Archive for May, 2022

May 29, 2022

8 ‘C’s of Divine History


  • Creation – all “very good”

  • Corruption – the fall

  • Catastrophe – the flood

  • Confusion – tower of Babel

  • InCarnation – encompasses our Lord’s birth, ministry, suffering, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. The C in Incarnation is for Christ and all He accomplished as Immanuel.

  • New Covenant – in the blood of the Lamb of God — the once-for-all sacrifice, making the old covenant obsolete and leading to its conclusive termination by the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. During this present and final age our ascended Lord reigns from on High (Psalm 110:1-2) and through His Spirit indwelling His people – living stones in the new living temple, His body.

  • ViCtory – The triumph of the sovereign, enthroned Lord Jesus Christ and His church over all opponents in time and history is inevitable. “For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

  • Consummation – “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts and end to all rule and all authority and power For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26); and “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

[Hat tip: AiG’s Seven C’s]

~

May 28, 2022

Wanted

dead-or-alive

The proverbial “Wanted…” poster from the American “wild west” aptly describes the spiritual state of each and every human being created by God. That is, you are either dead to the Triune God and therefore self-centered; or you have been made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus to the glory of the Father.

Let me explain. We don’t start out with a “clean slate”. Since Adam & Eve, humanity is fallen. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Borrowing a term from information technology, it can be said that spiritual death is our “default” state of being. The standard theological terminology for this includes unregenerate; unconverted; dead in trespasses and sins. Conversely when one is made alive by the grace of God (cf Ephesians 2:1), that person is given new Spiritual life, and then said to be regenerate; converted; born again. This is the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5). Everyone will be raised from physical death on the last day, but only those who have had a part in the first resurrection will enter into the heavenly rest of eternal life. Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).

Almighty God, our Creator Who is blessed forever, has decreed these and all things according to the pleasure of His will and for His glory; He has revealed them to us in His word, the Holy Bible. Do you believe this? Well that depends on whether you are dead or alive. In fact, that is how you can know your spiritual state, if you embrace God’s word or not. But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10).

True Christians are those who have been made alive to the living God, those who bear the name of Jesus Christ… as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13). Indeed, the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16).

All of God’s creation and creatures, made for His glory, are under His sovereign control since before the foundation of the world. Whosoever who would be quickened from the fallen state of spiritual death to new life in Christ Jesus was divinely predetermined in eternity past. This is a great act of mercy because no one deserves to be so saved. Without God acting first, salvation cannot be simply chosen by us, nor can it even be earned. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8). It should be obvious that no one who is spiritually dead is able to make a decision to be spiritually alive, just as that is confirmed by the obvious fact that not everybody is saved. This is known as the doctrine of election. So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy (Romans 9:16). Throughout history and continuing to the end of time God calls to Himself His people to pass from death into life.

The bounty hunters of the American pioneer towns were the agents for bringing in those wanted by the law. Analogously, God uses the preaching of His word by His people to lost (dead) souls as the means ordained to be instrumental in the Holy Spirit’s work of bringing many to be saved (alive). This miraculously transformational work which the LORD brings to pass in His own good time according to the purpose of His will is irresistible and undeniable to those so called. All people everywhere are in fact commanded to repent and believe this gospel, and everyone is likewise responsible to throw themselves upon God’s mercy and be saved, but some remain in proud rebellion against God’s word. These whom are passed over for salvation are vessels of God’s wrath; and most importantly, only salvation wrought by the Spirit of God delivers souls from an eternity of misery in Hell which is called the second death, when — after we die physically — it is too late to be saved. Therefore behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)!

Our God and our Father, we pray that You will continue to let Your glory unfold mightily in the advancement of Your kingdom here on earth, by the individual conversion of many lost souls whom are dead in trespasses and sins, to be made alive by Your grace through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in Your word, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let Your word go forth in power as Your people are made zealous for sharing these truths with the lost, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:27), that they would search the Scriptures to see if these things are so, that they may be spared from Your just wrath and given the gift of faith that they may inherit eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3). Amen.


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

May 28, 2022

Time, History and Eternity

The above graphic depicts an understanding of the phrases “this age” and “the age to come”, in their biblical/historical context. This understanding underlies the proper perception of our present situation, and affects our eschatological outlook. Satan is NOT “the god of this age” that we are in now. He was “the god of this age” when Paul wrote 2 Cor. 4:4; Gal. 1:4; Rom. 16:20, etc. Jesus crushed Satan’s head and bound him in the first century, cf. Matt. 12:29; Luke 10:18; Rev. 20:2; etc. Not to say that the evil one is not still active other than in wholesale deception of the nations the way he was before, but the Lord Jesus Christ is reigning now! cf. Ps. 2; Ps. 110; Dan. 7:13-14; 1Cor. 15:25; etc.

An “age” is a period of time. There is no other age that will follow the present age of Christ’s mediatorial reign (what the New Testament, written prior to the termination of the Old Covenant age with the destruction of the temple, refers to as “the age to come”). We are now in the final age of time and history, as the ascended Lord Jesus Christ reigns in majesty on high at the right hand of the Father. 

Premillennialists claim that there will be another age after Christ’s Second Coming, when He will reign upon the earth for 1,000 years prior to the final judgment, with a variety of flavors espousing a rebuilt temple, multiple mass physical resurrections, etc., etc. which is all patently unbiblical. An older version of postmillennialism taught that there will be a separate “golden age” in time and history after the present age and before the Second Coming; proponents of that view may have acquiesced to the lack of scriptural warrant for it.

Against “the age to come” as eternity

Ephesians 1:
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age (aion) but also in that which is to come.* 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (NKJV)

*Note: the age “which is to come” in Ephesians 1 can hardly refer to eternity without conflicting with 1 Corinthians 15:

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterwards those who are Christ’s at His coming. 24 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. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.
*28Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

The Ephesians passage presents the ages of time/history; the passage in 1 Corinthians presents the end: eternity. Jesus’ ascension took place in what were the last days of “this age” for the writers of the New Testament. In this final age now present (the “age to come” for the N.T. writers), Jesus is still reigning from on High and by His Spirit indwelling His people, living stones in a living temple, His body. He also rules over the nations with a rod of iron. This being the situation decreed for “not only in this age but also in that which is to come”, neither age can refer to the hereafter, as by contrast, in eternity, we shall eat and drink with Jesus Himself (cf. Matthew 26:29)! Our Forerunner will no longer be “far above”, having put an end to all rule and all authority and power; and we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2)! The position of Christ the head and his body/bride the church will, at the end (in the eternity of final glory), be manifestly changed from that of the here and now, the age of the church militant (referred to as “the age to come” in Ephesians 1).

Paul wrote in the last days of the old covenant age when the temple was still standing. The “age to come”, which was then at hand, is fully here now: the gospel age, the “millennium” of the mediatorial reign of King Jesus.

In those same last days of the old covenant age when the temple was still standing, shortly before He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; rose again from the dead; and ascended into heaven, Jesus said to the high priest: “I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.(Matt. 26:64) The hereafter our Lord foretold is the termination of the old covenant economy with the destruction of the temple in AD 70, the final end of that age, the outworking of AD 30 when Christ made the once-for-all sacrifice of Himself; which was also foretold by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel:

“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation*, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:26-27)

*i.e. the consummation of the ages, the transition from the Jewish to the Christian: the mediatorial kingdom of the gospel age, the final age before the end, the millennial reign of the risen, ascended Lord Jesus Christ as written of in Ephesians 1.


[click image to enlarge]

May 28, 2022

Seventy Weeks Rightly Divided

“Seventy Weeks” refers to the prophecy received and recorded by the prophet Daniel, which decreed the timetable of events for the people of Israel and their holy city, Jerusalem.

The text of the prophecy is in the book of Daniel, chapter 9, verses 24-27, and this is what it says:

  • 24  “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city,  To finish the transgression,  To make an end of sins,  To make reconciliation for iniquity,  To bring in everlasting righteousness,  To seal up vision and prophecy,  And to anoint the Most Holy. 
  • 25  ” Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. 
  • 26  “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the Prince* who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. 
  • 27  Then He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”
    • * “the people of the Prince” = Titus and his Roman legions

This magnificent prophecy came at the end of the seventy-year period of the Babylonian captivity, under which the prophet Daniel spent most of his adult life.  This period of Jewish history, the exile of the southern kingdom of Judah in the 6th  century BC, had been foretold by the prophet Jeremiah.  Daniel had been praying, as it is written: I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. (Daniel 9:2)  …and even while he was praying, the angel Gabriel came and delivered the prophecy.  

It predicts specific purposes to be accomplished within the span of seventy sabbatical ‘weeks’ — understood as weeks of years; literally, “seventy sevens”, or 490 years.  This amazing prophetic decree was revealed to Daniel for his comfort and left to the Church for the confirming of our faith, and a testimony to the truth of Divine revelation.

This prediction of the promised Messiah not only specifies the time of His first advent, but also foretells the particular aspects of His ministry in the establishment of the new covenant.  

As stipulated in the prophecy, from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there would be seven weeks and sixty two weeks, for a total of 69 weeks or 483 years.  

…which brings us to the year 27 A.D., the very year when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Lord Jesus Christ at His baptism, and of the commencement of His incarnate ministry.  

Then, in the middle of the final week (the last seven year period), in 30 A.D., He would be “cut off”, that is, crucified, bringing to an end the Old Testament economy by His death.   

What a miraculously accurate prediction this was! The 490 years of the seventy weeks prophecy then concluded with the three and a half years that remained, during which period the gospel went forth with power after the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.   

Messiah and His disciples ‘confirmed’ that it was He who was the Promised One, who ratified the Abrahamic Covenant with His blood. The word confirm tells us that it already existed – it is the everlasting covenant that was made to Abraham. The covenant was confirmed with the Jews first, for seven years.

At that point the unbelieving Jews, who had stoned Stephen, in effect cut themselves off from the eternal blessings of the new covenant; and shortly thereafter, within that generation, the Romans utterly destroyed the temple and city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  

Even so, all the wonderful blessings of this prophecy are made possible through Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God.  

The 1st century AD saw the fulfillment of all the predictions of the seventy weeks prophecy.

~

“For those who try to add hundreds, or thousands, or a million year smoke and mirrors gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel, whereas no such extra-biblical gap exists in the Hebrew text, be exhorted to apply the principle of Revelation 22:18!” -Michael E. Day

May 27, 2022

The Last from the Past

The last days are not a future period of time leading up to the rapture of the church and the end of the world. Nor are the last days describing the full contemporary Christian era. It hardly seems consistent to associate the term “days” with two millennia of years! A closer look at the New Testament usage of the term will reveal that the last days represented a now historical period of time. It was a fitting description of the final days of the Old Covenant, a period lasting a little over forty years. The first century earthly ministry of Jesus ushered in these last days. In this way, the “last days” of the New Testament were actually the “first days” of the New Testament church.1

The prophet Joel described some miraculous activities that would characterize the last days (Joel 2:28-31). The apostle Peter used the prophetic words of Joel to explain the miraculous events that were occurring at that time (Acts 2:16-17). The fact that those events were ascribed as being a fulfillment of the words of Joel indicated that the last days had arrived. If the inspired prophet was referencing the entire Christian era from Pentecost until the present, would we not expect these same miraculous activities to still be genuinely occurring — “in the last days”?2

It is sometimes said that the whole period between the incarnation and the end of the world is regarded in the New Testament as ‘the end of the age’, but this bears a manifest incongruity in its very front. How could the end of a period be a long protracted duration? Especially how could it be longer than the period of which it is the end? More time has already elapsed since the incarnation than from the giving of the law to the first coming of Christ: so that, on this hypothesis, the end of the age is a great deal longer than the age itself.3

Those Last Days Now Past

“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 to us by His Son…” (Hebrews 1:1)

A video presentation by a prominent creationist ministry, which promotes a biblical view of the earth’s age over and against the uniformitarian “millions of years” view, takes in to account the catastrophic effects of the global flood as recorded in the book of Genesis. However, the impact of the otherwise excellent production is weakened as the presenter states that today’s secular scientists whom disregard Scripture’s record of the Genesis flood are examples of the “scoffers” which the apostle Peter wrote would come in “the last days” (cf. 2 Peter 3:3-6). The devastating problem with this statement is that the inspired apostle wrote those words in the 1st century when the last days of the old covenant were at hand; so that the last days referred to were then, not now.

This is a major interpretive error made by modern-day Christians, which has become well ensconced in many hearts and minds, especially with the high volume of book sales along with seminary teachings by authors and professors based on the misapplication of the past to our present and near future. It is as if someone were to write in broad, non-specific terms about the last days of the Obama federal administration when they were (thankfully) nearing, and someone were to read it two thousand years or so from then, and assume the dynamics of the situation described to be directly applicable to the reader there and then, instead of relevant to the U.S.A. in the year of our Lord 2016.

When it comes to the Holy Bible which is the word of God, surely there is far-reaching application as well as eternal truth to be gleaned, but the correct interpretation must be gathered based upon the historical context and the understanding of the original audience. The last days from two thousand years ago cannot be the same last days today, or they would not have been the last days then. The realization that the “last days” were in the past, and that much of Bible prophecy (not all!) was fulfilled in the 1st century is key to sound discernment of the Scriptures.

Holy writ indeed informs us that the Lord Jesus Christ is reigning now. Peter also quoted Psalm 110:1 and said Jesus is exalted at God’s right hand (position of authority), to rule from the Majesty on High (cf Acts 2:34-36; Hebrews 1:3). Jesus Himself said, just prior to His ascension, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Hence, He is now King at God’s right hand, just as the Psalm prophesied. The apostle Paul further expounded that He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). This has not happened yet, and of course we cling to the blessed hope of the resurrection of the body when the end comes and Jesus returns bodily in final judgment and to usher in the eternal state. Until then, the almighty, Triune God we serve is certainly to be victorious in time and history.

So the Messianic kingdom has already been established, i.e. we are in the “millennium” now. The last days of the old covenant, including the great tribulation prophesied in Matthew chapter 24, were the days leading up to and including the destruction of the temple, the city of Jerusalem and apostate Israel when the Son of Man “came” with judgment in 70 AD. “The last days” are now in the past, and followed from the work that He “finished” in 30 AD (cf John 19:30). The once for all sacrifice of the Lamb of God has superseded the old system of animal sacrifices, and now its up to the church, with steadfast faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, to look forward to and work towards the building of the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven… for, also as it is written, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).

The effectiveness of biblical apologetics as well as the fruitfulness of Christian cultural engagement efforts will be greatly increased by our faithful witness to the truth that the last days are in the past. The long haul to triumph will likely extend beyond the relatively short lifetimes of those of us alive today; there’s no time to waste. Let’s get busy using our talents in good and faithful service to our King (cf Matthew 25:23), leaving an example for future generations to follow. Keep the faith. Stand strong in the Truth. The worst is past and the best is yet to come.

– – – –

1 John M. Buttrey II, The Book of Revelation – A Brief Commentary and study Guide
2 Ibid
3 James Stuart Russell, The Parousia – The New Testament Doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming*
*Russel’s work teaches that Christ’s Second Coming took place in 70 AD, at which time the dead saints were resurrected and caught-up to Heaven, and the living saints were bodily caught-up to Heaven 😮. Even while not concurring with that startling conclusion, one can appreciate the many astute observations Russell makes such as the “manifest incongruity” of the end of the age being longer than the age of which it is the end of; akin to the “last days” lasting for thousands of years.

May 27, 2022

Pilgrimage

We are new creation pilgrims

The Bible divides time into 2 worlds (ages): “this age” and “the age to come”. They correspond with the Old and New Covenant ages. The New Testament was written during the “Last Days” of the Old Covenant age or what was then called “this age”.

That other expression in Matthew, “the consummation of the age,” is a phrase that has been much abused and widely misunderstood. The common translation, “end of the world,” has been a delusion to many readers of the English Bible. It has helped to perpetuate the unscriptural notion that the coming and kingdom of Christ are not facts of the past, present, and future, but of the future only. …

Those who maintain the doctrine, and, indeed, not a few who oppose it, fall into error and inconsistency by failing to apprehend the true meaning of the phrase “the end of the age.”

For, first of all, they do not determine clearly what age (αἰών) is contemplated in such a text as Matt. 24:3. They quite generally assume that the period of the Gospel dispensation is meant. But nothing is more familiar in the Jewish terminology of our Lord’s time than the current phrases עו̇לָם הַוֶּה and עו̇לָם הַבָּא, this age and the age to come. The period which preceded the coming of the Messiah was spoken of as this age; that which followed his coming was the age to come.

…by this age they meant and could mean nothing else than the current period in which they were living, the then present age. The question of the disciples, as recorded, could therefore only refer to the pre-Messianic age, and its consummation was, as we have seen, associated in their thought with the overthrow of the temple. But even were it admitted that their notion of “the consummation of the age” was erroneous, the teaching of Jesus was emphatic beyond all rational question that that generation should not pass away before all those things of which they inquired should be fulfilled.

The age to come, the Messianic time, would accordingly be the period that would follow immediately after the termination of the pre-Messianic age. That time had not yet come when Jesus spoke. According to the whole trend of New Testament teaching that age and the Messianic kingdom were near or at hand. Christ’s ministry fell in the last days of an αἰών. The gospel of his kingdom must be firmly established in the world before the end of that age. So we read, in Heb. 9:26: “Now, once, at the end of the ages (ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων) hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Also in Heb. 1:1, it is written: “God … hath at the last of these days spoken unto us in his Son.” Similarly Peter (1 Pet. 1:20) speaks of Christ as “foreknown before the foundation of the world, but manifested at the end of the times for your sake.” Paul, too, speaks of himself as living near the consummation of an age: “These things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come” (1 Cor. 10:11). The ministry both of Jesus and his disciples must, therefore, be recognized as occurring in the latter days of an αἰών, or near the end of the pre-Messianic age. The New Testament writers, as well as Jesus, are clear on this point. They never represent themselves as already entered upon the first days, or the beginning of the age, but rather in the last days.1

[1] Terry, M. S. (1898). Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ in the Canonical Scriptures (pp. 247–248). New York; Cincinnati: Eaton & Mains; Curts & Jennings.


While Jesus’ first advent marked the beginning of the new covenant age (the “age to come”), the old covenant age (“this age”) was finally swept away when Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed. There was a period of 40 years (a generation) from AD 30 to AD 70 in which the two ages overlapped in transition. Those were the “last days”.

May 27, 2022

Chronology, Creation and Compromise (includes a Movie Review)

The year is 1890 and Bible professor Russell Carlisle (D. David Morin) has written a new manuscript entitled “The Changing Times.” His book is about to receive a unanimous endorsement from the board members of the Grace Bible Seminary until his colleague Dr. Norris Anderson (Gavin Macleod) raises an objection. Dr. Anderson believes that Carlisle’s writing could greatly affect future generations. Using a secret time machine, Anderson sends Carlisle over 100 years into the future, offering him a glimpse of where his beliefs will lead.

As is obvious from the above plot description appearing on the back of the DVD case, the movie Time Changer (a Rich Christiano film) is a work of fiction. Absent of high-budget special effects, and with a Christian theme, it has not reached anywhere near popular blockbuster status. Nevertheless, the film makes the enduring case for steadfast adherence to the authority of the Word of God. Carlisle’s manuscript makes a plea for morality and righteousness but begs the question, “By what standard?”. Anderson objects to the teaching of the law apart from the law-Giver, of preaching morality apart from the authority of the Word of God.

After finally submitting to Anderson’s insistence, Carlisle travels to the future where he sees the disastrous results of mankind’s rejection of the infallible standard of righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from Him no one is righteous, no – not one. In one scene, Carlisle tells a hot dog snatching girl that it is not right to steal, and the girl responds “Says who?”.

In another scene in the movie, Carlisle, in the future (the year 2000), perceived that he was in the “end times” and commented that therefore Jesus must be coming shortly to “set up His kingdom on earth”. This of course is indicative of a premillennial view of eschatology (end times). To anyone reading this blog who is at all familiar with eschatology, it must be apparent by now that here we embrace a postmillennial view, which is that the bodily return of the Lord Jesus (“the second coming”) will take place after His kingdom has been well established here on earth during this present age. While premillennialism does not detract from the excellent message of the film, the eschatological viewpoint of Christ returning a “millennium” before the final judgment, with the resurrection of believers when He comes, and then another resurrection of unbelievers at the end of His earthly reign is a problematical interpretation of Scripture mainly because it is out of accord with biblical chronology.

A greatly overlooked passage of Scripture which presents us a timetable of end time events is 1 Corinthians 15:25-26: For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. The context is Christ’s reign in heaven, which is where He sits at the right hand of Majesty on High since His ascension. Death is destroyed (general resurrection) at the end – at the last day – in a moment, the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52), not a prolonged drama for 1,000 years. So all of the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ and His church are being put under His feet, and then comes the end, when death is destroyed. “The logic of Paul is inescapable” as per respected theologian B.B. Warfield.

Other key texts of Scripture teach one particular day of resurrection/judgment for all which takes place when Jesus comes back (cf Acts 17:31; Acts 24:15 ). There will be a day of resurrection and judgment for ALL men – when Jesus comes. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth — those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). Notwithstanding that it may be the most widely held eschatological perspective in the church today, it can reasonably be said that the premillennial view of the book of Revelation is chronologically untenable based on unavoidable presuppositions derived from the full counsel of Scripture.

There is much more that can be said about end times chronology and the difficulties presented by the book of Revelation which is apocalyptic literature rendered in signs & symbols (the “first resurrection” of Revelation 20 is symbolic of spiritual regeneration!), but let us turn our chronometers from the end back to the beginning — to the book of Genesis and the creation account. Here we have clear-cut historical narrative, presenting the account of the magnificent work of almighty God creating all things ex nihilo (out of nothing) in six literal (24-hour) days. This is wonderful truth for the believer. Indeed the pattern for the days and weeks of our lives were thereby established. Our God is an awesome God! Just as we believe steadfastly in the virginal birth and bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we hold to a “young earth” as plainly depicted in the earliest history recorded in Genesis 1-11. We believe God’s word is inerrant and infallible, and we stand by its irrefutable truth as interpreted from the original language text in accordance with well established and scholarly accepted grammatical-historical methodology.1

The compromise comes in by what may be called the 3 Ws. That is, when a professing believer is either weak, wanting or wicked. The attack on God’s word is from the outside, in the form of the secular/humanist religion of evolution. Under the flag of so-called “science”, millions of years is presented for injection into the Bible’s chronology of creation. The weak accept it to avoid ridicule, or to get along. They fear men more than they fear God. The biblical worldview of others is compromised as they are wanting for a proper defense of the faith, and are overwhelmed by not having an answer to ungodly dogma presented as accepted fact. The wicked trample on the blood of Jesus, accepting the concept of death and sin before the fall, which overturns the gospel, promoting that lie to lead others astray. Make no mistake about it beloved, this is a foundational issue. Abortion, homosexuality, racism, adultery, broken families, attacks on the institution of marriage, and all such perversities are the symptoms of the undermining of the authority of God’s word.

So where do we go from here? Well first of all, if you have swallowed the wicked lie of evolution in any way, shape or form then I urge you to vomit it up and spit it out. Hold fast to your faith, and don’t be afraid to speak up. What position does your local church take on the inerrancy of God’s word? Has its leadership compromised on the creation account of the Bible? Take heart, eyes are being opened, minds are being renewed. God is giving zeal for His Truth to His people, and help is available! Go to the AnswersInGenesis website where you can arm yourself with reliable information and resources. Another excellent website is the Institute for Creation Research. Get yourself a copy of The Beginning of the World – A Scientific Study of Genesis 1-11 by Dr. Henry Morris (remember Kindle Edition books are less expensive and readable on any PC or MAC with the free reading app). Stay tuned for more…

Let us pray that things don’t have to get much worse before the church of the Lord Jesus Christ arises to insist that the Bible is authoritative for all of life, from beginning to end.

1 See Reformed Theology and Six Day Creation by Kenneth L. Gentry


But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

 

May 27, 2022

The End of the Last Days

NounEnd [​end]
-the point in time at which something ends;
-the concluding parts of an event or occurrence​;
​-the state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that (when achieved) terminates
 behavior intended to achieve it​

In Acts 2:17ff the apostle Peter declares the fulfilment of what was uttered by the prophet Joel​: “And in the last days it shall be, God declares…”. The events foretold happened in those “last days.” The spectacular fire baptism by the Holy Spirit, daughters prophesying, etc. along with all the cosmic judgment language depicting the then at hand destruction of old covenant Israel all happened then, and is now over and done with. Your daughters are not prophesying any more, for example. As those last days ended and are in our past, I believe that we are not now still living in the last days.

Amillennialists such as James White maintain a concept of “this age, and the age to come”, that the age we are living in now is a continuation of the “last days” spoken of by the apostles, and the age to come is the hereafter, i.e. final glory. Surprisingly, postmillennialist Ken Gentry agrees that the last days, which began in the first century, continue through now and on into the future, until the end of time, which understanding requires that the “last days” have now lasted for approximately 2 millennia, so far. One wonders if Dr. Gentry, who anticipates a long period of Christian prosperity before the second coming, presumes that the “last days” will remain in effect all that time.

That there will be a triumph of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ manifesting in time and history should be the Christian’s faithful hope, according to His word; but it is a result of His first coming which ended the last days of the old covenant. “In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:13).

The old covenant age was from Moses until Christ. Christ brought in the new covenant, such that Dr. White’s “this age” was actually the old covenant age, which was passing away when the New Testament was written; and his “age to come” is actually the here & now of the new creation, the gospel age, the Messianic reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, the millennium of Revelation 20, the new Jerusalem, the new heaven & earth (in an already/not yet sense). Final glory is not an age in time & history, rather it comes after the end of the ages for us. The end of the ages for the New Testament writers was then.

​The Greek word aion is commonly translated as world, as in Hebrews 11:3 which the NKJV renders: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” The Greek word there translated as worlds is aiones (plural of aion). This passage describes our faith in the providence of God in the works of creation. However aion can also mean “age”, and application of the wrong connotation can be the cause of considerable misunderstanding.

The apostle Paul, in referring to the old covenant, wrote “Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). While Jesus’ first advent marked the beginning of the new covenant age, the old covenant age was finally swept away in AD 70. There was a transitional period of about 40 years (a generation) from AD 30 to AD 70 in which the two ages co-existed. Those were the “last days”. It was towards the end of this period when the apostle Peter wrote “The end of all things is at hand…” (1 Peter 4:7).

The writer of Hebrews confirmed this in contrasting the types & shadows of the old covenant with redemption through the blood of Christ: “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:24-26).

​Jesus Himself mentioned the ages when he said “And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Matt. 12:32). Surely the age He distinguished as “this age” had to be the old covenant age, under which He was born and was ministering; while the “age to come” was a reference to the new covenant gospel age which He came to bring in. The “age to come” as a reference to the hereafter makes no sense because everyone’s eternal state is fixed and it is too late for repentance and forgiveness for any sin.

Here’s Matthew Henry’s commentary on the unpardonable sin passage:

  • What the sentence is that is passed upon it; It shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. As in the then present state of the Jewish church, there was no sacrifice of expiation for the soul that sinned presumptuously; so neither under the dispensation of gospel grace, which is often in scripture called the world to come, shall there be any pardon to such as tread underfoot the blood of the covenant, and do despite to the Spirit of grace: there is no cure for a sin so directly against the remedy. 

Even so, in Luke 20:34-36 Jesus says “The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage. But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage. Neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” The KJV properly renders aion as “world” in each instance where it appears in this passage, which is reasonably preferred over “age” as in modern translations (see NKJV). Translating aion as “age” in this context may have led to misunderstanding the New Testament writer’s “age to come” as the eternal state.

We must let context determine the correct connotation of words for sound interpretation of God’s infallible word. The sooner Christians embrace by faith that we are living under the better blessings of the new covenant age as distinct from the last days of the old covenant, which have ended, the sooner we will put off the expectation of defeat; and, walking by faith and not by sight, will trust, obey, pray, think and act accordingly towards advancing the kingdom of our reigning King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ, towards that end. Amen.


[See “Last Days” tab / sub-tabs above for timeline and graphical representations of the two-age model, with commentary beneath each]

May 27, 2022

HIStory, the Here & How, and the Hope of Heaven

Some time around 1,992 years ago the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ ascended with the clouds of heaven up to the Ancient of Days (cf Daniel 7:13). Having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, He left the glories of heaven and came to this sin-cursed earth, took on flesh and lived a sinless life — obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

What a miracle of love: God became a man! That part of the blessed work of redemption, as determined since before the foundation of the world by intraTrinitarian Covenant (pactum salutis) was accomplished in the fullness of time, in accordance with divine decree. Christ came forth, to faithfully perform the atonement for the sins of His people, as typified in the old testament, by perfect righteousness and substitutionary propitiation; as He proclaimed upon the cross, “it is finished.”

The third day thereafter He rose from the dead, and that calls for a never ending chorus of hallelujahs. It behooves us not only to learn and study the terminology used to expound upon the revealed Word of God, but also to rejoice and to faithfully receive and meditate upon the blessed historical truth of the Holy Spirit inspired Scriptures. Worthy is the Lamb of God Who was slain. All praise and glory to God Who is blessed forever, amen.

With the glorified God-Man reigning at the right hand of Majesty on High, the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, regenerates sinners to new life in Christ Jesus; comforts, counsels and empowers His people, and seals us for the day of redemption. How then should we live? Never forget that we’re now spiritually alive and well, with the Spirit Himself dwelling within us. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13). Therefore not only are you a part of His body which is a living temple, but also your body itself is a temple! Mindful of being thus set apart as Holy, we pray for God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. We are no longer slaves to sin, but rather bond servants of Jesus Christ. Let us go forth, not on our own strength, but abiding in Him, obeying His commandments. This indeed is a most gracious gift from above. For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).

In light of all this, zeal for God’s glory ought to burn within us, as the Holy Spirit quickens us and fans the flames within our souls! Indeed man’s chief end is to glorify God, and how better to effectuate that purpose than to bring every thought, word and deed captive to Christ. His kingdom is advancing on earth, and we are the instruments. Onward Christian soldiers! Away with the all-too-typical attitude of the church at large today, that our tickets are punched for heaven so lets just get by until the end. No, no, no! People are perishing — where is your heart for the lost?

Secular humanists are promoting their agenda more desperately than ever (without even realizing that their efforts are akin to spitting into the wind) — where is your respect for God’s law?  The anti-God forces are fervently promoting compromise of His word — where is your steadfastness in the truth? What, its not “cool” to stand on the timeless, true Word of God? Are you worried about how you are seen by the world’s eyes? Well I’m here to tell ya – it’s God’s eyes that count. For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14). That’s in the Bible. Nevermind the news propaganda nor the latest political campaign lie — where is your faith? 

OK so you went to Chick-Fil-A on appreciation day, you do well — but is that the extent of your activism? Bottom line is whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Now zealous exhortations notwithstanding, you can’t just go out and win arguments by yelling louder and being meaner than ungodly adversaries. We are the church militant, but our weapons are not carnal. We must overcome evil with good, hate with love. You’re absolutely right to think that you can’t do that. As a matter of fact, Jesus said “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). What does that mean? Well it means what it says, apart from Christ and His indwelling Spirit you can do NOTHING… but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Let us close with the comforting contemplation of hearing those words “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23), after having lived a life dedicated to the glory of God, in His service towards the advancement of His kingdom. We may not see the fruition of a return to foundational principles in this country during our lifetimes, but it will happen; not only here but all the nations shall be blessed, in the Seed of promise which is Christ Jesus. While we may be long gone from this place, having shuffled off these mortal coils; the triumph of the sovereign, enthroned Lord Jesus Christ and His church over all opponents in time and history is inevitable. Then comes the end, when all things shall be made new. No more sorrow. No more pain. No more sin. This is our blessed hope of glory, when we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

May 22, 2022

New Heavens and a New Earth (and a Book Review)

Matthew 24:35

Nounepiphany [ih-pif-uh-nee]
1. A divine manifestation
2. A moment of sudden understanding or revelation

We should all be on a quest to grow in grace through the renewing of our minds, seeking increased understanding of the pure, precious and perfect word of God. It is an amazing blessing when He embeds in us the zeal for such an effort, the reward of which can nearly amount to an ongoing epiphany.

As we humble ourselves and faithfully ask for God the Holy Spirit of Truth to guide us in the Way, fervent study of the Scriptures transforms us wonderfully. Not to say that true Christians cannot legitimately arrive at differing interpretations of holy writ but submitting to the Bible as a whole, beyond one’s systematic presuppositions, is essential to correctly perceive its teaching and be enlightened thereby.

Matthew 24 Fulfilled by John L. Bray includes personal testimony of the author’s journey through his changing perspectives on eschatology. A verse by verse commentary on our Lord’s teaching in what is commonly called the Olivet discourse as delineated in the “little apocalypse” of Matthew chapter 24, it is not so technical as to exclude the Christian layperson from appreciating it. The volume very effectively incorporates the parallel gospel accounts as well as cross references from the Old Testament in the discussion. Perhaps the most valuable benefit of the work is the extensive bibliography. Multitudinous and sundry resources are not only cited but quoted copiously, several of which are older and out of print or otherwise obscure to today’s inquiring minds. That it is available in PDF makes it even more of a worthy addition to one’s library, since in that format the many works referenced can be bookmarked for instant retrieval. With the support of many well-known older writers, including John Owen and Milton Terry, as well as many not so well-known older and newer ones, Bray ably presents the preterite perspective (he informs us that “preterist” is the noun whereas “preterite” is the adjective) of the “end times” teaching of the Bible.

The preterite perspective takes Christ at His word when He said “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:34), indicating that everything He had foretold up to that point in​ His discourse would have a near term fulfillment, certainly within the lifetimes of some of those who were alive at that time. It does not attempt to apply any etymological alchemy to alter the time frame as stated, in order to accommodate ​a preconceived ​​futurist interpretation of the prophesy.

Having completed this comprehensive study, I am more convinced than ever not only of the complete fulfillment of the entirety of Matthew 24, but also that the references to “new heavens and a new earth” in Isaiah 65:17 and elsewhere foretell of the present gospel age and not the eternal state hereafter. Isaiah 51:16 says “And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ “ which refers not literally to the physical creation 3,000 years earlier but symbolically to the establishment of old covenant Israel; the very same “heavens and earth” that would pass away in A.D. 70 as foretold by Jesus in the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24:35) and subsequently also by Peter in his second epistle: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10). It h​as become​ clear to me that Peter referred not to a physical destruction of the universe at the end of time but to that cataclysmic event of the Lord’s coming in judgment in those “last days”. The apostle then goes on to tell his 1st century readers “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13), which was couched in the same symbolic language to represent the establishment of the new covenant, having done away with the old.

The critical thing to understand is that while this prophecy was near in the future for those old covenant Jews who recognized the Messiah’s first advent and were converted, we are now looking back on it with joy as new covenant Christians born/reborn and living under the new covenant, in the “new heavens and earth” of this gospel age. When Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple and its ordinances, which were types and shadows, were done away with. This happened within the generation of the original hearers of the prophecy. Since then the church is the new dwelling place of God, and we now worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The new covenant church is the new bride of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, a new heaven and a new earth (cf Revelation 21:1).

No doubt this is a radical shift in perspective from the futurist mindset pervading the church today, which pushes already fulfilled prophesy into the “not yet” of our future. The Bible says nothing about a rebuilt physical temple despite the popularity of dispensational premillennialism. The modern mindset seems to have developed a natural aversion to the preterite understanding of Bible prophecy, and embracing a biblically sound, historical viewpoint requires a prayerful focus on determining what sayeth the Scriptures rather than expecting them to validate preconceptions made popular by the rise of dispensationalism only since the 19th century.

While the tide of eschatological consensus may be turning, a remaining obstacle to a hermeneutically sound, historical understanding of Scripture is the fear of going too far so as to depart from orthodoxy traditionally adhered to by the church (and some do!). In that regard let me hasten to affirm that there will be one great, final, visible, glorious, personal Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15), to coincide with universal, physical resurrection and judgment. This blessed hope is cherished even as we find that Scripture teaches there are also other ways in which He comes.

Read Matthew 24 Fulfilled (only $10 in PDF) which compellingly exonerates the preterite perspective of Bible prophecy, going no further than where it can be exegetically shown to apply. As John L. Bray did at the end of that work, I herewith quote what Dr. Milton S. Terry wrote (1898) in his book Biblical Apocalyptics:

…it is important to observe that the preterist and historical method of interpretation followed in this volume conserves the substance of every fundamental doctrine of the Gospel of Christ. It may helpfully modify some current conceptions of “the great and notable day of the Lord,” for it treats the imagery of collapsing skies, and falling stars, and sounding trumpets, and dissolving mountains, and great white throne, and scores of similar figures of thought as expressing great realities, but not spectacular physical phenomena. Our interpretation no more denies or sets aside the doctrines of eternal judgment, of heaven and hell, of resurrection of the dead, and the coming and kingdom of Christ than does the refusal to affirm the literal “fire and brimstone” of future retribution deny or invalidate the doctrine of eternal reward and punishment beyond this mortal life.

Nearly nineteen centuries of the manifested power and glory of Christianity in the world ought to have thrown some light on the nature of the coming and the kingdom of Christ. It can scarcely be a question among intelligent believers in Christ that the beginning of the era of our Lord and Saviour was the most signal and significant epoch in the history of mankind. It marked a “fullness of times,” a crisis of ages. The exact point of transition from the old to the new may be with many an open question. But whether we place it at the birth of Jesus or at the time of ​His crucifixion, when ​He cried, “It is finished,” or at ​His resurrection, or at ​His ascension, or at Pentecost, or at the fall of Jerusalem, the great commanding fact is still before us that the manifestation of the Christ, with which all these events must ever appear in vital relation, opened a new era in human civilization.

We now submit the thought that these nineteen centuries of Christian light and progress are relatively but the misty morning twilight of the great day of Christ. It may be that ​He must reign a thousand times a thousand years before he shall have put all his enemies under his feet (1 Cor. xv, 25).

The coming of Christ in ​His kingdom and power and glory is not one instantaneous act or event. It is a long-continuing process comprehensive of ​His entire work both of redemption and of judgment. He comes in the power of his Spirit to convict the world respecting sin and righteousness and judgment (John xvi, 8); ​He comes in like manner to forgive the sins of the penitent and to lead the disciple into all the truth; ​He comes and is present wherever two or three are gathered together in ​His name. He has been coming through all the Christian centuries to receive unto ​Himself the faithful souls who have looked for ​His heavenly appearing and glory (John xiv, 3; xvii, 22–24). As truly as Jehovah came of old in the clouds of heaven to execute judgment on the Egyptians (lsa. xix, 1), so did the Son of man come in the clouds and with the angels of ​His power to execute judgment on the great city that was guilty of ​His blood and drunken with the blood of ​His saints and martyrs. He sitteth at the right hand of Power and sendeth forth continually ​His innumerable company of angels to minister for them that shall inherit salvation…1

Just like in the days of Noah when the entirety of the evil society of mankind was destroyed, the wicked generation of apostate Israel was obliterated along with all the elements of the old covenant “heavens and earth”.

The Messianic reign of the Lord Jesus Christ will continue with the inexorable advancement of His kingdom until all His enemies are under His feet (cf. 1 Cor. 15:25) …and then He shall come again, bodily (cf. Acts 1:11), at the end of time to judge both the living and the dead.

My constant prayer is for a clearer, more widespread understanding of Messianic prophecy and its historical fulfillment. Recognition of this revealed truth leads ​immediately​ to the question, “How then should we live?”. Fresh understanding and appreciation of our blessed position in Christ is critically significant for a more positive outlook and a more practical application of the gospel in the everyday life of Christians and the church in the new covenant here and now. We are not on a sinking ship where it is futile to polish the brass; that’s how it was for old covenant Israel in the years just prior to 70 AD. We are the church militant in the kingdom of Christ which has come in power and glory, which must grow until it fills the earth. The Messianic reign of the Lord Jesus Christ will continue with the inexorable advancement of His kingdom until all His enemies are under His feet (cf. 1 Cor. 15:25) …and then He shall come again, bodily (cf. Acts 1:11), at the end of time to judge both the living and the dead. God’s people just need to be enlightened and exhorted to greater faith and obedience; perhaps the first step in that direction is for the scales to fall from our eyes.

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

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[1] Terry, M. S. (1898). Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ in the Canonical Scriptures.