Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Third Testament

" 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. " ' Act 2:17 (NIV)

While Ellen G. White insisted that she was a lesser light when compared to the greater light of the Bible, some may think that in claiming the category of light, whether lesser or greater, it was almost tantamount to suggesting her voluminous writings were a type of third testament. Some people look to her writings, especially her Testimonies, as being a kind of third testament. Whether her writings can be considered a third testament, or not, is not the subject of this post.

There are so many instances of the number three in the Bible. The Trinity, of course, comes to mind, and is the most important of the triads in the bible. There were three persons on the Mount of the Transfiguration. Christ was in the tomb for parts of three days-- our Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Three disciples witnessed the Transfiguration. Revelation speaks of three angels' messages. There are three synoptic gospels. And so on, and so forth.

The Old Testament is mostly about the Lord God, God the Father, the first person of the trinity. The New Testament is mostly about the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the trinity. Although it can be said that the two testaments were complete as they now stand, had it been possible for Christ to have come before he actually did, if he had been a son of one of the princesses of the House of David, if the Babylonian captivity had not taken place, because the Israelites found other ways of being cured of their idolatry, then the New Testament probably wouldn't have had to have been written. In that case, the Old Testament would have been complete, as it would have existed in that scenario. But, of course, both Testaments exist. History turned out differently.

Two thousand years have passed since the New Testament was written. The New Testament referred back to the Old Testament. What would a Third Testament be like if there ever were a need for it to exist? It would of course refer back to both the Old Testament and the New Testament. A theoretical Third Testament would, of course, magnify God the Father and God the Son. Since we have a third member of the trinity, might a theoretical Third Testament consist of a fuller revelation of the Holy Spirit? Would the inspired writers of the theoretical Third Testament magnify the Spirit who magnifies the Son who magnified the Father? The Old Testament contains fewer references to the Spirit of God than does the New Testament. Might a theoretical Third Testament contain the most references about the Holy Spirit?

You might wonder why even talk of such things? All members of the Trinity are equally important. To speak of One is to speak of Another. You might say that a Third Testament is not really necessary since the Old Testament was all humankind ever needed, but, of course, humanity's rebellion made a second, or New Testament, necessary. Nevertheless, two thousand years have come and gone and humanity's rebellion shows no signs of abating. Spirituality, as well as life itself in the Post-Modern world, sometimes appears increasingly different from the Christianity, or Judaism of the two existing testaments. Needless to say, both those testaments served, and continue to serve, humankind as perfect as perfect can be this side of eternity. Nevertheless, might not a Third Testament be given to us as the third and final gift, because of the new complex reality, as well as future realities that often are light years away from the beautiful simplicity of the two existing testaments? Or do we simply continue to the end of time, now matter how long it takes to arrive, with just the two testaments we have now?

Besides pointing back to the Bible, and drawing attention to both Father and Son, what might a Third Testament look like? Since the New Testament is briefer than the Old Testament might not the Third Testament be briefer than the New Testament? Or might it be even more voluminous then either testament and be ever-revealing, or expanding, as new mysteries in Science and future history necessitate the Third Testament to be more dynamic than the earlier ones? Again, might not a theoretical Third Testament focus on a fuller Revelation of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit? Like the Old and the New Testaments, a theoretical Third Testament would, of course, be inspired by the same Spirit that inspired the previous testaments.

Since most of our post-modern world prizes its female writers, might the Third Testament not contain as many, if not more, books by woman prophets, chroniclers or editors? Would these 21st century prophets only come from one church, would they come from more than one or would they come from outside the church?

Since each existing testament focuses on either Judaism and/or Christianity, would a theoretical Third Testament, if it ever became necessary, still not only be God-centered, Christ-centered, but also be Spirit-centered? Would the religion of the Third Testament have a new name and would it appeal both to Jews, as well as Christians? Would these Post-Modern or Third Millennium Believers be persecuted by some members of the Old Guard as happened in the early days of Christianity? Would the civil authorities persecute them, as well, for disturbing the peace?

Since the advent of the Internet, blogs, and hypertext, would the Third Testament not be written in the traditional mode, as were the previous two testaments?

Finally, might not the Third Testament be actually being written in some of the religious or spiritual web sites, blogs and hypertexts of the early 21st century? Or does some special outpouring of the Holy Spirit have to occur before this potential Third and, no doubt, final Testament start taking shape? Who will do it and at what time in future history will a third Canon be codified? Will that triadic Holy Text be the text that will accompany humankind as it explores first the solar system, then, one day, the worlds beyond our own sun?

No comments: