change their minds and become atheists. It is very hard to be able say why someone would come to a point in their lives where they think the option of giving up their faith or disbelieving in God is the best option to take, but we know for sure it is not something uniquely happening within any certain theological perspective.

However, that being said, What is unique about the spread of Full Preterism that is very unlike other religious causes and teachings? In a word it is a decrease in aggregate actions--mutual worship activities, congregation efforts, fellowship and ongoing vocational commitments in the spirit of Christian ministry and evangelistic outreach. This trend may be accompanied by a simultaneous increase in study, but non-involvement and the cooling of zeal because of disillusionment.

For what reasons might this be happening?

As we said above, assumptions about the perpescuity and exigency of the Church plays a huge role in what happens when a person learns about fulfilled concepts. And so, before we can even begin to understand what nihilism is and why it is so prevalent among some Full Preterists we need to understand positions about the existence of the Church after the Second Coming (then it will make much more sense).

Positions on the Church Age

Positions on the continuity and exigency of the Christian church already exist in the Christian world. These presuppositions are not, in reality, the fault of Full Preterists. What is believed (almost universally) is that there will be no need for the Church after the Second Coming. Why not?  It is because it is believed that the world as we know it won't even be here! So why would there be a Church?  If sin and evil will supposedly be gone and if wars and conflicts will supposedly be over and if disasters and disease will supposedly be things of the past and a new heaven and new earth remain full of utopian beauty, and peace and love will forever remain, what need do we have of a Church during the period of the new heaven and earth?

The idea of there being a Church during the period of the new heaven and earth sounds preposterous to most Christians!  Many Christians (especially Evangelicals) envision a soon-coming Rapture.  This sudden event is supposed to completely remove the Church--in a twinkling of an eye--once and for all. Even a conservative eschatology like Amillennialism envisages a brand new creation, but one without a Church.

So let's look at some different ideological scenarios and then ask ourselves if it is possible that these almost universal assumptions about the Church could be wrong?

The Church Age Will End at a Future Second Coming

As we said, all Four Views believe the Church age will end at the Second Coming.  Even if they differ on the meaning of the millennium (or where it began or if it began), even if they cannot agree on the place of Israel or the tribulation, and even if they argue back and forth over the supposed identity of the anti-Christ, each of the Four majority apocalyptic worldviews agrees that the Church, as a redemptive aspect in God's eyes, will end at a given point in time. 

All of them would say the Church will and must cease to be necessary simply because their systematic theology leads them to believe it is not a permanent facet of God's redemptive ideal. Full Preterism simply embodies a notion that was presumed to be true at the outset; however Atavist ecclessiology completely disagrees--as we will explain why below.

The Church Age Ended at a Past Second Coming

With the above assumptions about the existence of the Church and the nearly universal agreement that it won't be part of the new heaven and earth, it should come as no big surprise that those who once believed the Church would end at a future Second Coming should turn around and believe that the Church DID end at a past Second Coming; it was an easy assumption to make.

Many Full Preterists continue to hold this opinion, to one degree or another. And in holding to that opinion (which is, by the way, unbiblical), the creation of the psycho-dynamics that characterize Full Preterist cessationism, feeble vocational efforts and a threatening nihilism are set in motion and are with us today.

Today, without a strong teaching to counteract it, this notion poses the greatest threat (not only to Christians who already know about fulfillment and are entangled in the web of seeming purposelessness) but also those Christians who (sooner or later) may find out. This would have never been a danger if it were not for the discovery (through either personal study, or by book, or by word of mouth) that Jesus, the Apostles and the first Christians were 100% correct about the soon coming Parousia and the speedy end of the world, and why not?

Because a hypothetical future Second Coming never transpires, and vocational dedication and direction remain focused (as the Church keeps on growing). So the error of the notion and the harm of its application can never be seen for what it really is, for the simple fact that the future Second Coming keeps 'defying' expectations.

But as soon as that notion rears its head as a past proposition, at that very same time the seeds of destruction and the threat of wholesale cessationism, and with it existential suicide, arise. How can we biblically address these issues and reverse the damage that has already been done? I believe the answer can be found in God's Word and, for us, a devoted and persistent teaching ministry that weans Christians off these false notions of the Church's impermanence, once and for all.

Now, Isaiah 9:6 and Ephesians 3:20-21 and Revelation 21:24-26 and Revelation 22:17 absolutely will not allow the notion of a cessation of the Church or a shut door to salvation at any point in a world that has no end. This leads us directly to the Atavist ecclessiology and missiology which we will discuss at length next.

The Church Age Was Established as the Norm at a Past Second Coming

What if the most widespread, popular and entrenched beliefs about the Church are dead wrong? What if the earliest Christians—particularly the ones who fled to Pella, and came back to Jerusalem's ruins forty-two months later—actually intensified their belief and evangelism and church-planting because the events of the Parousia confirmed them in their faith?

What if the fulfillment of all those anomalous events, contained between Revelation 6:1 and 19:21 fired their evangelistic zeal and no threat against their safety or their lives could hold them back from eagerly spreading the word and nothing and no one could cool their zeal?

That would mean that the events, which many believe should have ended the Church, are (in fact) events which, in reality, crystalized the Church and caused it to balloon into a gigantic movement with revival and evangelistic fire in the Judaea Capta period (Malachi 4:2-3). That would mean the Church is a phenomenon that will keep growing—forever!

There are many Biblical verses that prove this continued expansion should be the case and besides the Bible we also have the history of the Church.

But, more than these, we also have what is presently happening in Church growth around the world today. In other words, what was true during the Judaea Capta period, when the Temple was fresh-fallen and the Jewish people were crestfallen, was true on the eve of the rise of Bar Kokhba when the Rabbis met together to decide what to do about the rapid Christianization of the Land of Israel.

It was true when the Jewish State was obliterated and became a thing only of memory, when the Romans (for the very first time) realized the Christians were a group entirely separate from the Jews. It was true in the two centuries that led up to the worst persecution of the Church under Diocletian (which persecution lasted an entire decade). It was true in A.D.325 when Constantine found the number of Christians in the bustling Roman Empire was so large that it was to his political advantage to legalize the religion and give it preference above the rest.

It was also true late that same century when the Emperor Theodosis made Christianity the only legal religion at the Council of Thessalonika in 380. It was true in the east as Thomas' work in India spread and thrived (despite his martyrdom). It was true in Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Morocco. Even after the rise of Islam and the downfall of the Levante, Christianity continued to boom all over the world. When the Byzantine Empire fell to the Turks Christianity was on the thresh-hold of converting the New World.

Nothing in the so-called 'failure' of the Parousia explains either the appearance, success or growth of Christianity.

Only the intervention (the visitation, parousia, apocalypse, epiphany) of the Lord Jesus himself at the critical junction of the seventy years between the debut of the First Great War and the final flickers of the Grand Rebellion explain how and why Christianity remained on the map, defying all odds. Lack of knowledge of the reasons why, however, do not negate the legitimacy of Christian efforts (nor do successful Christian efforts negate the actual reasons why).

Christians on all sides of the question of where Second Coming and end-time prophecies belong probably can agree that it is not at all possible for the return of Christ or an end of the age after the great mountain becomes a reality (i.e., the eschatological events come first, then the mountain is established--forever.

Or, the fourth beast is defeated and burned with fire, then the saints possess the kingdom of God--forever). The chart suggests that the last twenty centuries of explosive growth and successful Christian evangelistic expansion and organization points to an early fulfillment of the disputed prophecies (the very same prophecies that have eluded Bible scholars, students and laymen countless times).

The Conventional (But Erroneous) Consensus About
the Exigency Comes Alive in Full Preterism

As we have discussed above the most popular belief about the Church is that it will no longer be needed after the Second Coming. Whether it is believed the Church will be replaced by a millennial Jewish kingdom or will absorbed into a new heaven and new earth (a new planet and sky), the result is exactly the same: A preconceived notion that does not allow the possibility that the Christian church would exist intact and functional after eschatological events.

Preconceived notions are some of the hardest ideas to reshape or erase. Only strong and persistent teaching can ever hope to instill in mankind a sense of the Church's eternality in the mundane world as we know it; otherwise there is no recourse but to submit to the impulse to practice a less intense Christianity after becoming aware of a realized eschatology. But a realized eschatology linked with a less intense Christianity (one cooling off, as it were) will certainly and necessarily lead to nihilism.

Let's define it.

If you give a man or woman something to think about but nothing to do; if you disallow him or her to take any action or accept any responsibilities or duties. And, if you oblige them to stand still and take their community away, take their sense of belonging to a family larger than themselves and even one transcending both their race and nation, and if you deny them a direction and a destiny in this you will have the toxic ingredients and the precise recipe for nihilism: A existential disaster!

Nehilism defined:

ni·hil·ism nīəˌlizəm,ˈnēəˌlizəm/ noun: nihilism the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. synonyms: skepticism, negativity, cynicism, pessimism; More disbelief, unbelief, agnosticism, atheism "she could not accept Bacon's nihilism, his insistence that man is a futile being"

[Nihilism is the p]hilosophy [of] extreme skepticism maintaining that nothing in the world has a real existence.  [It is the] historical doctrine of an extreme Russian revolutionary party circa 1900, which found nothing to approve of in the established social order.  [It has its o]rigin[s in] early [the] 19th century: from Latin nihil ‘nothing’ + -ism.

As can be guessed, nihilism is nothing else but a psychological solitary confinement, and Full Preterist cessationism, dereliction and nihilism seems to be the epitome of it, representing mortal existential threats to Christians and truthseekers and it is diametrically at odds with New Testament ecclesiology and missiology. We will explain why below.

The Return, Zeal and Evangelism of the Jerusalem Church
Proves Christianity Did Not End in A.D.70

Revelation 12:1 gives a prophecy about the Jerusalem Church on the eve of the Destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.66. From John's description of her in the first verse there is every reason to believe she is clean, pure and undefiled in the eyes of God; (nothing in the text suggests otherwise). But when we come to verses 4 and 5 we discover that she is about to give birth to a 'son' who, as soon as he is born is caught up to God's throne--a 'Rapture'--but not of the woman herself.

Notice that she, instead of being caught up with her 'son' to the safety of God's throne, is given leave to flee to a place prepared for her in the wilderness. Her stay there will be one thousand two hundred and sixty days--which is the duration of the Jewish war.

The interesting thing about this incident is that we know from Eusebius' Church History (and other early sources) that the Jerusalem Church fled from Jerusalem into the safety of the Transjordan town of Pella, where they stayed the duration of the war. Notice again, she was not caught up to heaven with her son. And what is even more amazing we have history suggesting the Jerusalem Church's operations were resumed after the Destruction of Jerusalem.1

Understanding the Nuances of the Word 'Fulfillment'

Now we need to step back and think about some of the things in the New Testament that would not be coming to an end if God was going to establish an everlasting promised kingdom, but remove those provisional and tutorial forms he initiated on Mount Sinai. The New Testament may not always have the same kind of 'fulfillment' in mind in reference to each.2

As it discusses the completion of a host of things, it may not also be speaking of the annulment of those things which Christ payed for with his precious blood and decreed to continue, world without end.

Therefore, the Church (Ephesians 3:20-21) Jesus' priesthood (Hebrews 5:6; 6:20; 7:3; 7:15-17 and 7:28), the New Testament (Hebrews 13:20 and Mark 13:31) and the Gospel (Revelation 14:6), are some of those aspects that have to go on without end. See?

The Reality and Continued Expansion of the Mountain
is More Important than What Happened in Antiquity

The reality and expansion of the mountain in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream tells us that, on earth, whatever came out from the debacle is what we really do not want to lose sight of.  Whatever else happens, one thing is for sure, the end result (the mountain) should be a varied, permanent and successful phenomenon.

We believe these conclusions best fit the evidence and we maintain that the existence of the Christian church itself bears witness of ancient events and victories which are no longer obvious in the here and now.3

And this mountain is growing!4 Every year over 25 million people become Christians, but not even a fraction of those who have been Christians have the faintest idea or even the slightest curiosity as to why the Church is here in the first place. But does that fact take away from the priceless legitimacy of the Church? No! Is it more important to know exactly how and why the kingdom of God came to be here or is it rather more critical that the Church operate, remain strong and continue to grow? It is far more important for the Church to operate, remain strong and continue to grow!

If the curiosity of Christians never leads them to reach back into antiquity to discover any of the why's and wherefore's, it makes no difference; however, if it should come to their attention that the reason why the Church is here is because of the fulfillment of the Second Coming.

That shocking news is coupled with the false, detrimental and debilitating notion that now there should be and need be nothing: No local churches--or bishops, or priests, or deacons, or evangelists--and more--no weekly Divine worship or any need for New Testament fellowship or ministries or services--then what might have been a good thing to realize immediately crosses the line into something very dangerous, very unfruitful and very destructive!

Parable of the Talents: To Whom Much is
Given Much is Required

Ideally, Christian efforts should be zealous and robust in light of a victorious and glorious antiquity, not beggarly or lacking. And yet the damage and losses done in the wake of the spread of Full Preterism around the world do not reflect a rational understanding of prophecies in the Old or New Testament in the Gospels or the Book of Revelation.

The fulfillment of these prophecies should never have led a Christian to conclude that God's own kingdom--which he hung on the cross, bled and died for--would be the object of annulment at his Second Coming--nothing could be further from the truth than this!

This is the truth: What was annulled was the Temple, sacrifices, oblations, the priestly courses and the Levitical priesthood itself. What disappeared was the centrality of physical Jerusalem as the hub of the shadows, types and anti-types, allusions and patterns--definitely ot the Church itself!

The entire Bible is about God and the responsibilities mankind has as his highest creation on earth. Adam and Eve were given responsibilities and expected to faithfully carry them out. The patriarches, too, were given duties and obligations and were expected to carry them out with exactitude. Moses and Aaron, and Joshua along with Samuel and Saul, David, Solomon, Rhehoboam and Jeroboam and the whole litany of kings and priests that ruled Israel and Yehud in the First Commonwealth were expected to carry out sacred duties before God with faithfulness, zeal and alacrity. But when that faithfulness flagged, when that zeal cooled and when that alacrity slowed down God sent prophets, priests and street preachers--Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, Habakkuk, Obadiah, Zechariah and others to sound the alarm.

He warned, conjoled and threatened the people to return to their former faithfulness and passion. He urged repentance and their rededication to the worship of God and the pursuit of the beauty of holiness. And we know all too well that those warnings were not heeded. We know all too well that the people failed to take what was threatened to heart.

We know all too well that the snare of war and captivity came upon God's people and they were carried into other lands to endure the shame and disgrace of customs very different from their own. The same thing could happen to Christians if we fail to contribute to the work we are called to do in this world, not just now or on a temporary basis, but forever, world without end.

In fact, the Parable of the Talents speaks to us about a God who expects results from abilities that he has given to each one of us. Hear ye now the word of the Lord,

14 “For [the kingdom of God] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.

18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’

21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’

23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’

26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.

28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:13-30 ESV).

Now, in fact, as Christians who recognize and understand that the coming of the Lord was indeed near at hand, still that fact does not absolve us of responsibility as we shall meet our God face to face, too (See Romans 14:11-12; Hebrews 9:27 and Revelation 2:23b). One can believe the Full Preterist message that we have no responsibility, but will do so at our own soul's peril (the stakes are just that high!).

Jesus said,

"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom much was committed, more will be asked of him. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes" (Luke 12:48).

We must let the words of Jesus sink deep down into our ears. We must resist the temptation to be only fascinated and intrigued or revulsed or terrified by new or novel ideas. God wants to do so much in the world, and so much in the world needs to be done that it is unreasonable and illogical to think he will not do it through Christians who have little idea about why the Church is what it is and how the Church beat all odds to survive out of antiquity. It is not only unreasonable, but also sinful to think that Christians now have nothing better to do in these days and times than have 'fun.' That is like whistling past a graveyard!

We were not created to have fun, but to husband the planet and shepherd the people of this world through New Testament discipleship, ministries and services. And what do we get out of doing that? Righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Jesus showed us what to do and how to do it by his example of leadership through preaching, compassion, humility and ministry; so did the Apostles.5

And so, that servant who has talents and skills (be they administration, or support, writing or speaking) who neglects using those abilities to edify and increase the borders of the kingdom of God in the space of influence where he or she is, stands in danger of judgment and outer darkness for being a wicked and slothful servant.

If a person has organizational skills, but lets them go to waste, should they not similarly dread the judgment of God for wasted abilities?  Attempting to 'earn salvation' is very different from doing kingdom work out of gratitude of him who made salvation possible for us through his cross. Or do we suppose the Parable of the Talents is a lesson frozen in time?

Can it, rather, suggest unfruitfulness will be judged? Does a living and active Word of God not suggest to us otherwise?6 As people are lost and 157,000 leave the earth (mostly unprepared every day) is it an example of willful blindness to fail to see and comprehend (in light of a true ecclesiology and missiology) that there is a God to be diligently served and much work to be done, and that on an ongoing basis?

Conclusion

The commandments and traditions of the Apostles set the example of Christian leadership, ministry and service in the earliest days and their examples were carried out, not only in the Jewish State, but also in Asia Minor, Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, Europe and North Africa. Today let Atavist Bible Churches and the balanced doctrines of Atavism flourish as a motivating ideology to fulfill the powerful utilitarian qualities inherent in Christianity for the salvation of souls and for good of this world. For this very important reason, wherever this Atavist doctrine is spread, let it be known that the truthfulness of prophecy in antiquity fully justifies (not the cessation of commitments) but the intensification of vocational devotion and directional strength.

By induction and necessary inference, New Testament commandments and traditions not only teaches vocational continuation, but also requires its implementation. If we give people pearls of wisdom of insight into the mysteries of the kingdom of God and do not also expect them to become Christians or serve the Lord with us, we do them a great disservice.

If we teach ideas but claim nothing is happening to warrant efforts and full devotion we are setting up the dynamics of dereliction and, ultimately, nihilism. The soul abhors a vacuum, and a vacuum of meaning, and purpose and lack of involvement is the surest way to lose people, if not in the shortterm future, certainly in the long run.

Notes

1 The glorious woman who fled to the wilderness for 1,260 days (Eusebius' History of the Church 3.5.3), but she came back to the ruined metropolis of Jerusalem. Jewish historian, Solomon Grayzel notes, "During the rebellion the Christians, who had till then used Jerusalem as their center of activity, moved out of the city to a small town on the other side of the Jordan. The group was so small and insignificant that the Jews disregarded this unpatriotic action. But when the temple lay in ruins and the Jewish nation was expected to disappear, the Christians intensified their propaganda."(A History of the Jews, p.172 emphasis mine, MEM). And so it was, zealous Christians, motivated Christians, dedicated Christians made Jerusalem their center of operations for evangelism in the Land of Israel right up till the second year of Bar Kokhba's war.

2 It is important to distinguish between 'fulfillment' that results in annulment and fulfillment that leads to establishment (i.e., "he takes away the first that he may establish the second" Hebrews 10:9). Confusion here can explain why some well-meaning individuals do not believe Christians have any purpose, direction or responsibilities after the Parousia of the Lord.

3 No true understanding of Daniel 2 or 7 can posit a Second Coming and eschaton after the successful arrival of the mountain or after the inheritance of the kingdom of God. Such a view is Scripturally impossible. But the positioning of end-time events after the fact of their fulfillment in late Second Temple history does explain why Futuristic prophecies notoriously go unanswered.

4 There are presently over 25 million people becoming Christians each year. Help us establish Atavist Biblical Church fellowships in your area. Join hands and hearts with us to preach the salvation of Jesus to the lost and organize a local congregation in your area.
5 The commandments and traditions of the Apostles set the example of Christian leadership, ministry and service in the earliest days and their examples were carried out, not only in the Jewish State, but also in Asia Minor, Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, Europe and North Africa. Today let Atavist Biblical Churches and the balanced doctrines of Atavism flourish as a motivating ideology to fulfill the powerful utilitarian qualities inherent in Christianity for the salvation of souls and for good of this world.


6 The Parable of the Talents and many other passages and verses affirm positive and ongoing duties, obligations and responsibilities of Christians for all times. See Philippians 2:4, James 4:17 and 1 John 3:17 and James 2:14-26 for examples of some of those passages. All the epistles are full of commandments and examples of Christians practicing their faith in ways that make a difference in real life rather than mere theory.

Let us determine within ourselves to come together as a body of Christians and agree on steps we need to take to get what the Lord wants from us in motion. We believe in Jesus and in the Church he purchased; we also endeavor to handle sensitive information responsibly; to promote and foster community and cooperative mutual relationships. By these means and policies we hope to establish likeminded Christian churches linked by a common understanding of the New Testament and the Person and work and saving blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.