Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene




Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene.  Mary Magdalene followed Jesus after He had cast out seven demons from her (Luke 8:2).  She was present at the crucifixion (Matthew 27:55-56) and was one of the women who went to the tomb on Easter Sunday to anoint Jesus’ body (Matthew 28:1-10).  According to the Gospel of John (20:11-18), Mary was the first to see the risen Lord and He sent her to deliver a message to the apostles.  Although the Western church has at times identified her as the penitent prostitute (Luke 7:36-50) or as the sister of Martha and Lazarus, there is no biblical basis for these identifications and the Eastern church has treated them as three different women.

Scripture reading:
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.  So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” … Then the disciples went back to their homes.  But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.  (John 20:1-2, 10-18)

Collect of the Day:
Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, restored Mary Magdalene to health and called her to be the first witness of his resurrection.  Heal us from all our infirmities, and call us to know you in the power of your Son’s unending life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy  Spirit, one  God, now and forever.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Mark's thoughts: Take up the letter "N"

This is the Arabic letter "Nun."  It is the equivalent of the English letter "N."  Reports continue to come out of Mosul, Iraq that the Isalmic group ISIS is demanding that all Christians convert, pay the fine required by Shariah law, or die.  Their houses are being marked with "Nun" in order to identify them as "Nazarenes," as Christians.  This is an example of it:
As our brothers and sisters in Christ face persecution for the name of Jesus, pray for them.  And as Douglas Farrow has suggested, take up the letter "N" as a sign of your support for them.  Nathanael asked, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46 ESV).  May the crucified and risen Lord who "came from Nazareth" grant them relief.   More importantly, may he grant them strength through His Spirit to make the good confession of their Lord and ours.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mark's thoughts: Final thoughts about "home" and, Will creation be annihilated and replaced?



My post last week, “Heaven is not home. Home is here,” has prompted a fair amount of discussion. I think this is an inherently good thing, because the discussion has focused on Scripture itself rather than dogmatic texts. We must always be willing to examine the way we think and speak, and to test them against Scripture itself.

The discussion followed two courses.  First, some have defended the idea that heaven can and should be described as “home.”  Appeal has been made to 2 Cor 5:8’s statement, “we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (ἐκδημῆσαι ἐκ τοῦ σώματος καὶ ἐνδημῆσαι πρὸς τὸν κύριον) (cf. Phil 1:23, "My desire is to depart and be with Christ  [σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι], for that is far better).  There is no doubt that Scripture talks about being “at home with the Lord.”  But this is rather different than saying that “heaven is home.”  In fact Paul never uses the word "heaven" to describe the intermediate state of Christians and this fact certainly limits the utility of 2 Cor 5:8 as an argument for describing heaven as home.  While the Bible speaks in terms of being home with the Lord, it never describes heaven as home in a text (and of course it is “heaven is home” that actually dominates Christian speech). They can be understood theologically to mean the same thing by using the concept of "heaven" as an organizing principle, but the reality is that “heaven is home” carries with it a whole range of associations for hearers that are not suggested by “at home with the Lord.”

When Christians speak of heaven as “home,” they most commonly mean that this is the goal of the Christian faith.  The Christian wants to “die and go to heaven.”  That’s it. The goal has been achieved.  The loss of bodily existence is irrelevant because now the Christian is “in heaven.”  However, Phil 3:20-21 explains what the future holds for those who are “at home with the Lord” or “with the Lord”:  “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (ESV).  To be with the Lord is to share in a movement that arrives at this earth and leads to the resurrection of the body. 

It is possible to define “heaven” in a theocentric fashion.  Heaven is being in God’s glorious presence. And in turn this can be described as “home.” It cannot be denied that this is a valid theological way of speaking (though again, note the moves necessary to arrive at a conclusion expressed by no biblical text).  However this manner of speaking has two significant shortcomings.  The first is that it leaves aside the material and located character of human existence that is a key feature of biblical anthropology.  God creates human beings as the unity of body and soul (Gen 2:8) to live in the creation he made.  The Garden of Eden in creation is the location where they interact with God (Gen 2:15; 3:8).  The eschatological future finds earth to be once again the location where this interaction takes place after the resurrection (Rom 8:18-23; Rev 21-22).  Human existence that matches God’s created intention has a location. There is a location where people belong, and we call such a place “home.” That location is earth.  Of course, the two ways of speaking about home can be combined: Our future home is heaven on earth.  This is the picture we receive in Rev. 21-22.  In Rev 20:11-15 we hear about the resurrection and the judgment and in 21:1-2 there is the new heaven and new earth, and the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.  Only then does John hear: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Gen 22:3 ESV).

The second shortcoming is that as soon as heaven is described as “home,” the theological qualifications described above are lost upon most hearers because they are programmed to hear language about heaven in a dualistic way.  There are those who do not think this a real concern or a reason to avoid “heaven as home” language.  I can only say that I strongly disagree with this assessment of our current context.  As I have described here, I do not deny that carefully qualified in a number of ways, it is possible to describe heaven as “home.”  I contend that while possible, it does not reflect the what Scripture actually says and it is also detrimental to the life of the Church because it is almost always understood in non-biblical ways.  Or to put it another way: If the Bible doesn’t speak this way and it is very likely to be understood in non-biblical ways, why would we want to say that “heaven is home”? Why not rather speak using the language that is actually found in Scripture (after all, Paul says "at home with the Lord" and not "at home in heaven")? 

To take up the language actually found in Scripture would also mean reversing the emphasis that is so commonly found in the Church.  Pastors would still speak the comfort of knowing that those who die in Christ before the Last Day are "at home with the Lord" or "with the Lord" - that death cannot separate us from Christ.  But this treatment of the intermediate state would become the minor theme that it is in Scripture.  Instead the major emphasis would be on the return of Christ on the Last Day and the resurrection of the body.

The second course in the discussion affirmed the centrality of the resurrection and life on earth. This is, of course, great to see. However some argue strongly that the “new heaven and new earth” (Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1) is a completely different creation from the one on which we presently live.  In particular, many cite 2 Pet 3:7, 10, 12 as absolute proof that the present heaven and earth will be completely annihilated and that the eschatological heaven and earth will bear no relationship to the present one.  

Consideration of this issue must begin with the Old Testament and then trace this teaching into Second Temple Judaism that provided the setting for the New Testament.  On the basis of such an investigation New Testament scholar N.T. Wright has commented on the faith of first century A.D. Judaism: “Thus the Jews who believed in resurrection did so as one part of a larger belief in the renewal of the whole created order.”[1]

We read in Isaiah 65:17, “For behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth (
בֹורֵא שָׁמַיִם חֲדָשִׁים וָאָרֶץ חֲדָשָׁה ) and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind” (cf. Isa 66:22).  When Isaiah goes on to describe this new heavens and new earth, he does so by describing Jerusalem (65:20-22).  He concludes his description by saying, “The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpents food.  They will do no evil or harm in all my holy mountain,” says Yahweh” (65:25).[2]  This description of the animals obviously echoes what 11:6-9 had said about the Messianic age.[3]

Joel ends in a similar fashion.  After the eschatological judgment at the beginning of chapter 3 (3:1-2, 12-14), Yahweh dwells in Zion on his holy mountain (3:17).  Then we hear in 3:18, “And in that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah will flow with water.  And a spring will go out from the house of Yahweh to water the valley of Shittim.”[4]  The spring coming out of the house of Yahweh in Joel 3:18 is a picture of the Garden of Eden restored.[5]  This is even more explicit in both Ezek 47:1-12 and Zech 14:8-11.  As Hummel comments on the Ezekiel passage: “We obviously have here not only a visionary depiction of a ‘new creation’ in general, but specifically of Paradise Restored with its four-streamed river (Gen. 2:10), the river of life.”[6]

Eschatological language of this type raises questions.[7]  Certainly, we know that Old Testament language about the temple and Zion have been fulfilled in Christ.  We are therefore justified if we are cautious about reading it in overly literal fashion.  On the other hand, because of what Genesis 1-2 says about God's creation we should not be surprised to find that the prophets depict the future in terms of the current creation and specifically in terms of the Garden of Eden. 

According to Genesis 1-2, God created the earth as the place where people lived and therefore it seems natural that the prophets would describe a restored earth – or even a restored Eden – as the future goal of Yahweh’s reign.  We must certainly allow for discontinuity, metaphor and poetic hyperbole.  But at the same time we must not discount the profound continuity with God’s action in creation.  When we read the Old Testament, the only future it leads us to expect is some kind of restored or renewed creation.  As Gowan has noted: 
Old Testament eschatology is a worldly home.  The OT does not scorn, ignore, or abandon the kind of life which human beings experience in this world in favor of speculation concerning some other, better place or form of existence, to be hoped for after death or achieved before death through meditation and spiritual exercises.This sets the OT in sharp contrast to Gnosticism, to the otherworldly emphases that often have appeared in Christianity, and to the concepts of salvation taught by Hinduism and Buddhism.[8]

This is precisely the outlook we find in the Jewish apocalyptic literature of the Second Temple period.  In fact, texts here describe it is a renewed creation. The Similitudes of Enoch describe how God will “transform the earth and make it a blessing” (1 En. 45:5).[9]  Both 4 Ezra (7:75) and 2 Baruch (32:6) state that God will “renew creation.”  In Jubilees we hear about “the day of the new creation when the heaven and earth and all of their creatures shall be renewed according to the powers of heaven and according to the whole nature of earth, until the sanctuary of the Lord is created in Jerusalem on Mount Zion” (1:29).  These texts are important, because they illustrate the expectation that was common in Jewish apocalyptic eschatology – the same background shared by the New Testament.  Russell comments about this literature 

The redemption which God will bring about will involve not only man himself and not only the nation of Israel, but also the whole created universe.  The usurped creation will be restored; the corrupted universe will be cleansed; the created world will be re-created.  Thus, throughout these writings, there is a close relationship between God’s act of creation and his act of redemption. [10] 
           
We have seen that Isa 65:17 speaks of “a new heavens and a new earth.”  This phrase reoccurs in 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1.   The adjective “new” certainly raises the question about the relationship between this “new creation” and the first one.  Is the new creation a renewal of the first creation, or a completely new beginning?  Claus Westermann argues that in Isa 65:17 the adjective “new” means the miraculous transformation and renewal of the current creation, and not the destruction of heaven and earth followed by its replacement with a new one.[11]  The New Testament evidence indicates that he is quite correct.
           
The key text demonstrating the restoration of creation is Rom 8:18-23.  There Paul says that although creation has been subjected to futility and the slavery of corruption, it eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God (8:19).  Paul adds in 8:22 that “the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις συστενάζει καὶ συνωδίνει ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν).  Creation longs for this future event because, as Paul has already said in 8:21: “creation itself (αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις) also will be set free from its slavery of corruption into the freedom of the children of God.”  Paul is quite clear that it is not some other creation that will enjoy this outcome, but rather “creation itself” (αὐτὴ ἡ κτίσις), the same creation  that now suffers as a result of the Fall. 

There could hardly be a clearer witness to the fact that the current creation will be restored and renewed. The fact that this text has not been central to Christian reflection on this subject is shocking.  N.T. Wright is correct when he observes:

The marginalization of this part of Romans 8 in much exegesis down through the years has robbed Christian imagination of this extraordinary picture of the future; only by restoring it to its rightful place – which is, after all, in Paul’s build up to the climax of the central section of his most important letter! – can we   understand the larger picture within which his vision of resurrection makes sense.[12]

Further confirmation of this restoration is found in Revelation 21:1 and 21:5.  In 21:1 we have one of the two occurrences of “new heavens and new earth” in the New Testament when John writes: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth (οὐρανὸν καινὸν καὶ γῆν καινήν); for the first heaven and the first earth passed away (ὁ γὰρ πρῶτος οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ πρώτη γῆ ἀπῆλθαν), and there is no longer any sea.”  Shortly after this, John writes in 21:5 “And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (Ἰδοὺ καινὰ ποιῶ πάντα). 

Rev 21:5’s statement about God “making all things new” indicates that “the passing away” of the first heavens and first earth in 21:1 is the cessation of its fallen state (note that the same
verb, απερχόμαι, is used in 21:4 where those things associated with the fallen state such as death, mourning, crying and pain have passed away).  As Brighton has observed, 21:5’s statement, “I am making all things new” “refers to all that God had originally created, ‘the heavens and the earth’ (Gen 1:1), which are transformed into the ‘new heaven’ and ‘new earth’ that John sees here in Revelation 21.”[13]  Brighton’s interpretation is the same one shared by noted scholars such as Bauckham, Caird and Ladd.[14] The adjective “new” is a perfect description of the present creation that has been transformed and renewed on the Last Day, and it does not necessitate some other creation that has absolutely no relationship to the present one.  Both Romans 8 and Revelation 21 teach us that creation will be transformed and renewed, not destroyed and replaced by a different creation.  Lenski is quite correct when he comments on Revelation 21, “Combine what is here said with Rom. 8, and the answer is plain.”[15]

Another piece of evidence confirms this view.  In Matt 19:28 we hear Jesus say to his disciples, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed me, in the regeneration (ἐν τῇ παλιγγενεσίᾳ) when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  Here τῇ παλιγγενεσίᾳ refers “to the eschatological renewal of the world at the end of the present age.”[16]   As George Eldon Ladd observes: “There is every reason to conclude that Jesus shared with the prophets the expectation of a redeemed earth.  Mathew 19:28, if secondary in form, expresses the idea of the resurrection of the dead and the renewal of the world.”[17] Jesus says in the third eschatological Beatitude: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 ESV).  Matt 19:28 tells us which earth this will be.  It is the present one that will have been renewed.

The biblical witness is unified on this point.  In the eschatological future, God will renew his creation.  However, there is one other occurrence of “news heavens and new earth” and its context is has been cited in a manner that stands at odds with this view.  In 2 Peter 3:13 we read, “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth (καινοὺς δὲ οὐρανοὺς καὶ γῆν καινὴν ), in which righteousness dwells.”  It should be pointed out from the outset that the ultimate goal remains the same – a creation in which human beings will live.  In this respect, 2 Peter 3 does not differ from the other texts we have considered.

However, the context of 2 Peter 3:7-12 leading up to this verse indicates that the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire (3:7) and this has often been understood as saying that the creation will be destroyed as it burned up (3:10, 12).  It is possible to read it as a depiction of the present creation’s annihilation and the future arrival of a completely new and different creation, and in fact in responding to last week’s post many have asserted this strongly.

Those who confidently cite 2 Peter 3:7-12 do not fully appreciate what a challenging text this is and how many questions are inherent in it.  First, there are textual issues. At 3:10, there is disagreement in the manuscript tradition about whether the earth and the works in it will be “found,” “not found,” “found dissolved,” “be burned up” or “disappear.”  A number of conjectural emendations have also been proposed.  For a discussion of the textual issue, see, Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2005), 636-637.The textual tradition is, in many ways, the first commentary on the text.  When one finds this many variants, it is a sure sign that text has been a difficult one from the beginning.

Second, there are several thorny interpretive questions.  The terms in 3:7, 10, 12 vary (3:7 heavens and earth; 3:10 heavens, στοιχεῖα, and earth; 3:12 heavens and στοιχεῖα). There is also the question of whether the στοιχεῖα are “elements” or “celestial bodies.”[18]

The interpretation that 2 Peter 3:7-12 describes the annihilation of creation is not the only viable reading, nor is it even the most likely one.  Bauckham argues strongly that 2 Peter describes a renewal and not an annihilation of the present creation.  He states: 
 
The cosmic dissolution described in vv 10, 12 was a return to the primeval chaos, as in the Flood (3:6), so that a new creation may emerge (cf. 4 Ezra 7:30-31).  Such passages emphasize the radical discontinuity between the old and new, but it is nevertheless clear that they intend to describe a renewal, not an abolition, of creation (cf. 1 Enoch 54:4-5; Rom 8:21).[19] 
 
In the discussion about 2 Peter 3:7-13 another important fact is often overlooked: 2 Peter is antilegomena.[20]  Chemnitz sets forth the traditional Lutheran position regarding antilegomena books when he writes in the Examination of the Council of Trent

No dogma ought to be drawn out of these books which does not have reliable and clear foundations and testimonies in other canonical books. Nothing controversial can be proved out of these books, unless there are other proofs and confirmations in the canonical books.  But what is said in these books must be explained and understood according to the analogy of those things which are clearly taught in the canonical books.  There is no doubt that this is the opinion of antiquity.[21]
 
In light of these facts, it is very surprising to find that a significant portion of the Lutheran dogmatic tradition has taken 2 Peter 3:7-13 (understood as a destruction of the present creation) to be the definitive statement about what will happen on the Last Day and has taught an annihilation of the present creation.  Chemnitz (!), Gerhard, Quenstedt, Calov, Hollaz and Baier all held this position.[22]  This line of thought drives many of the responses I have seen.  On the other hand, Luther and Brenz taught the transformation of creation on the basis of Romans 8.[23]  Twentieth century Lutheran dogmatic works such as Pieper and Stephenson have attempted to leave the matter an open question and give an equal hearing to both 2 Peter 3:7-10 as well as all the other Biblical evidence that speaks of transformation.[24]

This approach hardly seems justifiable in the light of the Lutheran position on the antilegomena books.[25]  Instead, 2 Peter 3 should be interpreted within the framework of Romans 8 and the other Old and New Testament texts that indicate a transformation and renewal of creation.  In part this can be done by recognizing the evocative character of apocalyptic language such as that in 2 Peter 3.[26]  The passage emphasizes the dramatic character of the day of the Lord, but (like other sections with apocalyptic language) does not necessarily give us a “play-by-play” of what will happen in every specific detail.  

If we wish to press the individual details, then 2 Peter 3 indicates that the transformation may be a violent event in which creation is burned out/melted and the remainder (much like a decayed human body) becomes the basis for the transformation into the new creation. To say that this creation will be our home is not to minimize the radical transformation that is involved - a transformation that undoes what presently exists (see Psa 102:25-27 which uses this thought in order to underscore the constancy and eternity of God) as God makes it new again.  Gibbs summarizes the matter well when commenting on Matt 19:28's "in the regeneration" (ἐν τῇ παλιγγενεσίᾳ):

We should not think that "regeneration" entails the total destruction of all aspects of the present created order.  A radical purging and renewing of this old aching creation is a more appropriate way to speak of the overall picture of biblical hope (cf. 1 Cor 3:10-15; 15:1-58).[27]




[1] N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, vol. 1 of Christian Origins and the Question of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992), 332.
[2] NASB modified.
[3] We should also note Hos 2:18: “In that day I will also make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds of the sky and the creeping things of the ground.  And  I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land, and will make them lie down in safety.”  Andersen and Freedman comment on this section of Hosea, “In spite of the incomplete use of the Genesis traditions, however, the cosmic scope of Hos 2:16-25 is unmistakable; it includes an eschatological vision not unlike that of Isaiah (11:6-9; 35:9)” (Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman, Hosea: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary [New York: Doubleday, 1980], 281).
[4] Likewise, Amos speaks of how Yahweh will “raise up the fallen booth of David” (9:11).  He goes on to say in 9:13, “‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares Yahweh, ‘When the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine and all the hills be will dissolved’” (NASB modified).
[5] Hummel notes that “v. 18 features the same picture of the waters of life in Paradise Restored which we meet in Ezek. 47; Zech. 14; John 7; Rev. 22; etc” (The Word Becoming Flesh, 306).
[6] Hummel, The Word Becoming Flesh., 282.
[7] For a discussion of some of the complexities, see, G.B. Caird, The Language and Imagery of the Bible (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1980), 243-271.
[8] Donald E. Gowan, Eschatology in the Old Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986), 122.
[9] All translations taken from James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (2 vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1983, 1985).
[10] D.S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1964), 280.
[11] Claus Westermann, Isaiah 40-66: A Commentary (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969), 408.
[12] N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, vol. 3 of Christian Origins and the Question of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 258).
[13] Louis A. Brighton, Revelation (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 600.  take the same view.
[14] Richard J. Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 49-50; G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), 265-266); George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1972), 276, 278.
[15] R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Revelation (Columbus: The Wartburg Press, 1943), 615.
[16] Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 14-28 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), 565.  
[17] George Eldon Ladd, The Presence of the Future: The Eschatology of Biblical Realism (rev. ed.; Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1974), 319-320).
[18] See J.N.D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Epistles of Peter and Jude [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969], 364; Richard J. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter [Waco: Word Books, Publisher, 1983], 315-316).
[19] Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, 326; see his discussion on pgs. 303-321).
[20] Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.25.3.
[21] Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, vol. 1 (trans. Fred Kramer; St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971), 189.  The statement is quoted by Pieper: Christian Dogmatics, vol. 1, 335.
[22] Martin Chemnitz, Ministry, Word and Sacraments: An Enchiridion (trans. Luther Poello; St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1981), 150; Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, vol. 3, 542-543; Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 655-656.
[23] Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, vol. 3, 542.
[24] John R. Stephenson, Eschatology, Vol. XIII of Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics [Fort Wayne: The Luther Academy, 1993], 111).
[25] “Nothing controversial can be proved out of these books, unless there are other proofs and confirmations in the canonical books.  But what is said in these books must be explained and understood according to the analogy of those things which are clearly taught in the canonical books” (Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, vol. 1, 189; emphasis mine).
[26] For a discussion of some of the issues involved in apocalyptic language, see: John J. Collins, The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalytpic Literature (2d ed.; Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), 14-19.
[27] Jeffrey A. Gibbs, Matthew 1:2-20:34 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishign Company, 2010), 985.