OST is closed for business but its spirit survives on my blog.
Thanks Andrew, I am glad you wanted to tackle some of these questions.
1. It is interesting that you see salvation as "corporate" before AD 70. I guess in a sense Paul confirms this by saying that "all Israel will be saved" - I agree with you.
2. I think I also agree with your take on the post-AD70 salvation. The implications are more complex than we realize, yes, but I guess this question was more paired-up with my question on the lake of fire. Is that the ultimate, biggest, baddest thing that believers are delivered from today notwithstanding the social, cultural and general overall salvation and improvement of our lives due to Christ’s involvement in them? Also, see point 4.
3. In conjunction with the comment above, it seems to me that Gehenna (hell) is in fact the "lake of fire" of Revelation. Maybe we can talk about this further and see why we disagree on it, but in Matthew 10, Jesus speaks about him who can destroy "both the body and soul in Gehenna" seemingly refering to "the house of Beelzebub." Both of these references are temporal ones, Gehenna being a reference to the ever-burning garbage pit outside the city of Jerusalem where dead bodies were also thrown into, and Beelzebub being a reference to a Philistine god. Furthermore, note that Jesus includes "the destruction of the body" in his sentence, which tells me that this could indeed be a metaphorical reference to the literal place (relevant to the audience), thus being a temporal one (rather than one that extends to our days today). For me, this is what really pushed me to hold the annihilationist position. Of course, I am open to further discussion on the matter, especially since some of our universalist friends are bringing up some very interesting arguments on the matter. I guess the question is twofold: 1) Is Gehenna really the lake of fire of Revelation and 2) did it have a termporary purpose for the judgment of God’s enemies in AD 70, or does it extend across time/space into the future?
4. I think I am where you are regarding this matter of "all being saved" - but I am not ready to dismiss it that easily. I am starting to wonder if generally speaking, we are starting the narrative in the wrong place by starting with Abraham rather than Adam. As far as I am concerned, the promise of salvation was made to Even, thus all of mankind, not just Israel. Therefore Abraham/Israel/Jesus should be viewed as a facilitator, not a separator: church/world, us/them.
5. By "parousia of God" i mean his "presence" as opposed to the lack of God’s presence in the world, i.e. God’s "presence" was limited to the holy of holies in the Jewish temple in a pre-A.D. 70 world, rather than permeating all creation as I believe it to be now. Your question really shows how important it is to talk about these things and even make sure we all use well-defined terms. :) I am interested in hearing more about why you see the parousia as a dynamic matter, rather than a universal matter that happens/doesn’t happen. Your description goes well with the way Daniel describes the pebble that eventually grows to the size of a mountain, and eventually takes over the entire world. But at the same time, we see God saying "I will walk among them, I will be their God and they will be my people."