In his recent article, “Heaven Is Ridiculous,” Ray Comfort continues to combat atheistic presumptions that God doesn’t exist. I think the most interesting thing about this article, however, is Comfort’s eschatology, in which he distinctly states that we are to look for a “New Heavens and New Earth.” There is nothing fabulous or novel in his view. In fact, it’s a view which has been consistently held for 2,000 years. Comfort doesn’t even say anything about the Millennium. He only states that heaven will be set up on earth. He is his quote verbatim:
“Most people don’t realize that the Bible teaches that Heaven is coming down to earth. This is despite the fact that daily, millions pray “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.” God is going to set up His kingdom on this earth. When it comes, He is going to remove the Genesis curse–that means that there will be no more floods, tornados, hurricanes, droughts, earthquakes, deserts, disease, weeds, pain, suffering, or death. It is then that the lion will lie down with the lamb. Creation will stop devouring itself (see Romans 8:18-25). Those who trust in Jesus Christ will be given brand new bodies that will be like the resurrected body of Jesus–bodies that can eat, touch, feel, etc., but will never age or feel pain or sorrow. All this all sounds too good to be true, but it can be a proven reality for those who obey the gospel.
“Think of it–eternal life–on this wonderful earth restored to when it was like the Garden of Eden. A place where there are no rapists, no murderers, no pedophiles, no hypocrites, liars, blasphemers, or thieves. A place of perfect fruit, incredible animals, unimaginable color, massive waterfalls, amazing plants, more beautiful birds, bigger fish, grander canyons . . . and if you die in your sins, you are going to miss out, and instead end up in Hell–being punished for your sins, simply because of your prejudice and stubborn pride. What a tragedy.
“One other thing. The Creator of the Universe–Almighty God (the One you don’t believe in) will be there. He will say, “Behold I make all things new,” and He doesn’t need to use His past creation as a blueprint. He is the ultimate Creator with the ultimate creativity. Before this world existed as we know it, who could ever have imagined a blue sky, a brilliant sun, myriads of birds, gorgeous flowers, multitudes of colorful fish, deep blue seas, and an array of incredible animals. But this time, He will make all things new. Completely. We are waiting for a new heavens (sky) and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17, 1 Peter 3:13). We are also told that God will remove the sea Revelation 21:1. Imagine that. That will give us a little more room.”
It is well to note that Comfort’s view is completely orthodox. In fact, it coincides remarkably with a statement made in one of the “ecclesiatical forms of doctrine” promulgated at the Nicene Council in 325 A.D. This reflects the traditional view of the Lord’s prayer petition, “Thy will be on earth as it is in heaven.” Christ will set up His kingdom over all the earth (Revelation 11: 15; cf. Zechariah 14: 9), when He returns to the Mount of Olives from whence He ascended (see Zechariah 14: 4; cf. Acts 1: 11). Christ ascended in a literal cloud, & so John predicts Him “coming with clouds” (Revelation 1: 7).
Frankly, I’m still a little perplexed as to why Gary DeMar chose to blackjack Ray’s eschatology. It happens that Acts 1: 11 is one of the few passages which DeMar himself uses to prove a future coming of Christ. As an orthodox Christian, DeMar ought to be looking for the exact same thing as Comfort–a rule & reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Certainly not for a long-term continuation of the world’s present evil conditions.
Even Comfort’s statement that the lions & lambs shall dwell together in peace & safety are common views of the early church fathers. It is remarkable how closely Comfort’s teachings align with the teachings of men like Irenaeus, Papias, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Lactantius, and other early expositors. The resemblance is almost startling. But it tells us one thing. Comfort, through his studies of the Scriptures, arrived at the exact same views as those of the historic Christian church. The Scriptures, when read plainly and taken at face value as God’s inspired Word, always lead to the same conclusions.
Once again, I’m not saying anything about the Millennium! And neither does Ray Comfort in his article. Remember, whether you’re Post-Mil, A-Mil, or Pre-Mil, as long as you belive in a future coming of Christ you must believe in the renovation of the creation, & the abolition of the Genetic curse.
Gregory of Nazianzus (called “The Theogian”) was no millenarian. And yet he wrote: “Why am I faint-hearted in my hopes? Why behave like a mere creature of a day? I await the voice of the archangel, the last trumpet, the transformation of the heavens, the transfiguation of the earth, the liberation of the elements, the renovation of the universe.” (Oration VII, xxi).
This is exactly what Ray Comfort teaches! In fact, Gregory (in the same chapter) interprets Ezekiel 37 as pertaining to a literal resurrection. And I’m sure if I were to ask Ray his views on that chapter, he would agree with the literality of Ezekiel’s vision. Incidentally, that’s also agreeing with the church fathers. What I’m trying to say is, Ray Comfort is orthodox. So why does his article on “The End of The Age” have such a negative effect on Mr. DeMar? The answer to this question is more puzzling than anything asked by the fabled “Sphinx.”
I’m not against Gary DeMar personally. But someone like Ray Comfort doesn’t deserve to be attacked for his eschatological views. In this day & age, when so many false teachers are running about, orthodox Christians need to stick together and combat false theologies that are being proliferated via the web. Most orthodox Preterists feel that DeMar’s affiliation with Hyper-Preterists is out of line. I agree. When it comes time to take sides & fight battles, DeMar has no problem standing with the bad guys. But look where his arrows are being aimed. Quick, Ray! Duck!
The disheartening fact is, Comfort & DeMar are both struggling against the tide of atheists now flooding the web. They are fighting a common cause. What would the Philistines say if they knew about this? Once during our Lord’s earthly ministry, John said to Him: “Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us” (Luke 9: 49). Christ answered, “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us, is for us” (Luke 9: 50).
This is a lesson which orthodox Christians need at all times to remember. Although we may have different views of eschatology, we stand united in the essentials. Our unity, if genuine and in earnest, ought to serve as a common bond when teaching each other, evangelizing the nations, and refuting false doctrines. There be many false teachers who have stolen into the fold of Christ’s church. To ignore these teachers, or to deny their prevalence by claiming the inspired words of warning applied only to those of the Jewish dispensation, is clearly wrong in practice, if not in theory.
When fighting our battles, let us remember whose colors we are wearing. Happy is he who knows an enemy when he sees one, & maintains peace with all true and faithful servants of Jesus Christ. When the Lord comes to reckon up the talents, that man will not stand ashamed.