Category: Dispensationalism

The Security of the Believer Pt. 3

The Security of the Believer Pt. 3

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)
This post is the third of three on the eternal security of salvation and the personal assurance of salvation.
What is Persevering Faith?

The biblical principle of persevering faith is quite simple. Perseverance is a grace God gives the believer to overcome all spiritual and physical obstacles to faith, and persevering faith is the believer using the means of grace God has provided to continue in the faith. To persevere in the faith is to continue in the faith by faith all the way through life and death.
The doctrine of perseverance is derived from the several results of salvation.

– The believer has been given eternal life and will never lose that eternal life, John 10:28.

– The believer cannot come under condemnation, Romans 8:1, 33, and cannot be separated from the love of Christ, Romans 8:35.

– Sin no longer has dominion over the believer Romans 6:14.

– Believers are sons of God and led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14, 16.

– God has predestined believers to be conformed to the image of his Son, Romans 8:29.

– God has reconciled the believer to himself, Romans 5:10.

– God loves those who are his own, John 13:1, and nothing is able to separate the believer from the love of God, Romans 8:39.

– God will complete the work begun in the believer from the day of his or her salvation, Philippians 1:6.

– Believers are kept by the power of God, 1 Peter 1:5.

The promises of God to the believer and God’s purposes for the believer must be fulfilled as decreed by the sovereign God. God, therefore, has obligated himself to preserve the believer’s salvation and cause the believer to persevere in the faith.

Bible passages that teach the necessity of striving and warn against falling away should not be used to reinterpret or contradict the clear, unambiguous verses, such as those above, that teach perseverance. Those exhortations and warnings indicate a believer is the one who abides in the Word (John 8:31) and uses the grace God gives to persevere in the faith by faith. The duty of the believer is to live a holy and righteous life. Believers are given grace and faith in order that by God’s grace and their faith they may overcome every obstacle to faith, and live the manner of life God requires, e.g., 1 John 2:6.

What we are speaking of, then, is the kind or quality of faith God gives which results in perseverance. Hebrews 10:36 speaks of the necessity of persevering faith and chapter 11 examples persevering faith at work. Chapter 11 begins with a particular definition of faith as (NKJV) the “substance (hupóstasis) of things hoped for (elpízō)” and “the evidence (élegchos) of things not seen.” The kind of faith God gives is the objective conviction that spiritual realities testified to in Scripture are genuine and are certain to be received.

Hebrews 11:1 uses three words to describe faith. The first is hupóstasis. This word means “substance” or “real presence.” Jesus is the real presence (hupóstasis) of God in the universe, Hebrews 1:3. In secular Greek hupóstasis was used to describe real property [Moulton and Milligan, “Vocabulary,” 659–660], thus, faith is the “title deed” of things hoped for. A title deed is the objective proof of legal possession. The faith God gives the believer is itself the title deed to God’s promises.

The second word in Hebrews 11:1 is elpízō. This word means hope. But not hope in the sense the world means hope. Worldly hope is anxiety: I hope this or that does, or does not, happen. Hope in Scripture is assurance. Biblical hope is certainty based on God’s Word. Faith is the absolute assurance, the unwavering certainty (elpízō), of receiving the promises. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And when I should go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to myself” (John 14: 2, 3). The believer’s hope—his absolute assurance and certainty—is that Jesus is coming again for him or her. Enduring in the world by faith in the hope of Christ’s return is perseverance.

The third word is élegchos. This word can mean subjective proof (persuasion), or it can mean objective evidence (demonstration). In the context of the “real presence-title deed” and “assurance-certainty” of God’s promises, the meaning is objective evidence. The presence of God-given faith is in and of itself the objective demonstration that the believer will receive things God has promised.

Faith, then, is the real presence (hupóstasis) of the things of which we are assured (elpízō), and is the objective evidence (élegchos) of the things we do not yet see. The kind of faith God gives—the kind or quality of faith that results in perseverance—is itself the real presence and objective evidence of the promises God has given to his saved people. The objective certainty that God gives in the promises is itself the proof the believer possesses the promises, because that kind or quality of faith comes only from God.

The believer’s subjective faith— I know, I feel, therefore I act—comes from the objective faith given by God. The biblical truth is that the believer perseveres in faith, a subjective act, because he/she has been give an objective faith in the reality of the promises.

Because we are sensual, rational creatures, I will say this in a more familiar way: faith gives the perception of immediate presence to spiritual realities. Perseverance is knowing that God said it, that settles it, I’m going to believe it and do it.

God-given faith—a quality of faith only believers possess—is the kind of faith necessary to persevere and receive the promises. Genuine believers are given the faith and grace necessary to persevere, and genuine believers receive and use the grace of perseverance to persevere.

 

The Security of the Believer Pt. 2

The Security of the Believer Pt. 2

(Guest post by James Quiggle)

This post is the second of three on the eternal security of salvation and the personal assurance of salvation. These posts are from my book “Christian Living and Doctrine,” pp. 15–20, 45–46. The New Testament presents five witnesses testifying salvation is eternal. The first post presented 1) the foundation of eternal salvation and 2) the seal of eternal salvation. This post will present 3) the assurance of eternal salvation; 4) perseverance in eternal salvation; 5) the character of eternal salvation.

THE ASSURANCE OF ETERNAL SALVATION

A believer can know for certain that he/she is eternally saved. The apostle John stated “I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,” 1 John 5:13. Jesus said he has given his saved people eternal life and 1) they shall never perish, and 2) no person or thing is able to take the believer out of Christ’s hand or the Father’s hand (John 10:27–29). The apostle Paul wrote that “there is no more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1, and that no person and no thing “shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:31–39. Because the believer is no longer subject to condemnation, and because nothing can separate the believer from Christ, a believer in Christ as his/her Savior cannot lose their salvation.

PERSEVERANCE IN ETERNAL SALVATION

God gives every genuine believer the grace to continue in the faith by faith, and the believer uses that grace to continue in faith, righteousness, and holiness. Jesus said, John 10:28 “I give them [his saved people] eternal life, and they shall never perish.” Paul wrote, Philippians 1:6 “He [God] who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Peter wrote, 1 Peter 1:5, that believers are “kept by the power of God through faith.”

There are times when a Christian seems to fail, but the apostle John said that Christians have sin, 1 John 1:8, and Christians will occasionally commit acts of sinning, 1 John 1:10, but that God has made a remedy to restore the sinning Christian to fellowship with himself, 1 John 1:9. The scriptures do tell the Christian to strive to live holy and righteous lives, which some have interpreted to mean salvation can be lost if one’s life is not always holy and righteous. But the verses telling the believer to strive depend on the ability to strive and succeed, which is God’s grace of perseverance. God never commands what he does not also give. If the commandment is to strive, then God’s mighty power works in the believer so he/she can strive and succeed, Colossians 1:29. God gives the grace of perseverance and the genuine believer uses the grace of perseverance. Because every genuine believer possesses the grace of perseverance, he/she will always overcome sin and the world by the grace of perseverance. The salvation of the believer is eternal.

THE CHARACTER OF ETERNAL SALVATION

The life of the saved person demonstrates certain characteristics that an unsaved person’s life does not. The saved person habitually lives a godly life. The unsaved person habitually lives a life of sinning. The saved person may sin occasionally, but the unsaved person sins habitually. The apostle John wrote, 1 John 3:6, that every person habitually abiding in Christ is not habitually sinning, and that every person habitually sinning does not know Christ. The characteristics of daily living testify a genuine believer has eternal salvation.

The saved person is like Christ: he/she is godly. Godliness, that is, a godly life, is when the believer’s thoughts, decisions, and actions conform to the moral, holy, and righteous standard set by God’s own character. Positively, a genuine believer loves the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; he/she enjoys associating with and worshiping with others sharing the same faith in Christ; a believer has a hunger and thirst to learn the Word of God, to read the Word, study the Word, hear the Word preached and taught; the person who is genuinely saved loves to hear about Christ the Savior. The genuine believer recognizes the truth of Scripture, 1 John 2:21; but the unbeliever does not continue in the truth, 1 John 2:19.

Negatively, the person who is genuinely saved is bothered by sin and sinning. He/she is embarrassed by sinning because Christ has been disappointed. The believer takes no lasting pleasure in sin and sinning—there may be a moment of pleasure when an old sin habit is indulged, but in a short time the pleasure fades. The genuine believer is saddened when Christ is dishonored. The genuine believer is righteously angry when the Scripture is twisted to say what it does not mean. The genuine believer holds the world and the things of the world loosely, lightly, knowing he/she is to be in the world, but not of the world. Death is not a terror to the genuine believer, because physical death is merely the way Christ brings his saved people to heaven to be with him forever. The characteristics of a genuine salvation testify to an eternal salvation.

CONCLUSION

There are times of failure in the Christian life, and times of doubt. There are some verses that seem to say salvation may be lost. But the scriptures give a clear and unambiguous witness that salvation cannot be lost. So by the testimony of five things—Christ’s limitless merit; sealing by the Holy Spirit; the Scripture’s word of assurance; perseverance in the faith by faith; and the characteristics of a genuine Christian—the believer has assurance that salvation is permanent.

Of these five the first is the most important. Jesus paid the full and complete debt for sins, completely satisfying God’s holiness and justice, such that no other action, work, or sacrifice is required. A genuine believer cannot lose his or her salvation; a genuine believer is permanently sealed into salvation; a genuine believer perseveres in the faith by faith; a genuine believer knows from Scripture they have eternal life and can never perish; a genuine believer habitually practices genuine Christianity.

 

The Security of the Believer Pt. 1

The Security of the Believer Pt. 1

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

 

This post is the first of three on the eternal security of salvation and the personal assurance of salvation. These posts are from my book “Christian Living and Doctrine,” pp. 15–20, 45–46.

The New Testament presents five witnesses testifying salvation is eternal: 1) the foundation of eternal salvation; 2) the seal of eternal salvation; 3) the assurance of eternal salvation; 4) perseverance in eternal salvation; 5) the character of eternal salvation. This post presents witnesses 1 and 2.

 

THE FOUNDATION OF ETERNAL SALVATION

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of eternal salvation. At 1 John 2:2 the apostle John wrote, Jesus “is the propitiation for our sins.” John does not set any limitations. “Our sins” refers to every sin a believer has or may commit, past, present, and future. When “God chose us in Christ,” Ephesians 1:4, it was “before the foundation of the world,” so God had in view all sins a believer would commit. John said Jesus “is the propitiation.” The word “propitiate” has the same meaning as the Old Testament “atone,” and the English word “expiate.” A good synonym is “satisfied.” God imputed our sins to Jesus on the cross, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and through his suffering on the cross Jesus fully satisfied God for every sin—all the sins you and I have committed or might yet commit.

At 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul tells us God made Jesus Christ “to be sin for us.” God imputed the sins of the world to Jesus, 1 John 2:2, when Jesus was on the cross. Jesus suffered God’s wrath for our sins with the result Jesus made a full satisfaction to God for the crime of sin. The Bible names this satisfaction “propitiation,” Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.

Propitiation is the complete satisfaction of God’s holiness and justice that Christ made to God by enduring spiritual and physical death on the cross for the crime of sin committed by human beings, suffering in their place and on their behalf. When by faith a sinner applies Christ’s propitiation to their sins, God is completely satisfied the debt for all his/her sins was paid, and forgives all those sins past, present, and future.

On the cross, to make the propitiation for sins, Christ endured the penalty for sin, which is spiritual and physical death. Christ endured spiritual death when he was separated from fellowship with God (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46), and physical death when he separated his soul from his body (“Bowing his head, he gave up his spirit,” John 19:30).

We can understand that Christ paid the full debt for sins in three actions.

One, before his death he cried out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” indicating he was no longer separated from God. He had paid in full the sin debt imputed to him.

Two, when the propitiation was completed Christ cried out “It is finished,” John 19:30. The word he used, teléō, was a cry of victory, in a verb tense (perfect) indicating his work of propitiation was brought to completion. No other work is needed to satisfy God for the crime of our sin.

Three, Christ resurrected from the dead. Each member of the Trinity participated in Christ’s resurrection (Romans 6:4; John 10:17; Romans 8:11), showing that Christ had made a complete satisfaction for sin. As Paul stated, 1 Corinthians 15:17, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile” (vain, empty).

Because the propitiation completely satisfied God for sins past, present, and future a believer’s salvation is eternally secure. “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus . . .  “Who is able to bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies . . .  it is Christ who died . . . and is risen . . . and makes intercession for us,” Romans 8:1, 33–34. The Writer of Hebrews said Jesus “offered one sacrifice for sins forever,” and then “sat down at the right hand of God.” The God-man sat down because his work was completed. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, there is never again a need for any sacrifice for sin, forever, Hebrews 10:12, 18.

The writer of Hebrews says Jesus established a new covenant with God, 8:6, and through his death offered one sacrifice for sins, forever, 10:12. The result is that God has made a commitment with every person saved through faith in Christ: “their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more,” 10:17.

At John 10:27–30 Jesus said he knew who his saved people were (his “sheep”); that he gives his saved people eternal life; that his saved people will never perish (because they have eternal life); that no person and no thing or event can remove a genuinely saved person from Christ’s hand or the Father’s hand; compare Paul at 8:38–39, Peter at 1 Peter 1:5, and John at 1 John 5:11–13.

What Christ did on the cross fully satisfied God for the sins of every person who believes on Christ as Savior. In an illustration, the finite demerit of the believer’s sins—past, present, future—are like a teardrop in the ocean of Christ’s limitless merit. Once a person is saved, he/she cannot lose their salvation, because the infinite, limitless merit of Christ secures salvation for every person who believes on him as Savior. There is no sin a believer might commit that would cause loss of salvation, because Jesus propitiated God for every sin.

THE SEAL OF ETERNAL SALVATION

Sealing the believer in salvation is an act of God the Holy Spirit occurring the moment a sinner believes on Christ as personal savior. The apostle Paul wrote at Ephesians 1:13, “having believed, you were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.” The “promise” is a reference to the advent and indwelling of the Holy Spirit prophesied in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 31:33; Joel 2:28–32), announced by Christ (John 14:16–18, 26; 16:7, 13–15; Acts 1:4–5, 8) and fulfilled after his ascension (Acts 2:17–18; 8:17; 10:44).

“Sealing” is an allusion to the method used to secure ancient documents. When a document was completed, it would be rolled up (a scroll), and a blob of wax was used to affix the end of the scroll to the rolled up body. A mark or image was impressed into the wax before it cooled. The purpose of the seal was to secure the document against damage or tampering. The purpose of the image impressed into the wax was to certify the authenticity of the document. In today’s terms, the seal was the mark of a notary, or a witness, authenticating the document and its contents. Thus, sealing indicates a completed act and means security, authenticity, genuineness, identification, and ownership.

The sealing accomplished by the Holy Spirit is God’s witness that the believer is genuinely and eternally saved. The seal of the Spirit keeps the believer secure in his or her salvation, for no one can break God’s seal. The seal is impressed with God’s mark—the image of Christ the Savior—indicating the believer is God’s property. Sealing confirms the believer’s faith from the moment of salvation forward into eternity future.

Dispensationalism (Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

Dispensationalism (Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

DISPENSATIONALISM DEFINED

Dispensational theology is a systematic theology describing the outworking of God’s plans and processes to accomplish his purpose in creating. Dispensations are part of Dispensationalism, but do not comprise the entire system. Dispensationalism is a way of thinking about how God manages his household, a way to interpret the Bible, and a way to understand God’s basic purpose in his dealings with mankind.

Many people confuse a dispensation and Dispensationalism.

— “A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 28].

One might identify a dispensation in various ways. Erich Sauer provides several observations that help define how God changes his economies. He wrote, “a new period [dispensation] always begins only when from the side of God a change is introduced in the composition of the principles valid up to that time; that is, when from the side of God three things concur [Sauer, The Dawn of World Redemption, 194]:

— A continuance of certain ordinances valid until then;
— An annulment of other regulations until then valid;
— A fresh introduction of new principles not before valid.

There are several ways to name or number the dispensations. I identify the several dispensations with reference to the prominent persons and events with whom a dispensation began and ended. These are:

— Adam to Noah
— Noah to Abraham
— Abraham to Moses
— Moses to Christ’s resurrection
— Christ’s resurrection to rapture of the church
— Rapture to Christ’s second advent
— Christ’s Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign to Christ the Judge at the Great White Throne Judgment (GWT)
— The eternal state (God eternally face-to-face with saved mankind) following the GWT

Certain dispensations might also be defined in terms of the covenants God made with mankind’s representatives.

—Adam to Noah (Adamic covenant)
—Noah to Abraham, (Post-Flood Noahic covenant)
—Abraham to Moses, (Abrahamic covenant)
—Moses to Christ’s resurrection (Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New covenants)
—Christ’s resurrection to rapture of the church (application of New covenant to individual Hebrews and Gentiles)
—Christ’s Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign (fulfillment of Abrahamic, Davidic, Palestinian, and
—New covenants toward national ethnic Israel)

As may be seen from both lists, dispensations begin and end with a defining event that changes the economy of man’s stewardship responsibilities toward God’s revealed will.

Many people believe in dispensations and other parts of Dispensational theology, but cannot be described as Dispensationalists. Ryrie (Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 1995) states three absolutely indispensable parts of Dispensationalism. If a person does not hold to these three essentials, then he or she is not a Dispensationalist. These essentials are [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 39–40]:

— A Dispensationalist keeps Israel and the church distinct.
— The distinction between Israel and the church is born out of a system of hermeneutics [interpretation] that is usually called literal interpretation.
— The underlying purpose of God in the world is the glory of God.

“The essence of dispensationalism, then, is the distinction between Israel and the church. This grows out of the dispensationalist’s consistent employment of normal or plain or historical-grammatical interpretation [the literal hermeneutic], and it reflects an understanding of the basic purpose of God in all his dealings with mankind as that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes as well” [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 41].

Any person identifying him or herself as a classical Dispensationalist should agree with the three distinctives that compose this definition.

Michael Vlach in his book, “Dispensationalism, Essential Beliefs and Common Myths,” presents “Six Essential Beliefs of Dispensationalism” (pp. 30–50, see for his very helpful discussion). These six are:

— The primary meaning of any Bible passage is found in that passage. The New Testament does not reinterpret of transcend Old Testament passages in a way that overrides of cancels the original authorial intent of the Old Testament writers.
— Types exist but national Israel is not an inferior type that is superseded by the church.
— Israel and the church are distinct; thus, the church cannot be identified as the new and/or true Israel.
— Spiritual unity in salvation between Jews and Gentiles is compatible with a future functional role for Israel as a nation.
— The nation Israel will be both saved and restored with a unique functional role in a future earthly millennial kingdom.
— There are multiple senses of “seed of Abraham,” thus the church’s identification as “seed of Abraham” does not cancel God’s promises to the believing Jewish “see of Abraham.”

Vlach’s later book “Has the Church Replaced Israel?” expands on these themes giving them greater clarity, scriptural explanation, and defence.

I highly recommend the books by Ryrie and Vlach. (Some information in this essay is from my book, James D. Quiggle, “Dispensational Eschatology, An Explanation and Defense of the Doctrine.”

Progressive Dispensationalism: Our Theological Lens

Progressive Dispensationalism: Our Theological Lens

As I am preparing for church planting in January, I want to clarify a theological position. I affirm Progressive Dispensationalism.

Tenets of Progressive Dispensationalism include:

Tenents of Progressive Dispensationalism

  1. Is not Replacement Theology; Progressive Dispensationalists assert that God will keep His promises made to “Israel according to the flesh,” the genetic descendents of Jacob.
  2. Acknowledges a future 7-year Tribulation followed by a 1,000 Millennium with Christ personally present and reigning from Jerusalem.
  3. Affirms that the nation of Israel (in the Millennium) will be exalted as a nation with a rebuilt Temple and sacrificial offerings (that the Messianic Age is compatible with Temple worship is demonstrated in Acts 21:17-26).
  4. Is similar to (the Messianic Jewish scholar) David Stern’s “Olive Branch Theology” espoused in Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel.
  5. Does see the church fulfilling many Old Testament prophecies (and thus differs from Traditional Dispensationalism on this point), but in a less literal sense or incomplete sense; Progressives break rank with Traditionals by concluding that the church was anticipated in the Old Testament (but not clearly). The term “mystery,” when used in reference to the church, is not defined as “something previously unrevealed,” (as in Traditional Dispensationalism) but “previously revealed unclearly.”
  6. Views the church as being blessed through Israel; Progressives avow that God has never stopped working with Israel (some Jews now believe, and He is provoking others to jealousy); the Jews will rebuild the Tribulation Temple largely in unbelief; although the 144,000 will be saved during the earlier part of the Tribulation, most Jews will not believe until the Battle of Armageddon, as interpreted from Zechariah 12.
  7. Essentially recognizes the more literal fulfillment of prophecy (which is Traditional Dispensationalism’s strong suit) but accepts how the New Testament authors quote and apply the Old Testament to the church (Traditional Dispensationalism’s most vulnerable point).
  8. Is a “now, but not yet” viewpoint (as argued by C. Marvin Pate in The End of the Age Has Come); the Kingdom Age is breaking forth now, but will have a complete fulfillment during the Millennium.

For additional study:

http://www.theopedia.com/progressive-dispensationalism

https://www.gotquestions.org/progressive-dispensationalism.html

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.”

 

CBP Classic Study Bible Review

CBP Classic Study Bible Review

 

If you’re a Baptist, and chances are good that you are, you have probably heard of the Classic Study Bible albeit under its other name, the Old Scofield Bible. First published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has been a mainstay in Baptist and other circles and for good reason; the Scofield and the Thompson Chain Reference, which came out around the same time, are the oldest “study” Bibles available and the longest currently in production. What sets the Scofield apart it that it was the first that offered commentary on the Bible.

I mentioned in a previous review that Church Bible Publishers (CBP) is an endeavor of the local church in Michigan and that they offer their Bibles at cost, which is a marvel in today’s money driven society. I have had a small amount of interaction with CBP staff and I found them to be knowledgeable, friendly, and generally seemed like the people you want to eat fried chicken with (It’s the official bird of Baptists, fried chicken). A note before we get into the review: CBP did not provide this Bible for review nor did they solicit a review; this is my own endeavor.

 

THE REVIEW

Translation Choice

CBP publishes in a single English translation, the King James Version (KJV). Even though I read other translations besides just the KJV, I am pleased to see CBP specialize in a single translation; I find it makes for better overall quality because you can focus on providing what customers need rather than vetting a translation. One point about the choice of KJV: Many people say that the KJV is not copyrighted in the US and so makes for a better translation choice. This is actually incorrect; The US honors the Crown Copyright in the United Kingdom (Elizabeth II currently holds the copyright and granted letters patent to Cambridge) even though to try to enforce it would be a logistical nightmare. When you see the term Authorised Version or Authorised King James Version, you see that because the Official King James Version is being used as is the case here.

Leather Cover

As was the case with the Thompson Chain that I reviewed earlier, the Classic Study Bible came to me in black ironed calfskin. There is an alternate choice of Top Grain Cowhide but, in my opinion, the calfskin is to be preferred. You may order in black, brown, burgundy, read, two-tone (black and brown) and thumb indexing is an option. I have no clue where CBP gets their leather but it is some of the softest most luxurious leather you will ever touch; I love the feel of it.

Two other publishers offer the Classic KJV Study Bible, Oxford University Press, the original publisher and copyright holder of the Classic KJV Study Bible and Barbour Books, neither of which offer calfskin. Barbour offers hardback and bonded leather while OUP offers bonded or Genuine Leather (read pigskin). That fact, alone, would be reason enough for me to endorse the CBP version over the others but lets continue.

Paper and Font

CBP offers a much larger font vs OUP and Barbour. OUP and Barbour use an 9-point font for the text and an 8-point for the notes while CBP offers the following for font size: Bible Text – 10 pt, Center Reference – 6-7 pt, Footnotes – 9 pt. I have both of the other versions and I can tell you with absolute certainty that this version will replace the other two.

CBP’s paper is bright white and very opaque making this Bible very easy to read indeed. The black is rich, deep, and bold and the red jumps off the page. Many publishers screw up the red and you end up with pink; I am happy to say that this is not the case here. The red is exquisitely done.

Sewn Binding

This is one feature that is non-negotiable for me; I live in Arizona and a glued binding would melt if I happened to forget it in my car. A sewn binding guarantees a lifetime of use and also guarantees that it will lay flat anywhere you open the text. The fact that CBP can deliver a sewn binding on every Bible they sell tells me that other publishers have no excuse.

Bonus Feature: Wide Margins

This is not advertised as a wide-margin edition but it has wide margins anyway. Why is this bonus feature important? It is in the margins that your Bible truly becomes yours. All of your study notes, perhaps some prayers and so on; it all goes here and makes your Bible uniquely yours. It is true that there are literally millions of Classic Study Bibles around the world, from all three publishers, but no two are identical and the wide margins guarantee that.

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

Final Thoughts

Buy this Bible. Do it today. If you have never seen the inside of a Scofield, you are missing out and that is irrespective of how you view Dispensational Theology. The Classic KJV Study Bible from CBP is the best edition of the Scofield Reference Bible that is available today. To say anything else is gilding the lilly.

 

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

Unmasking the Apocalypse Recording and Notes

https://soundcloud.com/user-138132460/unmasking-the-apocalypse

 

Text: Revelation 1:1-3

What is an apocalypse?

apocalypse/revelation

Greek: apokalypsis (Luke 2:32; Rom. 8:19; 16:25; Gal. 1:12) Using the roots apo (G0575), “from, away,” and kalypto (G2572), “covering, veil,” this word means “an uncovering, revelation, disclosure.” What is being disclosed was previously hidden. In the New Testament this word is typically used of spiritual things, such as visions (2 Cor. 12:1), spiritual truth (Luke 2:32), or eschatological events (Rom. 8:19; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:13). In these cases, what is revealed could be known only through supernatural disclosure. The entire Bible is God’s progressive revelation of who He is and how He is saving His people, and the Book of Revelation focuses on His final revelation when He returns to establish His eternal kingdom.

Why should I try to study Revelation? Isn’t it too hard to understand?

This is a very understandable and legitimate question. John gives a good clue in the first phrase, which introduces this book as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation gives a unique picture of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament, really the entire Bible would be incomplete without it. In chapter 1, when we see Jesus’ appearance, it is a perfect exposition of the Old Testament. The Gospels describe Jesus’ life on Earth from four different viewpoints. The letters discuss the deep significance of the resurrected Christ and what he accomplished. But Revelation shows Jesus Christ from a new perspective: Here we see the most definitive picture of Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church. When John saw him in this exalted state, he fell at Jesus’ feet as though dead (1:17).

As to whether or not Revelation is too hard to understand, bear this in mind:

  • We read Revelation according to the normal rules of language. Therefore, what appear to be metaphors or similes are just exactly that. If you understand the literary features of Revelation, you will be halfway to a correct understanding of the message therein
  • We read Revelation literally. That means, for example, when the book talks about locusts, it means exactly that; locusts not attack helicopters or other such nonsense.
  • Over half of Revelation refers back to the Old Testament. If you do not understand the Old Testament, correctly, you will never get Revelation right either.
  • God promises blessing to those who read the words of the Revelation (Ch 1 vs 3)

 

What does Revelation really unveil?

  • Revelation reveals Jesus as Divine Son and Lord of the Church
  • It reveals the nature of the Church through 7 types and what the end result will be for each church.
  • It reveals the Divine Judgment Machine and how God deals with a Christ rejecting world
  • The total triumph and finality of redemption is revealed including the final destruction of Satan
  • Lastly, the Kingdom is revealed.

Quoting John MacArthur on Revelation

“The book of Revelation contains truths that had been concealed, but have now been revealed. Though it nowhere directly quotes the Old Testament, 278 of its 404 verses refer or allude to Old Testament prophetic truth, and it amplifies what was only initially suggested in the Old Testament.

The Apocalypse reveals a great many divine truths. It warns the church of the danger of sin and instructs it about the need for holiness. It reveals the strength Christ and believers have to overcome Satan. It reveals the glory and majesty of God and depicts the reverent worship that constantly attends His throne. The book of Revelation reveals the end of human history, including the final political setup of the world, the career of Antichrist, and the climactic Battle of Armageddon. It reveals the coming glory of Christ’s earthly reign during the millennial kingdom, the Great White Throne judgment, and depicts the eternal bliss of the new heaven and the new earth. It reveals the ultimate victory of Jesus Christ over all human and demonic opposition. The book of Revelation describes the ultimate defeat of Satan and sin, and the final state of the wicked (eternal torment in hell) and the righteous (eternal joy in heaven). In short, it is a front-page story of the future of the world written by someone who has seen it all.

But supremely, overarching all those features, the book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes in detail the events associated with His second coming, revealing His glory that will one-day blaze forth as strikingly and unmistakably as lightning flashing in a darkened sky (Matt. 24:27).”

That last point, Children of God, is why we study Revelation- so that we might see Christ the Redeemer and Christ the Lord in all His glory and give Him the worship that is due Him.

Even a cursory glance through the book of Revelation reveals that Jesus Christ is its main theme. He is “the faithful witness” (1:5); “the firstborn of the dead” (1:5); “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (1:5); “the Alpha and the Omega”(1:8; 21:6); the one “who is and who was and who is to come”(1:8); “the Almighty”(1:8); “the first and the last”(1:17); “the living One”(1:18); “the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (2:1); “the One who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12); “the Son of God” (2:18); the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire, and … feet … like burnished bronze” (2:18); the One “who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” (3:1); the One “who is holy, who is true” (3:7); the holder of “the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens” (3:7); “the Amen, the faithful and true Witness.”(3:14); “the Beginning of the creation of God” (3:14); “the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” (5:5); “the Root of David” (5:5); the Lamb of God (e. g., 5:6; 6:1; 7:9-10; 8:1; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7; 21:9; 22:1); the “Lord, holy and true” (6:10); the One who “is called Faithful and True” (19:11); “The Word of God”(19:13); the “King of kings, and Lord of lords”(19:16); Christ (Messiah), ruling on earth with His glorified saints (20:6); and “Jesus … the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (22:16). The book of Revelation reveals the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in song, poetry, symbolism, and prophecy. In it the heavens are opened and its readers see, as did Stephen (Acts 7:56), visions of the risen, glorified Son of God. (MacArthur NT Commentary)

Are those who read Revelation really blessed?

Yes, we are really blessed by reading Revelation. For starters, it is given for our comfort as we face a world that is falling apart, where wickedness abounds so much that even Sodom would blush with shame; Christ and His righteous will triumph. The spirit of lawlessness may kill the body (God will allow some to be martyred) but antichrist will never triumph over the Righteous Lamb and those of His Elect.

Remember that blessed does not simply mean happy, even though that is an acceptable and accurate translation of the word used here. It also means favorable circumstances granted by God and it also connotes having shalom (peace and wholeness) with God.

Beloved, the time is near. This is not kronos which is our normal method of keeping time; it is kairos, the age. John wrote well because we indeed are in last days and there is nothing left to be fulfilled; all that yet remains is for the Lord to consummate redemptive history and to deliver the Kingdom up to the Father.

 

Revelation Introduction and Outline

Revelation Introduction and Outline

 

Revelation Outline

Why Read Revelation?

“Why read this strange book? John gives a good clue in the first phrase, which introduces this book as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation gives a unique picture of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament would be incomplete without it. The Gospels describe Jesus’ life on Earth from four different viewpoints. The letters discuss the deep significance of the resurrected Christ and what he accomplished. But Revelation shows Jesus Christ from a new perspective: as the mighty ruler of the cosmic forces of good. When John saw him in this exalted state, he fell at Jesus’ feet as though dead (1:17).

Although Revelation does not remove the mystery surrounding Jesus’ return and the end of the world, it does throw light on those events. It cannot be reduced to a mere timetable of events; it speaks lasting truths to every generation of readers. Revelation tells of Christ’s future triumph over all the evil in the universe. This crucial message of final hope was needed by its original readers in the first century and is still needed by us today.” —NIV Student Bible

Who wrote Revelation? John the Beloved Apostle (see Rev 1:1)

DATE: A.D. 96? There is some dispute about this though. From the Harper Collins Study Bible’s notes we learn “Many early Christian writers thought that Revelation had been written toward the end of Domitian’s reign (81–96 ce), but a few later writers thought that John had written a generation earlier, during the persecution that occurred in 64 under Nero (54–68 ce). Evidence supporting both dates can be found in the book. In favor of the earlier date, 11.1–3 suggests that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem (destroyed by the Romans in 70) was still standing when the book was written. Further, the code name of the beast in 13.18 is 666, widely thought to symbolize the name Nero Caesar. Other data, however, suggest a date late in the first century. For example, there are several allusions (13.3; 17.9–11) to the legend of Nero’s return, which circulated throughout the eastern Mediterranean during the two decades following his suicide in 68. Further, Revelation frequently uses “Babylon” as a code name for Rome (14.8; 16.19; 17.5, 18; 18.2, 10, 21), but the evidence suggests that Jews used this code name only after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70.”

As a general rule, I favor the dating of approximately 96 A.D. We need to remember that there is, oftentimes, an already but not yet in prophecy. John certainly wrote to comfort Christians who were already under persecution but he also wrote to comfort those under persecutions yet to come.

The spiritual decline of the 7 churches (chaps. 2, 3) also argues for the later date. Those churches were strong and spiritually healthy in the mid-60s, when Paul last ministered in Asia Minor. The brief time between Paul’s ministry there and the end of Nero’s reign was too short for such a decline to have occurred. The longer time gap also explains the rise of the heretical sect known as the Nicolaitans (2:6, 15), who are not mentioned in Paul’s letters, not even to one or more of these same churches (Ephesians). Finally, dating Revelation during Nero’s reign does not allow time for John’s ministry in Asia Minor to reach the point at which the authorities would have felt the need to exile him.
THEME: The theme of the Revelation is Jesus Christ (Rev 1:1) in all His post-resurrection glory and majesty. He is presented in a threefold way: (1) As to time: “which is, and which was, and which is to come” Rev 1:4); (2) as to relationships–the churches Rev 1:9 through Rev 3:22), to the tribulation Rev 4:1 through Rev 19:21), to the kingdom Rev 20:1 through Rev 22:21); (3) in His offices–High Priest Rev 8:3-6), Bridegroom Rev 19:7-9), King-Judge Rev 20:1-15).

Christ is the central theme of the book, but all of the events move toward one consummation, the bringing in of the covenanted kingdom. The key-phrase is the prophetic declaration of the “great voices in heaven” Rev 11:15), lit, “The world kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ has come.”

 

Introductory Remark

The three major divisions of Revelation must be clearly held if the interpretation is to be sane and coherent. John was commanded to “write” concerning three classes of “things” Rev 1:19):

I. Things past, “the things thou hast seen,” i.e. the Patmos vision, Rev 1.1-20.
II. Things present, “the things which are,” i.e. things then existing–obviously the churches. The temple had been destroyed, the Jews dispersed: the testimony of God had been committed to the Churches (1Ti 3.15). Accordingly we have seven messages to seven representative churches, Rev 2.1 through Rev 3.22. It is noteworthy that the church is not mentioned in chapters 5 through 18.
III. Things future, “things which shall be hereafter,” lit. “after these,” i.e. after the church period ends, Rev 4.1 through Rev 22.21. The third major division, falls into a series of six sevens, with parenthetical passages, making, with the church division, seven sevens. The six sevens are:
(1) The seals, Rev 4.1 through Rev 8.1.
(2) The seven trumpets, Rev 8.2 through Rev 11.19.
(3). The seven personages, Rev 12:1-14:20.
(4). The seven vials (bowls), Rev 15.1 through Rev 16.21.
(5). The seven dooms, Rev 17.1 through Rev 20.15.
(6). The seven new things, Rev 21.1 through Rev 22.21.
The parenthetical passages are:

  • The Jewish remnant and the tribulation saints, Rev 7:1-17.
  • The angel, the little book, the two witnesses, Rev 10:1 through Rev 11:14.
  • The Lamb, the Remnant, and the everlasting Gospel, Rev 14:1-13.
  • The gathering of the kings at Armageddon, Rev 16:13-16.
  • The four alleluias in heaven, Rev 19:1-6. These passages do not advance the prophetic narrative. Looking backward and forward they sum up results accomplished, and speak of results yet to come as if they had already come. In Rev 14:1, for example, the Lamb and Remnant are seen prophetically on Mount Zion, though they are not actually there till Rev 20:4-6.The end of the church period Rev 2 through Rev 3.) is left as indeterminate. It will end by the fulfillment of 1Th 4:14-17. Revelation 4 through Rev 19 are believed to synchronize with Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Dan 9:24). The great tribulation begins at the middle of the “week,” and continues three and a half years Rev 11:3 through Rev 19:21). The tribulation is brought to an end by the appearing of the Lord and the battle of Armageddon Mat 24:29, 30; Re 19:11-21). The kingdom follows Re 20:4, 5); after this the “little season” Re 20:7-15), and then eternity.

    As we study Revelation we should bear in mind two important passages: 1Pe 1:12; 2Pe 1:20, 21. Doubtless much which is designedly obscure to us will be clear to those for whom it was written as the time approaches.

 

THEORIES OF INTERPRETATION: There have been many approaches to this book, but these can be divided into four major theories:

  • Preterist theory: All of Revelation has been fulfilled in the past. It had to do with local references in John’s day. It had to do with the days of either Nero or Domitian.
  • Historical theory: Fulfillment of Revelation is going on in history, and Revelation is the prophetic history of the church, according to this theory.
  • Historical-spiritual (Symbolic) theory: This theory is a refinement of the historical theory and was advanced by Sir William Ramsay. It states that the two beasts are Imperial and Provincial Rome. The point of the book is to encourage Christians. According to this theory, Revelation has been largely fulfilled and there are spiritual lessons for the church today. Amillennialism, for the most part, has adopted this view. It dissipates and defeats the purpose of the book.
  • Futurist theory: This theory holds that the Book of Revelation is primarily prophetic and yet future, especially from Revelation 4 on to the end of the book. This is the view of all premillennialists and is the view which we accept and present.

 

We should note that at least 10 Themes in Scripture find their consummation in Revelation

  1. The Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15)
  2. The church (Matthew 16:18)
  3. The resurrection and translation of saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13- 18; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52)
  4. The Great Tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30, 31)
  5. Satan and evil (Ezekiel 28:11-18)
  6. The “man of sin” (Ezekiel 28:1-10)
  7. The course and end of apostate Christendom (Daniel 2:31-45; Matthew 13)
  8. The beginning, course, and end of the “times of the Gentiles” (Daniel 2:37; Luke 21:24)
  9. The second coming of Christ (Jude 14, 15)
  10. Israel’s covenants (Genesis 12:1-3), five things promised Israel

Christ in Revelation

Revelation has much to say about all three Persons of the Godhead, but it is especially clear in its presentation of the awesome resurrected Christ who has received all authority to judge the earth. He is called Jesus Christ (1:1), the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, the ruler over the kings of the earth (1:5), the First and the Last (1:17), He who lives (1:18), the Son of God (2:18), holy and true (3:7), the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (3:14), the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David (5:5), a Lamb (5:6), Faithful and True (19:11), The Word of God (19:13), KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (19:16), Alpha and Omega (22:13), the Bright and Morning Star (22:16), and the Lord Jesus Christ (22:21).

This book is indeed “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:1) since it comes from Him and centers on Him. It begins with a vision of His glory, wisdom, and power (1) and portrays His authority over the entire church (2; 3). He is the Lamb who was slain and declared worthy to open the book of judgment (5). His righteous wrath is poured out upon the whole earth (6–18), and He returns in power to judge His enemies and to reign as the Lord over all (19; 20). He will rule forever over the heavenly city in the presence of all who know Him (21; 22).

The Scriptures close with His great promise: “‘Behold, I am coming quickly!’” (22:7, 12). “‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (22:20).

 

Keys to Understanding Revelation

Key Word:

The Revelation of the Coming of Christ

The purposes for which Revelation was written depend to some extent on how the book as a whole is interpreted. Because of its complex imagery and symbolism, Revelation is the most difficult biblical book to interpret, and there are four major alternatives: (1) The symbolic or idealist view maintains that Revelation is not a predictive prophecy, but a symbolic portrait of the cosmic conflict of spiritual principles. (2) The preterist view (the Latin word praeter means “past”) maintains that it is a symbolic description of the Roman persecution of the church, emperor worship, and the divine judgment of Rome. (3) The historicist view approaches Revelation as an allegorical panorama of the history of the (Western) church from the first century to the Second Advent. (4) The futurist view acknowledges the obvious influence that the first-century conflict between Roman power and the church had upon the themes of this book. It also accepts the bulk of Revelation (4–22) as an inspired look into the time immediately preceding the Second Advent (the “Tribulation,” usually seen as seven years; 6–18), and extending from the return of Christ to the creation of the new cosmos (19–22).

Advocates of all four interpretive approaches to Revelation agree that it was written to assure the recipients of the ultimate triumph of Christ over all who rise up against Him and His saints. The readers were facing dark times of persecution, and even worse times would follow. Therefore, they needed to be encouraged to persevere by standing firm in Christ in view of God’s plan for the righteous and the wicked. This plan is especially clear in the stirring words of the epilogue (22:6–21). The book was also written to challenge complacent Christians to stop compromising with the world. According to futurists, Revelation serves the additional purpose of providing a perspective on end-time events that would have meaning and relevance to the spiritual lives of all succeeding generations of Christians.

Key Verses:

Revelation 1:19 and 19:11–15

“‘Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this’” (1:19).

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (19:11–15).

Key Chapters:

Revelation 19–22

When the end of history is fully understood, its impact radically affects the present. In Revelation 19–22 the plans of God for the last days and for all of eternity are recorded in explicit terms. Careful study of and obedience to them will bring the blessings that are promised (1:3). Uppermost in the mind and deep in the heart should be guarded the words of Jesus, “Behold, I am coming quickly.”

 

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