Full Glory: Our Birthright (Daniel, Conclusion)

Cloud of GloryPaul’s message in 2 Corinthians 5 is clear. The destruction of the temple – or Jewish religious system – would not leave the Jewish believers “homeless” because God had promised a new heaven and earth, as well as a “greater and more perfect tabernacle,” the holiest of all. Just as certainly as Christ went to prepare a place for them, he would come again and receive them to himself (John 14:1). God’s promise would not fail.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus…

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:19, 22-23).


The dissolving of the earthly house would not leave them naked,

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,

if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

Now he who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee (2 Corinthians 5:2-5).

Special notice should be given to the word “prepared” in verse 5, which is from the Greek word katergazomai, and signifies “to work out, achieve, effect by toil.” (W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.)

The firstfruits people of the gospel, to whom God gave the earnest of the Spirit, existed for the purpose of working out, or effecting by toil and sacrifice, this great change from the earthly to the heavenly state. They labored that they might be accepted of God. The whole harvest depended on their being accepted (Romans 8:18-23).

The “groaning” of Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:2-4 corresponds to his “groaning” in Romans 8:23:

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

Waiting for their adoption is the same as waiting for their “house from heaven” in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5. Projecting this deliverance, adoption, redemption, and heavenly house into our future perverts the true meaning and application of these passages, and leaves the faithful of today homeless and orphaned.

Denying the fulfillment of prophecy at its indicated time denies God’s blessing in our lives today. How great is our need to come into the presence of God, and walk in the Holy of Holies where the Godhead dwells.

Food For Thought
  1. The author goes to great lengths to show the accuracy of Daniel’s time statements – down to the very day! If this reading provides us with such harmony, is it logical to look for another explanation? Is there any reason to do so?
  2. Does a 30-year gap between the 69th and 70th weeks seem plausible? Does a 2,000-year gap make more sense?
  3. Given the similarities between Daniel and Revelation, does it seem likely that they are speaking of radically disparate events and time frames?
  4. Daniel is told to seal the words of his prophecy (Daniel 8:26; 12:4), which would not come to pass for some 500 years. John is told not to seal the words of his prophecy (Revelation 22:10) for those things would “soon take place.” Does that make sense if the fulfillment of John’s prophecies is anything more than 500 years away? Is there any logic that allows us to see 500 years as the distant future (Daniel 8:26) and 1900+ years as “soon”?
  5. Which Israel received the blessings of Daniel’s prophecy? How does this mesh with Galatians?
  6. This series refers to Matthew 13:37-43. How does this context change the way you read this parable?
  7. How might the identity of the New Testament saints as a “kind of firstfruits” shed light on the mission and purpose of the apostolic church? Could this be part of Paul’s concern to present the church as a spotless bride at Christ’s coming?

Join us each week as we continue blogging through The Spirit of Prophecy by Max King, where this post is drawn from. (And if you get impatient, of course, you can always get the book inspiring these posts here.) Please feel free to weigh in below.

Jesus the Shaman – Transformed Apocalypticism – Chris Dierkes

new heaven and new earth

In this series on Jesus-as-shaman, we’ve explored multiple dimensions, including Jesus as healer, exorcist, soul retriever and psychopomp. There are a number of other correlations we could make between classic shamanism and Jesus. For example, there is the shamanic practice of reading signs in nature to provide discerning insight:

Jesus also said to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, “It is going to rain”; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, “There will be scorching heat”; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Luke 12: 54-56

Or think of the numerous parables of Jesus that derive from the earth and animal life: the birds of the air, the lilies of the field, the mustard seed, and so on.

There’s also Jesus’ practice of vision quest with prayer and fasting: 

”He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan, and he was with the wild beasts and the angels waited on him.” (Mark 1:12. See The Four Vision Quests of Jesus by Steven Charleston for an excellent exploration of this theme.)

Jesus was with the wild beasts…this could be interpreted in shamanic lore as his connection with the animal world. In particular there are stories of shamans befriending wild animals – e.g. St. Francis of Assisi befriending the wolf. The angels waited on him can refer to spirit guides, helpers, and protectors (e.g. guardian angels in our own day).

There are still yet other connections I could point to, but for now I want to focus on one last important crossover between Jesus and shamanism: apocalypticism.

Recently I was on an interfaith panel at a local church. As an ordained priest I get asked to do this kind of thing occasionally. The panel that evening consisted of me, a Rabbi, and an aboriginal Canadian elder. The elder went into an intriguing rift at one point, almost a rant, and quoted a number of prophesies from his wisdom teachers concerning coming destruction for humanity. I had been thinking of this shamanistic lens in relation to Jesus for awhile at this point, but I had only been considering things like soul retrievals, healings, exorcisms, and so forth. At that moment, a whole other arena of Jesus-as-shaman opened up for me: Jesus the apocalpyticist.

As with the other arenas mentioned earlier – exorcism in particular – apocalypticism immediately makes liberal folk squeamish. The word immediately evokes images of fire and brimestone preachers raging about hell and damnation and the end of the world or being Left Behind. It brings to mind people like radio broadcaster Harold Camping predicted the end of the world on May 11, 2011 after finding the secret clue (he claimed) to unlock the book of Revelation. He follows in a long line of people who wrongly predicted dates and times of the end of the world (e.g. William Miller). [We at Presence know nothing about failed apocalyptic predictions! :v) – editor]

serpent god

Whether it makes us uncomfortable or not, Jesus was an apocalyptic dude. Apocalypse has roots in shamanic indigenous traditions around the world. It was clearly on display that evening of the interfaith gathering. We saw it also when people taking ayahuasca have visions of the return of the Amerindian serpent god in 2012.

We also see it in Jesus. Jewish apocalypticism, the kind Jesus came from, grew out of mystical traditions of visions of the Chariot of God or the Throne of God (called hekhalot or Merkabah in Jewish mysticism). The hekhalot tradition consists of ascents by the mystics into God’s sovereignty over all creation – symbolized by the chariot or the throne. The mystical ascent of the Hekhalot Kabbalists parallels the journeys of shamans to the upper world. Both Judaism and shamanic traditions include the vision of the importance of a Tree: e.g. Yggdrasil the Cosmic Tree in Norse shamanism and The Tree of Eternal Life from the Garden of Eden.

By journeying to the highest heaven, the mystic is granted a vision of eternity, transcending space and time. From his heavenly perch, the mystic can see the whole plan of creation. Moreover, the mystic, one with The Divine, is helping to dream the world into being. The mystic partakes in a vision of God’s desire for creation.

Jewish seers had visions of God’s throne in The Holy of Holies – i.e. the innermost sanctuary of The Temple. Entering into that realm meant that one had been transformed into a son/daughter of God, i.e. was in full union with God. God was envisioned as rushing out from the innermost sanctuary of the temple (i.e. eternity) into creation (space and time) bringing liberation, healing, and restoration. The rituals of the high Holy Day of Yom Kippur and the traditions of the Jubilee (release of debt bondage) and Jesus’ apocalyptic vision of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth all derive from this spiritual tradition.

By having a vision of all things being well in God, the mystic becomes an apocalyptic prophet, able to indict his/her age as having failed to live up to the vision of God’s restoration and true justice. Some theologians say that this kingdom of God is “already but not yet.” The Kingdom is always already the reality of God’s life, and everything in creation already exists, in its essence, within this heavenly substrate. And yet as a manifest form, creation does not fully manifest this reality. The gap between the Kingdom as already and not yet is seen in racism, sexism, ecological destruction, oppression, mass poverty, hopelessness, despair, cruelty, and violence.

full moon of fire

Hence the painful, passionate words of Christ:

“I have come to bring fire to the earth and how I wish it were already burning.” (Luke 12:49)

Jesus understood his exorcisms and healings as moments when the Kingdom of God was breaking through into space and time. He said they were a glimpse into the rule of God.

The shamanic view is one in which our world and the other worlds are part of a continuum. What occurs in any world has effects in the others. As the ancient saying went, “As above, so below.” Or in the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Not all shamans are apocalyptic – for all we know most of them probably were (and are) not. But contemporary research has shown among shamanistic movements in numerous places around the world (e.g. The Americas, The Pacific Islands) the tendency towards apocalyptic thought when facing times of social and economic dislocation as well as political oppression – exactly the kind of conditions that characterized Israel under Roman imperial occupation during Jesus’ life (and Roman-executed death).

Apocalyptic language is the dream of a new world arising out of the ashes of an old. Apocalyptic seers often visions of both light and darkness – visions of hope that spring from the possibility of a new world:

“People will come from East and West, North and South, and will sit down and eat in the kingdom of God.”
– Jesus (Luke 13:29)

The flip side of his hopeful language is the nightmarish possibility of being left out of the new reality to come:

“Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, ‘Lord, will only a few be saved?’ He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, “Lord, open to us”, then in reply he will say to you, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” But he will say, “I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!” There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out.” (Luke 22: 22-28)

We live in an age of major economic dislocation and dispersion, an era of ecological despoliation. Apocalyptic language is rife in our society – some emphasizing more the vision of a renewed future, others more the destruction to come if we continue on the current path.

Jesus GreenTo employ traditional language, the apocalyptic is powerful medicine. In the wrong hands, however, it is quite dangerous. But there will be no substantial change without an apocalypse – without a disclosure of another reality. But that other reality will not come without intense resistance. The apocalyptic element, the prophetic critique of society, is what leads Jesus directly to the cross. In our own day we see many forces of violence amassed against the change so desperately needed. The apocalypticist has seen, however, that the order of violence and resistance is already defeated. It is already undone. It is just that we have not walked in that path yet – we have not incarnated its truth.

Jesus deployed his shamanic gifts to help give birth to his vision of a kingdom of heaven on earth. Just so, in our day we must learn shamanic modalities of healing and empowerment in order that we may help birth the more beautiful world our hearts desire and know is possible.

chrisChris Dierkes is a long time student and practitioner of the Christ-consciousness mystical path. After receiving his MDiv., Chris worked in parish ministry for three years (Anglican Church of Canada) and now maintains a private practice in interspiritual soul work. In addition Chris has studied energy healing, intuitive arts, and shamanic practice. He writes frequently on subjects of spirituality in the contemporary world. He lives in Vancouver with his wife Chloe and their daughter Sage. You can check out his writing and practice here.

The Dwelling of Christ and Humanity – The Perfect Cube

Earth as CubeWhen examining eschatology, we can see parallels between the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21 and the Holy of Holies of Hebrew worship. The perfect cube of the holy of holies finds its fulfillment in the perfect cube of the city of God.

The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal (Revelation 21:16).

Some object to the idea that we are now in the Holy of Holies. The traditional view is that only Christ is there now, and he has not appeared to complete our redemption and receive us to himself. The assumption here is that the space-time universe will cease to exist and be replaced by the new heavens and earth. For many, Christ has not yet come, the world has not yet ended, and only Christ occupies the heavenly sanctuary.

This view conflicts with the time element involved in prophecy, and postpones to the far distant future events that were anticipated in the time of the New Testament writers:

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,

by a new and living way which he consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, his flesh,

and having a High Priest over the house of God,

let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:19-25).

The exhortation “having boldness to enter the Holiest” suggests that the time of entering was drawing near; and therefore the Hebrews were exhorted to draw near and to hold fast – the one who made these promises is faithful. The time was upon them when the promise of God would be fulfilled; in fact it was a day that they could see approaching. We can see the struggle between Judaism and Christianity in verses 26-34, where they are exhorted to continue to fight and endure afflictions:

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

“For yet a little while, and he who is coming will come and will not tarry.

Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.

But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul (Hebrews 10:35-39).

In verse 36, we find “the promise” mentioned again, as in verse 23, and it is related to the coming of Christ in verse 37. The writer of Hebrews obviously saw this coming as something that would happen soon. What is this coming of Christ? Some see his coming in the destruction of Jerusalem. Milligan writes:

The coming of Christ, as referred to in our text, must therefore mean, not his second personal coming, but his coming in providence most likely, to destroy Jerusalem, and so to deliver his elect from the violent persecutions to which they had long been subjected by the unbelieving Jews (Matthew 24:29-41). To this Christ himself refers encouragingly in Luke 21:28 where, speaking of the signs of Jerusalem’s approaching ruin, he says, ‘when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.’ The fall of Jerusalem put an end, of course, to Jewish persecution; and in this way and to this extent, it brought deliverance to the Christians of Palestine. And as this occurred in A.D. 70, about seven years after the writing of this Epistle, the evidence seems very clear that the apostle has reference here to that ever memorable event. (Milligan , Robert. Commentary on Hebrews, p. 293.)

Others say it is the “second coming” of Christ as most people normally think of it. This seeming disparity of views is not surprising. Time-wise, this coming was so near that the destruction of Jerusalem is the only event it could fit, and the Olivet Discourse supports this view. But to others, the purpose and work associated with this coming makes it necessary to apply it to his “second coming,” a time when such things were to be fulfilled.

Correctly understood, these views are both correct. The dilemma is a false one, for these are not two separate comings but one. They are synchronous in time, design, and purpose. The promise was received at that time. The world (or age) ended at that time. It was the time of the seventieth week of Daniel and the six promised blessings being ushered in – including the “anointing of the Holy of Holies.” It was the time of the new heaven and earth (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1), the tabernacle of God with humanity (the greater and more perfect one – Hebrews 9:11), the time when the inheritance was received (Ephesians 1:14, 1 Peter 1:3, 4).

A second possible objection to this view of the tabernacle is that of making the two departments of the physical tabernacle symbolic of the two worlds, dispensations, or covenants. How can the Old Covenant system or dispensation be properly represented by the Holy Place when it was imperfect? This is probably pushing the symbolism too far. The Holy Place was occupied by people of God who were never able to achieve perfection by their sacrifices, “But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year” (Hebrews 10:3).

Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? (Hebrews 7:11).

Nevertheless, the Hebrew (Old Covenant) paradigm was holy in design and purpose, just as the Law was holy, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The presence of God was hidden from the people by a veil that would have to be lifted for restoration to take place, and the law could not lift the veil. It could only point out the gap that existed between humanity and God.

“Holy” and “Most Holy” is a fitting contrast to describe the two covenants and their respective purposes. A similar contrast is found in 2 Corinthians:

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? (2 Corinthians 3:7-8).

The Old Covenant system was holy on the same basis that it was glorious. But the New Covenant was more glorious because it brought humanity into the Holy of Holies.

A third objection is based on the state of the church between Pentecost and the fall of Judaism. If the church did not enter the Holy of Holies until the fall of Jerusalem, where was it prior to that time? If the holy place represented the Old Covenant, would not this place the church under the Old Covenant? The answer to this question should help us to better understand the transition period.

They were in the world, but not of it (John 17:14) and while many Christians today interpret “world” to mean “culture” (and find reasons to alienate their culture), Jesus is referring to the Hebrew religious “world,” or age, “Father, I desire that they also whom you gave me may be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which you have given me” (John 17:24). They would be where Christ was when he came to receive them unto himself (John 14:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 2:1) at the end of the age.

Their redemption, or the completion of it, hinged upon that time and that event. Until then they must be counted as being in that world. However, through the power of the Spirit they were not of that world. By spiritual rebirth, and through the earnest of the Spirit, they possessed in part that which would be given in full at the end of the age. From this viewpoint they often spoke of “the world to come,” referring to the time of separation from Judaism (Ishmael cast out). “For he has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels” (Hebrews 2:5). “[They] have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come” (Hebrews 6:5).

With this understanding, we should be ready to grasp Paul’s language in 2 Corinthians 5:

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,

if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

Now he who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.

For we walk by faith, not by sight.

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:1-10).

The phrase “our earthly house, this tent” in 2 Corinthians 5:1 corresponds to the earthly or worldly sanctuary of Hebrews 9:1 and in particular to the Holy Place, which represented the Old Covenant system and age. When Paul wrote 2 Corinthians 5, that earthly system, or “building” had not yet been dissolved. The time was getting close in Hebrews 8:13, “…Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” The house was still standing, as in Hebrews 9:11: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.” “This creation” – the original King James version uses “building” here – is the “building of God” in 2 Corinthians 5:1; and “not of this building” in Hebrews 9:11 corresponds with “a house not made with hands” in 2 Corinthians 5:1.

Join us each week as we continue blogging through The Spirit of Prophecy by Max King, where this post is drawn from. (And if you get impatient, of course, you can always get the book inspiring these posts here.) Please feel free to weigh in below.

Jesus the Shaman – Psychopomp – Chris Dierkes

harrowing of hell

Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died, and was buried. He descended into the dead. – The Apostles Creed

Jesus was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison… – 1 Peter 3:19

Psychopomps are journeys where a shaman meets a soul in a postmortem state who is unable to cross over into the other world. This soul is stuck in between the worlds, often confused, in pain, and alone.

The shaman, acting as psychopomp, helps the soul: a) realize it is in fact dead b) clear any remaining ties that bind the soul to this world c) encourage the soul to make the journey across the dividing line between this world and the hereafter.

The First Letter of Peter states that Jesus’ Descent into the Dead is understood to include preaching to the spirits in the underworld. I believe Jesus is here acting as a psychopomp. My sense is that he is trying to help free these trapped souls so that they can follow the light.

Psychopomp is yet another modality that would be of benefit to contemporary society. The ancients understood well that souls trapped between the worlds are bad for both them and for us. They understood that the line between the dead and the living was permeable and therefore we continue to have relationships beyond death (e.g. ancestor veneration; in Christian language this is called The Communion of Saints). But again, this modality is not commonly available because of our culture’s materialist bias which sees death as complete once the physical body is no more. As the ancients (more wisely) understood, physical death is just a point near the beginning of a much longer process.

In my work as a pastor, I’m convinced more and more that our society’s inability to truly grieve and to allow our loved ones to transition between the worlds compassionately is at the root of a great deal of suffering – addictive behaviors (to cover over the grief), emotional disconnection, and a great many other negative expressions. A recovery of Jesus as Psychopomp could help us retrieve this important practice in our day.

Coming next week in the Jesus the Shaman series: Jesus and the Apocalyptic.

chrisChris Dierkes is a long time student and practitioner of the Christ-consciousness mystical path. After receiving his MDiv., Chris worked in parish ministry for three years (Anglican Church of Canada) and now maintains a private practice in interspiritual soul work. In addition Chris has studied energy healing, intuitive arts, and shamanic practice. He writes frequently on subjects of spirituality in the contemporary world. He lives in Vancouver with his wife Chloe and their daughter Sage. You can check out his writing and practice here.

The Last Days – Clearing the Confusion

Some want to have the Old Covenant age end properly at the fall of Jerusalem, but they are hesitant to assign the expected coming of Christ to that time. This effectively creates a third age that extends from the fall of Jerusalem to a future return of Christ. There is no such age or period of time known to the writers of the New Testament, because the end of the Old Covenant world was the second coming of Christ. This was the time of restitution of all things spoken by the prophets. This was the bringing in of the new heaven and earth, where righteousness dwells.

Abraham had two sons – not three (Galatians 4:21-31). Just as Isaac followed Ishmael, so the new world follows the end of the old. The inheritance stands in Isaac, and beyond him we cannot go. There is no one in Abraham’s household higher than Isaac, so he does not represent an intermediate state or period of time, such as fostered by the traditional view. There is no time period between the fall of Jerusalem and the second coming of Christ. They are essentially the same event – at any rate they are inexorably linked.

When we, through faulty interpretation, assign “last days” prophecies to a period of time that does not exist in scripture, the result is confusion. The New Testament saints preached, wrote, suffered, and died in the last days, but this is not true of us today. The bold truth is this: We are now in that world which was to come. We are in the eternal kingdom of Christ, and instead of being in last days we are in eternal days – a world without end (Ephesians 3:21). We are speaking, of course, of the world typified by Isaac, our spiritual world and citizenship.

Which is Which?

A passage that illustrates the kind of confusion that can result is Hebrews 1:1-2:

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by his son….

If the “last days” is the end of the Old Covenant age (as we have seen), then the world to come must follow, but most Christians think that the new world is ushered in by the second coming of Christ. This presents an exegetical problem that is acknowledged by J. Barmby in the Pulpit Commentary:

A subject of discussion has been the point of division between the two ages – whether the commencement of the Christian dispensation is ushered in by the exaltation of Christ, or his second advent. The conception in the Jewish mind, founded on the Messianic prophecy, would of course, be undefined. It would only be that the coming of the Messiah would inaugurate a new order of things. But how did the New Testament writers after Christ’s ascension conceive the two ages? Did they regard themselves as living at the end of the former age or at the beginning of the new one? The passage before us does not help to settle the question … but other passages seem certainly to imply that ‘the coming age’ was regarded as still future. It has been said, indeed, with regard to this apparent inference from some of them, that the writers were regarding their own age from the old Jewish standing-point when they spoke of it as future, or only used well-known phrases to denote the two ages, though they were no longer strictly applicable. (The Pulpit Commentary: Hebrews, p. 2)

But Barmby admits difficulty in such passages as 1 Corinthians 10:11 and Ephesians 1:21, for in these passages it appears that the coming of Christ was to usher in the new age. Barmby’s further comments give emphasis to the existing exegetical problems:

Still, though ‘that day’ was in the future, the first coming of Christ had been, as it were, its dawn, the true light already was shining (1 John 2:8). Hence the apostolic writers sometimes speak as if already in the ‘coming age,’ as being citizens already of heaven (Phillipians 3:20); as already ‘made to sit with Christ in the heavenly places’ (Ephesians 2:6), having already ‘tasted the powers of the world to come’ (Hebrews 6:5). In a certain sense they felt themselves in the new order of things, though strictly speaking they still regarded their own age as but the end of the old one, irradiated by the light of the new. To understand fully their language on the subject, we should remember that they supposed the second advent to be more imminent than it was … thus they might naturally speak of their own time as the conclusion of the former age, though regarding the second advent as the commencement of the new one. (The Pulpit Commentary: Hebrews, p. 2)

The apostles did, of course, write from the viewpoint of still being in the Old Covenant age, or “this world” or “present time.” That age had not yet ended. But there were times when they wrote from the viewpoint of being in “the coming age” because from Pentecost to the fall of Jerusalem they had the guarantee (“earnest”) of the Spirit. And through this guarantee they possessed “in part” what would eventually be given in fullness or perfection. This earnest of the Spirit was until the time of their redemption, adoption, or inheritance. It is fashionable today to describe our position in the Kingdom in terms of “already but not yet,” meaning that the Kingdom is here but is not yet here in fullness. This is a useful concept – if it is properly applied to the transition period from the Cross to the Parousia during which the New Testament saints were writing and preaching.

These saints did consider themselves to be living in the end of the age:

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)

They assumed this event to be the return of Christ, and they believed it was imminent. They believed that Christ would come in their generation (Jesus said so specifically) and that his coming would be the beginning of a new age. I do not believe they were deceived, nor were they deceivers. They were guided by the Spirit of truth. The error is not in inspiration or revelation, but in interpretation. Christians today cannot admit that the end of the Old Covenant system was the second coming of Christ because – just as many of the Jewish people missed his first coming – their concept of the manner of Christ’s second coming forces contemporary Christians to reject the time and event of it.

The perennial conflict in the Middle East offers a kind of macabre hope to futuristic-apocalyptic Jews and Christians alike who are awaiting a coming Messiah. To the Jewish Zionist, it is a hope of Messiah’s first coming; to the Christian Zionist, a hope of his second coming! Both are likely to be disappointed, for the political unrest in that part of the world is not a portent of divine visitation but merely the product of human foolishness and cruelty. The Jewish peoples’ failure to see the first coming of Christ is a nearly identical error to the Christians’ failure to see his second coming. Their common error of looking for an earthly kingdom has brought them to a common ground of hope – the land of Palestine and the city of Jerusalem.

Abraham, however, saw a different country, and a heavenly city.

Some, finding the premillennial view distasteful, suggest that the purpose of Christ’s coming is not to reign on earth, but to destroy it since that is supposed to have something to do with our salvation. A new heaven and earth will then be created. This is at least a little curious since it seems to leave the new earth unoccupied. If all the saved are going to heaven, and the lost to hell, who is left to inhabit the new earth? The failure of this view lies in misidentifying the worlds involved in God’s paradigm of redemption. This temporal world was never the subject of prophecy, nor is its destruction a crucial factor in the redemption of man. The world marked for destruction in prophecy was the Old Covenant world  – it was the end of the world as they knew it.

Join us next week as we explore how the second coming of Christ forms a perfect cube.

And be here each week as we blog through The Spirit of Prophecy by Max King, where this post is drawn from. (And if you get impatient, of course, you can always get the book inspiring these posts here.) Please feel free to weigh in below.

Jesus the Shaman – Soul Retrievals – Chris Dierkes

jesus heals jairus daughter
When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him…While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. (Mark 5: 21-24, 35-43).

Continuing our exploration of Jesus-as-Shaman: Soul Retrievals are yet another common form of shamanic healing. The idea behind soul retrievals is that through certain traumatic events, people may experience the loss of a part of their soul. It’s as if that part of the soul breaks off and is lost. The shaman journeys to retrieve this lost part of the soul and return it to the person. This is typically enacted by the shaman blowing the retrieved soul-piece back into the heart, the mouth, and/or the top of the head of the person.

I read this story of Jesus’ as a soul retrieval. While everyone else thinks the young girl is dead, Jesus intuits she is sleeping–i.e. she might be in a coma. The barrier between death and life is thinner than people believe. Even in our own day with advanced technology, it actually be difficult to determine when someone is actually fully dead. (Please – no Princess Bride references!) Death is more a process not an end state…death isn’t an on/off switch.

In other words, I don’t think Jesus has brought this girl back from the dead. Rather I think he’s retrieved her soul and this has re-animated her – animate coming from animus/anima, meaning soul.

The story does not include any specific mention of Jesus going into a trance or journeying to retrieve the soul, as is usual in shamanic literature. It is common, however, that when a soul retrieval journey is undertaken that family members can be there in the room with the shaman as in this story.

Jesus speaks directly to the girl – very close to her body. Since he takes her by the hand and she is laying down, presumably Jesus is seated next to her or bending down. The breath that blows“Talitha Kum” would go right into the girl’s face and in particular, her mouth. This is classic soul retrieval technique. The words Talitha Kum might then be what shamans call “power words.” They are words that effect what they say. Talitha Kum (Rise up, little girl) is not simply a didactic command from Jesus, like someone telling you to close the door. He is calling her to awakened reality. The words have force and spirit behind them and effect the ‘waking’ up of the girl.

touching jesus cloak

This hypothesis is bolstered by the fact that there is an intervening story between the announcement of the girl’s illness and her supposed death. An old woman who has suffered from a disease for 12 years (note the girl is referenced as being 12 years old) touches Jesus’ cloak and she is instantly healed. Jesus whirls around and notices that “power had gone out from him.” This power is shamanic energy. And he can feel that some went out of him, just as a Reiki healer can feel when the flow of Reiki passes through his/her hands.

As with the healings and the exorcisms, we see here a potential for good work in our day. Persons who have experienced highly traumatic events – car crashes, war zones, child abuse, and more – may seem after the trauma that they are never “quite themselves.” People say that something is missing – the look in their eyes is vacant somehow. Soul Retrievals are often required in such cases, but since our society does not recognize these modalities as valid, people suffer.

As with exorcisms, soul retrievals can be beneficial for all kinds of individuals, whether they have been through highly traumatic events or not.

Coming next week in the Jesus the Shaman series: Jesus the Psychopomp.

chrisChris Dierkes is a long time student and practitioner of the Christ-consciousness mystical path. After receiving his MDiv., Chris worked in parish ministry for three years (Anglican Church of Canada) and now maintains a private practice in interspiritual soul work. In addition Chris has studied energy healing, intuitive arts, and shamanic practice. He writes frequently on subjects of spirituality in the contemporary world. He lives in Vancouver with his wife Chloe and their daughter Sage. You can check out his writing and practice here.

The Last Days – When Were They?

The End of an Era

When were the last days?

This is a critical question to answer. Unless we have an accurate perception of “the last days,” we cannot make a proper application of prophecy. Missing the timing of Scripture’s ‘last days’ will lead us to false conclusions about the events of those days. Missing the timing element of a prophecy will likely result in a misconception of its fulfillment. The reverse is also true. The Jewish people in the first century CE had a misconception of the manner in which their messianic prophecies would be fulfilled, which led them to a rejection of the timing factor as well. They knew it was time for Christ to come (Matthew 2:1-10), but since Christ was contrary to their expectation of the Messiah, they ignored the time element of prophecy. It was a fatal mistake for them to make. Likewise, many today have a misconception of the timing in which prophecy was to be fulfilled; therefore they now are blinded to the manner in which fulfillment actually transpired. They can’t see what has happened because they won’t allow themselves to think that biblical prophecy might be in our collective rear-view mirror.

The Traditional View

A common application of the last days is to the “gospel dispensation.” Albert Barnes writes, in regard to the last days of Hebrews 1:2, “In this final dispensation; or in this dispensation under which the affairs of the world will be wound up…They do not imply that the world was coming to an end, but that that was the last dispensation, the last period of the world.” (Barnes, Albert. Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament: Hebrews, pp. 22-23)

Adam Clarke gives two possible meanings of the last days: “The gospel dispensation, called the last days and the last time, because it is not to be followed by any other dispensation; or the conclusion of the Jewish church and state now at their termination.” (Clarke, Adam. Commentary on Hebrews, p. 686.) Why have people concluded that the last days refer to the gospel dispensation? One reason is that many assume – erroneously – that the Jewish age came to a close on Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection (see Acts 2). This is assumed on the basis that Pentecost was the beginning of the Christian age. The problem here lies in a failure to see the overlapping period of these two ages or dispensations. Ishmael and Isaac co-existed in Abraham’s house for a time before Ishmael was cast out.

The Jewish age did not end until their city, temple, and state fell under Roman invasion in A.D. 66-73. The question in Matthew 24:3:

What will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?

was not referring to the end of a “gospel age” that had not yet been inaugurated, but to the end of the Jewish age. Matthew 24 is devoted to that event, and Christ plainly said:

Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
(Matthew 24:34).

We have seen in Daniel that the “end” involved the Roman destruction of the Jewish temple, the city, and the people. Then, and not until then, did the end of that age come.

Mistaken Identity

If we assume that the New Testament writers were fully enjoying the new age that was to come, we can easily get confused when they write of “this age” and the “age to come,” and assume they are referring to a “Christian age” and some future age that we still have not seen. While Pentecost was, in a sense, the beginning of a Christian (or New Covenant) age, we are better off viewing this time as a transition period, a bridge of sorts between two ages – one that was fading away and one that was coming to the fore. In this case, the New Testament writers are consistent in their reference to the waning Old Covenant age and the New Covenant age of the kingdom of God that was even then breaking in. The New Testament writers spoke of this kingdom as a world or age to come, because the Old Covenant age had not yet ended at the time of their writings.

One such example is Ephesians 1:21:

Far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

The statement “this age” was in reference to the Old Covenant age, which had not yet ended, and the statement “that [age] which is to come” was a reference to the New Covenant age, which would abide and follow the end of the Old Covenant. The “last days” in Scripture, therefore, never apply to the Christian age, but always to the closing period of the Old Covenant age, which ran from Pentecost to the fall of Jerusalem.

The writer of Hebrews spoke of this New Covenant age in future tense, as seen in Hebrews 2:5: “For he has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.” Here “the world to come” is that age under the complete dominion of Christ and stood in contrast to the age or world under ‘angelic’ administration, which, according to verses 1-3 refers to the Old Covenant age. The statement, “…but now we do not yet see all things put under him” (2:8), was made in view of the Jewish world which was still standing and contesting the right of Christ to rule over Israel. But this right and this complete dominion soon would fall unto him, for that which “is becoming obsolete and growing old” was ready to vanish away (Hebrews 8:13). His enemies would soon be made his footstool (Hebrews 10:13).

Therefore, the “world to come” was always in contrast to the Old Covenant age. It is used this way in Hebrews 6:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
(Hebrews 6:4-6)

Paul expresses their hope of redemption and deliverance from the Old Covenant age in Galatians 1:4, “who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

On Solid Ground

The last days period, then, is the closing period of the Old Covenant age during which the New Covenant (Isaac) was born, and at the end of which the New Covenant was brought to maturity, and Ishmael was cast out. In his commentary on Hebrews 1:2, Robert Milligan presents three different views of the last days: “It is alleged (1) that they refer simply to the closing period of the Jewish age (Moll), (2) that they refer exclusively to the Christian age (Stuart), and (3) that they refer to the closing period of the prophetic era, embracing both the ministry of Christ and of his Apostles (Luther).” (Milligan , Robert. Commentary on Hebrews, pp. 49, 50.)

Milligan favored the first view, but because he thought the Old Covenant age ended at the cross, he confines the “speaking of Christ” to his personal ministry. This limitation is unnecessary. Christ was God’s spokesman through the apostles’ ministry as well as his own (Hebrews 2:3; John 13:20). Since the Old Covenant age did not end until the fall of Jerusalem, we can have Christ as God’s spokesman in the last days in his personal ministry as well as the ministry of the apostles.

Join us next week as we explore how ‘the last days’ are related to the often-misunderstood ‘return’ or parousia of Christ.

And be here each week as we blog through The Spirit of Prophecy by Max King, where this post is drawn from. (And if you get impatient, of course, you can always get the book inspiring these posts here.) Please feel free to weigh in below.

Jesus the Shaman – Exorcism – Chris Dierkes

jesus exorcist

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, ‘What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!’ And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.
(The Gospel of Luke Chapter 8, verses 31-36).

Mention the ‘e’ word (exorcism) and immediately images of Linda Blair’s 360 projectile vomiting come to mind, with priests holding crucifixes over her face yelling “The Power of Christ Compels You!” Our culture’s Hollywood-esque fascination with the occult and paranormal is not helpful to understanding what’s going on here. As with the healing stories, the gospels play out the dramatic elements of exorcism stories. It makes for gripping drama but I think it has obscured this realm and prevented it from having a stronger foundation in society – and in spirituality particularly. In other words, while Jesus did perform exorcisms, they need not all be of such a violent nature as the one above.

Exorcisms are simply a subset of healing in shamanism – it’s simply a certain kind of healing. An exorcism is a healing of intrusive entities. It’s a cleansing of such entities (or quasi-entities) from one’s field. In Biblical language they are “cast out” of a person’s field.

A lot of work, among some, goes into identifying and categorizing such intrusions–creating gradations of demons, unclean spirits, and the like. There’s a cottage industry in asking where entities come from and how they glommed on to a person: are they from past lives, dead relatives, evil specters, etc. I think much of this is misplaced energy and attention. We don’t need to know the origin and ultimate meaning of such things to know how to respond to the actual issue at hand.

As the Buddha would say, in a different context, it’s as if someone shot with poisonous arrows was asking the doctor to explain the meaning of poison rather than simply extracting the arrows and the poison.

Intriguingly in the early Church persons studying to be baptized (called catechumens) received salt under their tongue. Salt is an element of an exorcism rite. At the time this practice began only adults could be baptized, though later when infants were able to baptized they too received the salt (correctly depicted in the final baptism/bloodbath scene in The Godfather, NSFW, 1:05 mark). The symbol points the belief that all of us had picked up various destructive energies that needed cleansing.

Today, however, exorcism is seen as this weird creepy realm of demonic possession. This area of inquiry could potentially be a fruitful one for mental health professionals. But again even suggesting that comes up against the rationalist bias of our contemporary world where all such realities are viewed as mental illness (typically seen as brain or chemical imbalances). I’m not suggesting all (maybe even most) forms of mental illness are caused by psychic disturbance but I have to imagine some must be. To be clear, I’m not advocating a crusade against psychiatry or advising people to go off their meds. It’s a really fine line. Certainly I can imagine situations in which a person already lacks a strong healthy personality and ego structure who then comes in contact with various spiritual energies could experience a split with reality (psychosis, schizophrenia, etc.).

Even more generally, all of us are in need of some degree of healing. We live in a crazy complex chaotic world that intrudes upon us and to which we add our own negativity. Processes of cleansing and repairing are therefore vital.

haida shamans

Nevertheless we have these stories, like the one above, from around the world, including a number concerning Jesus. This story exhibits common exorcist patterns from around the world and through time:

The intrusive entity (a much better name than ‘demon’) or entities know Jesus by name. This is not atypical. Shamans work on the level at which an intrusion has occurred and therefore there is an open line of communication between the healer and the intrusive energy or entity. Jesus both speaks to and hears the demon–interestingly the text simply says the demons “cried out in a loud voice”. It doesn’t specify whether this loud voice was physically audible to all or was only audible to Jesus in a healing-trance state. Contrary to The Exorcist, it’s typically the later.

It’s unclear whether the entity in question is singular or plural. The text says “an unclean demon” but then the demon speaks in the first person plural:

What have you to do with us?

The line between singular and plural, whether an intrusive reality is a full entity in the way we think of autonomous agents or whether it is more a kind of sub-entity or entity-like reality is often a bit unclear. What can appear at first to be a single intrusion can actually be hiding others.

The entity/entities are confused and scared. Rather than seeing all such entities as evil, we may learn to have compassion for them. The entities might be lost souls trapped between this world and the next. A number of exorcism stories in the gospels show this pattern: the entities ask Jesus not to hurt them.

Still while including a compassionate tone, there is a forceful act of extracting the intrusive entity (i.e. the exorcism proper). Jesus’ method for this seems to be direct commands:

Be silent and come out of him.

Other traditions speaks of coaxing or persuading the entities to come out from the person’s field. The exorcist in this case tries to persuade the often scared or confused entity into trusting the exorcist, following his/her voice out of the person and typically residing in another reality temporarily (e.g. a crystal). The crystal might then be placed in a fire to purify and release the entity to journey on.

Elsewhere, Jesus commands an exorcised entity not to return. He then warns of the possibility that a person could be healed but other intrusions return worse than in the original case. These aren’t simply symbolic sayings but sound to me like actual shamanic wisdom. For this very reason, shamans have rituals to protect the previously intruded-upon person to make sure they are safe in the future and do not experience a repeat intrusion.

While again not necessary, it is common for there to be uncontrolled physical spasms that take place during the extrication process – in the story above the healed person jerks and falls down but as the story makes clear, this occurred without the man being harmed. This is a typical occurrence, not just in extraction work but in healings more generally: when traumas stored in the body are released they can cause temporary physical or energetic spasming or emotional releases (e.g. spontaneous, uncontrollable crying).

Coming next week in the Jesus the Shaman series: Jesus and Soul Retrieval.

chrisChris Dierkes is a long time student and practitioner of the Christ-consciousness mystical path. After receiving his MDiv., Chris worked in parish ministry for three years (Anglican Church of Canada) and now maintains a private practice in interspiritual soul work. In addition Chris has studied energy healing, intuitive arts, and shamanic practice. He writes frequently on subjects of spirituality in the contemporary world. He lives in Vancouver with his wife Chloe and their daughter Sage. You can check out his writing and practice here.

The Last Days – It’s Not the End of the World

Not the End of the World
The “last days” in Scripture are not literally the end of the world, but the last days of the Old Covenant world that was passing away. Words like “end,” “end of the age,” and “the Day of the Lord” are end-time expressions, but they need not be taken to mean the end of the corporeal universe. The Old Covenant world was coming to an end, to be replaced by a new world of everlasting righteousness. If we correctly perceive this end as signified by the fall of Jerusalem, we cannot push back expectation of “the second coming” to some future age or time. A careful study of “last days” passages reveals a remarkable consistency in the scriptural record.

The Bible is the story of God’s love for humanity and God’s work to restore the divine-human relationship. Like any story, this has a beginning, a climax and a conclusion. Within Scripture there is a complete unfolding of the mystery and purpose of God in the restoration of humanity and cosmos.

The end – or consummation of all things – was the subject of Old Testament prophecy, the heart of teaching in the Gospels and the Epistles, and the burden of the Revelation message:

But in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as he declared to his servants the prophets (Revelation 10:7).

The book of Revelation is a description of the “end time” as foretold in the book of Daniel.

By “end time” we mean that time when the story of redemption reached its climax or fullness. It is not an end in the sense that there is nothing future, but it is the end or completion of a divine plan and purpose that now extends into the future, forming and shaping the destiny of all things. Just as the end of adolescence leads into maturity of life, the end of God’s mystery leads into a fullness of life that has no end.

The “last days” are the subject of the field we call “eschatology.” Eschatology, according to Webster, means: “the branch of theology dealing with the last things, such as death, resurrection, judgment, immortality, etc.” It is a term that is derived from a compound word in the Greek, namely: eschatos, which means “last” or “latter”; and logos, meaning “discussion” or “doctrine.” Thus, it means a doctrine or discussion of last things.

It often is assumed that “last things” refer to the end of the space-time universe, and that the Bible contains a great deal of arcane information about that end. This is simply not the case. The end in question is the end of God’s plan for restoration, and while that restoration clearly needs to be more fully experienced by humanity, the plan for that restoration has reached completion.

Figure 5

 ‘The End,’ in Other Words

Other terms or expressions that apply to the “last days” are these:

  1. End. This word carries the idea of “the final outcome” and therefore is used in connection with the consummation of things as predicted by the prophets. Jesus used it in this manner: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Paul used it in a similar way, “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father; when he puts an end to all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24); Peter uses it in the same way as well: “But the end of all things is at hand…” (1 Peter 4:7).
  2. End of the age. The Greek word Aion, which means “age” and is sometimes translated “world,” appears in many passages dealing with the consummation of all things. Jesus uses it this way: “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age” (Matthew 13:40 – see also Matthew 24:3). Paul uses it like this: “Far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21- see also Matthew 12:32 and Mark 10:30). In these passages we have two worlds or ages in contrast: “this age” (world) and the “age (world) to come.”
  3. The Day of the Lord. This expression appears in many eschatological prophecies, and has reference to the last days or end of the age. On the day of Pentecost, Peter quoted the prophet Joel and left no question as to the time of fulfillment. “This is that,” he said, “which was prophesied by the prophet Joel.” The prophecy in question was from Joel 2:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh…

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord (Acts 2:17, 20, quoting Joel 2:28-30).

John, in his vision of the Lord’s day, makes this same application:

I looked when he opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair and the moon became like blood…

For the great day of his wrath has come; and who is able to stand? (Revelation 6:12, 17).

Joel and Peter call it the “last days” and “the great and awesome day of the Lord.” John describes it as “the great day of his wrath,” and asks: “Who is able to stand?” Joel also writes, “…for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it?” (Joel 2:11). Each of these writers was writing about the same event, or series of events, and the same time of fulfillment. The following is a list of other scriptures dealing with the day of the Lord:

Alas, for that day is great, so that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble; But he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7).

Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Malachi 4.5).

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night… (2 Peter 3:10).

The last day, the end of the world or age, and the day of the Lord all blend into the same time period of fulfillment.

Join us next week as we continue this ground-breaking study of a faithful God, fulfilled Story, and wide-open future!

And be here each week as we blog through The Spirit of Prophecy by Max King, where this post is drawn from. (And if you get impatient, of course, you can always get the book inspiring these posts here.) Please feel free to weigh in below.

Jesus the Shaman – Healings – Chris Dierkes

Jesus Healing

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, ‘Can you see anything?’ And the man looked up and said, ‘I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.’ Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then Jesus sent him away to his home saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’
(Gospel of Mark, Chapter 8, verses 22-26).

Last week we began examining Jesus-as-shaman. There are a number of classic shamanic healing elements to this story.

First, Jesus takes the man away from the village to a secluded place. Healers like to work alone. While Jesus does not always do this – he does sometimes heal in front of crowds – generally he tries to create private space for the healing act. He is not interested in gaining personal notoriety (see last verse).

Second, he uses spit. The use of natural elements in healing rituals is commonplace: e.g. stones, saliva, water, fire, smoke, etc.

Third, the man’s healing did not quite take at first. Often healings require multiple go rounds, even apparently for Jesus. Or perhaps the man was unable to interpret his new-found sight.

Fourth, Jesus holds conversation with the man – asking him to participate in his own healing process.

Can you see anything?

It’s crucial that the one who is receiving healing also partakes in the process – though to a lesser degree no doubt than the healer.

One of the reasons the healing stories in the gospels have caused controversy is they come from an era prior to modern medicine. Contemporary healing work must make a clear distinction between healing and curing. Healing does not equate to curing (though in the gospel stories it must be said they tend to be conflated). People may work with healers on an energetic level – with unprocessed emotions or past wounds – and they may receive healing but they aren’t necessarily cured in any sense. Healings may have curative physical effects but such physical manifestations need not take place in order for genuine healing to have occurred. I say this in response to the medical establishment’s studies on, say, prayer and healing which define healing solely as curing.

This is a particularly relevant topic in disability theology. Blind people or folks in wheelchairs often groan when these miraculous healing stories are read in church. They’re afraid some perhaps well-meaning but ignorant fellow church-goer will ask them when they’re going to get healed. Or worse, assume that the person’s physical challenge is a sign of their lack of faith.

So we need to be clear that there’s work to be done through healing – these shamanic domains affords insight and resources not available to the rational mind. But this is not to be equated with magical curing.

Coming next week in the Jesus the Shaman series: Jesus and Exorcism.

chrisChris Dierkes is a long time student and practitioner of the Christ-consciousness mystical path. After receiving his MDiv., Chris worked in parish ministry for three years (Anglican Church of Canada) and now maintains a private practice in interspiritual soul work. In addition Chris has studied energy healing, intuitive arts, and shamanic practice. He writes frequently on subjects of spirituality in the contemporary world. He lives in Vancouver with his wife Chloe and their daughter Sage. You can check out his writing and practice here.