The Essentials of the Doctrine of End Times

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When it comes to the doctrine of end times, there is no hiding the fact that believers have differing views. The three major millennial views (Amillennial, Premillennial, and Postmillennial) each have godly, gifted, and gracious adherents.  In this post, I would like to point out four key areas of agreement between the views. This is not to suggest that we ignore the arguments for each of these views, nor am I suggesting that they are not important. My main point in this post is to provide the essentials with regards to end times. I want to consider four essentials with regards to the doctrine of end times that are not up for negotiation.  Continue reading The Essentials of the Doctrine of End Times

The Glory of Heaven

Clouds

Over the years there have many ideas and beliefs concerning what heaven will be like. Sadly, many of these are based on someone’s experience, desire or some TV commercial. As a result of this, some of the descriptions have been bizarre and frankly unbiblical. Well, can we answer the question, what is Heaven like?

 

In order to answer this question our attention must be directed toward Scripture. It is only there where we can find a reliable and truthful portrait of this glorious place.

 

When it comes to this topic the Bible is not silent. In-fact, there are many passages Continue reading The Glory of Heaven

The Perspicuity of General Revelation

Picture Credit: Wikipedia

Cornelius Van Til, in his essay “Nature and Scripture,” discusses the qualities of general (or “natural”) revelation. In this excerpt, he puts it very well when he says that creation is itself absolutely clear with regard to who God is and who we are in relation to him.

We have seen that since the fall of man God’s curse rests upon nature. This has brought great complexity to the picture. All this, however, in no wise detracts from the historical and objective perspicuity of nature. Nature can and does reveal nothing but the one comprehensive plan of God. The psalmist does not say that the heavens possibly or probably reveal the glory of God. Nor does the apostle assert that the wrath of God is probably revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Scripture takes the clarity of God’s revelation for granted at every stage of human history. Even when man, as it were, takes out his own eyes, this act itself turns revelational in his wicked hands, testifying to him that his sin is a sin against the light that lighteth every man coming into the world. Even to the very bottom of the most complex historical situations, involving sin and all its consequences, God’s revelation shines with unmistakable clarity. “If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there.” (). Creatures have no private chambers.

 You can read the whole essay for free (and fully above board) thanks to Westminster Theological Seminary Books, at this link. You have no excuse not to (pun entirely intentional).

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

The book of Revelation and Symbolism

© Kimberly Reinick – Fotolia.com

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
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Many of the questions surrounding the contested interpretation of the book of Revelation concern how we should read the imagery that John uses. Is it literal? Symbolic? If they are symbolic, what do they mean? I think that the imagery and the numbers used in the book are symbolic, and not intended to be understood literally. G. K. Beale explains why. He interprets the book of Revelation symbolically, because he interprets literally. Continue reading The book of Revelation and Symbolism

1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

Interpreting Scripture with Scripture

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As Hills continues to make our way through the often perplexing book of Revelation, it may be helpful to consider some examples of the interpretive principle which Pastor Martin is often referring to and using: scripture interpreting scripture. In short, this means using one part (or more) of the Bible to assist your understanding of another passage. Let me give two examples. The first will be pretty straightforward. The second is a little more abstract.
Look at .

Continue reading Interpreting Scripture with Scripture

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,

The Perspicuity of Scripture

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Perspicuous. adj. 1. Clearly expressed or presented; easy to understand. 2. Ex- pressing oneself clearly and effectively.

Pastor Martin has just begun a series on the book of Revelation. The book is notoriously difficult to understand, interpret, and apply. As one witty saying goes; “A famous book in which St. John the Divine concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing.” Everyone seems to agree that it’s tough to work out.

Continue reading The Perspicuity of Scripture

The Torment of the Gospel

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnets...

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.” 

“For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.” 

Recently in our Bible study group we looked at these verses in Revelation .  They are startling because they suggest that the gospel when it is preached will be a torment to those who hear it.  Of course that is not true for some who hear.  For some who hear the gospel, it is the fragrance of life.  What could be better news than the forgiveness of sins and eternal life?  But for others who reject the gospel, the gospel is the stench of death.  describes those who have refused to repent.  In they rejoice over the death of the two witnesses because the gospel they preached tormented them spiritually.

This is a disturbing thought. Continue reading The Torment of the Gospel

15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.

11:1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

11:1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, 10 and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. 11 But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. 13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe has passed; behold, the third woe is soon to come.

15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
who is and who was,
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
18 The nations raged,
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.