Category: General Theology

Naked and Unashamed: The Dispensation of Innocence

Naked and Unashamed: The Dispensation of Innocence

 

Created in perfection

When we look at Genesis 1:26, something very unique should jump off the page: “Let us make man in our image.” All of the other times in the creation account, God says, “let there be_______” and it was so; this time though, He takes counsel with the Trinity and says let us make man, and so mankind is the pinnacle of creation, fashioned by the very hand of God Himself. Let’s take a look at what it means that man was made in God’s image:

The word that is used in, Genesis, for God is Elohim, a plural noun connoting the compound unity that is God. Because He is self-existent as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, relationship is at the very center of His being and man, being in the image of God is created in relationship with his creator. Prior to the eating of the forbidden fruit, which we will discuss later, there is unbroken communion between God and man, in a sense a father and son relationship.

Because God is a spirit (John 4:24), He is invisible (1 Timothy 1:17) but man, having been made in His image, is the visible “likeness” of God or as John MacArthur points out, he displays God’s communicable attributes. Man was created as God’s living, visible image on earth (2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15) displaying the attributes of knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, which gives man unique value, the capacity for intimate relationship with God, and dominion over the earth as God’s representative. (Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10, Genesis 9:6, Genesis 5:1-3, Romans 8:29, Genesis 1:26-28, Psalm 8:4-8).

Gods Commands and Prohibitions

In this dispensation God’s commands were

  • replenish the earth with children,
  • subdue the earth,
  • have dominion over the animals,
  • care for the garden,
  • abstain from eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

I am not going to belabor the point of man’s disobedience.

God warned of the punishment of physical and spiritual death for disobedience. This particular dispensation was extremely short-lived (perhaps an hundred years or less) and was brought to a swift and abrupt end by Adam and Eve’s disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit and their expulsion from the garden…

Talking Snakes and Other Problems

Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent (Heb. Nacash which is translated serpent, snake, dragon) was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”

My first thought when I read this verse, even as a child, was why in the world did Eve talk to a serpent. The only thing I could come up with is that this wasn’t the first time something like this happened. Whether animals could talk before the fall or not is not something I generally wish to speculate about but I have to tell you, honestly, that the only reason I can think of that Eve didn’t run away like her hair was on fire would be the fact that it was not a surprise for her.

Eve finds herself confronted with the most dangerous words ever spoken, “yea hath God said…?” Neither before nor since have there been words with such potential to destroy and the come repeatedly but today they sound different. Today they sound like this: Jesus never talked about homosexuality (did God really call that a sin?) Would a loving God really send people to hell (did God really say the wages of sin is death?) Don’t all religions basically say the same thing (did God really say Jesus was the only way?) If you listen carefully, you can hear the subtle hiss behind the words as once again the serpent says, yea hath God said?

It would be great if I could say that Eve’s biggest problem was a talking snake; it wasn’t. The biggest problem she faced was that she erred, not knowing the word from the Lord. I do not mean to say that she did not know what God had spoken but she did not know the certainty or sufficiency of the word, which had been spoken.

Sin becomes her

Fully half or more of the scholars in the world will tell you that “the Fall” happened when Eve ate the forbidden fruit. I beg to differ. Look at verse three of chapter three. Eve adds to the word that had been spoken. “Neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Some will say that Adam embellished when he passed the Lord’s instruction on to Eve; I tend to doubt that. There is nothing in the text to indicate that God told only Adam of the prohibition against eating the fruit of that tree. However, adding to the word that God had spoken, though bad enough in itself is not what got Eve…

“The Fall” happened in verse six. She saw that it was good for food (lust of the eyes) and desirable to make one wise (lust of the flesh) she took it and ate (the pride of life). And there it is. The fall happened not in the eating of the fruit, no that was the symptom; it happened when Eve decided that the serpent knew better than God and that she wanted the fruit.

Get thee hence (the test is failed and judgment comes)

They say forbidden fruit is the sweetest fruit and they are correct. Forbidden fruit is quite pleasurable but it, almost instantaneously, brings trouble. Adam and Eve had their eyes opened immediately. However, wisdom was not the dinner guest; shame came to dine with them for when their eyes were opened they saw their nakedness were ashamed. Now since Adam and Eve were alone at this point, they weren’t hiding their nakedness from other people, or each other, they were hiding it from God, which is just a touch ironic since He is the One who made them naked in the first place.

So as not to rehash a story we all already know, Adam and Eve are banned from the Garden, paradise is lost but only for a season. In verse 15 we have what is called the protoevangelion (the proto/pre gospel), a promise that one day the seed of the man will crush the serpent’s head. We will see later just how that happened.

Our next lesson is: It’s My Prerogative: the Dispensation of Conscience. We will go more into depth with each dispensation as we approach the current dispensation and the one yet to come. Until next time

 

Ahava v’shalom

Baptist Distinctives

Baptist Distinctives

WHAT ARE THE EIGHT BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES?

These teachings may be remembered by associating them with the letters that form the word “BAPTISTS.”

Biblical Authority

The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is inspired by God and bears the absolute authority of God Himself. Whatever the Bible affirms, Baptists accept as true. No human opinion or decree of any church group can override the Bible. Even creeds and confessions of faith, which attempt to articulate the theology of Scripture, do not carry Scripture’s inherent authority.

2 Timothy 3:15–17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:20, 21

Autonomy of the Local Church

The local church is an independent body accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. All human authority for governing the local church resides within the local church itself. Thus the church is autonomous, or self-governing. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices. Autonomy does not mean isolation. A Baptist church may fellowship with other churches around mutual interests and in an associational tie, but a Baptist church cannot be a “member” of any other body.

Colossians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 8:1–5, 19, 23

Priesthood of the Believer

“Priest” is defined as “one authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and God.” Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence in prayer directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No other mediator is needed between God and people. As priests, we can study God’s Word, pray for others, and offer spiritual worship to God. We all have equal access to God—whether we are a preacher or not.

1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 5:9, 10

Two Ordinances

The local church should practice two ordinances: (1) baptism of believers by immersion in water, identifying the individual with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, and (2) the Lord’s Supper, or communion, commemorating His death for our sins.

Matthew 28:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–32

Individual Soul Liberty

Every individual, whether a believer or an unbeliever, has the liberty to choose what he believes is right in the religious realm. No one should be forced to assent to any belief against his will. Baptists have always opposed religious persecution. However, this liberty does not exempt one from responsibility to the Word of God or from accountability to God Himself.

Romans 14:5, 12; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Titus 1:9


S
aved, Baptized Church Membership

Local church membership is restricted to individuals who give a believable testimony of personal faith in Christ and have publicly identified themselves with Him in believer’s baptism. When the members of a local church are believers, a oneness in Christ exists, and the members can endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Acts 2:41–47; 1 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 4:3

Two Offices

The Bible mandates only two offices in the church–pastor and deacon. The three terms—“pastor,” “elder,” and “bishop,” or “overseer”—all refer to the same office. The two offices of pastor and deacon exist within the local church, not as a hierarchy outside or over the local church.

1 Timothy 3:1–13; Acts 20:17–38; Philippians 1:1

Separation of Church and State

God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation. The government’s purposes are outlined in Romans 13:1–7 and the church’s purposes in Matthew 28:19 and 20. Neither should control the other, nor should there be an alliance between the two. Christians in a free society can properly influence government toward righteousness, which is not the same as a denomination or group of churches controlling the government.

Matthew 22:15–22; Acts 5:17–29

Jesus I AM Statements: the Bread of Life

Jesus I AM Statements: the Bread of Life

John 6:35 (NIV)

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

What on earth does Jesus mean? What kind of bread are we talking about here? Rye? Wheat? Whole Grain? White? It is good that our minds go in that direction since bread is a staple, that is to say it is an essential for life. In fact, bread is so common that in some cases we use it as a synonym for food in general. If we are “breaking bread” with someone we are sharing a meal with them. Keep the idea of food and sustenance in your mind as we go through this lesson.

  1. Jesus, as the Bread of Life, is the source and sustainer of life. John 10:28 tells us that Jesus gives life and those to whom He gives it will never perish. 1 Timothy 6:13 contains an admonishment from Paul in the sight of God who gives life to everything and we saw at the beginning of this series that Jesus is, in fact, the I AM of the Old Testament and therefore, He is the God who gives life to everything that has it.
  1. Bread played an integral role in the Passover and in the history of the Children of Israel in the wilderness. The Jews were to eat unleavened bread during the Passover feast and then for seven days following as a celebration of the exodus from Egypt. Finally, when the Jews were wandering in the desert for 40 years, God rained down “bread from heaven” to sustain the nation (Exodus 16:4).
  1. Jesus was responding to the obtuseness of the crowd who did not get who He was. The statement that He is the Bread of Life is staggaring!! By equating Himself with bread, Jesus is saying he is essential for life. Now, the life Jesus is referring to is not physical life, but eternal life. Jesus is trying to get the Jews’ thinking off of the physical realm and into the spiritual realm. He is contrasting what He brings as their Messiah with the bread He miraculously created the day before. That was physical bread that perishes. He is spiritual bread that brings eternal life.
  1. Jesus is not talking about physical hunger and thirst. Think back; in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)” When Jesus says those who come to Him will never hunger and those who believe in Him will never thirst, He is saying He will satisfy our hunger and thirst to be made righteous in the sight of God.

 

Our deepest need is for a relationship with God. Jesus is the satisfaction of that need. When we come to Him, He gives us eternal life and then sustains that life so that we never again are in a famine for relationship with God.

 

Introduction to Pneumatology, The Study of the Holy Spirit

Introduction to Pneumatology, The Study of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

(c. bible.org  used by prmission)

The term pneumatology comes from two Greek words, namely, pneuma meaning “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit” (used of the Holy Spirit) and logos meaning “word,” “matter,” or “thing.” As it is used in Christian systematic theology, “pneumatology” refers to the study of the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Generally this includes such topics as the personality of the Spirit, the deity of the Spirit, and the work of the Spirit throughout Scripture.

The Personhood of the Holy Spirit

The personality (and therefore “personhood”) of the Holy Spirit has been denied by certain groups throughout the history of the church. Some point out that the noun for “spirit” in the NT is pneuma which is neuter and, therefore, the spirit is correctly referred to as “it” rather than “he.” In keeping with this idea, some refer to it [him] as “God’s active force,” almost in a Gnostic sense of an emanation from the one, true God. Before we look at the Biblical evidence, it is important to point out that there is no necessary connection in Koine Greek between grammatical gender and personal gender so it is simply false to say that since the Greek noun pneuma is neuter the spirit must be an “it.”

It is important, then, to see what the Scriptures say about his personhood, i.e., is he really a person, albeit divine? This is especially so in a culture moving more toward New Age thinking and pantheism. The Holy Spirit is not the “god” within us which we possess via our own natures, nor is he some amorphous feeling or “active force.” All these views denigrate him and rightly deserve rejection.

There are several lines of evidence in the NT which argue for the personality of the Holy Spirit. First, Jesus said he would send “another” in his place (John 14:16). The word for another is allos in Greek and refers to another just like Jesus. It is reasonable to conclude from this that the Spirit is a person since Jesus is clearly a person. Further, Jesus referred to him as a parakletos (enabler, encourager, comforter, etc.) which requires that he be a person since the functions of a parakletos are personal; Jesus functioned as a parakletos to the disciples.

Second, the fact that the Spirit makes choices (1 Cor 12:11), teaches (John 14:26), guides (John 16:13), reveals Jesus (John 16:14), convicts (John 16:8), seals believers (2 Cor 1:21-22), can be grieved (Eph 4:30), blasphemed (Matt 12:31), possesses a rational mind (Rom 8:26-271 Cor 2:11-13), can be lied to (Acts 5:3-4), quenched (1 Thess 5:19), resisted (Acts 7:51), and on numerous occasions is distinguished from, yet directly linked with the Father and the Son as co-worker and co-recipient of worship, argues definitively for his personhood (Matt 28:19-202 Cor 13:14).16

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

As we noted above, the Holy Spirit is distinguished from, yet closely related to, the Father and the Son—and that on an equal basis. He receives the worship due the Father and the Son (2 Cor 13:14) and does divine works, including inspiring Scripture (2 Peter 1:20-21Matt 19:4-5), regenerating hearts (Titus 3:5), and creating, sustaining, and giving life to all things (Gen 1:2Job 26:13; 34:14-15Psalm 104:29-30). He is said to be eternal (Heb 9:14; only God is eternal), omniscient (1 Cor 2:10-11), and is actually referred to as God (Acts 5:3-41 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20). There is very little room for doubt; clearly the Holy Spirit is divine.

Scriptural Metaphors for the Holy Spirit

Scripture uses several important metaphorical expressions to refer to the Spirit, his sovereign character and his inscrutable, yet manifested workings. For example, Jesus referred to him as a wind—a metaphor which seems to underline the inscrutable nature of his moving in the hearts of people to give them life and bring them to faith (John 3:8).

In connection with his personal and glorious ministry to people, Jesus referred to him as water in John 7:37-39. This symbol portrays the Spirit as the One who can fulfill the deepest longings of the heart to know God, i.e., to enjoy eternal life (John 4:14; 17:3). As such, the metaphor speaks of promised messianic blessing and the presence of the kingdom in a new and powerful way (Isa 12:3; 32:15; 44:3Ezek 39:29Zech 14:16-18Joel 2:28-32Sukk 5:55a).

In Matthew 3:16 (cf. Mark 1:10Luke 3:22John 1:32) the text refers to the Spirit descending out of heaven as a dove. The symbol of the “dove” probably represents the beginning of an age of blessing and the end of judgment or perhaps it symbolizes the beginning of a new creation through the work of the promised, Spirit-empowered Davidic messiah.17

Another metaphor for the Spirit is clothing (Acts 1:8). This idea involves being dressed by another person so that one is characterized by this new clothing. In the case of the Spirit, it refers to his gift of power to us so that we might live consistent with the gospel as we boldly preach it throughout the entire world.

The Spirit is also referred to as a guarantee or pledge of the Christian’s glorification (Eph 1:142 Cor 1:21-22). In this case, the present gift of the Spirit is the guarantee that the totality of what has been promised to us will someday be fulfilled (Rom 8:30). BAGD (the standard Greek lexicon used in NT studies) refers to the “Spirit” in these passages as the “first installment, deposit, down payment, [or] pledge, that pays a part of the purchase price in advance, and so secures a legal claim to the article in question, or makes a contract valid.”18

Closely related to the idea of the Spirit as “pledge” is the Spirit as seal or the One with whom Christians are sealed by God. In 2 Cor 1:22 and Ephesians 1:14, 4:30, Christians are said to be “sealed” by the Spirit of God. A “seal” in the ancient world referred to a “mark (with a seal) as a means of identification so that the mark which denotes ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner (see Rev 7:3)…This forms a basis for understanding the symbolic expression which speaks of those who enter the Christian fellowship as being sealed with or by the Holy Spirit.”19 Thus the “sealing” of the Spirit speaks to the divine ownership of the Christian which translates into security and protection. This does not mean that the Christian will never sin or be chastened by God (1 John 1:9Hebrews 12:1-11), but it does mean that God will never abandon them, neither in this life or the one to come (cf. Rom 8:38-39). We will discuss this more under “Soteriology” or “Salvation” below.

The Pentecost Spirit is also likened to tongues of fire in Acts 2:3. Fire represents the holy presence of God, as for example, in Exodus 3:2-5 and the “burning bush.” One might also recall the pillar of fire (Exod 13:21-22), the fire on Mount Sinai (Exod 24:17) and the fire associated with the wilderness tabernacle (Exod 40:36-38).20 In all these cases, the holiness of God is paramount. Now, recall that the Christian’s election is unto holiness and Christlikeness (Rom 8:29Eph 1:4) and so the Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts to make this transformation a reality (2 Cor 3:18).

The Work of the Holy Spirit in Revelation

The apostle Peter makes it clear that the Holy Spirit was responsible for the production of the OT scriptures (i.e., graphes) by carrying men along as they freely wrote God’s message. Paul likewise asserts the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the production of sacred Scripture (2 Tim 3:16theopneustos). When we go to the OT we see this phenomenon in several places, not the least of which is the clear example of Ezekiel 2:2: “As he spoke to me, the Spirit entered me and raised me to my feet and I heard him speaking to me” (see also 8:4; 11:1, 24). Other examples of the Spirit speaking to people include Balaam (Num 24:2) and Saul (1 Samuel 10:6, 10). Also, Jesus said that David spoke by the Holy Spirit (Matt 22:43; cf. Acts 2:30).21

There is not a great deal of discussion in either testament regarding the relationship between the Spirit and men during the production of Scripture. Peter uses the analogy of the wind filling the sails of a ship. So we may infer from this that the Spirit took the initiative and directed the work, but in no way suppressed the personalities, including the emotional and intellectual input, of the human authors. In fact, it appears that he used all of this (and more), for the spiritual/emotional/ethical experience of David writing lyric poetry (in the Psalms, for example) was not the same as Paul’s experience in writing 1 Thessalonians or Ezra’s experience in writing the book after his name or John writing Revelation. The fact that we have an intimate involvement of the Spirit of God with the writers of Scripture speaks not to mechanical dictation or even conceptual inspiration (cf. Gal 3:16), but instead to a divine-human concurrence (1 Cor 2:12-13).

The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament

The work of the Spirit in the OT is much broader than just the production of Scripture, as important as that is. The Spirit was involved in creating the cosmos (Gen 1:2Job 26:13). He is currently intricately involved in sustaining creation (Psa 104:29-30) and will someday, in a period of enormous divine blessing, completely renew it. The nature of the Spirit’s present ministry testifies to this future work (Isa 32:15Rom 8:18-27).

The Holy Spirit came upon certain people to impart wisdom and practical skills, strength and ability. He did this during the building of the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, and all the tabernacle’s furnishings (Exod 31:1-11). He was also the strength and guidance behind the building of the temple (Zech 4:6).

The Spirit was involved in the administration of the nation of Israel by giving gifts of administration and wisdom (Gen 41:38Num 11:25Deut 34:9). He also raised up national leaders during the dismal period of the Judges. He gave strength, courage, capability in war, and leadership abilities to several people (Judges 3:10; 6:34; 14:19). Later on he anointed Saul, David, and Solomon for leadership by giving them strength and ability to prophesy, but in the case of Saul, the Spirit subsequently withdrew because of his disobedience (1 Sam 10:10; 16:13).

The Holy Spirit was also involved in the regeneration (Ezek 36:26-28), instruction, and sanctification of Israel in the OT (Nehemiah 9:20Psa 51:11; 143:10Isa 63:10). It is also said that he will produce righteousness and justice among the people of God in the messianic age (Isa 11:2-5; 32:15-20).22

The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Life of Christ

The Holy Spirit was involved in the birth of Christ, with the result that Christ, while fully human, was completely sinless (Matt 1:18Luke 1:35). The Holy Spirit was also involved in Christ’s anointing for messianic service (i.e., at his baptism [Luke 3:21-22]), filled him during his temptations (Luke 4:1John 3:34), and revealed the timing and nature of the beginning of that ministry (Luke 4:14, 18). The Holy Spirit was also responsible for Christ’s ability to perform miracles and cast out demons (Matt 12:28). He was also involved in both the death of Christ as well as his resurrection (Heb 9:14Rom 1:4; 8:11). Further, perhaps the best interpretation of 1 Peter 3:18-20 is that the pre-incarnate Christ preached via the Spirit through the mouth of Noah to the wicked back in the days before the flood.23

The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Church

We will discuss the various aspects of the work of the Spirit in relation to the church under the headings of “soteriology” and “ecclesiology.” Suffice it to say here that the Spirit is involved in the works of calling, regeneration, uniting the believer with Christ, indwelling, filling, teaching, guiding, gifting, empowering, and sanctifying the believer. His primary ministry is to mediate the presence of Christ and the knowledge of God to the believer (John 16:13-14).24


16 Some scholars attempt to argue for the personality of the Spirit by pointing out that in Ephesians 1:14 the relative pronoun “who” is masculine in the Greek text and not the expected neuter (i.e., to agree with pneuma). But there is a difficult textual variant here, i.e., the neuter relative pronoun, and it is exceedingly difficult to determine with great confidence which was original. The point is that not much weight should be placed on this passage. Also, some argue that the demonstrative pronoun in John 16:14 is masculine and refers back to the “spirit” in 16:13. The masculine pronoun, then, used in reference to the Spirit, demonstrates his personality. This argument, too, is precarious at best.

17 See Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1-13, Word Biblical Commentary, ed. David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker, vol. 33a (Dallas: Word, 1993), in loc.

18 BAGD, s.v. ajrrabwn.

19 BAGD, s.v. sfragivzw.

20 Others argue that “oil” is a type or symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. It represents the power, cleansing, and illuminating work of the Spirit. See Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago: Moody Press, 1989).

21 See Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985), 867.

22 This summary of the work of the Holy Spirit in the OT relies heavily on the work of Erickson, Christian Theology, 866-69. See also Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, 4th ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1941), 95-99; and especially James I. Packer, “Holy Spirit,” in New Dictionary of Theology, ed. Sinclair B. Ferguson, David F. Wright, and J. I. Packer (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1988), 316-19.

23 See Buist M. Fanning, “A Theology of Peter and Jude,” A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, ed. Roy B. Zuck and Darrell L. Bock (Chicago: Moody, 1994), 448-50.

24 J. I Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit (Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1984), 49.

I AM Statements: Alpha and Omega

I AM Statements: Alpha and Omega

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

I. Why does Jesus use Alpha and Omega?
A. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet implying that Jesus is the first and last, the cause of everything. (Colossians 1:16). Alpha and Omega shows Jesus as the cause of all history, the Creator God, and the culmination of all history as all history is moving toward His full and final glory.

II. What is the significance of the phrase, “which is, and which was, and which is to come?

A. When God told Moses, “I Am Who I Am” it was a statement that is a present continuous, which essentially means that what is said is always that way. God always is, that is to say that He transcends time.

1. God is not bound by the physical laws and limitations of our time and space (Isaiah 57:15)

a. God is a spirit (John 4:24) and so is unbound by these laws 2. God is timeless (Psalm 90:4) and His perspective on time is

different from ours (2 Peter 3:8, Psalm 102:12, Psalm 102:24-27)
B. In short, there has never been a time when God was not and will never be a time when He is not.

III. What is the significance of “the Almighty”
A. God Almighty was a name well known to the Jews

1. Six times in Genesis, God is called Almighty (Genesis 17:1 Genesis 28:3 Genesis 35:11 Genesis 43:14 Genesis 48:3 Genesis 49:25)
2. God tells Moses that He was known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty but not buy His Covenant Name, YHWH (Exodus 6:3)

B. The name, God Almighty is used more than 12 times in the Old Testament. By appropriating this Name unto Himself, Jesus is declaring, in absolutely direct terms that He is, in fact, the One, God Almighty.

Explaining YHWH: Jesus’s I AM Statements

Explaining YHWH: Jesus’s I AM Statements

In Exodus 3, the Lord tells Moses, in answer to the question of His Name, I AM WHO I AM. Like many of us, Moses most likely thought to himself, you are what? Well, Jesus answered that with 7 Statements in the Gospel According to John and two more in Revelation.

 

Jesus declares, I AM…

  1. The Bread Of Life

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

  1. The Light Of The World

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

  1. The Gate

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

  1. The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

  1. The Resurrection And The Life

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)

  1. The Way, The Truth, And The Life

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

  1. The Vine

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

  • Statement 1 tells us that Jesus is the One who spiritually sustains us.
  • In statement 2 we learn that through Him we gain spiritual understanding and wisdom for living.
  • Statement 3 explains that He has given us free and unlimited access to His Kingdom.
  • Statement 4 shows how He did this by paying our entrance fee with His life
  • In statement 5 we learn that whether we die before the rapture or are taken live in it, He has guaranteed our eternal life with God.
  • Statement 6 explains that He is the only one who can do this for us, and
  • Statement 7 reveals that for the balance of our life on Earth, the things we do in His strength, out of gratitude for what He’s done for us, are the only things that matter.

 

In Revelation He declares

I AM…

Alpha and Omega

Revelation 1:8

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The first and the last and He that liveth and was dead

Revelation 1:17-18

17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

We are going to cover the I AM Statements in Revelation first and then will look through John’s record. When we are through we will have a very strong foundation to understand Whom Jesus is.

Overview of Theology

Overview of Theology

WE have found that we are entirely in agreement with Grace to You on Theology and are sharing their Overview of Theology for your benefit

The Holy Scriptures

We teach that the Bible is God’s written revelation to man, and thus the 66 books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God (1Co 2:7-14; 2Pe 1:20, 21).

We teach that the Word of God is an objective, propositional revelation (1Co 2:13; 1Th 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2Ti 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. We teach the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture, which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Ge 1:31; Ex 31:17).

We teach that the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Mt 5:18; 24:35; Jn 10:35; 16:12, 13; 17:17; 1Co 2:13; 2Ti 3:15-17; Heb 4:12; 2Pe 1:20, 21).

We teach that God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God’s Word to man (2Pe 1:20, 21) without error in the whole or in the part (Mt 5:18; 2Ti 3:16).

We teach that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal, grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (Jn 7:17; 16:12-15; 1Co 2:7-15; 1Jn 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.

God

We teach that there is but one living and true God (Dt 6:4; Isa 45:5-7; 1Co 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (Jn 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mt 28:19; 2Co 13:14)—each equally deserving worship and obedience.

God the Father

We teach that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Ps 145:8, 9; 1Co 8:6). He is the Creator of all things (Ge 1:1-31; Eph 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps 103:19; Ro 11:36). His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Eph 4:6), but He is Spiritual Father only to believers (Ro 8:14; 2Co 6:18). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Eph 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1Ch 29:11). In His sovereignty He is neither author nor approver of sin (Hab 1:13), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1Pe 1:17). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Eph 1:4-6); He saves from sin all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (Jn 1:12; Ro 8:15; Gal 4:5; Heb 12:5-9).

God the Son

We teach that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (Jn 10:30; 14:9).

We teach that God the Father created “the heavens and the earth and all that is in them” according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operations (Jn 1:3; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:2).

We teach that in the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man (Php 2:5-8; Col 2:9).

We teach that Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Mic 5:2; Jn 5:23; 14:9, 10; Col 2:9).

We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Isa 7:14; Mt 1:23, 25; Lk 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (Jn 1:1, 14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God’s kingdom (Ps 2:7-9; Isa 9:6; Jn 1:29; Php 2:9-11; Heb 7:25, 26; 1Pe 1:18, 19).

We teach that, in the incarnation, the second person of the Trinity laid aside His right to the full prerogatives of coexistence with God, assumed the place of a Son, and took on an existence appropriate to a servant while never divesting Himself of His divine attributes (Php 2:5-8).

We teach that our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (Jn 10:15; Ro 3:24, 25; 5:8; 1Pe 2:24).

We teach that on the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into the family of God (Ro 3:25; 5:8, 9; 2Co 5:14, 15; 1Pe 2:24; 3:18).

We teach that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High-Priest (Mt 28:6; Lk 24:38, 39; Ac 2:30, 31; Ro 4:25; 8:34; Heb 7:25; 9:24; 1Jn 2:1).

We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (Jn 5:26-29; 14:19; Ro 4:25; 6:5-10; 1Co 15:20, 23).

We teach that Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His body, unto Himself at the Rapture and, returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Ac 1:9-11; 1Th 4:13-18; Rev 20).

We teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind (Jn 5:22, 23):

  1. Believers (1Co 3:10-15; 2Co 5:10);
  2. Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Mt 25:31-46); and
  3. Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Rev 20:11-15).

As the mediator between God and man (1Ti 2:5), the head of His body the church (Eph 1:22; 5:23; Col 1:18), and the coming universal King who will reign on the throne of David (Isa 9:6, 7; Eze 37:24-28; Lk 1:31-33), He is the final judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Mt 25:14-46; Ac 17:30, 31).

God the Holy Spirit

We teach that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1Co 2:10-13), emotions (Eph 4:30), will (1Co 12:11), eternality (Heb 9:14), omnipresence (Ps 139:7-10), omniscience (Isa 40:13, 14), omnipotence (Ro 15:13), and truthfulness (Jn 16:13). In all the divine attributes He is coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Mt 28:19; Ac 5:3, 4; 28:25, 26; 1Co 12:4-6; 2Co 13:14; and Jer 31:31-34 with Heb 10:15-17).

We teach that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in the creation (Ge 1:2), the incarnation (Mt 1:18), the written revelation (2Pe 1:20, 21), and the work of salvation (Jn 3:5-7).

We teach that a unique work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (Jn 14:16, 17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the body of Christ. His activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (Jn 16:7-9; Ac 1:5; 2:4; Ro 8:29; 2Co 3:18; Eph 2:22).

We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1Co 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Ro 8:9-11; 2Co 3:6; Eph 1:13).

We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine teacher who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God’s revelation, the Bible (2Pe 1:19-21). Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (Ro 8:9-11; Eph 5:18; 1Jn 2:20, 27).

We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (Jn 16:13, 14; Ac 1:8; 1Co 12:4-11; 2Co 3:18).

We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (1Co 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2Co 12:12; Eph 4:7-12; Heb 2:1-4).

Man

We teach that man was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Ge 2:7, 15-25; Jas 3:9).

We teach that God’s intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God’s fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God’s purpose for man in the world (Isa 43:7; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11).

We teach that in Adam’s sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to the wrath of God; and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man’s salvation is thereby wholly of God’s grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ge 2:16, 17; 3:1-19; Jn 3:36; Ro 3:23; 6:23; 1Co 2:14; Eph 2:1-3; 1Ti 2:13, 14; 1Jn 1:8).

We teach that because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam’s sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Ps 14:1-3; Jer 17:9; Ro 3:9-18, 23; 5:10-12).

Salvation

We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (Jn 1:12; Eph 1:4-7; 2:8-10; 1Pe 1:18, 19).

Election

We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Ro 8:28-30; Eph 1:4-11; 2Th 2:13; 2Ti 2:10; 1Pe 1:1, 2).

We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Eze 18:23, 32; 33:11; Jn 3:18, 19, 36; 5:40; 2Th 2:10-12; Rev 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (Jn 6:37-40, 44; Ac 13:48; Jas 4:8).

We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Eph 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1Pe 1:2).

We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Ro 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 11:25-28; 2Ti 1:9).

Regeneration

We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (Jn 3:3-8; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (Jn 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence and fruit (1Co 6:19, 20; Eph 5:17-21; Php 2:12b; Col 3:12-17; 2Pe 1:4-11). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2Co 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Ro 8:16, 17; 2Pe 1:4; 1Jn 3:2, 3).

Justification

We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Ro 8:30, 33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Lk 13:3; Ac 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Ro 2:4; 2Co 7:10; Isa 55:6, 7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Ro 10:9, 10; 1Co 12:3; 2Co 4:5; Php 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Ro 3:20; 4:6) and involves the placing of our sins on Christ (Col 2:14; 1Pe 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1Co 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2Co 5:21). By this means God is enabled to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Ro 3:26).

Sanctification

We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Ac 20:32; 1Co 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2Th 2:13; Heb 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1Pe 1:2).

We teach that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the likeness of Christ through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. The believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 17:17, 19; Ro 6:1-22; 2Co 3:18; 1Th 4:3, 4; 5:23).

In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Gal 5:16-25; Php 3:12; Col 3:9, 10; 1Pe 1:14-16; 1Jn 3:5-9).

Security

We teach that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (Jn 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Ro 5:9, 10; 8:1, 31-39; 1Co 1:4-9; Eph 4:30; Heb 7:25; 13:5; 1Pe 1:4, 5; Jude 24).

We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an excuse for sinful living and carnality (Ro 6:15-22; 13:13, 14; Gal 5:13, 16, 17, 25, 26; Titus 2:11-14).

Separation

We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2Co 6:14-7:1; 2Ti 3:1-5).

We teach that out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from any association with religious apostasy, and worldly and sinful practices is commanded of us by God (Ro 12:1, 2; 1Co 5:9-13; 2Co 6:14-7:1; 1Jn 2:15-17; 2Jn 9-11).

We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2Th 1:11, 12; Heb 12:1, 2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness demonstrated by a beatitude attitude (Mt 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Ro 12:1, 2; 2Co 7:1; Heb 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1Jn 3:1-10).

The Church

We teach that all who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church (1Co 12:12, 13), the bride of Christ (2Co 11:2; Eph 5:23-32; Rev 19:7, 8), of which Christ is the head (Eph 1:22; 4:15; Col 1:18).

We teach that the formation of the church, the body of Christ, began on the day of Pentecost (Ac 2:1-21, 38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the Rapture (1Co 15:51, 52; 1Th 4:13-18).

We teach that the church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Eph 2:11-3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1Co 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Eph 3:1-6; 5:32).

We teach that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Ac 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Gal 1:2; Php 1:1; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:1) and that the members of the one spiritual body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1Co 11:18-20; Heb 10:25).

We teach that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (Eph 1:22; Col 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (males, who are also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teachers; Ac 20:28; Eph 4:11) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualification (1Ti 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1Pe 5:1-5).

We teach that these leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1Ti 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Heb 13:7, 17).

We teach the importance of discipleship (Mt 28:19, 20; 2Ti 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Mt 18:15-17), as well as the need for discipline for sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Mt 18:15-22; Ac 5:1-11; 1Co 5:1-13; 2Th 3:6-15; 1Ti 1:19, 20; Titus 1:10-16).

We teach the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). We teach that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Local churches, however, through their pastors and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judges of the measure and method of their cooperation (Ac 15:19-31; 20:28; 1Co 5:4-7, 13; 1Pe 5:1-4).

We teach that the purpose of the church is to glorify God (Eph 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Eph 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2Ti 2:2, 15; 3:16, 17), by fellowship (Ac 2:47; 1Jn 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Lk 22:19; Ac 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Mt 28:19; Ac 1:8).

We teach the calling of all saints to the work of service (1Co 15:58; Eph 4:12; Rev 22:12).

We teach the need of the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:7-12) and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the body of Christ (Ro 12:5-8; 1Co 12:4-31; 1Pe 4:10, 11).

We teach that there were two kinds of gifts given the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles’ message (Heb 2:3, 4; 2Co 12:12); and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1Co 13:8-12). Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (Mt 24:24). The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Ro 12:6-8).

We teach that no one possesses the gift of healing today but that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Lk 18:1-8; Jn 5:7-9; 2Co 12:6-10; Jas 5:13-16; 1Jn 5:14, 15).

We teach that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Ac 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Ac 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Ro 6:1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Ac 2:41, 42).

We teach that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1Co 11:23-32). We also teach that whereas the elements of communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless an actual Communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshiping with His people (1Co 10:16).

Angels

Holy Angels

We teach that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Lk 2:9-14; Heb 1:6, 7, 14; 2:6, 7; Rev 5:11-14).

Fallen Angels

We teach that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isa 14:12-17; Eze 28:11-19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Mt 25:41; Rev 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Ge 3:1-15).

We teach that Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Isa 14:13, 14; Mt 4:1-11; Rev 12:9, 10), the prince of this world who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Ro 16:20) and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Isa 14:12-17; Eze 28:11-19; Mt 25:41; Rev 20:10).

Last Things (Eschatology)

Death

We teach that physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Rev 6:9-11), that there is a separation of soul and body (Jas 2:26), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Lk 23:43; 2Co 5:8; Php 1:23), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the Rapture (1Th 4:13-17) which initiates the first resurrection (Rev 20:4-6), when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (1Co 15:35-44, 50-54; Php 3:21). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2Co 5:8).

We teach the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (Jn 6:39; Ro 8:10, 11, 19-23; 2Co 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Da 12:2; Jn 5:29; Rev 20:13-15).

We teach that the souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the final resurrection (Lk 16:19-26; Rev 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrection body will be united (Jn 5:28, 29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne judgment (Rev 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Mt 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever (Da 12:2; Mt 25:41-46; 2Th 1:7-9).

The Rapture of the Church

We teach the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year tribulation (1Th 4:16; Titus 2:13) to translate His church from this earth (Jn 14:1-3; 1Co 15:51-53; 1Th 4:15-5:11) and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1Co 3:11-15; 2Co 5:10).

The Tribulation Period

We teach that immediately following the removal of the church from the earth (Jn 14:1-3; 1Th 4:13-18) the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jer 30:7; Da 9:27; 12:1; 2Th 2:7-12; Rev 16), and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Mt 24:27-31; 25:31-46; 2Th 2:7-12). At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Da 12:2, 3; Rev 20:4-6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy (Da 9:24-27; Mt 24:15-31; 25:31-46).

The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign

We teach that after the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Mt 25:31; Lk 1:32, 33; Ac 1:10, 11; 2:29, 30) and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Rev 20:1-7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Eze 37:21-28; Da 7:17-22; Rev 19:11-16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Da 7:17-27; Rev 20:1-6).

We teach that the kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel (Isa 65:17-25; Eze 37:21-28; Zec 8:1-17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience (Dt 28:15-68). The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Mt 21:43; Ro 11:1-26) but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jer 31:31-34; Eze 36:22-32; Ro 11:25-29).

We teach that this time of our Lord’s reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Isa 11; 65:17-25; Eze 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Rev 20:7).

The Judgment of the Lost

We teach that following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ (Rev 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Rev 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Mt 25:41; Rev 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the judge of all men (Jn 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment.

We teach that this resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment (Jn 5:28, 29), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Mt 25:41; Rev 20:11-15).

Eternity

We teach that after the closing of the Millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2Th 1:9; Rev 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2Pe 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Eph 5:5; Rev 20:15; 21, 22). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Rev 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (Jn 17:3; Rev 21, 22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1Co 15:23-28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1Co 15:28).
The MacArthur Study Bible.

44 Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled

44 Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled

44 Prophecies Jesus Christ Fulfilled
  Prophecies About Jesus Old Testament

Scripture

New Testament

Fulfillment

1 Messiah would be born of a woman. Genesis 3:15 Matthew 1:20

Galatians 4:4

2 Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:1

Luke 2:4-6

3 Messiah would be born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:22-23

Luke 1:26-31

4 Messiah would come from the line of Abraham. Genesis 12:3

Genesis 22:18

Matthew 1:1

Romans 9:5

5 Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac. Genesis 17:19

Genesis 21:12

Luke 3:34
6 Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob. Numbers 24:17 Matthew 1:2
7 Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. Genesis 49:10 Luke 3:33

Hebrews 7:14

8 Messiah would be heir to King David‘s throne. 2 Samuel 7:12-13

Isaiah 9:7

Luke 1:32-33

Romans 1:3

9 Messiah’s throne will be anointed and eternal. Psalm 45:6-7

Daniel 2:44

Luke 1:33

Hebrews 1:8-12

10 Messiah would be called Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:23
11 Messiah would spend a season in Egypt. Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:14-15
12 A massacre of children would happen at Messiah’s birthplace. Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 2:16-18
13 A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah Isaiah 40:3-5 Luke 3:3-6
14 Messiah would be rejected by his own people. Psalm 69:8

Isaiah 53:3

John 1:11

John 7:5

15 Messiah would be a prophet. Deuteronomy 18:15 Acts 3:20-22
16 Messiah would be preceded by Elijah. Malachi 4:5-6 Matthew 11:13-14
17 Messiah would be declared the Son of God. Psalm 2:7 Matthew 3:16-17
18 Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Isaiah 11:1 Matthew 2:23
19 Messiah would bring light to Galilee. Isaiah 9:1-2 Matthew 4:13-16
20 Messiah would speak in parables. Psalm 78:2-4

Isaiah 6:9-10

Matthew 13:10-15, 34-35
21 Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted. Isaiah 61:1-2 Luke 4:18-19
22 Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Psalm 110:4 Hebrews 5:5-6
23 Messiah would be called King. Psalm 2:6

Zechariah 9:9

Matthew 27:37

Mark 11:7-11

24 Messiah would be praised by little children. Psalm 8:2 Matthew 21:16
25 Messiah would be betrayed. Psalm 41:9

Zechariah 11:12-13

Luke 22:47-48

Matthew 26:14-16

26 Messiah’s price money would be used to buy a potter’s field. Zechariah 11:12-13 Matthew 27:9-10
27 Messiah would be falsely accused. Psalm 35:11 Mark 14:57-58
28 Messiah would be silent before his accusers. Isaiah 53:7 Mark 15:4-5
29 Messiah would be spat upon and struck. Isaiah 50:6 Matthew 26:67
30 Messiah would be hated without cause. Psalm 35:19

Psalm 69:4

John 15:24-25
31 Messiah would be crucified with criminals. Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38

Mark 15:27-28

32 Messiah would be given vinegar to drink. Psalm 69:21 Matthew 27:34

John 19:28-30

33 Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. Psalm 22:16

Zechariah 12:10

John 20:25-27
34 Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed. Psalm 22:7-8 Luke 23:35
35 Soldiers would gamble for Messiah’s garments. Psalm 22:18 Luke 23:34

Matthew 27:35-36

36 Messiah’s bones would not be broken. Exodus 12:46

Psalm 34:20

John 19:33-36
37 Messiah would be forsaken by God. Psalm 22:1 Matthew 27:46
38 Messiah would pray for his enemies. Psalm 109:4 Luke 23:34
39 Soldiers would pierce Messiah’s side. Zechariah 12:10 John 19:34
40 Messiah would be buried with the rich. Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-60
41 Messiah would resurrect from the dead. Psalm 16:10

Psalm 49:15

Matthew 28:2-7

Acts 2:22-32

42 Messiah would ascend to heaven. Psalm 24:7-10 Mark 16:19

Luke 24:51

43 Messiah would be seated at God’s right hand. Psalm 68:18

Psalm 110:1

Mark 16:19

Matthew 22:44

44 Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin. Isaiah 53:5-12 Romans 5:6-8

Note: Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved

Foundations 8: Kingdom Come/Last Things

Foundations 8: Kingdom Come/Last Things

Foundations Lesson 8: Kingdom Come/Last Things

Rapture: The End Begins

What is the Rapture

The Rapture, also referred to as the Blessed Hope is an eschatological event and, in point of fact, is the event that begins the entirety of the End Times. Our official statement is thus: 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)

 

This is the event where believers who are “alive and remain shall be caught up together…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). We would call this the First Resurrection, where each Christian receives his or her resurrected body, after which they will pass before the Bema Seat and then enter into the joy of their Lord. First to receive their new bodies are those who have died as Christians, and then, those who are “alive and remain.”

 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (Being asleep, as the Apostle Paul uses here, is a euphemism. He simply means that they have died.)

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

 

(The Second Resurrection occurs at the Great White Throne where the wicked dead and the remaining wicked who are living are resurrected to eternal fire.)

 

Take notice, I am telling you a secret. We shall not all die but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet call. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall all be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

 

Is it certain that there will be a Rapture?

Absolutely. All the prophecies related to the First Advent came to pass and so the prophecies related to the Second will happen as well.

 

When Will It Happen?

We cannot know that and anyone who says that they do know is a liar. We do know that the rapture will be instantaneous, in “the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Scripture nowhere encourages us to try to determine the date of Jesus’ return. Rather, we are to “keep watch, because we do not know on which day our Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). We are to “be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when we do not expect Him” (Matthew 24:44). In the eschatological Parable of the Talents, we are told by the Lord to “Occupy till I come” but what does that mean? It means that we must be about the work of spreading the message of the Gospel.

 

Exploring the Truth takes the position of a premillennial, pre-tribulational rapture of the church and we have been told that such a position is actually detrimental to the work of the Kingdom; I could not disagree more. If we truly believe that the Rapture of the Church is imminent, it should motivate us greatly. The true work of the Kingdom is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that He is coming soon.

 

The timing of the Rapture has sparked a great debate within Christianity as a whole. Will it occur before, during, or after the tribulation period? Will it occur before the Millennial Kingdom begins, after the Millennial Kingdom ends, or, perhaps, will there be no Millennial Kingdom at all? Since we take the position of a Premillennial, Pretribulational Rapture of the Church, we need to define our terms. The tribulation is a seven-year period that immediately precedes the return of Christ and the establishment of His millennial kingdom, which lasts for 1,000 years. The first 3 ½ years of the tribulation will be a time of peace and cooperation, and the second 3 ½ years of the tribulation will be a time of war and catastrophe. At the midpoint of the tribulation, the Antichrist will proclaim himself god and require worship from all people of the world. Many will bow down and worship the Antichrist, including taking his mark of worldwide registration. Some will refuse to worship the Antichrist and receive his mark, and many will be killed for this act of disobedience. The second half of the tribulation is referred to as the “Great Tribulation.” There will be extraordinary catastrophes all over the world during this period. (For scriptural support, see Revelation 3:10, Matthew 24; Mark 13 and Luke 17).

 

Why do we take this position? In answering this question, it is important that we understand the culture of the day as well as the metaphor in play. In Revelation 19, we see the Marriage Supper of the Lamb referred to. This is noteworthy because it is the metaphor that we are to follow.

 

I had the privilege to sit under a Messianic Jewish Rabbi and he explained this as following the Paleo-Hebraic wedding. Let us look at that metaphor in regard to the Rapture and the rest of the End Times.

 

First, there is the Mohar (the Bride Price or Dowry). In the case of the Church, who is the Bride of Christ, the price was His own precious blood. Next, there is erusin, the betrothal. At the betrothal the woman was legally married, although she still remained in her father’s house. She could not belong to another man unless she was divorced from her betrothed. The wedding meant only that the betrothed woman, accompanied by a colorful procession, was brought from her father’s house to the house of her groom, and the legal tie with him was consummated. This is a beautiful picture of Sovereign Election; we are betrothed to Christ in the moment of our election and we can, legally, belong to no other.

 

The bride and groom would dwell in a place prepared for them by the groom:

John 14:2-3 (NASB)

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

 

Only the father could determine when the dwelling place was ready. Matthew 24:36 (KJV)

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  This would begin a period of separation.

 

At the end of the period of separation the groom would come to take his bride to live with him. The taking of the bride usually took place at night. The groom, best man and other male escorts would leave the groom’s father’s house and conduct a torch light procession to the home of the bride. Although the bride was expecting her groom to come for her, she did not know the exact time of his coming. As a result the groom’s arrival would be preceded by a shout. This shout would forewarn the bride to be prepared for the coming of the groom. (The shout of the Archangel in 1 Thessalonians)

 

After the groom received his bride together with her female attendants, the enlarged wedding party would return from the bride’s home to the groom’s father’s house. Upon arrival there the wedding party would find that the wedding guests had assembled already.

 

Shortly after arrival the bride and groom would be escorted by the other members of the wedding party to the bridal chamber (Chuppah). Prior to entering the chamber the bride remained veiled so that no one could see her face. While the groomsmen and bridesmaids would wait outside, the bride and groom would enter the bridal chamber alone. There in the privacy of that place they would enter into physical union for the first time, thereby consummating the marriage that had been covenanted earlier. After the marriage was consummated, the groom would announce the consummation to the other members of the wedding party waiting outside the chamber (John 3:29). These people would pass on the news of the marital union to the wedding guests. Upon receiving this good news the wedding guests would feast and make merry for the next seven days. During the seven days of the wedding festivities, which were sometimes called “the seven days of the Chuppah,” the bride remained hidden in the bridal chamber. At the conclusion of these seven days the groom would bring his bride out of the bridal chamber, now with her veil removed, so that all could see who his bride was.

 

In the same manner as the Jewish bridegroom came to the bride’s home for the purpose of obtaining her through the establishment of a marriage covenant, so Jesus came to earth for the purpose of obtaining the Church through the establishment of a covenant. On the same night in which Jesus made His promise in John 14, He instituted communion (This is the Covenant sign of our betrothal to Him). As He passed the cup of wine to His disciples, He said: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Cor. 11:25). This was His way of saying that He would establish a new covenant through the shedding of His blood on the cross. Parallel to the custom of the Jewish groom paying a price to purchase his bride, Jesus paid a price to purchase His bride, the Church. The price that He paid was His own life blood. It was because of this purchase price that Paul wrote the following to members of the Church: “know ye not that…ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

 

Analogous with the Jewish bride being declared to be sanctified or set apart exclusively for her groom once the marriage covenant was established, the Church has been declared to be sanctified or set apart exclusively for Christ (Eph. 5:25-27; 1Cor. 1:2; 6:11; Heb. 10:10; 13:12).

 

In the same way that a cup of wine served as a symbol of the marriage covenant through which the Jewish groom obtained his bride, so the cup of communion serves as the symbol of the covenant through which Christ has obtained the Church (1 Cor. 11:25).

 

Just as the Jewish groom left the home of his bride and returned to his father’s house after the marriage covenant had been established, so Jesus left the earth, the home of the Church, and returned to His Father’s house in heaven after He had established the new covenant and risen from the dead (John 6:62; 20:17).

Corresponding with the period of separation between the Jewish groom and bride, Christ has remained separate from the Church for over 1900 years. The Church is now living in that period of separation.

 

Parallel to the custom of the Jewish groom preparing living accommodations for his bride in his father’s house during the time of separation, Christ has been preparing living accommodations for the Church in His Father’s house in heaven during His separation from His Bride (John 14:2).

 

In the same manner as the Jewish groom came to take his bride to live with him at the end of the period of separation, so Christ will come to take His Church to live with Him at the end of His period of separation from the Church (John 14:3).

Just as the taking of the Jewish bride was accomplished by a procession of the groom and male escorts from the groom’s father’s house to the home of the bride, so the taking of the Church will be accomplished by a procession of Christ and an angelic escort from Christ’s Father’s house in heaven to the home of the Church (1 Thess. 4:16).

 

Just as the Jewish bride was not knowing the exact time of the groom’s coming for her, the Church does not know the exact time of Christ’s coming for her.

In the same way that the Jewish groom’s arrival was preceded by a shout, so Christ’s arrival to take the Church will be preceded by a shout (1 Thess. 4:16).

Similar to the Jewish bride’s return with the groom to his father’s house after her departure from her home, the Church will return with Christ to His Father’s house in heaven after she is snatched from the earth to meet Him in the air (1 Thess. 4:17; John 14:2-3). What will happen here taught using the Greek word harpazo, which means to catch away. In the connotation of harpazo, it is very similar to being caught by the collar and being drug away. It is then that we will experience the other word related to the Rapture, Paralambano, which is a taking to oneself. The Angelic Host will catch us out of this world (harpazo in Greek, rapturus in Latin and that is where the word rapture comes from) and will deliver us unto Jesus who, being the perfect groom will take us unto himself.

 

 

In the same manner as the Jewish wedding party found wedding guests assembled in the groom’s father’s house when they arrived, so Christ and the Church will find the souls of Old Testament saints assembled in heaven when they arrive. These souls will serve as the wedding guests. What a glorious event that will be!! The saints of old gathered together to witness the joining of the Prince of Heaven to His bride, can you even imagine and she is presented to Him in a robe of fine linen, white and pure and, in final glorification, the Bride reflects the radiant majesty of Jesus Christ?!

 

Parallel to the custom of the Jewish groom and bride entering into physical union after their arrival at the groom’s father’s house, thereby consummating the marriage that had been covenanted earlier, Christ and the Church will experience spiritual union after their arrival at His Father’s house in heaven, thereby consummating their relationship that had been covenanted earlier.

 

Corresponding with the Jewish bride remaining hidden in the bridal chamber for a period of seven days after arrival at the groom’s father’s house, the Church will remain hidden for a period of seven after arrival at Christ’s Father’s house in heaven. While the seven year Tribulation Period is taking place on the earth, the Church will be in heaven totally hidden from the sight of those living on the earth.

Just as the Jewish groom brought his bride out of the bridal chamber at the conclusion of the seven days with her veil removed, so that all could see who his bride was, so Christ will bring His Church out of heaven in His Second Coming at the conclusion of the seven year Tribulation Period in full view of all who are alive, so that all can see who the true church is (Col. 3:4).

 

Beloved, can you see the majesty of this event? The ultimate groom is coming for His bride. The Crown Prince of Heaven, adorned in majesty, wearing glory for His garments is coming to take His bride home. We, the Church are that Bride and we are about to enter into the “7 days of the Chuppa” but for those left behind, they will be a time of terrible tribulation, on year for each day of the Marriage Supper…

 

There is a tremendous amount of information that yet needs to be unpacked. We will develop these concepts more as we go through the lessons on the Tribulation, The Millennium, and the End of Days.

 

In reality, the main debate on the Rapture is not what it’s nature is, but when it will occur in relation to the tribulation. To summarize, the pre-tribulation view is that the rapture will happen before the tribulation period, and this is the position that we take; the mid-tribulation view is that the rapture will occur half-way through the tribulation period; and the post-tribulation view is that the rapture will occur at the end of the tribulation period.

 

To repeat: Exploring the Truth, officially, takes the position of a Pre-Millennial, Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

 

Does the Timing Matter for Believers in Jesus Christ?

The pre-tribulation rapture is a wonderful hope for believers in Jesus Christ, which is why the Apostle tells us to comfort one another with those words.

 

That being said, when the Rapture actually happens is, to a point, ancillary. The key to our position in Christ, and to securing our home-going, is that we are justified by faith in Christ because of grace.

 

Tribulation: The Wrath to Come

 

The Biblical Basis for The Tribulation

Does the Bible teach that there will be a Great Tribulation (also called the Time of Jacob’s trouble? Does it teach that there will be an actual person who we know as the Antichrist? In short, Yes.

 

What are the Tribulation and Great Tribulation (gotquestions.org)

The Tribulation is a future time period when the Lord will accomplish at least two aspects of His plan: 1) He will complete His discipline of the nation Israel (Daniel 9:24), and 2) He will judge the unbelieving, godless inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 6 – 18). The length of the Tribulation is seven years. This is determined by an understanding of the seventy weeks of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27; also see the article on the Tribulation). The Great Tribulation is the last half of the Tribulation period, three and one-half years in length. It is distinguished from the Tribulation period because the Beast, or Antichrist, will be revealed, and the wrath of God will greatly intensify during this time. Thus, it is important at this point to emphasize that the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation are not synonymous terms. Within eschatology (the study of future things), the Tribulation refers to the full seven-year period while the “Great Tribulation” refers to the second half of the Tribulation.

 

It is Christ Himself who used the phrase “Great Tribulation” with reference to the last half of the Tribulation. In Matthew 24:21, Jesus says, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” In this verse Jesus is referring to the event of Matthew 24:15, which describes the revealing of the abomination of desolation, the man also known as the Antichrist. Also, Jesus in Matthew 24:29-30 states, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days . . . the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” In this passage, Jesus defines the Great Tribulation (v.21) as beginning with the revealing of the abomination of desolation (v.15) and ending with Christ’s second coming (v.30).

 

Other passages that refer to the Great Tribulation are Daniel 12:1b, which says, “And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.” It seems that Jesus was quoting this verse when He spoke the words recorded in Matthew 24:21. Also referring to the Great Tribulation is Jeremiah 30:7, “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.” The phrase “Jacob’s distress” refers to the nation of Israel, which will experience persecution and natural disasters such as have never before been seen.

 

Considering the information Christ gave us in Matthew 24:15-30, it is easy to conclude that the beginning of the Great Tribulation has much to do with the abomination of desolation, an action of the Antichrist. In Daniel 9:26-27, we find that this man will make a “covenant” (a peace pact) with the world for seven years (one “week”; again, see the article on the Tribulation). Halfway through the seven-year period—”in the middle of the week”—we are told this man will break the covenant he made, stopping sacrifice and grain offering, which specifically refers to his actions in the rebuilt temple of the future. Revelation 13:1-10 gives even more detail concerning the Beast’s actions, and just as important, it also verifies the length of time he will be in power. Revelation 13:5 says he will be in power for 42 months, which is three and one-half years, the length of the Great Tribulation.

 

Revelation offers us the most information about the Great Tribulation. From Revelation 13 when the Beast is revealed until Christ returns in Revelation 19, we are given a picture of God’s wrath on the earth because of unbelief and rebellion (Revelation 16-18). It is also a picture of how God disciplines and at the same time protects His people Israel (Revelation 14:1-5) until He keeps His promise to Israel by establishing an earthly kingdom (Revelation 20:4-6).

 

The first mention of the Tribulation in the Bible is found in Deuteronomy 4:27-30. Before the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land, Moses warned them that if they were unfaithful to God, they would be scattered among the nations. He then prophesied that “in the latter days” they would come under “distress,” and the result would be their “return to the Lord.”

 

Centuries later, Jeremiah used the same terminology when he referred to the Tribulation. He called it “the time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Similarly, Daniel called it “the time of trouble,” and he prophesied it would be the worst period of trouble in the history of the Jewish people (Daniel 12:1). Malachi stated it would be a time of refining for the Jews, as when silver is purified by fire (Malachi 3:1-4). And Zechariah used the same imagery when he prophesied that two-thirds of the Jewish people will perish during this time. Of the remnant remaining, he wrote, “I [the Lord] will bring the third part through the fire [and] refine them as silver is refined…” (Zechariah 13:8-9). Incidentally, it is this remnant that prompts us to teach that all of Israel will be saved.

 

All Israel Will Be Saved During the Tribulation

That all Israel will be saved is a logical possibility that we can readily draw from the text.

 

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. We can, then, infer that the salvation of Israel is logically possible. As to probability, bear with me…

 

SEALS

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

“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

 

“all Israel”

  • Romans 2:25-29
  • Romans 9:6b
  • Romans 9:27
  • Ezekiel 20:5, 8, 13, 16-17, 33-44
    1. When will God rule over Israel…when will God be Israel’s King?
    2. When will Israel pollute His name no more?
    3. When will Israel be sanctified before the Gentile nations?
    4. When will Israel know that Jesus Christ is Lord?
    5. When will Israel loathe themselves and their tawdry history?
    6. When will the Lord purge Israel of the rebels/unbelievers?
    7. 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

 

 

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.

 

Additional from Dr. MacArthur

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. 7:1–8; 14:1–5), 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 completely a 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 Israel and 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 Israel after 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 abolish 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”

 

 

The Scope of Tribulation

The House of Israel will not be the only ones to suffer during this period of unparalleled trouble. The Bible makes it clear that all the nations of the world will experience catastrophic calamities.

 

Isaiah calls it “a day of reckoning” for all the nations of the world (Isaiah 2:10-17). Zephaniah says “all the earth will be devoured in the fire of God’s jealousy” (Zephaniah 1:18). The Psalmist Asaph put it this way: “A cup is in the hand of the Lord, and the wine foams… surely, all the wicked of the earth must drain and drink down its dregs” (Psalm 75:8).

 

How long will this be?

The prophet Daniel defined the length of the Tribulation. He said God would accomplish all His purposes for the Jewish people during a period of 70 weeks of years (490 years). Sixty-nine of those weeks of years (483 years) would lead up to the death of the Messiah. The final week of years would occur at the end of the age, right before the return of the Messiah (Daniel 9:24-27). This concluding week of years (7 years) corresponds to the Tribulation for, as Daniel put it, it will mark the time when “the prince who is to come” will “make desolate” — a reference to the Antichrist.

 

The timing established by Daniel is confirmed in the book of Revelation where the Tribulation is divided into two periods of 3 1/2 years each (Revelation 11:3,7 and 13:5). The dividing point between the two halves of the Tribulation will occur when the Antichrist reveals himself by entering the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, stopping the sacrifices, and declaring himself to be god (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; and Revelation 13:5-6).

 

When does this happen?

When will this terrible period begin? The Bible says in general terms that it will start after the Jews have been re-gathered and have been re-established in their homeland and in their sacred city of Jerusalem.

 

Specifically, the Bible says it will begin at a time when all the world comes together against Israel over the issue of who will control the city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2-3). Of course, this means that, currently, we are on the very threshold of the Tribulation today as we witness the United Nations, the European Union, the Vatican, and the Arab nations demanding that the Jews surrender their sovereignty over Jerusalem. Ultimately, this will not happen as God Himself will rise up to defend Israel, His beloved.

 

The specific event that will mark the seven year count down of the Tribulation will be the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and her Arab enemies — a treaty that will allow the Jews to rebuild their Temple (Daniel 9:27).

 

The Nature

The unparalleled horror of the Tribulation is spelled out in detail in both Tanakh and the New Testament. Isaiah wrote that it will be a day of “terror of the Lord” when “the pride of men will be abased” (Isaiah 2:10,17,19). Zephaniah proclaimed that it will be a “day of wrath,” “a day of trouble and distress,” and “a day of destruction and desolation” (Zephaniah 1:15). Men will stumble around like they are blind and “their blood will be poured out like dust” (Zephaniah 1:17).

 

This dismal picture is echoed in the New Testament. Jesus said it will be a time of tribulation “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall” (Matthew 24:21). In fact, Jesus said it will be so terrible that if it were not stopped at the end of seven years, it would result in the destruction of all life (Matthew 24:22). The Apostle John states that the chaos will be so great that the leaders of the world will crawl into caves and cry out for the rocks of the mountains to fall upon them (Revelation 6:15-16).

 

 

Foundations 7: Believers Baptism and Holy Communion

Foundations 7: Believers Baptism and Holy Communion

Believer’s Baptism

Official Statement on Baptism

Following the model displayed in the New Testament, Exploring the Truth takes the position that baptism is limited exclusively to the repentant believer who, having placed his faith and obedience, in Christ, and now wishes to publicly profess faith before the Household of the Faithful and to identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord through full, bodily immersion in water (except when medically not possible). We do not teach that baptism saves; rather we teach that this is the first step of obedience to the commands of our Lord and His Apostles.

 As a consequence of this, it is the position of Exploring the Truth that Paedobaptism is not valid as fulfillment of the Apostolic Mandate to “repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38)”

Defending Our Position

An excerpt from Baptist Distinctives…

Ask most non-Baptists (and even some Baptists!) what is the Baptist distinctive and they likely will say, “Baptism of adults by immersion.” Of course, there is no one Baptist distinctive. Why then do many people regard baptism as practiced by Baptists to be our distinctive? A possible reason is that Baptists are one of the very few denominations that practice believer’s baptism by immersion and do so as a symbol of having been saved, not as a requirement for salvation. 

In previous centuries, rulers of both state and church launched persecutions against Baptists for this practice. In the face of such harsh resistance, as well as the inconvenience of immersion, why have Baptists stubbornly held to the belief in and practice of believer’s immersion? The answer is found in basic Baptist convictions. 

Baptism Is Only for Believers

The New Testament records that baptism always followed conversion, never preceded it, and were not necessary for salvation (Acts 2:1-41; 8:36-39; 16:30-33). Since Baptists look to the Bible as our sole authority for faith and practice, we believe that baptism is only for those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 

Furthermore, Baptists point out that in the New Testament a commitment to believe in and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior was always voluntary. Therefore, baptism as a sign of such commitment ought always to be voluntary. 

Because of these convictions based on the Bible, Baptists do not baptize infants. This refusal has resulted in persecution. For example, Henry Dunster, the first president of Harvard University, was forced not only from his office but banished from Cambridge for refusing to have his infant children baptized in the state-supported church.

Baptism Is Only by Immersion

Although some early Baptists baptized by pouring or sprinkling water over a person, Baptists concluded that immersion of a person’s entire body in water was the only biblical way to baptize. Therefore, in spite of persecution, inconvenience and ridicule, they began to practice baptism only by immersion. Today, that is the Baptist way throughout most of the world.

The belief in immersion as the proper mode of baptism is based on the Bible for several reasons:

  • The English word “baptize” comes from a word in the Greek language—the language in which the New Testament originally was written—that means “to dip, submerge, or immerse.”
  • John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River by immersion as Jesus began his public ministry (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11).
  • Christ’s disciples in New Testament times baptized by immersion (Acts 8:36-39).
  • Immersion is a means not only of declaring that Christ died, was buried and was resurrected to provide salvation but also of testifying about our own hope of resurrection (Romans 6:5).
  • The New Testament teaches that immersion is a way to symbolize that a believer has died to an old way and is alive to walk a new way in Christ (Romans 6:3-4; Colossians 2:11-12).

Baptism Is Symbolic

Baptists believe that the Bible teaches that baptism is important but not necessary for salvation. For example, the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43), Saul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:1-18) and the people gathered in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10:24-48) all experienced salvation without the necessity of baptism. In his sermon at Pentecost, Peter urged those who had repented and believed in Christ to be baptized, not that baptism was necessary for salvation but as a testimony that they had been saved (Acts 2:1-41).

Thus, baptism is symbolic and not sacramental. Baptists believe that the Bible teaches that baptism symbolizes that a person has been saved and is not a means of salvation. Baptism is not a means of channeling saving grace but rather is a way of testifying that saving grace has been experienced. It does not wash away sin but symbolizes the forgiveness of sin through faith in Christ. 

While baptism is not essential for salvation, it is a very important requirement for obedience to the Lord. Christ commanded his disciples to baptize (Matthew 28:19) and therefore baptism is a form of obedience to Jesus as Lord. Baptism is one way that a person declares, “Jesus is Lord.”

What is Believer’s Baptism?

What is believer’s baptism? Does it have a purpose, since salvation is “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8,9)?

Water baptism is obviously a picture of something, which has already taken place in the heart of the believer the moment he/she was justified (1 Pet. 3:21). Water baptism is the ordinance by which the repentant believer identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You are “crucified” (standing upright in water), you are “buried” (immersed into the water), and you are “resurrected into life” (raised out of the water). Water baptism then, is a picture of spiritual baptism as defined in Romans 6:3-5 and 1 Corinthians 12:13. It is the outward testimony of the believer’s inward faith. A sinner is saved the moment he places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and yields to His Lordship in obedience. Baptism is the first visible testimony to that believer being set apart from his sin and set apart to Christ and His glory.

There is a scriptural basis for Believer’s Baptism. It pictures or proclaims four important things:

  • Believer’s Baptism provides the picture of the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him, through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12
  • Believer’s Baptism it the picture the death of our old life to sin, and our resurrection to walk in newness of life. “As Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
  • Believer’s Baptism proclaims our faith in the Trinity of the Godhead. “Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:19
  • Believer’s Baptism pictures our “putting on” of Christ. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:26,27

So then, Believer’s Baptism is a picture of what transpired when you placed your faith and trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to save you from your sins (Romans 6:3-5). It does not atone for sin, as it cannot; only the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin (I John 1:7; Colossians 1:14).

Who may be baptized?

Now, let’s look at who may be baptized. The Bible makes it clear that scriptural baptism is Believer’s Baptism.

  • In Acts 2:41 we observe that they received the word, AND THEN they were baptized.
  • In Acts 8:12,36,37 we find that they believed, AND THEN they were baptized.
  • In Acts 10:43,44,47, it is plain to see that those who believed received the Holy Ghost, and THEN they were baptized. (Lost people do not receive the Holy Ghost).

When the Philippian jailer asked, “What must I do to be saved?” they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved….” (Acts 16:30-34). Paul did not tell him to be baptized to be saved. His baptism came AFTER his believing, which, again, portrays the scriptural standard.

Who then may/should be baptized? According to the established Bible pattern, only those who have repented and yielded to the Lordship of Christ. Water baptism is NOT salvation, but obedience to a command by God concerning discipleship.

When and where should baptism be done?

When is the believer to be baptized? The Bible teaches that water baptism follows shortly after spiritual baptism (the new birth). Notice the example of Paul (Acts 9:18), Cornelius (Acts 10:43-48), and the Philippian Jailer (Acts 16:33).

You were placed into the body of Christ by spiritual baptism at the moment you were saved (Galatians 3:26-27). Now you follow the miracle of spiritual baptism with physical immersion into water, according to Acts 8:38; 10:47; 16:33. As to where a believer is to be baptized, the obvious answer is in the presence of other believers, the local church. The Lord Jesus Christ gave the local church the ordinance of water baptism (Matthew 28:18-20). An ordinance is a ceremony appointed by Christ to be administered in the local church as a visible type of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary.

How is baptism practiced

HOW is a believer to be baptized? Immersion in water is the only scriptural method of baptism.

  • In Matthew 3:13-16 and in Mark 1:9-10 we find that John the Baptist needed “much water” for baptism.
  • In Acts 8:38-39 we are taught baptism by immersion.
  • In Romans 6:3-6 we see that baptism must fulfill three pictures: death, burial and resurrection. It is also referred to as being “planted”, and being raised. It is not difficult to see that the only mode of baptism, which fulfills all these pictures, is the immersion of the believer in water. Furthermore, scriptural expressions such as “much water” (John 3:23), and “down both into the water” (Acts 8:38) are very conclusive evidence that water baptism is by immersion.

Why be baptized?

Obedience; Spiritual baptism is the Christian’s identification with Christ (Colossians 2:12). This is why we should submit to water baptism.

Romans 6:3-5 teaches us that it is literally a picture of your death, burial and resurrection with Christ. It is your first act of obedience to God after salvation. WHY be baptized? Consider the following:

  • Believer’s Baptism pleases the Lord. When Jesus was baptized, God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). When n we follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ we certainly please the Father.
  • Scriptural baptism is a testimony to the world. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). Our baptism is a public testimony o f our faith in the Lord Jesus: Christ, and the way in which we identify ourselves with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.

We understand and believe that baptism is not a “sacrament” that imparts saving grace, but an ordinance. We are not saved by baptism, but by faith in Jesus Christ and His blood…”cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Baptism is the outward symbol of what has already transpired in the heart of the one who has trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for full salvation.

2nd Ordinance: the Lord’s Table (Holy Communion)

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements –bread and the fruit of the vine– is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of his suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26, and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26, and is enjoined on all believers “till He come!”

Let us focus on the teaching of the London Baptist Confession for a few moments:

  1. The supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-261 Corinthians 10:161721)

There is no set mandate upon the Church as to how often we come to the Lord’s Table that is found in Scripture and neither do we enjoin the church to a particular timetable. It is to the Elders to decide if weekly, monthly, etc. All believers are entitled to partake upon their conversion and, having professed faith, are encouraged to receive Holy Communion from the Elders in full view and fellowship with the Household of the Faithful during corporate worship.

  1. In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead, but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same. So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ’s own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect. ( Hebrews 9:2526281 Corinthians 11:24Matthew 26:2627)
  2. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup, and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, etc. )
  3. The denial of the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance, and to the institution of Christ. ( Matthew 26:26-28Matthew 15:9Exodus 20:45)

 

  1. The outward elements in this ordinance, duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before. ( 1 Corinthians 11:271 Corinthians 11:26-28)
  2. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ’s body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries. ( Acts 3:21Luke 24:6391 Corinthians 11:2425)
  3. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance, do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses. ( 1 Corinthians 10:161 Corinthians 11:23-26)
  4. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord’s table, and cannot, without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves. ( 2 Corinthians 6:14151 Corinthians 11:29Matthew 7:6)

How should Holy Communion be administered and by whom?

Before we go any further, it is needful to remind that Holy Communion is a closed ceremony, meaning it should only be offered during the Corporate Worship and to a believer that has submitted to Believers Baptism. Many of my Southern Baptist Brethren will disagree with this. However, the command to be baptized is scriptural and disobedience to this command necessarily disqualifies from the observance of Communion.

It is appointed to ministers to bless the elements and to distribute among the faithful. Both offices, the Elders and the Deacons should be present in the service. Otherwise there is no set formula apart from scripture. The bread is to be blessed, broken, and eaten. Following this, the cup is to be blessed and drank.

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