Author: Matt Sherro

A Monster on a White Horse: The Beast from the Sea (Reveation 13)

A Monster on a White Horse: The Beast from the Sea (Reveation 13)

This lesson is a bit of a parenthetical as we look back to the Rider on the White Horse from the 1st Seal. Here, though, John gives us much more detail into the spirit behind the rider and the character of the rider as he describes the Beast from the Sea…

Where does this beast come from? John describes him as arising out of the sea, but we know that this is obviously not literal, so we must ask what this imagery means. In order to properly understand Revelation, we need to understand a little about Jewish literature. In Jewish literature, the sea is a metaphor for the Goyim (literally the nations) or as we call them, gentiles. The beast will come from the Gentile world. However, he also arises out of the abyss. In several passages, we see that the sea is also a metaphor for the abyss (Job 26:12; Psalm 74:13-14; 89:9-10; Isaiah 27:1), so the beast is also from the abyss.

A unique description paralleling the dragon

The old saying goes, “like father like son” and there is no one who will be more a son of Satan than the beast. If you look back to chapter 12, you will see that the dragon is also described as “having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems.” Much as a son comes in the name and likeness of his father, so the beast will come in the name and likeness of his father, the devil.

Let’s consider some of the comments from the ESV Study Bible…

“As the dragon stands on the seashore (12:17), a beast emerges from the sea. This beast is sometimes identified with the Antichrist (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7) or the man of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:3–12). Its blasphemous words and demand for worship reinforce the connections between these predictions of a final, future opponent to Christ’s reign. Yet the imagery of Daniel 7 that appears in the description of the beast shows that it represents not only a future individual but also present world powers that wage Satan’s war against the Lamb and his church. Most dispensationalists, and many other futurists, think the first beast (Rev. 13:1–10) is a political world leader and the second beast (vv. 11–18) is his religious counterpart, who enforces worship of the first beast.”

We need to be abundantly clear: The Antichrist Spirit is already at work in the world today, the system of lawlessness that will enable the Antichrist is present already, but the Antichrist (person) is not yet here. The Bible uses the term Antichrist to speak of a person, his kingdom, and the spirit behind them both.

Calling forward the imagery from the prophet, Daniel we see The beast looks like a leopard but has feet like a bear’s, a mouth like a lion’s mouth, and ten horns, and it wages “war on the saints” (v. 7). Thus it resembles all four beasts that Daniel saw emerge from the sea before the Son of Man appeared (Dan. 7:1–8, 21). As those beasts symbolized kingdoms (Dan. 7:17, 23), so this beast, a composite of them all, represents every human empire—Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and their successors—that demands absolute allegiance and trust, enforcing its demand with coercion. To be sure, the beast IS a person, but he is clearly associated with the fallen world system.

One of his heads was wounded as to death but the deadly wound was healed.

Literally, is says the head was slain to death. Talk about a show stopper. In a way which we do not yet know, the beast will suffer a fatal wound and die. He will be resurrected from that death and, at that point, declare himself to be God. Having parroted the defining moment in redemptive history, the beast will declare himself God and demand the whole world worship him. The technology exists today for the entire world to see these events and possibly watch them live. It will be no small wonder when the world follows after him. After all, dead men do not usually rise up and walk.

 

I am purposely ending the study notes, here. I do not want to fuel the rampant speculation and nonsense that frequently comes along with this chapter

ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible

ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible

 

Crossway has delivered some amazing Bibles, true works of art that make the Sacred Book a delight to read and to touch. I have owned a number of them and I have always been impressed but I don’t think any of Crossway’s Bibles have ever left me speechless…until now.

The ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is, I think, the perfect reader’s edition. (Note: this review was not solicited by either Crossway or EvangelicalBible.com and neither organization provided a review copy.) This Bible is available in five colors, three of which are exclusive to evangelicalbible.com. The exclusive colors are Ocean Blue (I am reviewing today), Purple, and Green. Black and Brown are available from both Evangelical Bible and Crossway.

A little from the publisher and then on to the review:

“The ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is a special edition of the original ESV Single Column Legacy Bible. Based on the Renaissance ideal of a perfect page, the Single Column Legacy Bible features a simple, clear layout with generous margins.

As with Crossway’s other Heirloom Bibles, the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is printed in the Netherlands on high-quality European Bible paper and features art gilding, three ribbon markers, and an extra-smooth sewn binding. This exclusive edition is available in green, purple, and blue goatskin covers. The Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is a fine edition that combines elegant design with the best production materials available. Features include (Your art gilding and ribbon colors will vary depending on color purchased.):

  • Black letter text
  • 9 pt. font
  • 28 gsm paper
  • Single-column, paragraph format
  • Concordance
  • Art gilding (blue under gold)
  • Three ribbon markers (Navy)
  • Leather lined in dark blue
  • Sewn binding
  • Raised hubs on the spine”

 

 

The Reading Experience Part 1: The Perfect Page (design layout)

When Crossway released the original ESV Single Column Legacy Bible in 2012, they stated that the design was based on the Renaissance idea of a perfect page. I have to say that they have achieved this goal; even the most untrained eye can see the care that has gone into the layout. Subject headings are shifted to the outer margin and the gutter, even with translation footnotes is more than generous. A 9-point font came as a bit of a surprise; it is sufficiently large enough for reading in large blocks of time without your eyes getting tired and small enough to keep this Bible from becoming a behemoth. The layout of this Bible is so perfect, in fact, that it has caused me to no longer care about the major complaint I had on the original, tiny verse numbers. I find myself getting “lost” in the text and I love it. As a teacher, I forget, sometimes, that the Bible is meant to be read and enjoyed and there is none better, in my opinion, than the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible. Simply look inside one and you will understand the joy that comes from reading the Bible. If I did not know better, I would swear that an ophthalmologist oversaw the design because it so perfectly caters to the human eye.

The Reading Experience Part 2: Paper and Font

The design layout is the most important feature of the Heirloom Single Column Legacy; it has to be because this a “Reader’s Bible.” I think we tend to forget that the Bible is literature. We know about its life changing power but we forget the literary experience of reading the Bible.

The Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible is one of the best in the reader’s category. Two major factors affecting this are the paper and font. Crossway chose a cream colored paper for this Bible, in fact they use cream colored paper in a number of their Bibles. I cannot say enough about how smart this decision was. Reading this Bible outside in the Arizona sunlight was absolutely no challenge at all. I also read in my office with my bright overhead lights and did my bedtime reading with a softer white light. The bedside reading took about 90 seconds for my eyes to adjust but that is more an issue with my eyes than this Bible.

At 28gsm the paper is quite thin but the opacity is amazing; I do not think that I had to deal with any show-through at all.

Verse numbers are quite muted, so much so that I find it very easy to “get lost” in the reading. To the best of my knowledge, the Heirloom SCL uses a Lexington font which, I believe makes a frequent appearance in Crossway’s lineup. The font in crisp and clean in a rich deep black. While discussing this Bible with a colleague, I was asked if a red-letter edition is available and, thankfully, the answer is no. In some cases, I do not mind a red-letter edition. Here, though, a red-letter edition would prove an unnecessary distraction.

The goatskin

The feel of goatskin is unmistakable on a Bible and the feel of this goatskin is even better. The grain is pronounced but not overly pronounced. When I run my fingers over it, it feels like every nerve in my fingertips is awakened. In truth this is probably the same goatskin as on my Allan NASB Reader, or my Cambridge Concord, or even my Schuyler ESV w/Confessions a fact which would be due to the fact that they are all bound by famed Bible bindery, Royal Jongbloed. However, it feels just a little different and I can’t explain why. The best way I can describe it is to say that it reminds me of my grandmother’s rocking chair, it feels already broken in and ready for me but at the same time new and ready to be with me for ages.

Just the right amount of ribbons

3 ribbons are, in my estimation, just the right amount; you get one for Old Testament Reading, one for Psalms and Proverbs, and one for your New Testament Reading. It is true that there are other reading plans which require a larger number of ribbons but for this Bible I cannot complain. 2 ribbons would not be enough and any more than three would be too many.

Minimalist helps

There really are not a ton of helps/study tools in the Single Column Legacy Series. There are translation footnotes, subject headings in the margins, and a concordance. Don’t let that disappoint you, though, as this edition is more about the quality of your personal worship reading than your study and lesson prep.

Leaving a legacy of faith in your legacy Bible

With legacy in its name, I would be hard pressed to pass up mentioning leaving a legacy of faith to your children or grandchildren. This is not a traditional wide margin Bible nor is it per se a journaling Bible and yet there is room on every page to do just exactly that. One of the most unique features of the Bible is the fact that, even though they all have the same words on the pages, God creates personal relationships, with His people, through the Bible. Keeping records of that relationship is an ideal choice for using the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible so that, in the end, it will live up to its name and be an heirloom for your family.

How does the Heirloom Single Column Legacy Compare to others?

I do not wish to overburden you with a ton of comparisons, but there is one Bible that I would like to compare the Heirloom to, the Tyndale NLT Select Reference Bible. Both are single column and worthy of a place on your desk. The Select Reference features a slightly smaller 8.75-point font that is equally readable. Both Bibles feature exquisite goatskin from Jongbloed with a smythe sewn binding to ensure that they lay flat when opened.

The one “advantage” that is offered by the Select Reference would be the references in the outer margins, 40,000 in total but I’m not sure that really is an advantage. Both Bibles are spectacular and represent what I believe to be the pinnacle format from the respective publishers.

Why buy an Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible?

I am not even going to entertain the question of if you should buy, I think you should. Instead I want to summarize my thoughts as an explanation of why you ought to own an ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy Bible.

  1. It is as perfect as you are going to get in terms of a reader’s Bible
  2. The craftsmanship guarantees that this Bible will live on in your family for generations.
  3. Using this edition will enhance your spiritual growth because you will consume larger portions of the Bible.

Overall Thoughts

If it is not obvious, I love it. Crossway offers a huge selection of Bibles, but for me this the best they offer. The ESV that I normally carry is the Schuyler ESV w/Confessions but I can say with confidence that this Bible will get plenty of use. As a matter of fact, I have been looking for a new primary translation for my audience and have narrowed the field to the ESV and the NLT and since I will be using both translations for different reasons, I think both the Heirloom Single Column Legacy and the Select Reference will end up being my main two Bibles for a while.

 

QSRG: The Ordo Salutis

QSRG: The Ordo Salutis

One of the most important topics a Christian will ever study is the Ordo Salutis, the Order of Salvation. When we study the Ordo Salutis, we are looking at the sequence of events in salvation leading up to the believer being glorified in Heaven. A Summary of the Ordo Salutis is found in Romans 8:29-30 and a more detailed Ordo Salutis will follow that.

Romans 8:29-30 (NIV)
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
The full Ordo Salutis:

Election – God’s choice of a people to be saved took place before the world was made. (Ephesians 1:4)

Predestination – Election is God’s choice, and predestination is the pre-assigned destination marked out for those He chose, that being Heaven (Romans 8:29-30)

Outward Call/Gospel Call/Preaching of the word: saving faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 9:14, Romans 10:17)

Inward call: God the Holy Spirit speaks life to the elect’s dead human spirit, even as they hear the outward call of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)

Faith: Belief and trust in the message of the gospel (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Conversion: One’s turning to God based on the gospel (Acts 26:18).

Perseverance: One’s continued true belief—remaining in the state of salvation (Jude 1:24).

Repentance: Changing one’s mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ (Acts 26:20).

Justification: God’s freeing of one from the penalty of sin—the pronouncement of “not guilty” on a sinner (Romans 5:9).

Sanctification: God’s separation of one from the lure of sin (2 Timothy 2:21).

Glorification: God’s final removal of all sin from the life and presence of one (in the eternal state) (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17).

CSB Study Bible Review

CSB Study Bible Review

This particular review has taken me a little longer than normal, not because there is anything wrong with the CSB Translation but because old habits die hard. The HCSB, predecessor to the CSB has been one of the translations that I have used for a number of years and I am trying to make it a main translation but after 21 years with NASB, old habits really do die hard.

 

The particular CSB that we are reviewing today is the CSB Study Bible in jacketed hardcover which was provided by B&H Publishing free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

 

The CSB Study Bible is an update to the HCSB version of the Holman Study Bible.

 

From the Publisher

The CSB Study Bible continues to offer the ECPA award winning Holman study system with all of its study notes and tools uniquely designed to be on the same page as the biblical text to which they refer. Newly expanded to offer additional word studies, feature articles on the apostles by Dr. Sean McDowell, and more.

The CSB Study Bible features the highly reliable, highly readable text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), which stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity. The CSB’s optimal blend of accuracy and readability makes Scripture more moving, more memorable, and more motivating to read it today — and share it always.

For the growing believer whose desire is to know Scripture more intimately and live out its loving instruction, the CSB Study Bible always keeps you and God on the same page.

Features include:

  • 368 word studies to introduce you to the context and meaning behind key Greek and Hebrew words
  • High-quality smyth-sewn binding that will lie open whether you are reading Genesis 1 or Revelation 22
  • Full-color visuals to help you see the structure and context of Scripture come alive, including 94 photographs, 55 maps, 44 paintings, 21 illustrations/reconstructions, 19 charts, and 61 timelines
  • Introductions and outlines for each book, including background information, theological themes, and insights into the unique contribution of each book
  • Easy-to-read layout with two columns of text, center-column cross-references, and three columns of notes

 

Why do you need a study Bible?

A number of my colleagues do not care for study Bibles and I think this is a bit short sighted. The primary audience for a study Bible is a new disciple. Fully 95% of the Christians in America will not get the benefit of Bible College but will need resources to help them grow. A good study Bible, and this one is an excellent choice, will provide an excellent foundation for discipling a new believer.

Translation Choice

The CSB is what we would call a mediating translation, or to use B&H’s description, Optimal Equivalence. It is not strictly literal like the NASB nor is it an entirely meaning based translation like NIV or NLT. You will find the text to be literal where it needs to be and meaning based where it needs to be. All in all, I really like the translation and I will eventually replace my NASB and NIV with the CSB.

Study Notes

The study notes are conservatively estimated at 15,000 but I would say that we are closer to 20,000. The notes easily rival both the MacArthur and ESV Study Bibles, two of my favorites. They are very comprehensive and do not simply explain the text but they provide cultural and theological background as well.

The predecessor, HCSB, was often times called the “Hard Core Southern Baptist Bible” because it is copyrighted and published by a Southern Baptist entity. However, the notes are not strictly Southern Baptist, even less so now than in the preceding edition. I would say they are pretty much mainstream evangelical.

 

Hebrew and Greek Word Studies (CSB Only)

There are times when you need to go deeper into a word’s meaning to be able to interpret Scripture correctly. The CSB Version of the Holman Study Bible offers Hebrew and Greek Word Studies. A word study will feature the word, its pronunciation, how it is translated in the CSB, an explanation of the word’s use in the Bible. This is arguably my favorite feature in the Holman Study Bible. In the updated version we are treated to 315 Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic word studies.

 

The word studies do not take the place of learning any of the original languages but they are most helpful for a Sunday School Teacher or a younger pastor who wants to go a little more in-depth with the audience.

If there was to be one feature that would cause me to recommend this study Bible over some others, it would be the word studies.

 

Additional Helps

141 photos, 62 timelines, 59 maps, 40-page concordance, 20 articles and essays on practical and theological issues, 16 illustrations and reconstructions, and 15 charts all come together to make what is doubtlessly one of the best tools you can add to your library.

The photos bring Scripture to life in new ways as they enable visualization of the lands of the Bible that may have been hard to imagine before. The timelines bring the historical context into the Bible and the charts present key information in a systematic way for more practical study

Overall Impression

All in all, I like the CSB Study Bible. I would prefer the paper to be a little heavier so that I felt comfortable writing in it but that is simply a niggling little complaint. Despite snarky remarks from its detractors, there is not really any denominational or theological bias in the CSB Study Bible.

If this is going to be your main/only Bible, spend a little more and get a leather edition. There is nothing wrong with a hardcover but it will wear out faster than a leather edition will.

 

 

Jehovah’s (True) Witnesses

Jehovah’s (True) Witnesses

Text Revelation 11

 

One of the biggest mysteries in the Bible is the identity of the Two Witnesses in Revelation. I have heard them identified as being Enoch and Elijah (the only two men in the Bible who have never tasted death) and the late Dr. Tim LaHaye has identified them as, perhaps, being Moses and Elijah. Further many of my amillennialist friends identify them as being representative of Christians proclaiming (witnessing) Christ during the final days.

 

While I do not think these two are Moshe (Moses) and Eliyyahu (Elijah), spcifically, I do think that they are representative of the Law and the Prophets.

 

There are two reasons for my thinking the Two Witnesses are representative of the Law and Prophets: First, duplicates of miracles of Moses and Elijah and, secondly, Moses and Elijah representing Law & Prophets were at the Transfiguration. Let’s take a look…

 

Jesus as fulfillment Law and Prophets (Matthew 5:17): Jesus specifically tells us that He has come as the fulfillment of the both the Law and the Prophets.

 

Matthew 7:12, containing the Golden Rule, is the essence of both Law and Prophets. Hillel the Elder, a contemporary of Jesus stated that this verse is the whole Law and all the rest is commentary. I would go so far as to say that this is one of the foundational verse upon which the Christian Faith is built.

 

In Matthew 17, we see that Moshe and Eliyyahu join Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Why are they there? The whole of the Old Testament, which was referred to as the Law and Prophets in the days of Jesus, point to Christ. Jesus spells this out directly in John 5:39,

 

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (NLT)

 

The entire story of Scripture is the story of Redemptive History. Central to that Jesus the Redeemer and as Christ is about to undergo His final coronation as King of the Earth, having taken it back from the usurper, Satan, these witnesses point, a final time, to Christ. At the point that they are taken up to heaven in a cloud, the final choice will have been made. Men will have either chosen Christ or judgment.

The Sounds of Judgment: 7 Trumpets

The Sounds of Judgment: 7 Trumpets

Text: Revelation 8-11

This is the 2nd set of judgments in Revelation, beginning at the breaking of the 7th Seal in the Book of Redemptive History. These judgments grow progressively more frightening and terrible as God ramps up the Divine War Machine and prepares to unleash His full fury.

There is some frightening imagery, here but it is important that we do not abandon the Literal Principle here and begin to allegorize the text. Remember, there are NO allegories in Scripture.

1st Trumpet: Hail and Fire mixed with blood is cast to the earth. 1/3 of all trees and all the grass is burned up.
This is quite possibly a comet. If you have ever seen one through a telescope, the description is quite similar to what we have in this text. It is also possible, as Dr. MacArthur points out, that “This may describe volcanic eruptions that could certainly result from the earthquake in v. 5. The steam and water thrown into the sky by such eruptions could easily condense into hail and fall to earth along with the fiery lava (Ex 9:13-25). Dust and gases may so contaminate falling liquid water that it appears blood red. A lava storm would certainly create a blazing fire that devastates one-third of the earth’s forests.”
2nd Trumpet: a “mountain” is cast into the sea and destroys 1/3 of all sea life and ships
While the first trumpet could very well be a comet colliding with the earth, the result of this trumpet almost certainly is an asteroid colliding with Earth. The gasses surrounding the asteroid would ignite due to the tremendous heat generated while passing through the atmosphere.
The unmitigated heat would instantaneously kill every living thing in the impact zone and the shockwave, depending on the size of the asteroid would destroy all life for hundreds of miles. As to the ships, the sea would “swallow them whole” by way of the massive tidal wave an asteroid’s impact would cause. Doubtlessly, the blood red appearance would be the blood of the inhabitants of the ships, most likely ripped apart in the destruction.
3rd Trumpet: Wormwood and the waters are poisoned
It is clear that this is some form of celestial body that is cast to the earth. This time, though, the object disintegrates as it careens toward the planet. 1/3 of all the rivers and springs are rendered non-potable. Now, this is truly frightening; in His wrath, God allows the waters to be struck and absent drinkable water, death will be prolonged and miserable. (Normally it takes 10 days to die from dehydration. In this case, those 10 days will be experiencing continued judgment and the agonies will begin to mount.)
4th Trumpet: Celestial bodies are struck

The sun, moon, and stars lose 1/3 of their power. This would cause a drastic shift in climate (temperature, tides, etc).

Looking to the IVP New Testament Commentary:
“The four areas affected–earth, sea, fresh water and sky–made up the whole of the human environment as the ancients perceived it. These four spheres were what Jews and Christians acknowledged as God’s creation (compare 14:7). Despite the discovery of new oceans and continents, even the exploration of space, these four–earth, sea, fresh water and sky–are still the natural components of the human environment as we define it today.”
To this point, the Trumpet Judgments have dealt with the physical world. The next judgments are brought about by God unleashing demons to torment men and the sons of men.

5th Trumpet: The Abyss is opened and the judgment of locust like creatures

I have heard all manner of insanity in trying to describe what these may be. However, the Scripture is clear that these are demons. In his New Testament Commentary, John MacArthur explains,

“The demons incarcerated in the abyss are undoubtedly the most wicked, vile, and perverted of all the fallen angels. Jude describes some of them as “angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode,” noting that God “has kept [them] in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 6-7). That passage describes certain fallen angels who left the angelic domain to indulge in sexual sin with humans, just as the men of Sodom and Gomorrah attempted to engage in perverted sex with angels (Gen. 19:1, 4-5).”

And John Phillips gives us the following picture,
“Picture what the world would be like if we were to open the doors of all the penitentiaries of earth and set free the world’s most vicious and violent criminals, giving them full reign to practice their infamies upon mankind. Something worse than that lies in store for the world. Satan, cast out of heaven, is now permitted to summon to his aid the most diabolical fiends in the abyss to act as his agents in bringing mankind to the footstool of the Beast. (Exploring Revelation, rev. ed. [Chicago: Moody, 1987; reprint, Neptune, N. J. : Loizeaux, 1991], 125)”

So begins the End of Days…Often we have heard “it was Hell on Earth,” but this time it will be. As the final 3 Trumpets sound Satan summons his most insidious allies to wage the final holocaust of judgment against a Christ rejecting world. Fear though, because even in this terrible trumpet judgment, there remain 9 more, 2 Trumpets and 7 Bowls and each will be more horrible than the last…

6th Trumpet: The Angels of Death are loosed

In certain portions of Jewish and some Christian sects, the angels Azra’el, Samma’el, and Salathi’el. There is no 4th angel associated with death. Note: The names of these angels are not found within mainstream Christianity and the Bible does not mention a specific “Angel of Death.”

These 4 angels are, again, fallen angels, since the Bible never refers to holy angels as being bound. The army that they command is not a human army, that will come in the next trumpet. Rather, this is a demonic horde that is unleashed and it is granted to them to kill 1/3 of humanity.

Before describing the horses, the actual agents of destruction, John briefly described those who sat on them. He noted that the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone. The color of fire is red; that of hyacinth, dark blue or black like smoke; that of brimstone, a sulfurous yellow, describing the rock which, when ignited, produces a burning flame and suffocating gas. Those are the very colors and features of hell (cf. 14:10; 19:20; 20:10; 21:8), and they paint a terrifying picture of God’s wrath poured out on the sinful world by these demons. These colors are reminiscent of the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the nearby cities (Gen. 19:24-28). {MacArthur NT Commentary}

At that future point in world history, idolatry, mysticism, spiritism, satanism, and all other forms of false religion will become pandemic, as demons lead people into more wicked and vicious behavior. Unbridled, unrestrained, escalating wickedness will run amuck as never before in human history (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5, 13). As a result, in addition to idolatry, violent crimes like murders will be rampant. Bereft of any sense of morality, evil, unrepentant people will imitate the demon horde’s murderous blood lust. Believers in the true God will no doubt be their prime targets, as they lash out seeking revenge for the disasters God has brought on them. (MacArthur NT Commentary)

There is an interlude in chapter 10 and most of 11, a parenthetical of sorts that we will cover in our next lesson…

7th Trumpet: God answers and Christ is Coronated

The 7th Trumpet, as the 7 seals, is telescopic and contained in this Trumpet Judgment are the 7 Bowl Judgments, the final judgments mankind will face as God brings history to its close.

Instead of calling for the moment of the Rapture of the church, as the “last trumpet” does, the seventh trumpet calls for prolonged waves of judgment on the ungodly. It does not parallel the trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52, but does parallel the trumpet of Joel 2:1-2: “Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness.”

The seventh trumpet not only announces consuming judgment on unbelievers, but also the coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament trumpets were frequently sounded at the coronation of a king. During his attempted coup against his father David, “Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, ‘As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then you shall say, “Absalom is king in Hebron”’” (2 Sam. 15:10). At the coronation of David’s true successor, Solomon, “Zadok the priest … took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, ‘Long live King Solomon!’” (1 Kings 1:39). Trumpets also sounded at the coronations of King Jehu (2 Kings 9:13) and King Joash (2 Kings 11:12, 14). {MacArthur NT Commentary}

In chapters 15 and forward we will see the results of this horrible judgment…

Concord Reference Bible: The King of KJV

Concord Reference Bible: The King of KJV

 

Important Note: Since this was originally published, I have upgraded to the goatskin. I will add some comments regarding that but I will not be updating pictures at this point. 

When I think of the King James Version of the Bible, the first name that comes to mind is the Concord Reference Bible from Cambridge University Press. As cheesy as this may sound, holding the Concord feels different than holding any other KJV with one notable exception, the Westminster Reference Bible; It feels more scholarly and using it gave me the sensation of standing amongst great men of our faith, but that’s just me and my obscure little oddities, I’m sure.

I have had conversations with a number of peers and we all agree, there is just something special about the Concord.

Binding & Cover

Cambridge sent me the black calf-split leather edition to review. It has that certain scent to it, the kind only a real Bible nerd would notice and appreciate; it’s the smell of pure leather and it’s almost like a drug. Every time I hold this Bible, I catch a whiff of the leather scent and I am flooded with euphoria. (total nerd but that’s ok. )

I mentioned that I have upgraded to the goatskin and the leather scent is even stronger, almost intoxicating. 

The cover is not as limp as a goatskin liner and it is also a little stiffer than the calfskin in my Holman Minister’s Bible and I really like that fact. The concord is much easier to hold than other Bibles, staying open/flat with single hand use without me worrying that it will spill out of my hand. The grain is quite visible and the texture is luxurious. If you have never felt a calf-split leather Bible from Cambridge, it would be difficult for me to describe; suffice it to say that this Bible feels like no other.

Both editions of the Concord have a somewhat pronounced grain. It is hard to describe, except to say that the moment my Concord is in my hands, I immediately fell the compulsion to preach.

Of course it is a sewn binding; Cambridge Bibles are bound in cooperation with Royal Jongbloed, the best binder in the world and you can see the attention to detail that Jongbloed has brought to Cambridge. The smythe sewing guarantees a lifetime of use. How long? Well, I have a Bible that is 70 years old with a sewn binding that is still going strong so I would have to say, with proper care, this Bible could probably last 70 years or more. On the other hand using it so much that it falls apart is also a very good thing.

 

Paper:

Good luck finding any ghosting (see-through) in a Cambridge Bible. I am sure that if you looked hard enough, you could find some but the eye-strain required would then result in a nasty headache.

Cambridge always uses the finest papers available and this is no exception. I would estimate a 30 gsm paper although I could be wrong. It is just the right shade of white to allow you to see the red-lettering with no issues. Incidentally, unlike some other white papers, you do not get the nasty glare when out in the sunlight.

 

References

The Concord reference Bible references are so exacting and precise that they are one of the two sources of references for my beloved Westminster. I would go so far as to say that if the Concord Reference Bible were the only Bible that you had available, you could effectively interpret Scripture with no issues.

Glossary

This is a feature that you do not often see in a KJV Bible but one that every KJV publisher needs to adopt. The glossary offers explanations of words, which have changed their meaning or are not in use any more. For example, oblation, which means anything offered in a sacrifice and is no longer used in everyday English.

Concordance

The 140 page concordance is a shining star amongst Bibles. Every topic you could possibly imagine is included along with Scripture references. You really don’t need any other tool for topical analysis of scripture.

Bible Dictionary

This 129 page offering is a concise expository dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament words geared toward those faithful men who stand in the pulpit every Sunday. While you will not find every word that you may want to study in depth, there is more than sufficient material to keep you studying until the 2nd Coming.

I understand why Randy Brown at Bible Buying Guide keeps coming back to the Concord Reference Bible and why I, too, keep finding myself going back to it; you just don’t need anything else.

There are two other English translations that would pair well with the Concord NASB and ESV. I really do not understand why one of the top two reference Bibles on the market only comes in a single translation.

Concord Reference Bible is the King of the KJV. Long live the King…

 

 

KJV Classic Wide Margin Study Bible (With C.I. Scofield Notes) – Lambskin Edition Review

KJV Classic Wide Margin Study Bible (With C.I. Scofield Notes) – Lambskin Edition Review

 

It is always a privilege to review a new Bible because I love to help people find that one Bible that they will use every day as they walk with Christ. Today, we get to talk about one of my favorite KJV Bibles, the Classic Wide Margin Study Bible from the KJV Store. Before we go any further, a disclaimer: This Bible was acquired at my own expense and this review was not solicited by the KJV Store. My thoughts are my own and the KJV Store had no influence on the content of this review.

 

We will not only talk about this particular Bible but we will also talk about the KJV Store buying experience.

 

Here are some technical details from the KJV Store

 

The KJV Classic Study Bible (With C.I. Scofield Notes) contains reflections on the Word of God that have guided believers for over a century. It features the original 1917 notes from Dr. C.I. Scofield and references in a Center-Column format and is matched to Dr. Scofield’s time-honored study system, with book introductions, center column subject chain references, chronologies, and same-page text helps that provide “Help where Help is Needed.” It also features a slightly larger trim size to accommodate the wide margins.

Features:
– Buttery Soft Black Lambskin Leather Cover
– Quality, flexible Imitation Leather-lined to the Edge
– Sewn Pages for extreme flexibility
– Margin Measurements: 1/4″ inside, 1-1/4″ outside, 1″ top, 1″ bottom
– Large trim size (6-3/4 X 10 X 1-3/4″)
– Black Letter Text
– Clear readable typeface
– Complete 1917 Edition Study Notes by Dr. C.I. Scofield
– Complete Old Scofield cross references in center-column
– Translator’s Preface to the Reader
– Introduction to each book of the Bible
– Subject chain references
– Same-page text helps and subheadings
– Award Page
– Chronologies
– Concordance
– Dictionary of Proper Names
– Subject-Index
– Bible Maps
– 2 ribbon markers
– Printed and Bound in the U.S.A.!
– Pure KJV Text

 

Buying from the KJV Store

Buying from the KJV Store has been one of the easiest transactions I have ever completed. From start to finish the order process took approximately 7 minutes. I did have a question about shipping and when I called for assistance, the young woman who answered the call was most pleasant and found the information I needed in less than two minutes. I have to say that this was one of the most pleasant buying experiences I have ever had. I deal with major publishers and retail stores regularly and have never had a process go this smoothly. The experience alone would be enough for me to recommend the KJV Store even if they did not provide a product that I personally enjoy.

 

Here is what I said on their website a few days after my Bible arrived:

 

I have reviewed a number of Bibles, premium and mass market, and this tops the list as the best KJV I own. The lambskin feels better to the touch than any of the goatskin Bibles that I own, even my venerable KJV Concord Reference Bible. I always say everything about the Bible should bring joy to the reader and this is no exception. You have well outdone the competition and I could not be more pleased with my new Bible.

 

The Major Feature

Anyone who has read my reviews knows that I love a wide margin Bible and this is no exception. Most of my other Wide Margin Bibles give you a 1-inch margin but this wide margin classic gives you an extra 1/4 inch on the outside margin. They get it, pastors and students will annotate their Bibles and you need all the room you can get.

 

One of the most common questions that I get asked is what to write in the margins. I wish that there was a specific answer to this question but there isn’t. As I have said over and over again, what you write in those margins is what will make this Bible uniquely yours.

 

The Leather Cover and the binding.

There may have been a time when I have touched a softer, suppler feeling leather than this lambskin, not that I can recall when. The closest comparison I can think of would be to go to a local Mercedes Benz dealer and caress the leather in a new one. I think I might like this more than the goatskin on my NASB.

 

We need to touch on some practical care information before we continue: Depending on your climate (I live in the Sonoran Desert), you may find the cover drying out. I recommend keeping Lexol on hand to condition the leather. Remember that the oil that naturally occurs on your skin will help the leather.

 

The cover is edge lined with an imitation leather liner. Matched with the sewn binding, it should lay flat regardless of where it is opened to. Keep in mind, lambskin is a thinner hide than cow or goat, and even though it will last much longer than a hardcover, how long this cover lasts will depend on your usage. If this is your main Bible, I would expect to rebind after about 10-20 years.

 

The Paper, Opacity, and Font

The paper, like most other Scofield Bibles, is bright white and fairly opaque. I would guess at least 32 gsms on the paper. The text of Scripture is at a 9-point font and the notes are in an 8-point font. Each of these is a whole point larger than the standard Oxford edition. The edition from CBP offers 10-point font and 1-inch margins whereas the KJV Store Wide Margin edition gives you wider margins at 11/4 inches on the outside margin and gutter in exchange for a slightly smaller font. Is the trade off worth it? I would have to say yes. I travel in a lot of “Reformed” and Baptist Circles and almost every pastor, elder, and deacon that I meet notates the margins of their Bibles and this margin size seems ideal.

 

Important Features of the Classic Study Bible

Why do you want a Classic Study Bible? It offers you

  • An unparalleled, subject-based topical chain reference system that will enable you to follow major themes throughout the entirety of Scripture
  • Enlightening introductions, complete outline subheadings and a complete chronology for each book of the Bible
  • Illuminating, same-page explanatory notes
  • Comprehensive indexes to annotations and subject chain references which permit thorough topical study
  • A detailed study Bible concordance with integrated subject index and dictionary of Scripture proper names
  • 12 pages of accurate, full-color Bible maps (with index of places and natural features) that illustrate the biblical world

 

An interesting note:

In an age where most Bibles are published in Korea or China, this Bible is printed and bound in the United States. This is a rarity in Bibles and many will consider a USA printing to be an added premium.

 

Final thoughts:

I am very well pleased with the WM Classic Study Bible in lambskin. KJV is one of the 3 translations that I have used for more than 20 years and this is far and away my favorite KJV.

 

I realize that some of you, beloved are not Dispensationalists and I respect that. However, there are a lot of people who think they know what Dispensationalism teaches but really miss the mark. I commend this Bible to you for your study so that you might better understand how we in the Dispensational School of Thought view Scripture.

 

Spiritual Israel?? 144,000 and the Salvation of a Nation

Spiritual Israel?? 144,000 and the Salvation of a Nation

Text: Revelation 7

As opposed to simply providing lesson notes, which is my normal custom, I want to address objections and disputations with regard to this passage of Scripture.

Objection: The Bible says not all of Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6), so you cannot say that all of Israel will be saved in the Tribulation.

Answer: The Bible does indeed make the statement that not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel but to imply that this verse means that “all” of Israel will not be saved is specious at best. I heard a sermon from John Piper wherein he says “Israel is God’s chosen people and most of them are perishing, cut off from the Savior, Jesus Christ. And the reason it is a crisis for you, and not just for Jews, is that, if God’s promises to Israel do not hold true, then there is no reason to think his promises to you will hold true. The rock solid security of God’s elect in Romans 8 (Verse 33: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies!”) – this security that we exult in, at the heart of our faith, is worthless if God proves unfaithful to his covenant people. If God does not keep his promises to Israel, will he keep the promises he makes to us?”

Statement of Fact: A number of sound Bible teachers teach that the 144,000 are not to be taken literally and, instead, are a representation of all that will be saved during the tribulation.

Answer: This is an understandable sentiment but it is deficient for 2 reasons. First, there is no reason to assume Revelation needs to be “spiritualized” There are figurative aspects to be sure and they need to be dealt with according to the normal rules of language. Secondly there is nothing in Revelation 7 that indicates that the 144,000 and the multitude are the same. I would argue the opposite is true; the multitude and the 144,000 cannot be the same because one is from Israel and the other is from every tongue and tribe (often times referred to as ha’Goyim/the Nations) and thus the multitude are still more gentiles who are saved.

Question: Is it logically possible that all Israel will be saved?

Answer: That all Israel will be saved is, in fact, a logical possibility. Moreover it is plausible, and guaranteed. 

In two of the sets of judgments, we see the unmitigated death and destruction that the Holy God allows to be unleashed on a Christ Rejecting world. What we do not see, in Revelation, is how many of those who are killed are part of Israel and as a consequence we do not know how many Israelites are left alive to be saved although Zechariah 13:8 states that 2/3 will be cut off and die. We can, then, infer that the salvation of the remaining 1/3 as “all” Israel to be saved is logically possible. As to probability, bear with me…

7 Seals Judgment

Rev.6:3-2nd Seal: Wars on earth

Rev.6:7-4th Seal: Death released. 1/4 of the worlds population to die by plagues, disease, and beasts of the earth

Rev.6:9-5th Seal: Persecution and mass killing of God’s people worldwide

Rev.6:12-6th Seal: Massive earthquake wrath of God.

TRUMPETS

Rev.9:13-6th Trumpet: demons released and 200 million army kills 1/3 of the world’s population.

Some points from the Revelation Teaching Series by another of my mentors

  1. “shall be saved”…salvation by faith in Jesus Christ vs works

Genesis 15:6 Habakkuk 2:4 Romans 4:9 – 5:1 Romans 9:24-26 Galatians 3:16-29

  1. “all Israel”

Romans 2:25-29 Romans 9:6b Romans 9:27 Ezkekiel 20:5, 8, 13, 16-17, 33-44

 

We come to some questions:

  • When will God rule over Israel…when will God be Israel’s King?
  • When will Israel pollute His name no more?
  • When will Israel be sanctified before the Gentile nations?
  • When will Israel know that Jesus Christ is Lord?
  • When will Israel loathe themselves and their tawdry history?
  • When will the Lord purge Israel of the rebels/unbelievers?

 

The answer to all of the above questions is

During the 70th Week of Daniel  (Dan 9:24)

Ezekiel 36:16-31 Zechariah 13:8-9 Romans 11:25-29

“all Israel” are those who believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, their King and Savior

Ezekiel 40-48

Question Does any reputable Bible teacher believe all Israel will be saved?

Answer:

Dr. MacArthur points out that “all Israel” means all of those members of the nation of Israel that survive the Time of Jacob’s Trouble/Great Tribulation.

Romans 11:17- only some branches are broken off, so a believing remnant are being preserved unto/until salvation.

Before all Israel is saved, its unbelieving, ungodly members will be separated out by God’s inerrant hand of judgment. Ezekiel makes that truth vividly clear:

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. And I shall bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I shall bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord God. “And I shall make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I shall purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I shall bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 20:33–38, emphasis added; cf. Dan. 12:10;Zech. 13:8–9)

Those who hear the preaching of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:1–814:1–5), of other converts (7:9), of the two witnesses (11:3–13), and of the angel (14:6), and thus safely pass under God’s rod of judgment will then comprise all Israel, which—in fulfillment of God’s sovereign and irrevocable promise—will be completelya nation of believers who are ready for the kingdom of the Messiah Jesus.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israeland with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israelafter those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer. 31:31–34; cf. 32:38)

God’s control of history is irrefutable evidence of His sovereignty. And as surely as He cut off unbelieving Israel from His tree of salvation, just as surely will He graft believing Israel back in—a nation completely restored and completely saved.”

Most importantly, the reason why, at some point, the entirety of Israel looks upon Him whom they pierced, mourns, and turns to Christ is the fact that God does not change

Malachi 3:6

I, the Lord, do not change

Hosea 2:14-20

14“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,

and speak tenderly to her. 15And there I will give her her vineyards

and make the Valley of Achore a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolishf the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

1 Samuel 15:29

29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind”

Psalm 102:12 & 25-28

12 But Thou, O LORD dost abide forever; And Thy name to all generations. . . 25 Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. 26 Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. 27 But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end. 28 The children of Thy servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before Thee”

Beloved, I hope this is helpful. Until next time, grace to you.

You Can’t Have a Post Tribulation Rapture

You Can’t Have a Post Tribulation Rapture

In Christian eschatology, the post-tribulation rapture doctrine is the belief in a combined resurrection and rapture of all believers coming after the Great Tribulation. This position is fundamentally flawed and, in my estimation, does not fit with the Bible.

 

  1. The Great Tribulation is a time of judgment and the true Church was judged at Calvary

12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Hebrews 10:12-13

One sacrifice for sin for all time…If your sin was paid for at the cross, it in manifestly unjust to pay for it again in the tribulation.

  1. The Tribulation is the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” and Israel (Jacob) is not the Church

‘Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.

Jeremiah 30:7

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “In the previous verses of Jeremiah 30, we find that the Lord is speaking to Jeremiah the prophet about Judah and Israel (30:3-4). In verse 3, the Lord promises that one day in the future, He will bring both Judah and Israel back to the land that He had promised their forefathers. Verse 5 describes a time of great fear and trembling. Verse 6 describes this time in a way that pictures men going through the pains of childbirth, again indicating a time of agony. But there is hope for Judah and Israel, for though this is called “the time of Jacob’s distress” (NASB), the Lord promises He will save Jacob (referring to Judah and Israel) out of this time of great trouble (verse 7).”

The Tribulation is a time of purification for Israel during which the obstinately unbelieving will be destroyed leaving the faithful remnant to enter the Kingdom.

Ezekiel 37:21,22 Zephaniah 3:19,20 Romans 11:26,27

  1. The Church is not mentioned from Revelation 4-19

            There is not really much extrapolation needed here. If the Tribulation were, in fact, something the Church were expected to endure, surely the Holy Spirit would have warned us. I would go so far as to say that it requires a dismissal of logical inference to presume the Church will go through the Tribulation.

  1. Revelation 3:10 and tereso oras peirasmou

Tereso oras peirasmou (I will keep you from the hour of testing.) The hour of testing being referred to, here, is the Tribulation and it is Christ Himself who says that He will keep from the hour of testing.

  1. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Where, exactly, is the comfort in facing the Tribulation?

  1. The Blessed Hope

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the church.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 Romans 8:23 Titus 2:13 1 Corinthians 15:51,52

  1. There will be a final judgment but the Tribulation is not it

There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works but this is not the tribulation period. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Matthew 25:46 Mark 9:43-48 Revelation 19:20 Revelation 20:11-15   Revelation 21:8

  1. Lastly, the final judgment for believers is the Bema Seat not the Tribulation.

Quoting Got Questions Ministries, “Romans 14:10–12 says, “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. . . . So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (ESV). Second Corinthians 5:10 tells us, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” In context, it is clear that both passages refer to Christians, not unbelievers. The judgment seat of Christ, therefore, involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ.

The judgment seat of Christ does not determine salvation; that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf (1 John 2:2) and our faith in Him (John 3:16). All of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them (Romans 8:1). We should not look at the judgment seat of Christ as God judging our sins, but rather as God rewarding us for our lives. Yes, as the Bible says, we will have to give an account of ourselves. Part of this is surely answering for the sins we committed. However, that is not going to be the primary focus of the judgment seat of Christ.

At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5). Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9). The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27; 2 Timothy 2:5). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:5, 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10. James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”