Bodies for Both Worlds (Heaven Part 3)


This is where things start to get weird. Nate and Tim look at the Bible’s strange hope that humanity would one day come to rule not only on earth but over the gods in the heavens. And to Paul, for that to happen, we’ll need bodies fit for inhabiting both heaven and earth simultaneously. This one got so nutty and went so long that it had to be split into two parts, so look out for the second half in the next episode.


Nate: Hey, I’m Nate Hanson.

Tim: And I’m Tim Ritter.

Nate: And we are Almost Heretical. You can find out more about us or the show at

Tim: And if you want even more than this podcast, you can go check out our Patreon page, where we do a few different things for supporters, including a whole second podcast called Utterly Heretical.

Nate: Check it out! [laughing]

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Nate: Okay, before we jump in here, this is future Nate speaking. This conversation ended up being pretty crazy and pretty intense, and kind of long. So we’re going to chop this one into two parts. So this is going to be part 3 and only half of the conversation that we had, and the next episode will be part 4 continuing this conversation. Yeah, okay, so here’s the episode.

Okay, so this is the third installment in the Heaven portion of the Hell & Heaven series. And last time we talked about heaven as a revolution, which was interesting I would say. Go back and listen to that one if you haven’t, it was definitely interesting. I still had some issues or some pushbacks, but I want to know, what are we talking about today?

Tim: Well I think what we should actually do is sort of pick up where we left off with the idea of revolution or this reversal of power, and then we’ll transition into how did the biblical authors picture what human beings are. And we’ll see that question is completely related to this idea of revolution. And so we actually, we probably won’t even get to talking about heaven as a sphere or realm or place much for a little while, but we’ll see that basically, I don’t even think we could understand why there’s a concept of the heavens or heaven if we don’t understand some of these other background ideas. So we jumped into this idea that one of the basic building blocks of the Jewish conception is that God was going to perform an exodus-like revolution where God would liberate the poor and oppressed and marginalized, those who were being crushed under the empires of the world, and put them in power over those empires of the world, there would be a flipping. And that involves who’s ruling the world, Israel’s special calling, but then it also gets into this war for power between the cosmic realms. So we’ll kind of go back to that conversation. I want to hear sort of your lingering discomfort and kind of talk through that, but then we’ll also get into some more details of the cosmic side, and then some of this idea of, okay, if that’s one of the building blocks, then what that means is that heaven is essentially a place of empowerment, or a reality of empowerment that is the counterpart to hell being the realm or sphere or reality of disempowerment. And we’ll kind of tease that out a little bit. So we’re going to cover a lot of ground, but first: Nate, after our last conversation, how ya doin’?

Nate: I mean I slept on it. I think the couple thorns in my side are that… well, one, and we’ll get into this, but is war and the fact that you talked about there’s this cosmic war that’s going to happen where the poor will be made the powerful and the powerful will be made the unpowerful. I want to talk about that, because maybe that’s not even… maybe I don’t even have that correct in my head. But the other one is just whenever, and we’ve talked about this before, but when you just flip the tables and you make the unpowerful now be the powerful and the powerful be the unpowerful, won’t it just happen again? And I know that hopefully there’s different ethics for the poor to have when they take over and they’re the powerful ones and they won’t do the same things again, but I just don’t have an example of that in history really. I don’t know if you can think of one. Those are sort of the two main problems I have. And then the third one would be, this still feels very angel-y, very cosmic and I think what is helpful is people can imagine with the current depictions of heaven, let’s say, this place that actual people are going. I don’t know, it just seems really like, angelic and demonic powers and cosmic realm and all this stuff, and I just want to make sure like I started last episode with, I want to make sure this is actually… something is being done to actually improve the world and improve the actual world that we see around us, not this other realm that we don’t even see.

Tim: Right.

Nate: That’s a lot, huh?

Tim: No, I think all three of those concerns are valid and good concerns to raise in this conversation. We’ll get to the battle one in a second, I think it’s really important to think long and hard about all of this war language and war imagery because of how much violence, which I would call evil, has been done in the name of this imagery. Right?

Nate: Yeah, it just sounds like another case of someone thinking they have all the answers and they’re the chosen one imposing or forcing that onto other people. And I would hate to have that be my, “Oh, but this is finally the real one or the right one!” You know? Like yeah, really? Is it really?

Tim: Totally.

Nate: Is it really the one that’s justified for going to war over and going to this battle over? You know what I’m saying? How would we know that? And I just assume it’s probably not.

Tim: Yeah. So okay, let’s just jump into it now. So your other two questions are sort of part of where I thought we needed to come back to this anyway. One is this sort of, if there’s a revolution, a new group is in charge, what’s to keep them from doing the very same thing, right? And then third question, or sort of question or concern, is like, if we’re just talking about weird cosmic being stuff, how does that play out in a good fruitful, practical conception. And I think part of what we’ll see I think part of what actually is important in leading to beautiful and life-giving Christian theology surrounding the idea of heaven and hell all of this sort of stuff, is to realize how much underlying belief there is behind and under the biblical writers ideas of heaven that we may not actually be able to or want to believe in. And I think we just have to wrestle with that, and especially what I mean is when we get into this weird, cosmic realm stuff and there being multiple divine gods and they’re in a war with these divine beings, that sort of thing, I think much of what has happened in Christian history is as we’ve moved away from that kind of cosmology, that kind of worldview where most of us in this modern scientific period of history, we don’t believe there are angels and demons lurking around every corner. We don’t think that way, we think in a much more material mindset, and I think for good reason in many ways, right? We have material, scientific explanations for a lot of the things that people used to attribute to divine workings, like the one we talked about a couple episodes ago, what makes wind. And so we can’t go backward from that, we really can’t. And so I think there’s been this trend in history to, as our own worldview moves away from the worldview of the biblical worldview of the biblical writers and early Christians, we diminish and downplay and even oftentimes ignore evidence of that different worldview, evidence of how different we are thinking about the world around us, and then what ends up happening is we sort of I’m going to call it spiritualize, I’ll kind of try to explain this in a little bit, but we spiritualize pieces of theology to make them fit. So it’s like we materialize things because our view is much more scientific-based, material-based, than the biblical authors, and then we re-spiritualize our material worldview to then line up with say, this idea that we’re involved with a spiritual battle against the quote “principalities and powers.”

Nate: Give me an example of that.

Tim: Yeah, so what I’ll try to unpack in a little bit, I think most Christians are familiar— [Nate: (interjecting) No, now! (laughs)] —with the language of Paul in Ephesians that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers.

Tim: And so you’ve got, you know, different church cultures and subcultures surrounding how we think about spiritual warfare, from the very charismatic side where we’re slaying things on the reg—

Nate: Oh, yeah!

Tim: —to another side that’s much more cautious about anything like that. But basically the idea is there’s, I think we don’t have an origin story in our head for how we are at war with a cosmic realm of beings, but Paul does. He has a clear origin story which we can go read, actually, at least a couple versions of that origin story, a mythology of how human beings came to be at war with divine beings. So we don’t have that story. So Paul makes that statement, “Hey, remember, we’re not supposed to kill each other or fight each other. We’re at war with these spiritual beings!” He’s just saying something that everybody assumes. We read that and are like, “Oh, you’re right. Anytime, for instance, I’m in an argument with my coworker, I have to remember that this material reality or this social reality, this political reality that I’m experiencing is actually more than that, it’s spiritual.” So then this is what I’m calling spiritualization. We then try to spiritualize it in this kind of vague way that we don’t really understand, but it’s like, “Remember, there’s more going on here.” But we don’t really know what that more is. It’s kind of this vague, there’s this cosmic realm. You know, you’ve got some wings of people who think they know the names of the demons and kind of the more crazy sides, but I think that’s a pretty small minority. I think the more common thing is just like, “Oh, let me make sure I’m staying spiritual or sort of close to Paul’s spirituality, because Paul thought everything was kind of imbued with this spiritual realm, this cosmic reality, so I’m going to try to think of my life and the actions that I’m participating in and the things that have happened to me, I’m going to try to think of them in this spiritual way.” That’s not what Paul was doing. Paul had a very clear set of beliefs about an actual historical reality which led to us being in a real war with cosmic beings. Does that make sense? So he has something in his head that’s actually very real and tangible and he and everybody around him just believes it to be true. I don’t think we actually believe the things that Paul believed to be true, and so we try to conform what we do believe to be true is like, “I’m fighting with my neighbor and it’s not good,” and we try to conform that to some sort of spiritual thing where actually this is some sort of cosmic battle. And you get people sort of, I would say making it up as you go, right, for what it means to put into practice here in 2019 the idea that our battle is actually against principalities and powers. Does that make sense?

Nate: It does make sense, and I think we do need to have, at least try to understand the worldview that Paul had and the people that he was writing to, he just assumed they had. What was that worldview they had, so we can then read his writings and probably other writings in the Bible and see, “Oh, this thing that we’ve taken, we’ve always said this with it, we’ve always done this with it, that’s not what he was talking about!” So I think that is important. But I think all I would say is like, is it even… should we try to have that same worldview as Paul? And maybe this is an Utterly Heretical conversation, our other podcast, maybe this isn’t for here. I just mean, should we actually be trying to have that same worldview, or is it just important to understand the worldview they had if we’re going to say the Bible’s important and we want to understand it?

Tim: Yeah. I… I think everybody has to make that up for themselves. The point is that most of us are out here feeling like we have to conform our view if we’re going to be Christian, or true to for instance the letter of Ephesians, that what we have to do is conform our worldview to somehow be more spiritual than what it really is. I think most of us are feeling pressure to already do that, but we’re doing it in a way that doesn’t really make much sense. And my point is to say, why don’t we actually see what Paul believed, and then honest about what we believe and don’t believe, and then choose for yourself! And people may change their minds over time, like whether various pieces are things that you can or will believe, and then if you are going to be on the quote “heretical” side and decide that for instance, you don’t believe in an origin story about a divine realm which has waged war on humanity and overtaken control of earth, if you are going to admit that you just aren’t going to believe that, then one of the things that should follow is you should stop trying to conform your view of the world to this sense of Paul’s spiritual cosmic view of the world, because that’s basically doing two things at once. Does that make sense? Admitting you don’t believe something but then trying to convince yourself that somehow your actual beliefs are closer to Paul’s than they are. Let’s not do that, I don’t think that’s fruitful. So my point is kind of like, peel the layers back and see, okay, this is what Paul means when he says we’re in a spiritual battle. Do you think like Paul does? Okay, I’m not going to try to make you lean one way or the other. But if you don’t and you come to those terms, then maybe we have some more creative work to do to figure out how to interpret or what to do with all of this language throughout the New Testament of this cosmic warfare stuff. So okay, we’re talking so vague about this. Let’s kind of jump into some of the details and see if it helps a little bit.

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Nate: So okay, details. What did Paul actually believe?

Tim: Yeah, so… so here we’ve kind of conflated the two ideas. There’s the whole spiritual view of the world, and then there’s this battle idea, this we’re at war idea. So let me just try to back track, and then we’ll end up catching up to where we left off last time, which is this language you see in the book of revelation and gospels themselves of cosmic war, or this war imagery, which is dealing with the transition. Remember we said, I think in a lot of our conceptions you’ve got this world as it is, and then the next world as it’s going to be, and then it’s like this instantaneous flash change. But where all of the war imagery comes from is this assumption that it will be a process, and the…

Nate: Hold on, time out, time out. That’s huge, because that changes how a lot of people, probably myself included for a lot of years, think about whatever the afterlife, the good place, for those who love Jesus or children of God or whatever, it was always this in an instant, it all happens then. That was the thing. This changes everything!

Tim: Totally. And for a lot of us it’ll change everything. For some of, for people who have been into end times theology and that world, this’ll sound actually like I’m affirming one side of that whole debate; I’m not. But there are those who basically are excited to join this thousand year war thing.

Nate: Oh geez.

Tim: And if they’re taking that literally, and if they think I’m speaking literally, they’re going to think we’re kind of on the same page here, but it’s not. But basically first step is the war image. So you have in the book of Revelation, and even where you get this thousand year number, and there’s all this crazy rapture junk about the millennium, it’s basically imagery and picking a big round number to say it’s going to be a period of time, it’s not going to be an instantaneous moment. And again, the book of Revelation isn’t predicting this, it’s painting a picture. The point of the picture of the book of Revelation, which we’ll get into some other time, is to give suffering Christians some hope that one day it’ll all be okay. It is not to try to spell out for them how it is going to happen or what the end of the world or whatever will be like. But the picture is, and it begins in the gospels—well actually, let’s go back even further. So when I say Paul, Paul believed there was an origin story for us being at war. Okay? We got into this before when we looked at Genesis 6, and when you get into other texts that aren’t in the protestant canon like the book of Enoch that tell similar stories expanded out in longer version. When you see the story of, there’s this garden and mankind’s given rule and they said somehow we’ll be like the elohim, which we talked about, basically it’s a term for the kind of being who lives not on earth but in the heavenly realm, in heaven space. And then all of a sudden you have this intruder show up in the garden that is likely a symbolic picture of one of these elohim, a snake, a serpent, a dragon were common symbols for divine beings. And the snake essentially tries to interrupt what has just happened, which is that God created a new space, earth space, that’s apart from heaven space, and then created a new kind of being to rule that space. And once you’ve kind of tried to see this stuff, you see it everywhere in the first few chapters of Genesis. But the whole idea is that human beings are earthlings, like dirt beings. So the point is that earth and the term adamah in Hebrew, which basically means dirt or earth, gets talked about a lot in the book of Genesis, and there’s a reason why adam, the name for human, mankind, is very similar to the dirt. The whole idea of we come from the dirt and to the dirt we return, from dust to dust, is trying to play at this idea that God has created a new kind of space which is symbolically pictured as a dirt space, right? It’s a material world, it’s earthy.

Nate: Hmm, yeah.

Tim: You can grab it, you can hold it in your fingers kind of thing. It’s not air space like the heavens. And then created a kind of being that is of the essence of that space. So humans are literally considered like dirt-lings. No one actually thought, again, literally scientifically people were made out of dirt. The point was that human beings were of the essence of this world, created to be in this world and to rule this world. Spirits, and we’ll get into all the complicated language stuff later, but the spirits, the elohims are made of air, breath, wind, spirit. They’re nonmaterial, ethereal, and the beings that rule in that space are of the same or like substance. So what you’re seeing in the early chapters of Genesis is this evidence of a cosmology which says you basically have had, and the implication is potentially that God’s space with the other heavenly beings is already in existence when the earth and the garden come into existence in Genesis. I think most of us picture that God creates everything all at once, but back in earlier episodes if you remember, we looked at what could it possibly mean when it says, “In our likeness let us make mankind”? “In our image,” right? There is a sense that there is a community in existence, and of course Christians have said, “Oh, the Trinity!” But that wouldn’t have made sense for thousands of years, right? I think the idea is there is a realm that exists, and then a new realm is created, the earth realm, and a new kind of being, earthlings, are created to rule on that realm, in that realm. So Adam and then Adam and Eve, humans and the mother of all of the rest of the living world, are created and given dominion to rule over the earth. And then when you see the serpent story, and then in Genesis 6 you have this strange story of gods coming down and having sex with women, and then what we traced out is the result of that is this semi-god, half human line that apparently people believed were really large, so they were called giants, these Nephilim giants, then is this substory that is playing out throughout most of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, which ends with David finally, a thousand years later, finally killing off the last of these divine beings—semi-divine beings. That the whole thing was a war to essentially, the divine beings were—I think the implication, the most logical, sensible implication, is that the divine beings who are in charge of the divine realm, these spirit-air-wind-breath figures, were jealous and envious that they weren’t put in charge over this new earth-dirt world and therefore staged their own coup against Adam and Eve, which is what we’re seeing in Genesis 3, to take that rule from them. I know that all sounds crazy weird and like it doesn’t affect our daily lives at all. But when I say that when Paul has an origin story for how humanity ever came to be in a spiritual battle with cosmic beings, I mean he’s just reading the third page of the Bible and saying, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.” So what he believes, and then we talked later how there is this worldview that you see in Deuteronomy, you see in the Psalms, you see it going on even in Genesis 10 & 11, that there are other gods that God has appointed to rule over the nations of the world in His place, He has delegated these gods and allowed them to rule. The implication is that originally that wasn’t part of the plan; Adam was supposed to rule, human was supposed to rule. But human lost its right to rule; these other gods are appointed, and then YHWH becomes the national regional god of Israel with the strange purpose, strange to our ears, that one day God and Israel would reset things so that Israel would take the rightful rule of human, Adam, and then these national gods would essentially be removed from their positions, and humans would rule the world like we were supposed to and God would be the god of all of the humans like God was originally supposed to. We’ve covered this before and I know it sounds crazy every time. You kind of tracking with the baseline idea?

Nate: Yeah, I’m tracking. And so you kind of resaid the first few episodes that we ever did on this show saying, what was the worldview, what is Genesis really about, the first few chapters of Genesis, what’s it really about? And then you’re saying that we need to understand that because otherwise we’re not going to understand what biblical writers then going forward and writing in other places are actually talking about. Specifically Paul, because Paul had this worldview in his mind and he assumed his readers had this worldview in their mind, and so a lot of the verses, a lot of the things we use to say other things—this is where I do think it has implications for our daily lives, because if we’re taking these verses, these passages of Paul and saying, “Okay, so then this means that,” because this is the worldview that we have in our minds, our worldview, then we’re probably completely off and coming up with things and making people do things, making ourselves do things that aren’t even right, aren’t even true to what Paul was even trying to say? But if we can try to approach it from the worldview that he had and he assumed his readers had, then maybe this actually would change things and would change our day to day lives, if we want to kind of try to live in a way in keeping with this book. Does that make sense?

Tim: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s what we’re trying to do. So let me try to summarize some data. So that’s some of the Genesis background, but then what you see in the gospels and throughout the New Testament is, and there’s so many pieces of evidence we could look at, but it’s the basic idea is that, here’s kind of the outline: so elohim are a kind of beings that rule in the heavens, okay? Heaven is their home.

Nate: So is that like, is it an angel? Or is it potentially angel, demon, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good. It’s just these beings.

Tim: Right. It’s the kind of beings that they are.

Nate: Okay. Okay.

Tim: Yeah, there’s separate sort of histories in the development of ideas of how, yes, in the New Testament written in Greek and then in our English translation, what we see is the word angel. But what we’re really often referring to, originally angel meant messenger, but they were messengers of this category of beings, and then that all got simplified to calling all of the versions of these beings angels, and then demons are sort of related but have a whole separate history which relates to those semi-god, half-being giant things. It’s all very crazy, but our basic conception of “angels are like heavenly beings,” I think that’s close enough. Heavenly beings means that heaven, heavens, the skies, not-earth, is their home and their substance; there’s a connection between the two. And that’s who rules there. So elohim rule in the heavens. And mankind, humans, earthlings, rule here on the earth, and we are of the earth, made of earth, and we live here in the earth, and we were supposed to rule here. And then YHWH, I think the basic idea is that YHWH as the one true creator God is overseeing and delegating both of these things. We talked about, so many people are threatened by the idea that there are other divine beings because we think that that means that God isn’t God, essentially. But the basic idea I think in Old Testament Jewish theology was that God was overseeing delegates. So that’s how things start, but then what we’re looking at is that one of the pieces of the story that the whole Bible is based on is that the elohim, or some of them, took over rule of both spheres. Okay? That is essentially what the serpent is doing; that’s what the sons of God who come down to have sex with daughters of men are doing, they are invading earth spheres. In some language it’s they’ve transgressed their boundaries. There was a boundary of what was rightfully theirs: it was the heavenly sphere, but they wanted both, so they performed a coup and it was successful, and that’s why in the New Testament you see all the language calling the devil, this Satan figure, the current ruler of the world.

Nate: Oh, okay.

Tim: It’s the prince of the air, he is a being, or it is a being that rules in the heavens, but has also taken over rule on earth. Not as an earth being; still as this kind of heavenly being. But that’s the idea. And so what Jesus is accomplishing that, this story gets told in multiple chapters over the course of the gospels, is taking back that rule first over the earth and then over the heavens. And so like where this first shows up is, we talked about how the temptation in the wilderness, Jesus’ temptation, is really more a test, it’s a better word than temptation. Where the specific pinnacle of the test is Satan offering to hand Jesus over all the rule of the entire world which Satan currently possesses. That’s the idea. Satan has it. It’s his. It doesn’t belong to him; it’s not supposed to be his. It belongs—we first want to say it belongs to Jesus, but actually what I think we should first be saying is it belongs to us, to humans. That’s the idea. And so first Jesus proves Himself worthy of inheriting that rule, and this will be important when we talk about the ethics and whether or not we’re supposed to go to war. Jesus proves Himself worthy of inheriting that rule by saying and proving that He doesn’t need to hold onto it or grasp at it for Himself and He can wait for it to be given to Him. In other words, He proves that He doesn’t need the power; He’s not power-hungry. And only by proving that He’s ultimately not power-hungry does God essentially decide that Jesus is worthy to receive the power. So the same temptation that happens or set of tests that happens in the wilderness is repeated then in the garden of Gethsemane, where you have the scene where Jesus has all the power, the power to call in God’s angels. He has the power to get Himself off of the cross; He has the power to not drink the cup. And says no to all of those uses of power, doesn’t use any of His own power whatsoever to the point of not even saving Himself, and then is given what we’re told in Matthew: He’s given all authority in heaven and on earth. In John it says Jesus was given authority over all people. Basically what we see, and the picture when we did stuff on atonement theology we talked about how important Jesus’ own parable of this binding the strongman idea was. The way He envisioned what He was doing and the way He boiled it down into a story was there is a man in charge of a space, like a home, and he is holding prisoners captive in that home. And the only way, if your goal is to go rescue and liberate those prisoners—

Nate: This was the create a diversion one? You gotta distract the strongman, tie him up so you can get in and take over?

Tim: Totally! And why can’t… we just say why doesn’t He go kill the strongman? Well then we’re back to this thing of it’s a being that cannot be killed. So so much actually of Jewish and Christian theology is based on and contingent with philosophical issues based on the idea of beings that exist in the world and are wreaking havoc on the world that can’t die. So just right here from the get go, if you don’t actually believe in the existence of beings that are wreaking havoc in this realm and in the heavenly realm that can’t be killed, the logic of much of the theology is missing. Now again, I’m not trying to get you to believe that that’s true, right, I’m just trying to point out that Jesus believed it was true, Paul believed it was true, everybody around them even non-Jews believed this to be true in different forms.

Nate: So you can’t take your worldview and then try to adopt their verses. You can’t take their verses and passages and try to just plop on top of your worldview. That’s not fair to what they were trying to say. You don’t have to necessarily believe the worldview that they held, but you can’t just try to mix it all together and then come out with the thing you want to come out with on the other side. Right?

Tim: Totally. Right. So you have these chapters while we’re watching Jesus’ life and His mission unfold in the gospels. We’re seeing these different chapters of this revolution, or at least the beginning of the revolution. And so there’s actually, and I think Luke pays attention to the role of power and this revolution idea. Remember, in the last episode we talked about how Luke specifically drew attention to the reversal in economic situations. You’ve got a rich person and a poor person and they’re going to be switched. Well it’s also Luke who gives us the most detail of Jesus sending out His disciples to… many of the English translations says, “With power and authority, to cast out demons and heal diseases.” Really I think it’s better translated as with the ability to do this and the authority and power to do this. And when this happens is when we see the line, “I saw Satan fall like lightning.” So it’s when more people than just Jesus are given power to engage in a kind of spiritual war which, they’re not killing anybody; they’re not fighting anybody. They specifically are told not to have any weapons. They don’t even have many belongings. They actually go out in utter poverty and vulnerability, dependent on the hospitality of those they are going to. But the kind of war they’re engaging in is against demons. And again, they can’t kill demons; they just cast them out. The whole idea of exorcism is based on the fact that demons don’t die; that’s why for instance there’s a scene where they go from this person who’s got a legion of demons in him—

Nate: To the pigs?

Tim: To the pigs. Yeah! Is that just a weird story? No, the conception is that they’re going to move from one host—

Nate: Yes. Yes, it is a weird story, Tim.

Tim: [laughs] Yes, it is, but there’s an underlying logic which is actually weirder than the story. You know what I mean? That that logic, that there is a kind of being and that the kind of being is in existence because long ago gods had sex with women, that now there’s a kind of being that has to have a host to exist in? And therefore when you see people around who are exhibiting crazy behavior and psychosis and whatnot that there’s a good chance that there are like a host, a legion, an army of viral beings in them? That is all very strange, right? [laughs] Especially to our modern sensibilities. Anyway, when Jesus’ disciples, first the twelve and then the seventy, are enabled to go out and participate in this spiritual battle to both cure people of disease and free and liberate people from kind of an oppressive, demonic force, Jesus says that is a kind of success in doing the same thing He had used a parable for, this binding up the strongman, the Satan idea. That’s when He sees Satan falling. So Jesus is gaining this power to engage in this war. Then He’s essentially recruiting others to participate in this war. And at the end, after Jesus is resurrected, you see that all power not just here on earth but also in heaven is granted to Jesus, and then you get other language of being given keys to the kingdom. And then this is what all of the language around thrones, right, you got Jesus’ own friends arguing about when He comes into His kingdom and He’s sitting on His throne, who’s going to sit next to him? It’s the language of crown, this idea of getting a crown in heaven. A crown is a royal power symbol, right? It’s not like a Boy Scout badge of honor. It’s a power symbol. It means someone with a crown is someone who rules. All of this imagery is about Jesus being the new adam, the human, who is actually going to take back human’s right to rule on earth. But then here’s where it gets a little crazier. So like I just said, there’s a tension given that Jesus is given all authority in heaven and on earth to rule. And that through Jesus, mankind is going to inherit the rule of the earth, which remember the idea is that this heavenly realm has taken over. So the nations all had their gods and then by the time you get to the New Testament there’s this idea of a singular satan figure who is the ruler of the earth who needs to be deposed. But then, I’ve touched on this a few times, you see stuff like in Paul where he just casually says, “Don’t you know you will judge angels?” Again, that’s the way of saying, “Don’t you know that you will judge or rule over—” in the New Testament they use the language angels, if Paul were writing in Old Testament Hebrew it would be elohim. “Don’t you know you are going to rule over those heavenly beings?” So you start with, you have two realms and two kinds of beings set to rule in their own unique realms. The heavenly beings then take over both realms and mankind needs to take back its own rule. But then the conception becomes actually, through Jesus because, and try to grasp this, I could point you to a hundred verses, but just try to grasp the basic conception here—

Nate: But we don’t have time for that! Yeah, okay.

Tim: [laughs] Uh, Jesus is a human. Historical orthodoxy is emphasizing that Jesus was fully human, truly human, a human being who walked around.

Nate: Right.

Tim: A brown man living in poverty in the ancient Near East. And yet Jesus is conceived of as ascending to go live in heaven, the heavens, on a throne in heaven space. And the gospels actually, some of them: Matthew, Luke, go out of their way to give us some little vignettes of the sort of transition life and body of the resurrected Jesus, which is somehow both human—it’s material, you can stick your finger in a hole in Him, somehow continuous with His life and even His wounds. He still has holes from being killed.

Nate: But then He’s also going through walls and going to other places quickly and all this other weird stuff too.

Tim: Right. And it starts with going through walls. Then there’s also this sense that He’s recognizable but not recognizable, but then can also ascend to heaven. And so…

Nate: So He’s in both of these realms. He’s of the dirt, of the earth, and then also of the heavenly space, elohim.

Tim: Totally.

Nate: And we’re supposed to pick up on that, because it’s supposed to further emphasize that they believed this worldview and then we’re supposed to just remember back to Genesis and the whole thing, and we’re supposed to just know that.

Tim: Right.

[transitional music]

Nate: Okay, it’s future Nate again. I’m going to go ahead and cut things here. So this’ll be the end of the first part of the conversation. Come back next time to hear the rest where we talk about maybe the Mormons had it right? Or had it more right? And so we’ll get into that. It’s okay if your head is hurting right now, mine is a little bit. The second part of this conversation is a little bit more practical and maybe a little easier to understand, so come on back next time to wrap up this conversation with us. If you have any questions or thoughts, you can email us: And if you want to support this show and get our second podcast, Utterly Heretical, which is for supporters only, you can do that at Just click on Give or Support on that page, or you can just go right to Catch ya next time.

Tim: Peace, y’all.

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