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Heaven’s Worship Service Part 1: God’s Regal Priets

Heaven’s Worship Service Part 1: God’s Regal Priets

Revelation 4:4-11

From this passage forward, worship is one of the imost prominent concepts in the Revelation, occurring 23 times so I want to opent with a word study…

Proskuneo

  1. to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence
  2. among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence
  3. in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication
    1. used of homage shown to men and beings of superior rank
      1. to the Jewish high priests
      2. to God
      3. to Christ
      4. to heavenly beings
      5. to demons
  • Revelation 4:10: “him that sat on the throne, andworship him that liveth forever and ever,”
  • Revelation 5:14: “fourand twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth forever and ever.”
  • Revelation 7:11: “their faces, andworshiped God,”
  • Revelation 9:20: “of their hands, that they should notworship devils, and idols”
  • Revelation 11:1: “the altar, andthem that worship “
  • Revelation 11:16: “fell upon their faces, andworshiped God,”
  • Revelation 13:4: “Andthey worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the”
  • Revelation 13:4: “unto the beast: andthey worshiped the beast, saying, Who”
  • Revelation 13:8: “upon the earthshall worship him, whose names are not”
  • Revelation 13:12: “them which dwell therein toworship the first beast,”
  • Revelation 13:15: “and cause that as many as would notworship the image”
  • Revelation 14:7: “judgment is come: andworship him that made heaven, and earth,”

 

  • Revelation 14:9: “a loud voice, If any manworship the beast and his”
  • Revelation 14:11: “no rest day nor night,who worship the beast”
  • Revelation 15:4: “nations shall come andworship before thee”
  • Revelation 16:2: “of the beast, andupon them which worshiped his image.”
  • Revelation 19:4: “the four beasts fell down andworshiped God that sat”
  • Revelation 19:10: “at his feetto worship  And he said unto me,”
  • Revelation 19:10: “the testimony of Jesus:worship God: for the testimony”
  • Revelation 19:20: “of the beast, andthem that worshiped his image. These both were cast”
  • Revelation 20:4: “and which had notworshiped the beast, neither his”
  • Revelation 22:8: “and seen, I fell downto worship before the feet of the”
  • Revelation 22:9: “sayings of this book:worship “

 

 

Our attention now turns to the priests (Elders) surrounding the Throne. They have come to bring the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. The final blood sacrifice has been made (Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 10:12) and now forever and ever the sacrifices offered to God are praise and thanksgiving…

John MacArthur-

4:4 twenty-four elders. Their joint rule with Christ, their white garments (19:7, 8), and their golden crowns (2:10) all seem to indicate that these 24 represent the redeemed (vv. 9–11; 5:5–14; 7:11–17; 11:16–18; 14:3; 19:4). The question is which redeemed? Not Israel, since the nation is not yet saved, glorified, and coronated. That is still to come at this point in the events of the end. Their resurrection and glory will come at the end of the 7-year tribulation time (cf. Dan. 12:1–3). Tribulation saints aren’t yet saved (7:9, 10). Only one group will be complete and glorified at that point—the church. Here elders represent the church, which sings the song of redemption (5:8–10). They are the overcomers who have their crowns and live in the place prepared for them, where they have gone with Jesus (cf. John 14:1–4).

An alternate view: Elders represent the people of God, especially in the Old Testament. The 24 courses of the priesthood represented all the priests (1 Chronicles 24), and the 12 tribes and the 12 apostles represent all the faithful.

The alternate view is nice but the key is In Revelation 5:9-10, the twenty-four elders sang a song of praise to Jesus, and they cried out: For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation. In that passage, the twenty-four elders clearly spoke as representatives of all God’s people, of the great company of the redeemed.

Clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads:

Although angels are often portrayed in white robes, they are not pictured with crowns. Paul gives us a clue in Romans 8:17and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

You would, realistically, expect to find all of the King’s children to be found with their own crowns as we see here.

The crowns are symbolic of rewards; the Bible speaking of 5 crowns as rewards for the believers.

 

Crown of Life

The Crown of Life is referred to in James 1:12 and Revelation 2:10; it is bestowed upon “those who persevere under trials.” Jesus references this crown when he tells the Church in Smyrna to “not be afraid of what you are about to suffer… Be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”[7]

Incorruptible Crown

The Incorruptible Crown is also known as the Imperishable Crown, and is referenced in 1 Corinthians 9:25. This epistle, written by Paul of Tarsus, deems this crown “imperishable” in order “to contrast it with the temporal awards Paul’s contemporaries pursued”.[8] It is therefore given to those individuals who demonstrate “self-denial and perseverance.”

Crown of Righteousness

The Crown of Righteousness is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:8, and is promised to “those who love and anticipate” the Second Coming of Christ. These Christians desire intimacy with God.

Crown of Glory

The Crown of Glory is discussed in 1 Peter 5:4 and is granted to Christian clergy, who “shepherd the flock in unselfish love being a good example to others” 1 Peter 5:2-4.

Crown of Rejoicing

The Crown of Rejoicing is also known as the Crown of Exultation, or Crown of Auxiliary. Delineated in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 and Philippians 4:1, it is given to people who engage in evangelism of those outside the Christian Church.[13] In the New Testament, Paul earns this crown after winning the Thessalonians to faith in Jesus.

Let’s develop this a little further…

The use of twenty-four elders most probably derived from 1 Chronicles 24:1-5 in which the priests were organized into twenty-four groups. This “kingdom of priests” represents the church that dwells in heaven with the Lord during the tribulation period. As was pointed out by Peter, the Church is a chosen people, a royal priest hood (See 1 Peter 2:9). It is almost as if Peter has spelled out exactly what his dear friend John was shown in Heaven. The 24 Elders, or Presbyters if you like (since both are synonymous translations of presbuteros) are a type and picture of the  Royal Priesthood of which Peter spoke and which comprises the church.

This would also help alleviate the concern of Israel being represented in heaven during the tribulation period when Israel had not yet believed in the Lord on a large scale. Further, it would remove the problem of these elders representing the apostles since John himself, an apostle, was the one having the vision (Would he have seen himself as one of the twenty-four elders and not mentioned it?).

Again, while not specifically explained, the information in Scripture most likely identifies these twenty-four elders as representatives of the church, those who will dwell with the Lord during the tribulation period while God’s judgments take place on the earth. Further, this fits the historic view of elders representing leadership of local churches (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), offering a picture of God’s people worshiping God after escaping the tribulation as a result of the rapture (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58).

Dr. Thomas Ice discusses the significance of the number 24 and I would like to quote him at length:

 

WHY THE NUMBER TWENTY-FOUR?

Some believe that the number 24 represents all the redeemed throughout history and not just the church. It is argued that in Revelation 21:12–14 the New Jerusalem in the Eternal State is made up of 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel written on them (21:12). In verse 14, the wall around the city is made up of 12 foundation stones with the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb written on them. Thus, 12 plus 12 equals 24 and that would mean that the 24 elders must be composed of all the redeemed, both Israel and the church.

There are a number of problems with this view. First, Revelation 21 does not use the number 24. Instead, to come up with 24 one must add the two numbers together and that requires an assumption not stated in the text. Why did Revelation 21 not use the number 24? Instead, there are two different items to which the two sets of 12 refer. The 12 gates signify the sons of Israel while the church is represented by 12 foundation stones. To mix the gates and foundation stones would be a case of mixing apples and oranges, so to speak. The 24 elders are seen throughout Revelation as a single group, whoever they represent. Revelation 21 does not use the number 24 and is not a reference to the 24 elders.

The number 24 is used in the Old Testament in a similar way that we see its use in Revelation. “There were twenty-four officers of the sanctuary representing the twenty- four courses of the Levitical priests (1 Chron. 24:4–5, 7–18), as well as twenty-four divisions of singers in the temple (1 Chron. 25).”

In Chronicles 24 was God’s choice to represent the Levitical priests and the Levitical singers. Thus, 24 appears to be a representative number in Revelation 4 as the elders denote the church in heaven before God’s war council in preparation for the judgment of the world during the tribulation.

Only in one instance does an individual from the 24 elders act as an individual (Rev. 5:5). In this instance it is to speak as the interpreting person to tell John to stop bawling because no one was found to open the scroll. The elder says, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals.” Why is one of the 24 elders called upon to explain things to John? One of the 24 elders is called upon, instead of an angel that normally explains things in Revelation, because they are the only ones within God’s throne-room that has personally experienced salvation. Since John’s question relates to salvation, it was appropriate for a redeemed individual to note that the Lamb of God—Jesus—was the one qualified to open the scroll. That scroll is the title deed to planet earth and if no one was able to open it then the redemption of earth and mankind could not have been carried out. That is why John was weeping, because he knew that his destiny and that of all of humanity depended upon finding one qualified to open the scroll.”

Elohim: the Author and Finisher of History (Revelation 4:2-6)

Elohim: the Author and Finisher of History (Revelation 4:2-6)

John is given a glimpse of the One who sits on Heaven’s Throne. In our overview of the chapter we saw that this view is an anthropomorphic presentation of God in His dazzling majesty so that we might begin to have a comprehension of His Person. We are about to see the Divine Judgment machine unleashed but before we do, it is helpful to see God in the stream of history… 

  1. Elohim: He that sits on the throne is the God who created

Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth.” In Hebrew it is Beresheet bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz. Without trying to explain the complexities of Hebrew Grammar, I do want to point out that the Rabbis teach that this is actually out of order and, apart from Divine direction, it should read Elohim bara b’resheet. God did this on purpose; the emphasis is not on the who but is instead on the what and the when. Literally translated, this sentence should read, “At the beginning, God created…” When? At the start of all things. What happened? God created. We can logically infer that it is so obvious that no one else could create that God allowed the change in word order to emphasize the ordering of creation. Why would that matter, especially when studying the book of Revelation? Simply put, God is showing, and quite emphatically, that it is He who sets the times and seasons of all things. He caused it to be and He is the one who will cause it to end.

 

Rabbi Dr. David Stern, a Messianic Jew points out a couple items I want to bring to your mind. Quoting Dr. Stern on the name Elohim: “The root meaning of the word is unknown. The most probable theory is that it may be connected with the old Arabic verb alih (“to be perplexed, afraid”; “to seek refuge because of fear”). Eloah, Elohim, would therefore translate as “he who is the object of fear or reverence.” From this God makes clear that He is to be the object of our reverence or adoration. To a degree, there should be a fear and trembling, even among God’s special people, the Redeemed.

Dr. Stern also points out in his commenting on Genesis, that which we have already postulated, that God is placing emphasis on the what and when of creation, that God is showing us both the ordering and the giver of order.

Circling back to Revelation 4 and the description of the One who sits on the Throne…God is portrayed in His dazzling majesty. This is the fullest picture that we are given in Scripture to illuminate one of God’s titles, Melek ha’ Olam, King of All Things.

In Revelation 4 we are given a full orbed picture of Heaven’s Throne Room. Judgment is a about to begin (In chapter 5 the Judge is revealed) but God takes great care to put His Majesty, Splendor and Kingship on display. As it says later in the chapter, He is creator of all things and for His pleasure they were created. It is revealed, then that God who has created, now calls His courtiers into His presence to commence the Judgment.

Two other times, we see a foreshadowing of this moment. Isaiah and Ezekiel see the LORD. Daniel sees the Ancient of Days seated on His throne but does not give much detail. Meanwhile it is Isaiah and Ezekiel who give us a sneak preview. Let’s look…

Isaiah 6:1-4 (CSB)

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies;
his glory fills the whole earth.

 

The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.

 

Ezekiel 1:4-28

I looked, and there was a whirlwind coming from the north, a huge cloud with fire flashing back and forth and brilliant light all around it. In the center of the fire, there was a gleam like amber. The likeness of four living creatures came from it, and this was their appearance: They looked something like a human, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the hooves of a calf, sparkling like the gleam of polished bronze. They had human hands under their wings on their four sides. All four of them had faces and wings. Their wings were touching. The creatures did not turn as they moved; each one went straight ahead. 10 Their faces looked something like the face of a human, and each of the four had the face of a lion on the right, the face of an ox on the left, and the face of an eagle. 11 That is what their faces were like. Their wings were spread upward; each had two wings touching that of another and two wings covering its body. 12 Each creature went straight ahead. Wherever the Spirit[a] wanted to go, they went without turning as they moved.

13 The likeness of the living creatures was like the appearance of blazing coals of fire or like torches. Fire was moving back and forth between the living creatures; it was bright, with lightning coming out of it. 14 The creatures were darting back and forth like flashes of lightning.

15 When I looked at the living creatures, there was one wheel on the ground beside each of the four-faced creatures. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their craftsmanship was like the gleam of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. Their appearance and craftsmanship was like a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they moved, they went in any of the four directions, without turning as they moved. 18 Their four rims were tall and awe-inspiring, completely covered with eyes.19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels moved beside them, and when the creatures rose from the earth, the wheels also rose. 20 Wherever the Spirit wanted to go, the creatures went in the direction the Spirit was moving. The wheels rose alongside them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. 21 When the creatures moved, the wheels moved; when the creatures stopped, the wheels stopped; and when the creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose alongside them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

22 Over the heads of the living creatures the likeness of an expanse was spread out. It gleamed like awe-inspiring crystal, 23 and under the expanse their wings extended one toward another. They each also had two wings covering their bodies. 24 When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings like the roar of a huge torrent, like the voice of the Almighty, and a sound of tumult like the noise of an army. When they stopped, they lowered their wings.

25 A voice came from above the expanse over their heads; when they stopped, they lowered their wings. 26 Something like a throne with the appearance of lapis lazuli was above the expanse over their heads. On the throne, high above, was someone who looked like a human. 27 From what seemed to be his waist up, I saw a gleam like amber, with what looked like fire enclosing it all around. From what seemed to be his waist down, I also saw what looked like fire. There was a brilliant light all around him. 28 The appearance of the brilliant light all around was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the likeness of the Lord’s glory. When I saw it, I fell facedown and heard a voice speaking.

I could spend half a dozen sermons, easily, on the Ezekiel passage but for this lesson we will leave it as an illustration.

 

  1. God responds to sin with the promise of a Redeemer

 

Genesis 3:1

Now the serpent was more subtil…

I wonder how often we miss the serpent’s subtle whisper tempting us to say God is not enough (exactly what sin is)

The serpent often tempts not with a full throated shout, no that would be too obvious. That temptation you could see coming and resist. It’s his whisper that traps us. But its been the same question for 6000 years, “yea hath God said…?” So often we fall into the trap of thinking “good question” instead of getting out the shovel and taking off the serpent’s head.

 

Before God metes out grace, He gives a curse to the serpent and then we have the Proto euangelion…

 

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, KJV)

 

Protevangelium is a compound word of two Greek words, protos meaning “first” and evangelion meaning “good news” or “gospel”. Thus the protevanglium in Genesis 3:15 is commonly referred to as the first mention of the good news of salvation in the Bible.

Strictly speaking, the protevangelium refers to the last part of Genesis 3:15, “it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.” According to H. C. Leupold, this passage uses a zeugma in the word “bruise”, which may be translated “it shall crush thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Because of the grave nature of the context, the fall of man, this passage describes more than just a man stepping on a snake’s head. The reference to the seed of the woman as Christ is believed to relate to the Virgin birth of the Messiah, as well as the Hypostatic union of the Divine nature with the Human nature of Christ.

Old Testament scholar Derek Kidner describes the Protevangelium as “the first glimmer of the gospel.” Several of the early Church fathers, such as Justin Martyr (160 AD) and Irenaeus (180 AD), regarded this verse “as the Protoevangelium, the first messianic prophecy in the Old Testament.


Exposition of Genesis, H. C. Leupold D.D, Online Bible edition, Gen 3:15

Jump up to: a b Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, Eerdman’s 1996, page 294

^ Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary, (IVP, 1967), p. 70.

^ Gordon J. Wenham, WBC: Genesis 1-15, (Thomas Nelson, 1987), pp. 80–81.

 

 

We then see the first blood atonement, grace’s response to sin.

In Genesis 3:21 the pattern of substitutionary atonement is set. God kills an animal or two (the Scripture does not directly say) and gave the man and the woman the skin as covering. Many believe this animal was a sheep/lamb thereby offering a prophecy of the messianic sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God.  While this view is entirely speculative, it is reasonable. I cannot say for sure what animal God may have slain. The point is, the Lord God transferred the sin to the innocent animal along with its immediate consequence, instant death. It was grace that provides this atonement.

 

III. God the Son Redeems a People

This is best explained in what we refer to as the Romans Road to Salvation:

 

It starts out with our Problem from Romans 3:23:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

It then moves to our Peril in Romans 6:23:

            For the wages of sin is death . . .

And to God’s Provision in Romans 5:8:

            But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Romans Road culminates in our Response in Romans 10:9:

 

  1. Elohim, the Majesty on High closes History with the Judgment

 

The Rapture having now come to pass, all of Heaven turns its attention to the Throne.

 

This is, of course, not a literal throne; it is a symbol of God’s power, majesty, and regal authority (1 Kings 22:19; Psalm 11:4; 103:19; Isaiah 6:1; 66:1; Ezekiel 1:26)

 

The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible has an incredible comment on this portion of the Scripture.

“The vision of the throne reveals that the King is (a) beautiful, rich, and valuable like precious stones ( jasper, sardine or red carnelian, and emerald ); (b) gracious to sinners and faithful to His covenants (rainbow; Gen. 9:12-17); (c) dwelling with His victorious old covenant and new covenant people (twelve plus twelve elders; 21:12,14) in His holy temple (lamps, sea, lion, and calf or young ox; 1 Kings 7:23-25,29,36,49,51); (d) judging according to His fearsome power and righteous law (lightnings and thunderings like Mt. Sinai; Ex. 19-20); (e) shining out in the witness of the churches by the Holy Spirit (seven lamps . . . seven Spirits; and (f) attended by servants representing all the powers (lion, calf, man, eagle) and wisdom (full of eyes) of heaven and earth (5:13; Ezek. 1:10). What a glorious King!”

 

I disagree with them on the symbolism of the 24 Elders but the rest of it, I find spot on.

 

Human monarchs are often arrayed in fine clothes and bedecked with jewels presenting a wondrous sight. However, the Holy Spirit shows John that God outshines them all. His glory is still veiled, here, so John is not incinerated by blazing holiness and yet we see that even Solomon in all his glory is but a beggar compared to the One who is Majesty on High.

 

All of history has led up to this moment. Regardless of your view on the fall-supralapsarian, infralapsarian, or sublapsarian in the order of God’s Decrees, there has never been a moment when God did not intend to be a Redeemer and now, in this moment, the Redeemed are in Heaven, ministering before the Throne. There are still some Redeemed to be gathered in during the Tribulation, but here, all the Redeemed of the Church Age stand before the Throne and we, along with the Four Living Creatures, lead the worship in Heaven.

 

Why do the Elders cast their crowns and the feet of the One on the Throne? It is an emphatic declaration. “You, our Lord and our God ARE our reward and our treasure.”  Any crown we are given, though glorious, will not compare to being face to face with the King. Why bother with feeble accoutrements when Majesty Himself is now with us and we with Him, never to again be separated.

What is Dispensationalism (guest post from James Quiggle)

What is Dispensationalism (guest post from James Quiggle)

Dispensationalism views the world as a household run by God. Every household is run in a particular way, which we might call an “economy.”

From time to time God changes his economy—the way in which he runs his household—as human civilization develops. Those different economies are called “dispensations.” For example, we can see God ran his previous economy, the dispensation of the Mosaic Law, different than the way he runs his present economy, the dispensation of the NT church.

Dispensationalism as a theology is defined by three basic beliefs.

  1. The consistent application of the Literal hermeneutic (method of interpretation) to every Scripture and every doctrine. (In contrast, Reformed theology does not apply the Literal hermeneutic to eschatology—end times prophecy—but interprets by allegory or spiritualizing.)
  2. The NT church is not a new Israel, but a different people group in God’s plans. Dispensationalism believes God has a continuing plan for national ethic Israel and a different (but in some ways related) continuing plan for the NT church. (In contrast, Reformed theology believes the NT church has become the new Israel and God has transferred to the NT church all the promises he made to national ethic Israel, most now to be fulfilled spiritually, not literally.)
  3. The purpose of God in the world is his own glory. In contrast, Reformed theology, while it believes in God’s glory, believes God’s purpose in the world is salvation. Dispensationalism believes God gets glory not only from salvation but also from his justice on unsaved sinners, and how God leads his saved people in the world to victory over sin.

That is the basic outline.

Holy Bound Rebinders Review

Holy Bound Rebinders Review

 

Today, I am reviewing a Bible rebind done by Holy Bound. This Bible was already rebound when I acquired it. The Bible was not provided for a review nor was this review solicited by the binder. I sourced this Bible on my own.

Holy Bound Photos

The Bible

This was a hardcover to leather conversion in black cowhide leather. I chose the MacArthur Study Bible in the NIV because it is my favorite of the MacArthur Study Bibles.

 

The Leather Cover

This is a black cowhide leather with a paste down lining. The leather is a little thin but it does feel substantial enough that I don’t think there would be any issues using it on a regular basis; it has been my every day carry Bible since its arrival.

 

 

Holy Bound offers leathers of varying thickness, as I said this leather is a little on the thinner end of the spectrum. The choice of a thinner leather is the choice to make if you want an inexpensive rebind, especially if you are a tight budget or if you are just getting your feet wet with rebinding.

 

I do recommend spending the additional money for a bit thicker leather. I have handled many leathers over the years and I can tell you that, while cowhide is a sturdy leather, you do want a measure of thickness for a Bible.

 

For most of you, a paste down liner will not be a problem. Here in Arizona, though, I will most likely need to replace the lining within a couple years as most book pastes cannot withstand Arizona’s punishing heat.

 

Believe it or not, a paste down liner does have advantages especially with a thinner leather. The advantage a paste down liner gives you is to offset the limpness of the leather and make the Bible feel sturdier. I actually think this is a good idea, using a paste down liner.

 

The Conversion

I am not 100% certain that the NIV MacArthur Study Bible has a sewn binding but it does appear that Holy Bound reinforced the  spine and the binding before attaching the leather cover.

 

Two very long, and I mean almost as long as in an Allan Bible, red satin ribbons were added. Two ribbons is the minimum that I look for in a quality Bible, since most reading plans have a OT and an NT reading for each day and you want to properly mark your place in your plan. I also look for the ribbons to be long enough to lift the corner of the Bible sufficiently to get a finger in and open the Bible. Note: you don’t use only the ribbon to open the Bible as even the most careful person can tear a Bible page by only using the ribbon to open it.

 

Aesthetics

It is hard to go wrong with the classic color combination of black leather and red ribbons.

 

I do prefer a fully grained Bible cover but in this case the ironed cowhide is fairly well done.

 

Overall Impression

The rebind is nicely done. I would say that it is more of an entry level rebind. That is not to say that there are any quality issues. As I said,  this is for rebind on a budget; you get quality work at a fairly low price, probably 1/3 to ½ of of the cost of other rebinders.

 

I do recommend that you spend a little extra money for thicker leather. A thicker leather will withstand more heavy use than a thin leather and, in the event of a drop, it will be more impervious to damage.

Good Friday Prayer and Fasting

Good Friday Prayer and Fasting

This is a guest post from Doug Warwick (Pastor Matt’s Mentor)

 

In isolation and practicing social distancing during this pestilence, we are in Holy Week, the final week of Jesus Christ’s ministry on earth culminating in His death, burial, and resurrection.

I submit for your consideration a God-fearing way to commemorate Good Friday in your place of isolation:  a day of fasting and prayer.

Fasting to deny the flesh (Rom 7:18), redeeming the time because the days are evil.  Fast to the extent you are medically able from before sunrise to sunset.

  • before sunrise, Jesus was betrayed, arrested, tried illegally
  • after sunrise, Jesus was beaten, scourged, had His beard ripped out, spit on, and mocked
  • at 9am,. Jesus was crucified
  • at noon, darkness covered the land
  • at 3pm, “It is finished!” and Jesus gave up the ghost (John 10:17-18)
  • before sunset, Jesus was buried

Prayer to look not at the things seen but at the things not sees (2 Cor 4:18) and to commune with the Living God.

  • confess our sins and the sins of this nation, praying like Jeremiah, Daniel, and Isaiah
  • repent of our sin
  • plead with God to give this nation the gift of repentance (2 Tim 2:25-26)
  • we and this nation would reject Life-less idols worshipped  (Joshua 24:14-15)
  • boldly seek the mercy and grace we need in this time (Heb 4:16)
  • surrender to being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ (Rom 8:29)
  • pour out our heart to be accounted worthy to escape the things coming upon the world to to stand before Jesus  (Luke 21:36)
  • that our faith be increased  (Mark 9:23-24, Luke 17:5)
  • protection for our families and Church family from this pestilence
  • have understanding of the times (Days of Noah and Days of Lot) that we would know what to do (1 Chron 12:32)

Separated yet one, let us see what the LORD will do!

Behold He Comes in glory (Revelation 1:7)

Behold He Comes in glory (Revelation 1:7)

The 2nd Coming is the climactic event of Redemptive History. Calvary set the events in motion which culminate in the final return of Jesus Christ in absolute power and unassailable majesty.

Bookending Revelation

Our text this morning and chapter 19 bookend Revelation, so to speak. The central event is the Glorious Appearing, at the end of the Tribulation, when Jesus finally returns and is at last coronated as King of All the Earth complete with 1000 year reign in perfect righteousness.

 

Christ Promises to Return

John 14:1-3

 

I go to prepare a place…

If I go to prepare a place, I will come again

 

The Angels, On Behalf of the Father, promise Jesus will return

Acts 1:1

 

The Davidic Covenant: The Guarantee of Christ’s Return

 

The Davidic Covenant refers to God’s promises to David through Nathan the prophet and is found in 2 Samuel 7 and later summarized in 1 Chronicles 17:11–14 and 2 Chronicles 6:16. This is an unconditional covenant made between God and David through which God promises David and Israel that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would come from the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever. The Davidic Covenant is unconditional because God does not place any conditions of obedience upon its fulfillment. The surety of the promises made rests solely on God’s faithfulness and does not depend at all on David or Israel’s obedience.

 

 

There are several prophecies of the continuation of the Kingdom of David and of Messiah’s Rule. In this lesson, we will post a prophecy and the associated passage of Scripture, followed by the New Testament Fulfillment Passage.  (This lesson, is the precursor to the lesson The King Who’s Coming.

David’s royal line will be perpetual

  • 2 Samuel 7:16
  • Psalm 78:67-70

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Luke 1:33,2:11   John 7:42  Romans 1:3

The Scepter will not depart from Judah

  • Genesis 49:9-10

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Hebrews 7:14Revelation 5:5

The Branch of Jesse (David’s father) is to rule

  • Isaiah 11:1-5
  • Zechariah 12:8

New Testament fulfillment

  • Luke 3:23,4:18   Romans 11:26 Revelation 22:16

God promises David a kingdom

  • Psalm 89:2-4
  • Psalm 132:11

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Luke 1:32

An assurance of government from David’s Throne

  • Isaiah 9:6-7
  • Jeremiah 23:5

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Luke 1:33

Messiah to be born in Bethlehem

  • Micah 5:2-4

New Testament Fulfillment

  • Matthew 2:1-6

 

The Rapture and the Glorious Appearing

 

Differences Between Our Blessed Hope (the Rapture) and the Glorious Appearing (2nd Coming)

 

Before we look at some differences between the Rapture and the 2ndComing, we need to look at 2 terms that the Bible uses for the event we call the Rapture of the Church.

 

The first is paralambano: Dr. Mounce provides some excellent information for us

Dictionary:

παραλαμβάνω

Greek transliteration:

paralambanō

Simplified transliteration:

paralambano

Principal Parts:

παραλήμψομαι, παρέλαβον, -, -, παρελήμφθην

Numbers

Strong’s number:

3880

GK Number:

4161

Glossary:

to take with; take charge of; to receive, accept

Definition:

pr. to take to one’s side; to take, receive to one’s self, Mt. 1:20Jn. 14:3; to take with one’s self, Mt. 2:131420214:58; to receive in charge or possession, Col. 4:17Heb. 12:28; to receive as a matter of instruction, Mk. 7:41 Cor. 11:2315:3; to receive, admit, acknowledge, Jn. 1:111 Cor. 15:1Col. 2:6; pass. to be carried off, Mt. 24:4041Lk. 17:343536

 

The 2nd is harpazo. Again learning from Dr. Bill Mounce:

Dictionary:

ἁρπάζω

Greek transliteration:

harpazō

Simplified transliteration:

harpazo

Principal Parts:

ἁρπάσω, ἥρπασα, -, ἤρπακμαι, ἡρπάσθην ορ ἡρπάγην

Numbers

Strong’s number:

726

GK Number:

773

Glossary:

to catch, steal, carry off

Definition:

to seize, as a wild beast, Jn. 10:12; take away by force, snatch away, Mt. 13:19Jn. 10:2829Acts 23:10Jude 23; met. to seize on with avidity, eagerly, appropriate, Mt. 11:12; to convey away suddenly, transport hastily, Jn. 6:15

I would add 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. We will be harpazo (caught away to meet the Lord in the air.)

 

Objections to the Rapture:

A very common objection is that the word Rapture is not in the NT. That isn’t accurate. Rapture is the anglicization of the Latin, rapturus which is the translation of harpazo from Greek to Latin. If you look to the notes above, there are at least 7 instances of harpazo in the NT. 

Another objection is that Dispensationalist teach an “escapist rapture.” No kidding. Exactly where is the “blessed hope” for a believer who is going to go through the tribulation. Of course Christians will escape the time of wrath. (1Th. 1:10;  1Th. 5:9). Let us not forget that the tribulation is “even the time of Jacob’s trouble but he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7)”

Rapture Second Coming
Christ comes for His own (John 14:31Th. 5:282Th. 2:1). Christ comes with His own (1Th. 3:13Jude 1:14; Rev. Rev. 19:14+).1
Christ comes in the air (1Th. 4:17). Christ comes to the earth (Zec. 14:4Acts 1:11).2
Christ claims His bride (1Th. 4:16-17). Christ comes with His bride (Rev. 19:6-14+).3
Removal of believers (1Th. 4:17). Manifestation of Christ (Mal. 4:2).4
Only His own see Him (1Th. 4:13-18). Every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7+).5
Tribulation begins (2Th. 1:6-9). Millennial Kingdom begins (Rev. 20:1-7+).6
Saved are delivered from wrath (1Th. 1:10;  1Th. 5:9). Unsaved experience the wrath of God (Rev. 6:12-17+).7
No signs precede rapture (1Th. 5:1-3). Signs precede Second Coming (Luke 21:11Luke 21:15).8
Focus is Lord and Church (1Th. 4:13-18). Focus is Israel and kingdom (Mat. 24:14).9
World is deceived (2Th. 2:3-12). Satan is bound so he cannot deceive (Rev. 20:1-2+).10
Believers depart the earth (1Th. 4:15-17).11 Unbelievers are taken away from the earth (Mat. 24:37-41).12
Unbelievers remain on earth. Believers remain on earth (Mat. 25:34).13
No mention of establishing Christ’s Kingdom on earth. Christ has come to set up His Kingdom on earth (Mat. 25:31Mat. 25:34).14
Christians taken to the Father’s house (John 14:1-3). Resurrected saints do not see the Father’s house (Rev. 20:4+).15
Imminent—could happen at any moment.  Cannot occur for at least 7 years.16
Precedes the career of the man of sin. (2Th. 2:1-3). Terminates the career of the man of sin (Rev. 19:20+).

 

 

YOU CAN’T HAVE A POST TRIBULATION RAPTURE

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremiah 30:7

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Revelation 3:10and tereso oras peirasmou

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

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

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

  1. The Blessed Hope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the judgment seat of Christ, believers are rewarded based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-272 Timothy 2:5). Some of the things we might be judged on are how well we obeyed the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), how victorious we were over sin (Romans 6:1-4), and how well we controlled our tongues (James 3:1-9). The Bible speaks of believers receiving crowns for different things based on how faithfully they served Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-272 Timothy 2:5). The various crowns are described in 2 Timothy 2:52 Timothy 4:8James 1:121 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10James 1:12 is a good summary of how we should think about the judgment seat of Christ: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

 

Having a Take This Bible Program

Having a Take This Bible Program

The new NASB offering from Zondervan, the NASB Pew and Worship Bible and the NASB Preacher’s Bible, prompted me to think about churches offering a Take This Bible Program. Since pew Bibles are fairly inexpensive,  I would like to suggest a couple options. (It is essential that churches are doing all they can to get the word of God into the hands of people.)

 

1. Allow members to sponsor a Bible for a visitor or new believer to take home.

2. Have a stack of Bibles in the welcome center with a box for a contribution. Do not suggest an amount. Instead, leave it open so that those with limited means can have their own Bible without cost concerns.

3. The church can simply offer the Bibles from the pulpit. You could say something like, “If you do not own your own copy of the Bible, please take home the one that you find on your pew. We encourage you to mark in this Bible and make it your own. Remember to bring it with you every week so that we can all learn the Bible together.”

4. Lastly, your chuch can simply sell copies of the Pew Bible. I do not advise any kind of mark up. Be transparent about costs with your membership and sell the Bible at the church’s cost.

Truth & Love: A Final Summary of 2nd John

Truth & Love: A Final Summary of 2nd John

  1. Truth and Love Must Be Proclaimed (1–3)

Truth and love belong together. That is the message of the apostle John. Remember that we said “the Elect Lady” was very likely a real person but she could also be a personification of the Church. Dr. Guzik suggests this personification is the likely scenario and I tend to agree. Given the time in which the epistle was written, I suspect that the Elect Lady is both, the Church in Ephesus over which John was Elder and a prominent lady in that congregation. In either case, John had a special love for this lady and her children (13); he is not just the Elder of her church but he demonstrates a fatherly concern for the well-being of the lady and her children. Assuming she is a specific person, she belonged to a faithful Christian family that evidently was very active in the local church and hers was a dedicated Christian home in the midst of an ungodly, pagan society.

We are rapidly heading into a culture very similar to that which John faced, maybe even worse. Our society is not only post truth but is rapidly becoming anti-truth. It has become considered, by many, to be the new “hate speech.)

In verses 1–3, John used the word truth four times bracketed on both ends by “love.” Truth is the foundation of our faith. Jesus said, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). In addition, truth is the basis of love. It gives love teeth, making love real and possible. The bottom line is that a wrong understanding of love can lead a person away from truth.

Additionally, John said that truth “abides” in the believer (2 John 2). The Greek verb is meno, which means “to remain” or “to stay” According to John, truth abides in the believer; its residence is the believer’s mind and heart. But only as truth is tempered by love—for God and for others (see Matt. 22:37–40).

Recall our earlier lesson, we said two important things about truth:

  1. Truth is an objective proposition which defines reality.
  2. The Lord Jesus IS THE objective proposition which defines all reality

 

  1. Walking in Truth is Commanded (4–6)

John moves from proclaiming love and truth together to practicing love and truth together (2 John 4–6). He explains how this happens. First, Christians do it by continuing to love God. The Bible often uses the image of “walking” (4) to gauge the healthiness of one’s faith. For example, the apostle Paul exhorted newly baptized believers to get busy walking (Rom. 6:4). Paul further instructed that believers do not walk in “craftiness” (2 Cor. 4:2) but by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). Finally, Christians are to “walk in the Spirit” so that they will not fulfill the “lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). As a prisoner of the Lord, Paul concluded that all believers must “walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Eph. 4:1). Walking expresses the love believers have for their Savior as well as the lifestyle they pursue as each new day unfolds.

In fact, our “walking” according to the commandments of the Lord implies a full devoted love for one another (2 John 5). Love is the greatest commandment upon which Jesus insisted, the hinge upon which the entire law hangs (Matt. 22:37–40). That believers must be encouraged to love one another is strange. Yet the Lord Jesus used love for one another as the world’s yardstick by which they judge the church’s authentic faith (John 13:35). Christ made love for one another the measure the world could use to determine that we are His followers.

This leads to John’s second way Christians practice truth and love together—by continuing to obey God. “This is love,” John says (2 John 6). If Jesus demonstrated anything to us, He demonstrated that love is no illusion. Love may be perverted, twisted, misguided, and erroneous. But love is real (Rom. 5:8). In fact, if love is not real, neither is God, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8). And, according to John, our love is expressed for God in our obedience to Him, obeying His commandments (1 John 5:3).

III. Truth and Love May Be Perverted (7–13)

We suggested earlier that truth and love hang together on a single hinge. And both are in jeopardy of perversion apart from their foundational rootedness in Scripture (2 John 7–9).

If you have a pastor who is not teaching through the Bible, they do not have the truth. I would go so far as to say that pastor hates you. There is nothing more hateful a person can do than to refuse to bring the Word of God, and I mean the whole thing, both testaments, to bear on sinners and warn them of what God thinks of sin and what He plans to do about it. If you claim to love someone, you had best be willing to tell them some uncomfortable truths.

John speaks openly about “many deceivers” who have entered into the world (7). Open rebuke is necessary when the eternal soul of another is at stake. Specifically, John is warning against docetists who denied Jesus had come in human flesh. For them, He was no more than a ghostly apparition. Deceivers attempted to lead faithful, but sometimes weak or gullible, Christians astray. While a believer cannot become an unbeliever, a weak believer may get sucked into a deceptive vacuum void of sound doctrine. Consequently, those who do will ultimately regret that they fell for the deception—either in this life or when standing before God.

Note John’s term transgresses (9). It means “to go beyond,” carrying the idea of violating legitimate boundaries. It is very similar to hunters who come upon a sign in the forest that says specifically, “No Trespassing!” but ignoring the warning, crossing the boundary, and proceeding to hunt nonetheless. How do the deceivers operate? John tells us (10, 11). They made their rounds perhaps when the church was gathered for worship. Weak believers often make a habit of avoiding the assembling of the saints together (Heb. 10:25). Hence, weak believers would invite the false teachers into their homes, listening to their smooth presentations, and opening themselves up for probable deception. To this John flatly says, “Do not receive him into your house nor greet him” (10). While this may seem harsh, it is not. John was not telling Christians to be unkind but warning them not to be exploited by deceivers. The false teachers did not show up because they were hungry. Instead they showed up for a single purpose: to deceive.

Doctrine of Scripture

Doctrine of Scripture

THE SCRIPTURES INSPIRED

The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.

  • 2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Thessalonians 2:13 2 Peter 1:21

Matt Slick: “Verbal plenary inspiration means that every word found in the Bible is given to us by God(verbal), everything in the Bible is authoritative (plenary), and every word is also divinely directed (inspired). But, this does not mean that everything referenced in the Bible is also morally proper. For example, the Bible might record someone’s lie or a murder even though lying and murder are not approved of in Scripture. But the recording of the events is under the direction of God and is accurate.

The verbal plenary inspiration applies to the original manuscripts, also known as the autographs. It was the originals that were penned by the prophets and apostles that were given by God, authoritative, and  divinely directed. Presently we have copies of the original manuscripts but the copies are not perfect, though close to it. So, we have copies of inspired documents and for all intents and purposes the copies are inspired.

  • “The older phrase “plenary inspiration” meant that all the words of Scripture are God’s words (the word plenary means “full”), a fact that I affirm in this chapter without using the phrase.”
  • “Inspiration, plenary The “full” (plenary) inspiration of the Scriptures, in the sense that the whole Bible is inspired, not simply portions of it.
  • “inspiration, verbal theory of The view that God through the Holy Spirit directly guided the exact words recorded by the biblical writers as they wrote the Scriptures.”

Verbal plenary inspiration stands in opposition to partial inspiration which limits the inspired quality of the Bible in various ways whether it be restricting inspiration to doctrinal matters, or one author was inspired where another was not, or there are mistakes in historical events and geographical locations but the main thoughts are correct.”

 

THE SCRIPTURES INERRANT

If all Scripture is breathed out by God (theopneustos) then as a logical consequence, it must also be inerrant. Since God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), He would cease to be God if He breathed out errors and contradictions, even in the smallest part. So long as we give theopneustos its real meaning, we shall not find it hard to understand the full inerrancy of the Bible.

3 Things Inerrancy does not mean (from Answers in Genesis)

  • Inerrancy doesn’t mean everything in the Bible is true. We have the record of men lying (e.g., Joshua 9) and even the words of the devil himself. But we can be sure these are accurate records of what took place.
  • Inerrancy doesn’t mean apparent contradictions are not in the text, but these can be resolved. At times different words may be used in recounting what appears to be the same incident. For example, Matthew 3:11refers to John the Baptist carrying the sandals of the Messiah, whereas John 1:27 refers to him untying John preached over a period of time, and he would repeat himself; like any preacher he would use different ways of expressing the same thing.
  • Inerrancy doesn’t mean every extant copy is inerrant. It is important to understand that the doctrine of inerrancy only applies to the original manuscripts.

 

 

SOLA SCRIPTURA

The Bible and only the Bible is our all sufficient rule of faith and practice. Sola Scriptura simply means that all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in Scripture. It is not a claim that all truth of every kind is found in Scripture.

 

“The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.” —Westminster Confession of Faith

 

 

Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for allowing their traditions to have equal weight to the TaNaKh

 

Mark 7:6-9 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Jesus told them, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites in Scripture: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is pointless, because their teachings are rules made by humans. “You abandon the commandments of God to follow human traditions.” He added, “You have no trouble rejecting the commandments of God in order to keep your own traditions!

 

Paul commends the Bereans for testing all teachings against the Scriptures

 

Acts 17:10-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

 

Paul directs the church in Corinth not to go beyond what is written

 

1 Corinthians 4:6 English Standard Version (ESV)

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

 

 

TOTA SCRIPTURA

 

Tota Scriptura emphasizes that the Bible is to be taken as a whole. The complete canonis God’s Word, and we cannot pick and choose what parts of it to accept and what parts to reject. In Paul’s farewell speech to the Ephesian believers, he said, “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26–27, ESV). Note that Paul had discharged his duty before God by preaching the “whole counsel of God”; in other words, Paul preached tota Scriptura.

 

Some false teachers suggest that only the “red-letter words” (those spoken directly by Jesus Himself) are truly inspired. Others reject Paul’s epistles or throw out the book of Revelation or ignore the Old Testament. Still others divide the passages that deal with matters of faith from those that deal with matters of history or science—the Bible is accurate, they say, when it speaks of faith, but in matters of history or science it cannot be trusted. The problem with all of these views, besides the fact that they contradict the principle of tota Scriptura, is they set up man as the judge of God’s Word. Who exactly gets to decide what parts of the Bible are right or wrong? If we move away from tota Scriptura, we can all take scissors to the Bible and come up with our own text, relying on our own wisdom (or feelings or intuition or whatever).

 

Circling back to Inerrancy for a moment…

 

Inerrancy Governs Our Confidence in the Truth of the Gospel

If the Scripture is unreliable, can we offer the world a reliable gospel? How can we be sure of truth on any issue if we are suspicious of errors anywhere in the Bible? A pilot will ground his aircraft even on suspicion of the most minor fault, because he is aware that one fault destroys confidence in the complete machine. If the history contained in the Bible is wrong, how can we be sure the doctrine or moral teaching is correct?

The heart of the Christian message is history. The Incarnation (God becoming a man) was demonstrated by the Virgin Birth of Christ. Redemption (the price paid for our rebellion) was obtained by the death of Christ on the Cross. Reconciliation (the privilege of the sinner becoming a friend of God) was gained through the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ. If these recorded events are not true, how do we know the theology behind them is true?

Inerrancy Governs Our Faith in the Value of Christ

We cannot have a reliable Savior without a reliable Scripture. If, as many suggest, the stories in the Gospels are not historically true and the recorded words of Christ are only occasionally His, how do we know what we can trust about Christ? Must we rely upon the conflicting interpretations of a host of critical scholars before we know what Christ was like or what He taught? If the Gospel stories are merely the result of the wishful thinking of the church in the second or third centuries, or even the personal views of the Gospel writers, then our faith no longer rests upon Jesus but upon the opinions of men. Who would trust an unreliable Savior for their eternal salvation?

Inerrancy Governs Our Response to the Conclusions of Science

If we believe the Bible contains errors, then we will be quick to accept scientific theories that appear to prove the Bible wrong. In other words, we will allow the conclusions of science to dictate the accuracy of the Word of God. When we doubt the Bible’s inerrancy, we have to invent new principles for interpreting Scripture that for convenience turn history into poetry and facts into myths. This means people must ask how reliable a given passage is when they turn to it. Only then will they be able to decide what to make of it. On the other hand, if we believe in inerrancy, we will test by Scripture the hasty theories that often come to us in the name of science.

Inerrancy Governs Our Attitude to the Preaching of Scripture

A denial of biblical inerrancy always leads to a loss of confidence in Scripture both in the pulpit and in the pew. It was not the growth of education and science that emptied churches, nor was it the result of two world wars. Instead, it was the cold deadness of theological liberalism. If the Bible’s history is doubtful and its words are open to dispute, then people understandably lose confidence in it. People want authority. They want to know what God has said.

Inerrancy Governs Our Belief in the Trustworthy Character of God

Almost all theologians agree Scripture is in some measure God’s revelation to the human race. But to allow that it contains error implies God has mishandled inspiration and has allowed His people to be deceived for centuries until modern scholars disentangled the confusion. In short, the Maker muddled the instructions.

 

Knowing the Doctrine of Christ and Guarding Against Antichrist Deceivers

Knowing the Doctrine of Christ and Guarding Against Antichrist Deceivers

2 John 7-10

What is an antichrist?

Two definitions:

A person who is opposed to Christ

A person who tries to put himself in the place of Christ

 

John mentions a specific heresy but there are others with which we need to be concerned about today. One of the oldest heresies which the church has needed to contend is Docetism. Docetism teaches that Christ did not really come in the flesh.  We are not going to spend a lot of time on Docetism, in particular, during this lesson but I do want to point out that it was condemned as heretical by the 1st Council at Nicaea.

I have said before, and need to repeat: it is not enough to simply believe in a Jesus, the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Adventists all believe in a Jesus but he isn’t the Jesus who can save from sin. Even scarier, most of what passes for Christianity does not even believe in the right Jesus- they believe in a Jesus who is a life coach or some kind of genie, not the Sovereign God of the Universe.  You must believe in the right Jesus and in the right manner if you are to have any hope of being saved from your sin.

Look at verse 9, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.”

John could not make it more clear, if you do not abide in the doctrine Christ, you do not have God. As a direct consequence, if you do not have God, you do not have any hope of salvation from sin and its consequences.

Some of the most well-known “Bible teachers” today are teaching aberrations of the Doctrine of Christ. I promised to name names and here we go: Kenneth Copeland, Steven Furtick, Beth Moore, Andy Stanley, Priscilla Shirer, Joel Osteen, Jesse Duplantis, TD Jakes, Jen Hatmaker, Christine Caine, Kenneth Hagin and a host of others are NOT teaching the Biblical Gospel of Jesus. If you are trusting in what you are being taught by them for your Christian life, your soul is in real danger.

Before we get into the Doctrine of Christ, I want us to look at some signs of an antichrist and deceiver.

Signs of an Antichrist

  • He denies the apostolic teaching of Jesus as having coming in the flesh (1John 4:2, 2 John 7)
  • He is someone who has gone out from us i.e. he has deviated from orthodoxy (1 John 2:19) and leads many astray
  • His teaching makes it impossible to remain in God forever
  • They crept in unawares (Jude 4) which is to say that they look and even sound like Christians
  • Many are in it for riches (Jude 11)
  • They turn grace into license (Jude 4)
  • They will eventually be destroyed (Jude 5)

 

The Doctrine of Christ

I am going to layout a basic Christology in this lesson but I want you to know, the foundation of our Christology is the Doctrine of the Incarnation.

A Christology in brief

We believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead; that He was eternally one with the Father; that He became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary, so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say the Godhead and manhood, are thus united in one Person very God and very man, the God-man.

We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and that He truly arose from the dead and took again His body, together with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith He ascended into heaven and is there engaged in intercession for us.

(Matthew 1:20-25; 16:15-16; Luke 1:26-35; John 1:1-18; Acts 2:22-36; Romans 8:3, 32-34; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:12-22; 1 Timothy 6:14-16; Hebrews 1:1-5; 7:22-28; 9:24-28; 1 John 1:1-3; 4:2-3, 15) 

THE Doctrine of the DEITY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

  • The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:
  • He was born of a Virgin (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31, Luke 1:35)
  • He lived a completely sinless life (Hebrews 7:26, 1 Peter 2:22)  
  • His Christhood was attested by miracles (Acts 2:22, Acts 10:38)
  • His penal, substitutionary death on the cross providing a vicarious atonement (1 Corinthians 15:3, 2 Corinthians 5:21)
  • Jesus had a literal physical body that was resurrected from the dead (Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:39, 1 Corinthians 15:4 )
  • Jesus has been exalted to the Right Hand of Majesty on High (Acts 1:9, Acts 1:11, Acts 2:33, Philippians 2:9-11, Hebrews 1:3)

 

This is critical…The Godhood of Jesus the Christ mandates Him being worshipped as both sovereign and absolute Lord.

Let’s conclude with the Ligonier Statement on Christology

We confess the mystery and wonder of God made flesh and rejoice in our great salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. With the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Son created all things, sustains all things, and makes all things new.

Truly God, He became truly man, two natures in one person. He was born of the Virgin Mary and lived among us.

Crucified, dead, and buried, He rose on the third day, ascended to heaven, and will come again in glory and judgment.

For us, He kept the Law, atoned for sin, and satisfied God’s wrath. He took our filthy rags and gave us His righteous robe.

He is our Prophet, Priest, and King, building His church, interceding for us, and reigning over all things.

Jesus Christ is Lord; we praise His holy Name forever.

Amen.