Chapter 33:1 Longing To Be Naked

Chapter 33.1 – Through the Westminster Confession.

Where’s “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

Scott Oliphant is quick to point out that this chapter is not in conflict with the rest of the Confession (this I suppose is true for those who swallow hook, line, and sinker, all that the 1689 has to say and defend it with near cult like obeisance). Then, why did he neglect to annotate his work at greater length? Namely, why when referencing John does he cheery pick?

“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:19-29 ESV)

Oliphant annotates around the verse in question because it undoes what he is trying to prove.

What is Jesus definition of eternal life (life)? It is that he does not come into judgment.

When does that occur? Well, if you didn’t get it from the passage above, how’s about referencing John 11?

The famous passage corrects the stupidity of Mary and Martha (and Scott Oliphant) who think that the first resurrection and its complement the judgment for the saint is something future. In resurrecting Lazarus, Jesus, making sure he is more than “mostly dead,” demonstrates the fulfillment of the passage in Chapter 5 for those who are his.

Mistaking Jesus for something other than who he is, is often the default for the disciples. Don’t be stupid like the emotionally laden sisters needing to be slapped awake. Know this: “Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” (John 11:24-27 ESV)

Passing from judgment into life is eternal, if you have the Son you have his Father. We are those who do not judge based on appearance. If you believe in the Son you have eternal life, and are sanctified by Jesus Christ in his crucifixion, John 17. You are in him, he in you, he in the Father, and the in you. Or, you have rejected his resurrection, his righteousness, his life (Romans 5) the very thing through which regeneration comes to those who will believe. Don’t have your joy and assurance shaken by those who would steal the Lord’s peace from you by insisting that on the final day, stripped naked, you will be judged all over again. The Holiness that Peter speaks of is one of faith, for the lack of having such the disobedient were destroyed, Hebrews 3:16-4:2. Hebrews tells us, yea, warns us against falling short of his rest. Today is the day if you hear his voice. Beware the mutilators of the flesh, they only wish to again ensnare you to the passions of the flesh so that they can take pride in what they believe they have accomplished by their flesh. In that Day, do you not know that you will sit in Christ’s throne and judge the nations, 1 Cor 6:2? Then today, as long as it is today, judge yourselves and you will not come into judgment, 1 Cor 11:31.

One thing is for sure, you should neither participate in the body and blood of Christ, nor bless the elements, if you do not believe that Jesus is the Resurrection and that you have been judge in all things through him and have passed from judgment into the full inheritance as children of God, Ephesians, waiting only to take possession. What filthy taste it must leave in the mouth when one first tramples the body and blood of Christ underfoot, before eating and drinking, all the while saying today is the day let us rejoice and be glad in it as Abraham was?

Remember this: Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6 ESV) If you are amillennial, then you believe with me that there is no future judgment of the saints. If you believe there is, you are neither blessed, nor holy. Jesus’ question needs to be answered by you. Do you believe that he is first resurrection and that you are in him?

Oliphant describes this time as a “nakedness” before God, which flies in the face of what Paul is teaching in 2 Cor 5. It doesn’t uphold it, for we who are his long to be clothed and not found naked when we pass from our earthly bodies to heavenly ones. The passage describes what is meant by further clothed and it is the passing from this body of death, to the new body of the resurrection. The passage which not only undermines this section of the Confessions but the one previous to it. We will not be found naked, we will not be stripped down, we will not be judged again, once we have been clothed with he righteousness of Christ through regeneration.

What I find most astounding is Oliphant’s call to repentance and faith out of 2 Cor 6, when he seems not to believe that at all.

God Is The Sign: Behold Vengeance Is Mine Immanuel Says

The trappings aside, Isaiah is fulfilled. A sign given by the weary God. Isaiah 7 is incredibly in-depth about the sign of joy and the woe pronounced upon the house of David that accompanied it and cannot be divorced from it if the full account of Scripture is to be upheld. Very much like the woes pronounced by Jesus over Jerusalem, Isaiah is prophesying doom along with blessings upon his covenant people.

But, then, the sign is the child, a precious stone, and he is God, Isaiah proclaimed:

But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken…

The child Jesus, set for the falling and rising of many.

That’s right. Peter said it and also Paul places this prophecy in the Messianic Kingdom Age. The annunciation of the angels marks the beginning of the end and portends a rough future for Jerusalem, Judea and the furthest reaches of the world. Wherever the Gospel was intended to go is wherever the curse is found. For Israel herself is set as a sign for the nations, a lesson that all must heed. Her rising and falling is a portent for the nations. For what happens to her happens to all.

All… because they refuse the waters of Shiloah:

Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.

This prophecy is not restricted to just Israel as can be seen.

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind— so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.

Immanuel’s land is the whole earth. For his kingdom knows no end.

Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered; give ear, all you far countries; strap on your armor and be shattered; strap on your armor and be shattered. Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us.

The comfort that God gives is meted with the solemn warning that the world is the enemy of the church. It will attack her and try to kill the bride of Christ, pursuing her throughout the world for the rest of history as Revelation tells us. We might want to remember that Jesus was fond of quoting Isaiah and telling his disciples that the words that he had were for them to understand and not all could hear what was being said. However, all are subject to them. The somber warnings extend to the ends of the earth. The words are a heavy burden to bear:

Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Yet, who believes this report? What is wanted is a Christmas without a crucifixion.

We hear refrains of Christ’s words reflected in Isaiah 6. How long will this message be bound up among the disciples? Until the end, until the only thing that remains is the holy seed:

Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the Lord removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump.

We hear Jesus’ words of John 17:

Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs

with hints of the Resurrection and the sanctification by the word of the testimony. And there are the dire warnings against those disobedient to it, that they will be cast into utter darkness.

So goes the foreboding witness of the great sign of Immanuel, born in a manger, in Bethlehem to a virgin. We read further in Isaiah 9 about this little one who stepped down from glory and took on the form of a servant:

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

How wonderous this message of great peace and joy on earth to all upon whom God’s favor rests. It is indeed a time to be recognized with songs and feasts and gatherings of the family of God.

We must remember that the joy of the annunciation came at great cost. For the child that was born, the one in whom all the hopes and fears were met came not merely as a babe, but as the Judge of all mankind. He came himself to bear the judgement of God against many so it was written, the judgement began with the household of God and cost the life of the babe born in Bethlehem. But woe was pronounced upon all those who reject the invitation to suffer along with him:

The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel; and all the people will know, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart: “The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.”

But the Lord raises the adversaries of Rezin against him, and stirs up his enemies. The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still. The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the Lord of hosts. So the Lord cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day— the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail; for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up. Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still. For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another. They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm, Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

Isaiah 9 flows naturally into Isaiah 10 with this:

Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the ruin that will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth? Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

Who are the writers? Are they those who promise blessing and not cursing. Are they those who do not tell the whole story. Is that how they defraud the widow and the fatherless- by keeping them in the dark concerning the great and terrible day of the Lord?

Listen, the fast that the Lord requires is to set the record straight. That is how the captives are set free, this is how the widow is defended, the orphan given a home and the hungry fed. As Jesus remarked the only way to escape the woes pronounced against Israel and the world is to lay down your life. You cannot rebuild, you cannot replant. The only true relief from sorrow is the cross. There is only one way, and all disciples must take up their cross and follow him. Judgement will fall on all men. Just as he was under the yoke so must we all be. The poor you will have with you always, but who is he who is poor? The other side of the cross, for those who believe, is the resurrection to life and that rich and fat, abundance of peace and joy that passes man’s understanding. But for those who love their celebrations, the bright lights of the holy days without the recognition of the one true light who was born a babe in a manger, for them the only expectation at Christmas is as the writer to the Hebrews says:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,

“Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Joyfully accepting the plundering of possessions in hopes of that one true possession, is to be possessed by Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus wept over Jerusalem for their sin was to keep from her children the pronouncements of judgement for rejecting the Holy One of God. Just as they had done numerous times before, they had not announced the zeal of the Lord whose vengeance accomplishes salvation for his people through captivity and judgement. The teachers withheld the vital information about the suffering messianic path. As Jesus would command his followers that they must surely follow him, he commanded that they take up the very same cross upon which he was crucified. He asked if his disciples were willing to go through the baptism which he was to be baptized in, and even though he knew they were unable he promised that indeed they would eat and drink of the same cup. Our God is a Jealous God. Zealous is the same word. He is jealous for his people, his jealousy burns so much so that the very warnings of pending doom for his enemies are the very waters of deliverance for his people. As the waters of doom for the Egyptians were the waters of baptism for the people of Israel, this little child, the King of kings born in such humble circumstance was the portent of falling and rising of many people.

This Christmas do not neglect the entire story. For this is the wise prophecy of Simeon and of all the saints who await his appearance:

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

Not Fore Prophet?

Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke – Volume 2 – Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Now when John had heard. The Evangelists do not mean that John was excited by the miracles to acknowledge Christ at that time as Mediator; but, perceiving that Christ had acquired great reputation, and concluding that this was a fit and seasonable time for putting to the test his own declaration concerning him, he sent to him his disciples. The opinion entertained by some, that he sent them partly on his own account, is exceedingly foolish; as if he had not been fully convinced, or obtained distinct information, that Jesus is the Christ. Equally absurd is the speculation of those who imagine that the Baptist was near death, and therefore inquired what message he should carry, from Christ’s mouth as it were, to the deceased fathers. It is very evident that the holy herald of Christ, perceiving that he was not far from the end of his journey, and that his disciples, though he had bestowed great pains in instructing them, still remained in a state of hesitation, resorted to this last expedient for curing their weakness. He had faithfully labored, as I have said, that his disciples should embrace Christ without delay. His continued entreaties had produced so little effect, that he had good reason for dreading that, after his death, they would entirely fall away; and therefore he earnestly attempted to arouse them from their sloth by sending them to Christ. Besides, the pastors of the Church are here reminded of their duty. They ought not to endeavor to bind and attach disciples to themselves, but to direct them to Christ, who is the only Teacher. From the beginning, John had openly avowed that he was not the bridegroom, (John 3:29.) As the faithful friend of the bridegroom he presents the bride chaste and uncontaminated to Christ, who alone is the bridegroom of the Church. Paul tells us that he kept the same object in view, (2 Corinthians 11:2,) and the example of both is held out for imitation to all the ministers of the Gospel.

Art thou he who was to come? John takes for granted what the disciples had known from their childhood; for it was the first lesson of religion, and common among all the Jews, that Christ was to come, bringing salvation and perfect happiness. On this point, accordingly, he does not raise a doubt, but only inquires if Jesus be that promised Redeemer; for, having been persuaded of the redemption promised in the Law and the Prophets, they were bound to receive it when exhibited in the person of Christ. He adds, Do we look for another? By this expression, he indirectly glances at their sloth, which allowed them, after having been distinctly informed, to remain so long in doubt and hesitation. At the same time, he shows what is the nature and power of faith. Resting on the truth of God, it does not gaze on all sides, does not vary, but is satisfied with Christ alone, and will not be turned to another.

Go and relate to John As John had assumed for the time a new character, so Christ enjoins them to carry to him that message, which more properly ought to have been addressed to his disciples. He gives an indirect reply, and for two reasons: first, because it was better that the thing should speak for itself; and, secondly, because he thus afforded to his herald a larger subject of instruction. Nor does he merely supply him with bare and rough materials in the miracles, but adapts the miracles to his purpose by quotations from the Prophets. He notices more particularly one passage from the 35th, and another from the 61st, chapter of Isaiah, for the purpose of informing John’s disciples, that what the Prophets declared respecting the reign of Christ was accomplished and fulfilled. The former passage contains a description of Christ’s reign, under which God promises that he will be so kind and gracious as to grant relief and assistance for every kind of disease. He speaks, no doubt, of spiritual deliverance from all diseases and remedies; but under outward symbols, as has been already mentioned, Christ shows that he came as a spiritual physician to cure souls. The disciples would consequently go away without any hesitation, having obtained a reply which was clear and free from all ambiguity.

Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke – Volume 2 – Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Verily I say to you These words not only maintain the authority of John, but elevate his doctrine above the ancient prophets, that the people may keep in view the right end of his ministry; for they mistook the design of his mission, and, in consequence of this, derived almost no advantage from his discourses. Accordingly, Christ extols and places him above the rank of the prophets, and gives the people to understand that he had received a special and more excellent commission. When he elsewhere says respecting himself that he was not a Prophet, (John 1:21,) this is not inconsistent with the designation here bestowed upon him by Christ. He was, no doubt, a Prophet, like others whom God had appointed in his Church to be expounders of the Law, and messengers of his will; but he was more excellent than the Prophets in this respect, that he did not, like them, make known redemption at a distance and obscurely under shadows, but proclaimed that the time of redemption was now manifest and at hand. Such too is the import of Malachi’s prediction, (Malachi 3:1,) which is immediately added, that the pre-eminence of John consisted in his being the herald and forerunner of Christ; for although the ancient Prophets spoke of his kingdom, they were not, like John, placed before his face, to point him out as present. As to the other parts of the passage, the reader may consult what has been said on the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel.

There hath not arisen Our Lord proceeds farther, and declares that the ministers of the Gospel will be as far superior to John as John was superior to the Prophets. Those who think that Christ draws a comparison between himself and John have fallen into a strange blunder; for nothing is said here about personal rank, but commendation is bestowed on the pre-eminence of office. This appears more clearly from the words employed by Luke, there is not a greater Prophet; for they expressly restrict his eminence to the office of teaching.

I don’t know how anyone could say that John did not know who Jesus was, or what the Kingdom was, or how it was to come into being. Calvin has to be appreciated for pointing out the pastoral aspect of John in respect to his disciples. He knew his time was short, that they would soon be without him, and must go and follow the One. We remember at the baptism, that John had sent those disciples who were with him then off to follow Jesus. Now, Calvin remarks, that to shore up the faith of those who were clinging to him, he sends his disciples to see for themselves that what he had been saying all along of the Christ was true. The testimony is not for John’s benefit, it was for those who were doubting the message that John preached. One of the things that faith consists of is a true knowledge which brings comfort because it can be trusted.

John was a prophet. Not just any prophet, the greatest of all who preceded him. We must remember the message of the Angel:

…he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:14-17 ESV)

Or the words of the Spirit:

…his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:67-79 ESV)

Calvin points out Isaiah’s prophecies as being those Jesus told the disciples to return to John with, they being in truth fulfilled. As John’s father Zechariah had also heralded, the deliverance spoken of in the Law and Prophets was being fulfilled in John’s arrival as the forerunner of Christ. The Prophets knew that Jesus would be sent and would confirm himself as the suffering messiah through signs and wonders. The Kingdom, the Greatest Prophet knew, was to be instituted upon the death of the One, who would be pierced, to save his people from their sin. The Kingdom had a particular message, a message of offense. For the savior of God’s people was not coming as a conquering hero, that was a Judas-hope. Instead, he was coming as the propitiatory sacrifice of Isaiah 53.

Assuredly, John understood the fate of the Prophets, he knew his own head was on the chopping block. He understood that the Lord himself would not usher in a new political kingdom of Israelis, but of the Kingdom of true Israel, the Son, composed of both Jew and Gentile. After all, how could a national Israel be in the offing if those who were Israel’s enemies were to be part of the New Kingdom of Christ? Just so, seeking hope for a best life now is mistaken. The True Hope is the One yet to come, who as Job said, would stand on the Earth at the eschaton. For all those who would follow the Lord must follow him to Calvary and not to Herod’s throne. It is the laying down of life to save it, that is the message. It is not the Gospel of glory, but the Gospel offense and shame.

Did John doubt? Not at all. The things that John had heard in prison were exactly what he had expected. They were what he always knew would be. He was a fore-teller of Christ’s sufferings: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” and not of the messianic conqueror of the zealots’ myths. We must agree with Calvin, it wasn’t John’s doubt, he was a prophet, he knew the story line. It was for the benefit of his disciples that they were sent to inquire of Christ. He had already caught a womb to tomb glimpse of the Kingdom, and was prepared to die. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from conception for that very thing. There’s no doubt, that being an OT prophet, he understood his end, and glorified God who would account him such an honor as the Greatest Prophet to be born of a woman in accomplishing that end. Other prophets had seen Christ’s glory from afar. John, up and personal, was the only one to see Him in the flesh and know first hand Isaiah’s promise of the suffering servant. No greater honor could be paid than to be granted to suffer and to die for Christ’s sake. If John would have been expecting what the Jewish teachers were, he wouldn’t have been the Greatest Prophet. He would have been not fore prophet, at all.

The Intermediate State: I Ain’t Got No Body

Sam Storms gives us some insight about what might be understood as the immediate possession of a “resurrection” body. The red highlight is one of the several interpretations of this doctrine. What is important is not that this is necessarily the right interpretation, but that it is, as we will see, a historic “Reformed” perspective and one that I believe can be argued as the best interpretation.

The Bodily Resurrection

1. Its Certainty: The Resurrection of Christ – John 11:25-26; 14:1-3; Rom. 6:4-11; 8:11; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 4:14; Phil. 3:10-11,21: Col. 2:12; 3;4; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; I Peter 1:3-5; Rev. l:18.

2. Its Character (2 Cor. 5:1-5) – Paul likens physical death, the dissolution of the body, to the dismantling of a tent. But death should not lead to despair, for “we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” What is the “building from God”? Several options have been suggested:

Heaven – more specifically, an abode in heaven (cf. Jn. 14:1-3); perhaps even the New Jerusalem.

Intermediate body – not the glorified body to be received at Christ’s coming, but a state of bodily existence nevertheless: not corrupt and yet not glorified, not fleshly and yet not wholly spiritual; i.e., a bodily form of some sort suitable to the intermediate state but different from and only preparatory to the final, glorified, resurrected body (Mt. 17:3; Rev. 6:9-11).

Some say this refers to the body of Christ, i.e., the church.

Resurrected/glorified body – this is the most feasible answer. (a) “house” in v. la refers to this earthly body we presently have; sound exegesis would lead us to take “house” in v. lb to refer to the heavenly future body; (b) note its description: “not made with hands” = spiritual (cf. 1 Cor. 15:44,48,49); it is “eternal” as opposed to the temporary and transient character of earthly body; it is “in the heavens” as opposed to “on the earth” (v. 1a).

The major objection to this view is Paul’s use of the present tense, “we have” (not “we shall have”). This seems to imply that immediately upon death the believer receives his/her glorified body. But this would conflict with 1 Cor. 15:22ff.; 15:51-56; 1 Thess. 4-5, all of which indicate that glorification occurs at the second advent of Christ. Furthermore, frequently in Scripture a future reality or possession is so certain and assured in the perspective of the author that it is appropriately spoken of in the present tense, i.e., as if it were already ours in experience. Thus Paul’s present tense “we have” points to the fact of having as well as the permanency of having, but not the immediacy of having. It is the language of hope.

We should not be surprised that the language of the intermediate state is not dedicated to giving us much clarity.

Loraine Boetner has this to say:

The Bible has comparatively little to say about the intermediate state, evidently because it is not the ultimate state. It focuses attention not on that which is passing and temporary, but rather on the return of Christ and the new era that shall then begin. We therefore find it difficult to form any adequate idea of the activities that characterize those in the intermediate state.

There are, however, several Scripture passages which teach that it is a state of conscious existence for both the righteous and the wicked, – for the righteous, a state of joy; for the wicked, a state of suffering. This comes out with special clearness in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, where Lazarus is received into Abraham’s bosom, and the rich man is tormented in the flames of hell. Paul’s statements already cited (II Cor. 5:8 and Phil. 1 :23) make it clear that the state of the believer immediately after death is much to be preferred to the present world. While on the cross Christ said to the dying thief, “Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise,” Luke 23:43. For the believer to be in the intermediate state is to be with Christ in Paradise. And Paul’s reference to the vision given him early in his ministry, in which in one instance he says that he was “caught up even to the third heaven,” and in another that he was “caught up into Paradise,” II Cor. 12:2-4, shows that Paradise is to be identified with heaven. And in Rev. 14:13 is found one of the clearest of all references to those in the intermediate state: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.

Interesting that Boetner has this to say after quoting the Shorter Catechism:

The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves, till the resurrection.

One must wonder about this because each of Boetner’s examples are of people… with bodies. No where in those examples is there any indication that the persons spoken of are disembodied spirits.

A point that can be made is Paul’s description of the earthly house and the heavenly one, 2 Cor 5:1, to which Storm’s was alluding. Paul’s description is that to be absent from one is to be in the other. This is parallel to being in the body (earthly) and absent from the Lord. The heavenly dwelling is a body, also. It is describe like the earthly as a tablernacle, even though the nature of it is not clear, and Jesus’ description of Lazarus and Paul’s of himself in Heaven is one of having a body.Of this Calvin says

“The body, such as we now have it, he calls a house of tabernacle. For as tabernacles are constructed, for a temporary purpose, of slight materials, and without any firm foundation, and then shortly afterwards are thrown down, or fall of their own accord, so the mortal body is given to men as a frail hut, to be inhabited by them for a few days. The same metaphor is made use of, also, by Peter in his Second Epistle, (2 Peter 1:13, 14,) and by Job, (Job 4:19,) when he calls it a house of clay. He places in contrast with this a building of perpetual duration. It is not certain, whether he means by this term a state of blessed immortality, which awaits believers after death, or the incorruptible and glorious body, such as it will be after the resurrection. In whichever of these senses it is taken, it will not be unsuitable; though I prefer to understand it as meaning, that the blessed condition of the soul after death is the commencement of this building, and the glory of the final resurrection is the consummation of it.”

As you will note, Calvin doesn’t know what was meant (Storms it appears read Calvin on this). What he includes is that a body may well be the intermediate state. There are some areas that are problematic when a “spiritual non-corporeal” body is interjected as the meaning. That being, there is no such thing expressed in Scripture and it is even harder to reckon with eyes that see, voices that sing and speak, and the expressed movements of bodies in heaven. Even though the two, the body and the soul are spoken of as separate and separable, there is nothing that indicates that the unity of the person is ever dissolved. In fact, we must maintain that integrity. Now, it does not devolve that the man of dust must so remain eternally for there to be a resurrection of the body. Only that a body of some kind be intimately, indissolubly, united in that state of eternal bliss. It is, after all, what constitutes man. A soul does not constitute him, nor does a body, but both together constitute the person and it is persons who are resurrected. How is that reconciled with a “spirit” like body? There is no such thing, that is, the idea is oxymoronic. Entities in creation occupy some spatial reality, be it ethereal or material. God is the only pure spirit in that he alone is without a body, parts, or constraints of creation. What necessity is there to have such a thing as a bodiless soul, anyway? What does it mean to be present with the Lord if we say there is only a spiritual reality, specters and no bodies of which we can distinguish any sense of form? How do we explain the appearance of Moses and Elijah, or of Samuel? If we in our imaginations see ourselves as being there as Paul did who was caught up into that third heaven, if we likewise were to meet the Lord, how would we represent that in our minds? As ghosts? Translucence beings? No, it in fact goes contrary to our minds. Neither Paul, nor Jesus, gives us any reason to believe that there is a disembodied state.

What the intermediate state means anthropologically is shrouded in mystery. Perhaps that is why those like Calvin were reticent to commit to any single meaning, reserving the right to be wrong. Calvin says concerning the new clothing, a metaphor for the new body:

Afterwards, however, he adds, that the natural horror of death is overcome by confidence; as an individual will, without any reluctance, throw away a coarse, dirty, threadbare, and, in one word, tattered garment, with the view of his being arrayed in an elegant, handsome, new, and durable one.

Calvin, speaks of where he departs from Chrysostom:

Since clothed He restricts to believers, what he had stated respecting the certainty of a future life, as it is a thing peculiar to them. For the wicked, too, are stripped of the body, but as they bring nothing within the view of God, but a disgraceful nakedness, they are, consequently, not clothed with a glorious body. Believers, on the other hand, who appear in the view of God, clothed with Christ, and adorned with His image, receive the glorious robe of immortality. For I am inclined to take this view, rather than that of Chrysostom and others, who think that nothing new is here stated, but that Paul simply repeats here, what he had previously said as to putting on an eternal habitation. The Apostle, therefore, makes mention here of a twofold clothing, with which God invests us – the righteousness of Christ, and sanctification of the Spirit in this life; and, after death, immortality and glory. The first is the cause of the second, because those whom God has determined to glorify, he first justifies.

The point is, that though Calvin wasn’t quite sure what kind of body there was in heaven at the point of death, he seems quite sure that the “body,” whatever it is, is glorious, the very image of Christ, the robe of immortality. Calvin, then, tends to a glorified body upon death which may be further glorified at the resurrection of the parousia. It matters not at this point whether there is wrangling about the material nature of that body, the state of its glorification, or whatever. The fact is that it is something that can be seen, that has subsistence as some kind of substance which we can recognize is the possession of the saints in heaven, now.

One interesting twist that some have recognized, as Storms mentions, is that the play on body and clothing is language used of the church. There is one kind of body here, another in heaven, one assembly among men and another among the angels. But this also goes to the point that the language of the resurrection is quite diversified in its applications and views, making it difficult to determine whether or not the meaning of egeirontai, raised, in 1 Cor 15, does not refer to the bringing forth of the Adamic body from the grave, but the rousing of the resurrection body out of heaven at the Parousia. The word raised is not anastasis, to make to live again (stand on ones feet). And though it can mean to energize, rouse, it also means to make appear in public. This kind of language is used in the OT of the Lord’s return, as it is he who rises to judgement and makes public his decrees. He is raised and will rise and come forth out of heaven. However, he already has a body. The fact remains that the meanings, especially eschatological ones, widely vary

It is a minority position to be sure, an obscure one, that we have bodies in heaven at the point of death though perhaps not yet rewarded with the final consummation of glory which is promised at his coming. When I say minority, I do not mean the less right one, merely, that historically the majority has held to the disembodiment theory. The minority view remains orthodox, nonetheless, a historic consideration of Reformers like Calvin. It remains an enigma, true enough. For the body which is sown is that of the dust, but Scripture clearly says it is not the body of dust that is resurrected for the first man is not that which is raised, he being of the dust. The new man has a heavenly body and it is that which is raised, 1 Cor 15, and it comes from heaven, not from the dust of the earth. The first Adam was of the earth, dust. The second was of heaven and that glorification of that body is a heavenly substance. Yet, it is the same body as we know from Christ’s post resurrection appearances. This is not to become confused in the light of His being conceived from the flesh of Mary. For we are not speaking of his days prior to the resurrection, but after. So also, we are not speaking of saints prior to death, but after.

So the question of what it means to be raised from the grave is answered. It cannot mean from a tomb. It must mean, simply, from death. The first body is earthy, the second is, despite what some say, kainos ktisis, a new creation, anothen gennao, born from above, heavenly, made without hands, kept in heaven. It is not simply a reassembled prior existence. Chapter 15 goes on: the dead will be raised imperishable. Adam, the man of dust, is made of perishable things. The problem with interpreting being raised to mean those who are dead in the grave on earth, is that the parallel is the body which is dead on earth with the body which is alive in heaven. However, persons die, and not just their bodies. It is persons who live again, and not just their bodies. The contrast is flesh and blood, perishable, and therefore that body which has died, versus that which imperishable, not flesh and blood, of heaven, that which cannot ever die. The heavenly body, which is just like that body of earth except for its origins has a new beginning and no end. The first had a beginning, and ended. Jesus said that if you put new wine in old skins you burst the skin and ruin both. Or, if you put old wine in new skins, you ruin both. His answer to the dilemma was a new creation, soul and body, new wine, new wine skins.

The dead in Christ shall rise first. That is simple. Raised is the word egeirontai. Though it can mean raised from the a grave, the reality is not that in 1 Cor 15:15-16, but being changed from death (the grave) to life. The dead are raised, is the point. The resurrection of the body though is unseen by those on earth. We observe them in their graves. We live by faith, though, not by sight. Those who have gone before of course, or I should say, by the matter of course, are the first to be raised. For they have already received their new bodies as Christ also did. And Scripture declares them as coming with the Lord at his appearing, not rising from the ground at that time. We rise from the ground, those of us who remain, and we meet them in the air, those who have gone before. So the dead will be raised first. Throughout, the text has been contrasting perishability and imperishability, and the appearance, not of a coming together of body parts, but the appearing, egeirontai, the declaration or demonstration that is revealed in the Parousia, of what is the reality of the resurrection.

The timing of the resurrection of those who have gone before is left open to interpretation by Christ’s own words when he challenges in his discourse with Martha the sense that the resurrection is at the last day, only. And of course he will lose none and will raise up all on the last day. The language of the eschaton is shaded in mystery and types and should not always be taken literalistically. He said he was the resurrection and there are many resurrections spoken of because the term itself has wider application than just that which happens at the Parousia. Yet there is one Resurrection. And the only one that truly matters is not at the Parousia, but His on Easter Morning. It explains a lot when we consider the oddity of Christ’s resurrection: A body that has holes which does not bleed? There are also the many who were resurrected that morning; we have no idea what happened to them afterward. We suppose they died, again, we don’t know. But what would be the purpose of another death? After all, it is appointed to man once to die, then the judgement, right? All those who are said to die in Christ are of that first resurrection, also, because there is only one resurrection, right? Even though they do not walk in it except by faith until they die, at which time they rise, that is they are resurrected to be with the Lord, we are all said to be of the resurrection, now. So what it means to rise or to be raised is as much an open field of understanding as many other eschatological terms. So the rousing, the rising, spoken of in Corinthians, could very well just be that appearing which makes evident that they were indeed raised from the dead. For raised is in the perfect present tense in places where it cannot mean to take place at the Parousia. When First Thessalonians 4 is read we equate those rising first as being the bodies which are reunited with the souls, at that time. However, there is no need to do so. And though anasthsontai is used there, it is a synonym with the exact same meaning as egeirontai. And though it is future, egeirontai, used in Corinthians describing the same event, indicates they have already been raised. “And the dead in Christ will rise first,” may just be a restatement of “God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” There is no distinction that is being made between body and soul in Thessalonians. And it says nothing about the grave.

egeirontai, (5743)

The definition of egeiro is interesting, broadly encompassing several eschatological ideas. The tense used in 1 Cor 15:15-16 is the present indicative. It means that it has already happened and is now the fact. Well, how can that be if the dead are not raised yet… if the resurrection of the body is future? It is connected with Christ being raised and the purpose is… to establish that Christ is raised, and so also are those who are his. If we deny one, Paul is saying that we deny both. If his are not raised, present tense, then neither is Christ. Truly, each in their time are raised, first Christ then at his appearing they who have been raised will appear with him. That only makes sense. Why is the word egeiro (sounds like a Greek sandwich) important, then? Because it indicates a revealing, a public display, and not just a rousing from the grave or the animation of the body, or a change in spiritual state of soul, but the actuality itself being demonstrated. That is, egeirontai is to display, to hold up for public examination. Christ was seen by 500 brothers, but those who are his, who are with him now, will not be seen to have been resurrected until he returns. It doesn’t say that they will be raised bodily at that time, necessarily. To the contrary, the language says that they are now raised. Both cases, however, will still prove Paul truthful. The statement is that they are raised already and that it will be made apparent in the Parousia. But if one wants to believe that they are yet to be bodily raised, and are now only disembodied spirits floating around in heaven, fine, the point of the passage remains that there really is a resurrection no matter when it is made evident.

If you will indulge me further, Herman Hoeksema writes:

A Difficult Conception

Now, as I said, teaching about the intermediate state presents a very difficult problem. The intermediate state refers to the state of man in the absence of the body. That is very difficult for us to comprehend. In the second place, it refers to the state, not so much of all mankind but of the believer, of the Christian. You cannot talk in one breath of the believer and of the unbeliever when you speak of the intermediate state. That is impossible. Finally, it is a difficult problem because it concerns the question of heaven—of heaven as it now is. It is difficult enough to conceive of the heavenly things as they finally shall be. But because the final kingdom of heaven is pictured in Scripture, we can at least have some kind of conception of it. The Bible speaks of the new creation, and of the creature that shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption and shall enter into the glorious liberty of the children of God. But that is not the question. The question is not about the final state. The question is not about the final realization of the kingdom of God in glory. The question is about heaven as it is. That is much more difficult.

I must say a little about each of these elements in order at least to impress upon your minds the difficulty of the problem.

First of all, man is one, not two. Let me emphasize that. Man is not two beings but one being. Often that is denied. At least we often have the idea that man is sort of a spirit in a box. If it were that simple, there would be no problem being absent from the body. Then it would simply be this: that the spirit is imprisoned in the body for awhile, and then at death, as a separate entity, the spirit simply leaves the body. But that is not the case. Man is a physical, psychical, spiritual, personal being in the present world.

Let me explain. Picture to yourself several concentric circles, one circle in another. All of these circles together are the whole man. The outward circle is the body, the body as you see it. My body! A wonderful thing is that body, with its five senses: the seeing, the hearing, the smelling, the tasting, the touching. That is the body–the wonderful physical instrument through which I see. My body itself does not see; my body cannot see. But my body is the physical instrument whereby I see, I hear, I taste, I touch, I smell. See what? The world. I see the world! You can easily understand that. If I had no senses at all, I would have no contact with the world. Yet the body would still be living, and my soul would still be living in the body. That is the body. It is the instrument of my soul, or spirit, whereby I stand in a fivefold contact with this present world.

Now imagine, inside that outer circle, another circle, a circle close to the edge of the former circle. That circle I would call the spiritual or soul aspect of the body. The body is connected with the soul somehow, you understand. It is not true that the body is a box in which the soul is imprisoned. Oh, no! There is a very intimate connection, a very intimate relation, an organic connection between the spirit, the soul, and the body. Because of that, there is an inner aspect of my body that is connected with the soul. I think that the inner aspect is what the doctors call the nervous system. It is the nervous system that is the inside of the eye, of the ear, of the touch, of the taste, and of the smell by these the soul is connected with the body.

Thirdly, imagine a third circle inside of that second circle. That third circle I would call the physical side of the soul. Perhaps we can find that aspect of man in the brain. If you had no brain at all its different cells and all its different compartments–you could have no contact with the world. Even though you had the spiritual side of the body, the nervous system, without the brain you would still have no contact with the outside world. The brain is the instrument of the intellect and the will, the instrument of the rational and moral being, the instrument of the soul in its narrowest sense.

What is the soul? The soul is the seat of mind and will, which are the two faculties of the soul. Without the brain, there would be no mind, and there would be no will. There would be no sensation or perception. The brain is the physical aspect of the soul, while the soul itself is the intellect and will.

Inside one more circle is what the Bible calls the spirit of man. The spirit of man is that which God originally created to be adapted to Him. The spirit of man is the highest part of him, the center of his being.

Now imagine one dot in the center of all those circles. That center of it all is the person. That is what I call my I, the I that always remains the same and never changes. I was born as a little baby. I grew up. I learned my trade in the old country. I came to this country. I went to school to study for the ministry. I graduated. I became a minister of the gospel. I had all kinds of troubles, and still have, because I preach the truth. I, I, I: the same I. That I never changes. My soul changed; my body changed; my mind changed; my intellect changed; my will changed. But I am always the same. And presently, beloved, I die.

I die. What does that mean? That means that I—the same I that was born almost 70 years ago, the same I that lived in the changeable nature that same I now passes through another transformation. That is death. Death is, after all, nothing but a transformation. Death is not annihilation. Death is a transformation from one state to another, just as the Lord speaks of the seed that falls into the earth and dies and then brings forth much fruit. That death of the seed, you understand, does not mean that the seed disappears. Oh, no! A seed of wheat that you plant in the earth stays there and is transformed in the earth. It does not disappear. It is so transformed that the living kernel sprouts up and grows into a fully developed wheat plant. So is death, death both for the righteous and the wicked. But I am speaking now particularly of the death of the righteous. Death is a mystery. but death nevertheless means a transformation.

What transformation? Negatively, the transformation according to which I–the same I–am “absent from the body.” Do you understand? The apostle says in II Corinthians 5:1, “We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved….” That is the negative side of the transformation we call death. This tabernacle is going to be dissolved. This tabernacle in which I live, in which I was born, in which I am speaking to you tonight, is going to be dissolved. That is, the senses are going to disappear: the eye, the ear, the nose, the smell, the taste, the touch. It is all going to disappear through death. It is going to disappear as far as I am concerned. And the nervous system, the soul side of the body, is going to dissolve. Also the brain, the physical side of the soul, is going to be dissolved. All that will be left is a transformed soul and a transformed spirit transformed in such a way that instead of seeing earthly things, I will see heavenly things. Instead of sensing with whatever senses I may have on earth, in heaven I will sense, I will taste, I will feel heavenly things. Concretely, it means that instead of seeing the world and hearing the world and all things in the world, I will see Christ and hear Christ and be with Him, “which is far better,” says the apostle Paul. It is that kind of transformation.

But do you not see that this presents a problem? Do you not see that we cannot possibly conceive of a spirit, of an I, of a person–of a human person–without a body? Do you not see that without my body, I am blind, I am deaf, I am senseless? Besides, do you not understand that though we can speak of these things at present while we are still in the earthly house of this tabernacle, we can never quite understand what heaven will be the present heaven?

As Genesis begins so our tale ends. We find always that man is a complex unity. But, he is always a unity, body and soul. The soul, whether it is defined as the thoughts, emotions, spirit, etc, has to have a vehicle of expression and that we know as the body. The terms for soul often are used interchangeably for the body of flesh and not just of that invisible component of man. Indeed, what we find in revelation is souls with eyes, hands, lips and so on. Never do we find just spirits without those body parts mentioned doing anything. Trumpets blow, voices praise, creatures sit, stand, and bow. Whatever the nature of the corporeal state of heaven, it is without question corporeal. It is not earthly corporeality, it is heavenly corporeality. Hoeksema is quite right, it is a very difficult conception, but it is impossible to conceive of it as being bodiless reality. Even in the case of Lazarus and the Rich man, what we encounter is not a picture of disembodied characters, but real persons both body and soul.

Who Would Have Thought That Jesus The Promised Seed Is The Land Of Promise?

At the heart of the covenant, then, God himself is the intended fulfillment of the promise. Therefore, every true understanding of the promised blessings must be able to be subsumed under that head. The land promised to Abraham was only included in the promise because it was integral, in some way, to the reality of having God as his portion. This point is vital for understanding the nature of the promises as they relate to Abraham and his seed. Yes, the Lord made Abraham the father of many nations: Israelites, Edomites, and twelve Arab nations all sprang from his loins. But the ultimate fulfillment of his being made a father to a great people, or to many nations, could only come by his being a father to those whose exceeding great reward was Jehovah. Hence, when we find the original promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12 repeated and developed in Genesis 17, we find the very essence of the covenant promise made manifestly clear. In verse 4-8 of the latter chapter we read,

As for Me, behold! My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham. For I have made you a father of many nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful, greatly so, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed after you. And I will give the land to you in which you are a stranger, and to your seed after you, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. And I will be their God.

At the heart of this reiterated covenant promise is the reality that Abraham’s true seed would be those whose God would be Jehovah. This promise, “I will be their God,” is given twice, once in connection with the seed that Abraham would father, and once in connection with the land that God would give to them. It is readily apparent from these verses that the Immanuel principle — the principle of God being the God of a certain people and dwelling with them alone of all the nations of the earth — is a vital principle for understanding the promise made to Abraham. At the heart of the seed and land promises, and in fact what constitutes the very essence of those promises, is the reality that Jehovah will be their God. This “Immanuel principle” is the substance of all later redemptive history, and the precise content of the Abrahamic covenant.

When God put Abraham’s faith to the ultimate test, he did not ask for some task that was entirely unconnected to the content of his faith. Instead, he gave a command to Abraham that was so constructed that his response to the command would indicate precisely what it was he believed about the promises of God. God had already revealed that the Seed who would come to bless all the families of the world was in Isaac. When God commanded Abraham to put Isaac to death, and Abraham obeyed without hesitation, he demonstrated that he believed in a coming Seed who could be put to death and yet be brought to life through the power of God.

via Psalm 45 Publications » Land, Seed, and Blessing in the Abrahamic Covenant.

The last quote above brings to mind how often I have tried, usually in vain, to explain that James is not describing good works in general. Rather, there is a specific quality to the good works which make them works of faith over against those good works which are not works of faith which the men James is confronting have:

But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Good works which demonstrate faith have a particular character, a point of reference, if you will, found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. As the article deftly acquires:

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.

Further, James remarks that even a harlot can have these works which depend not on her or them but upon the One to which they point, who is the faithful deliverer, who does not forget his promise. James is pointing to the fact that discrimination between the poor and the rich is antithetical to the Gospel, for it does not depend upon being Abraham or Rahab, or the specifics of the works, but upon the promiser, in that those works demonstrate a dependence, even faith in the promise of the resurrection, the deliverance from death. The land to which all believers are looking, to which all their good works point, is not to make distinctions between rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, male or female, so that there is as James condemns, to respect the person (i.e. the external condition of man; prosōpolēmpteō) but indeed, all are one in Christ. He is the promised Seed, the promised Land, that indeed, in him are all the riches of the inheritance which belongs to the children of God.

As the article continues, to not recognize this, and to confuse the promise as some how temporally referential to ethnic Israel not only does disservice to the texts, but undermines the pan-ethnic nature of the Gospel of Christ who has torn down the wall of separation and made one new man, or that is, one new land of those scattered throughout the world who are being gathered into one people in Christ, our Promised Land.

Why Do So Many Pay Attention To The Likes Of Harold Camping?

All who have a rational mind question their existence and its moral nature. Because all who have a such conscience know intrinsically that there is a judgement to come for the evil which they are guilty of and cannot escape, they contemplate the meaning of life. Which means, more importantly, they contemplate the state of being in death. Much of the fear of apocalypse is the pain and suffering associated with great cataclysm. Yet, that is only one aspect of the question and has to do with matters concerning living life and the destruction of it. It is the other, the meaning of death, that is the teleology of life, that is really the focus of the eschatological questions each one asks.

Camping’s proposal wasn’t without grounding in Christianity and with 2012 looming, along with many cultus beliefs among the diversity of Earth’s civilizations about the end of things, this idea is not a mere eruption of a blemish upon mankind, it is an ancient, full body consumption, the disease of which all thoughts about it are mere symptoms, from which no one escapes. Even those who mock spirituality cannot escape the lure to comment on it. Though they might dismiss it, it tags them just the same as an ardent believer. We might ask why the interest of the disinterested, seeing that the skeptic or atheist ostensibly has no care for what he knows cannot be known or even have existence? For the rest, the plague of the why is the fear in death, the door through which all must pass into the room that all must occupy. What that room looks like is their query. Their question has an answer. The answer is Christ.

Denny Burk notes:

Even though bible-believing Christians will likely agree with the “Morning Joe” crew that Harold Camping is a crackpot, I think we need to be careful about feelings of solidarity. What I heard in the laughter on “Morning Joe” was not the sober critique of the pious, but the sad ridicule of 2 Peter 3:3-4:

3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

In other words, one of the hallmarks of the sinful human heart is the suppression of any notion of a coming judgment. Sinners employ all kinds of strategies to make-believe that the second coming of Christ is make-believe.

Even the suppression of it, or its ridicule, evinces its ubiquity. No one is exempt. Then, what is really needed is a sober reassessment and a clear proclamation of Scriptural truths and not mere mocking, though deserved. There are real answers. Even in the face of those who say, “That’s just your opinion,” we must give an answer for our hope. We must force the choice. Christianity is not speculative, rather, it is a set of propositional truths. Then our reasoned approach, though without a miraculous work of God cannot convert, must be of such distinction as to set it apart from all others.

How does the church make such a commanded task a noble exercise in the truth?

Isn’t the Great Commission a charge to teach all that Jesus taught? Then doesn’t that mean to teach only what he did? Then aren’t there only certain answers to the questions of life and death that people ask? At least from a Christian perspective, emphatically, yes.

One of the problems of understanding, even among those within the church, is just why the wrath of God is coming. There is a singular, unequivocal answer. Unfortunately, many look at the current circumstance of sins as the reason. They decry the currency of mankind and wonder why we cannot humble ourselves and pray. While it is truth that: …because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience… sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness… filthiness…foolish talk… crude joking…, these things are the working out a first truth. That is the fact of original sin. God’s wrath is being poured out, and these things, which include the guilty conscience which asks the question, are evidence of that truth. Without doubt there are as well triggers, evils which surround and proceed from us, which cause mankind both to wonder and to suppress the evident knowledge innate to each individual. Still, the currency is the result, and not the cause of the wrath of God. The wrath of God began here. And indeed, it will be fully realized at the consummation of the ages.

The profanation of marriage: many Christians will say, “This will bring the wrath of God.” As a general statement, this is true. But I would like to suggest that given the light Western culture as a whole, and the United States in particular, has received, and given our cultural heritage, this will not bring God’s wrath, it is God’s wrath. In other words, when a culture can fall so far morally at such a precipitous speed, God has surely removed not only His hand of blessing, but His hand of restraint as well. We are being given over, or, maybe more accurately, have been given over, to fulfill the “lusts of the flesh.”

I would add we were given over in Genesis 3. That we have been cast out into the nations which we inhabit, into a world from which, by the act of one man, God has withdrawn his hand.

Can any nation long endure? What is the percentage of sin in population that is sufficient to bring down God’s judgement? What percentage of righteousness is required to stay it? It could be one hundred percent, as it was with Adam and Eve, or it could be less than one percent as it was with David and Bathsheba. With David, the sin he engaged in wasn’t the sum of his life, but just as Adam a single act ruined the whole. Nor was David the sum of the nation as was the case with Adam, but just as with Achan, David’s sin, though an occasion and not the summation of either the man or the nation, was sufficient to bring God’s wrath upon the whole nation.

Is there, then, a way to annul God’s judgement against the nations? Not at all. For each nation will always have one Achan among its numbers for which a single insignificant act is the total denial of God’s holiness. If any man sins in any one aspect of the law he is guilty of the whole and since mankind is viewed as a single fabric and accounted as a whole to God, each act of sin by one is as much as the act of Adam who was our federal head. What I mean by that, is that with each sinful individual, that first act of Adam is reestablished as the reason that God’s wrath is poured out against all of mankind such that they are cursed to sin by nature. That is the lesson taught, and retaught, again and again, in Scripture. Because of these things the wrath of God is poured out. By what punishment can God be appeased except by the death all men? Can the whole be satisfied by the sacrifice of one, as with Achan or with many sinful men? The unrighteous for the unrighteous? Well, we can answer that: did Israel continue in the throes of sin? Absolutely. After each rebellion, they rebelled, despite the punishments, despite the appeasement made. The reality remains, as we look around, that there are always some who reject the satisfaction provided for by the Lord. In fact, the Mosaic covenant is by its nature is a rejection of such, substituting sacrifices that could never take away sin even if it were the death of the one who sinned. Will his wrath always be directed at the nations until the final consummation and destruction of the world? Is there still death? What would it take to change what we know as life? And what should we expect in death?

Since the fall of Adam and Eve this has been the reality:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

We, each and everyone, are therefore without excuse. Paul addressed the general consensus, Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. And here is the fact, we all judge, and more, we are commanded to, Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. We are required says Hosea: He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to judge rightly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. It appears then that we are in a quandary. We must judge all the while we are under judgement and judging we are brought into judgement, for we are all guilty by that judgement. The solution also appears in loving mercy. What then can we expect? Nothing. For anything, be it disease, disaster or death, are fit for us for our crimes. We plead for mercy, but mercy is not justice and justice is what we deserve. Is there no way in which such a wrath can be turned away, a way though judgement begins even with the household of God and turns to leave no nation untouched?

Yes, it is through the propitiation of Christ, what he has done, not what we can do, his satisfaction made to God as a substitution for those upon whom his favor rests. It is Jesus, who has for those who believe, lived a perfect life, died in their place, and was resurrected for their justification. Being in him, their life is hidden in Christ, who having died cannot die again, who being raised from the dead lives forever, who is now seated upon his throne in Heaven. Being in him believers are free from the condemnation which is coming upon the whole world. For all who are his at his coming are now seated with him. All expect judgement because all are guilty, and that is why all consider the end of their days. That is why we should love mercy, because he who shows no mercy will be shown none. And that is why we should humble ourselves that God might lift us up from the dead. For God condemns the proud but has mercy on those humbled by the guilt of their sin in the brilliance of his holiness.

Today, if you here his voice, repent and believe that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, that Jesus is Lord, and that God has raised him from the dead on your behalf, and you will have eternal life and be saved from the wrath to come.

Harold Camping Explains His Prognosticatum Mathematicum To Mr Bimbo

As Michael S. Rosenwald of The Washington Post explains, Camping “says he came up with the very precise date of May 21 through a mathematical calculation that would probably crash Google’s computers.” Further, Camping’s mathematical formula “involves, among other things, the dates of floods, the signals of numbers in the Bible, multiplication, addition and subtraction thereof.” As many have noted, the math seems to make sense only to Harold Camping.

We could hope that Harold Camping is simply insane. Short of that, we must conclude him to be of his

father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Along with Hopeless Harold, history has marked time with such fanatical kooks posing as scholars. From the Watch Tower Society, to Adventistism, to Left Behind La Haye, typically prognosticators’ teachings are fraught not with just the error of making pronouncements concerning the End Times, but heresy.

The wide range of speculative eschatology has been formalized in even more benign forms. The commonality, however, between such extremes like Camping and the milder forms of error such as the varieties of dispensationalism should not be missed. Each one must lay a claim on the timing of Christ’s parousia or some part of it. What for some begins as a simple error opens the gates for the extremists. One thing remains, as Mohler tells us, that no one can know the timing of his return. However, if you believe in a pre- or mid- tribulation rapture, the default has to be that from that event to the final consummation has an established time frame. Even those who believe in a post-tribulation millenarianism are faced with that conflict. For even if Christ only comes back at the end of tribulation to establish a temporary kingdom, the final consummation is a date set in stone which can be proclaimed. Again, the problem is one of not reading what is clearly stated. Notice:

“Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

There is one thing cannot be missed. The appearance of the Son of Man is inextricably linked to the consummation of the ages, by the final trumpet, at which time the judgement ensues and then, and only then is the kingdom of Israel restored. No intermediate time, no millenium, no national-Israel restored, no seven years, no half that, no time is allowed, for such would legitimate those who could rightly establish the final day. But Jesus took that all away. All the speculations, all the formulas, all the manipulation of texts simply by proclaiming:

“It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.”

It is not just the prune-minded likes of Camping, but in the teaching of otherwise solid, orthodox teachers. It is a shame that the blame, not an honor, for such worn tread of eschatological speculations appearing often belongs to those who are much closer to the hub of wheel.

Though, as White notes:

At the same time, some of these folks will be absolutely positively devastated when their clock shows them it is May 22nd and the sun will rise in a matter of hours. They will have nothing left, and, given that Camping lied to them and said “the Bible guarantees it,” many, many will abandon all belief in the Bible as Scripture. Atheist groups will be touting former Campingites who “saw the light” in the coming months. Remember that in the years after the failed 1975 prophecy of Jehovah’s Witnesses, about a million people left the Watchtower. But, they did not join any other religious organization. They became the religiously abused, the burned out, the “don’t talk to me about that stuff” crowd. And while I doubt Camping has that many followers, there will still be a large number who will throw it all away, saying the Bible is not worthy to be believed, all because Camping twisted it and distorted it and lied to his followers. He will have much to answer for on the real judgment day, which, at age 89, is very close at hand for him.

it is not just Camping, but any teacher will stand to give an account for the damage done to the name of the Lord, his church, and even to themselves. The carelessness of speaking opinions as if they were truth does not go unnoticed by the Lord:

But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Matthew Henry says of this verse:

Men’s language discovers what country they are of, likewise what manner of spirit they are of. The heart is the fountain, words are the streams. A troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring, must send forth muddy and unpleasant streams. Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication. An evil man has an evil treasure in his heart, and out of it brings forth evil things. Lusts and corruptions, dwelling and reigning in the heart, are an evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions, to dishonour God, and hurt others. Let us keep constant watch over ourselves, that we may speak words agreeable to the Christian character.

Calvin on the same:

This is an argument from the less to the greater; for if every idle word is to be called in question, how would God spare the open blasphemies and sacrilegious insolence of those who bark against his glory? An idle word means one that is useless, or that yields no edification or advantage. Many look upon this as too severe; —this appears to many to be too extreme and rigorous, but if we consider the purpose for which our tongues were made, we will acknowledge— that those men are justly held guilty who unthinkingly devote them to trifling fooleries, and prostitute them to such a purpose. It is no light fault to abuse, for frivolous purposes, the time, which Paul enjoins us to be careful to redeem, (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5.)

Now since no man is so cautious in speech, or maintains such a wise restraint upon himself, as never to allow some idle words to escape him, there remains for all of us absolute despair, if the Lord should treat us with rigor. But as the confident hope of our salvation rests on the assurance that God will not enter into judgment with us, (Psalm 143:2,) but will bury in gracious forgetfulness the sins which deserve innumerable deaths, we entertain no doubt that, when he removes the condemnation of our whole life, he will likewise pardon the guilt of idle talking. When the judgment of God is mentioned in Scripture, it does not in any way set aside the forgiveness of sins. And yet let no man indulge himself, but let every man earnestly endeavor to bridle his tongue, (James 1:26.) First, let us speak of the sacred mysteries of God with the utmost reverence and sobriety; secondly, let us abstain from talkativeness, buffoonery, and vain jests, and much more from slanderous attacks; and, lastly, let us endeavor to have our speech seasoned with salt, (Colossians 4:6.)

Beside the verses mentioned by Calvin from Paul, we have a reissued warning from Paul about what teachers in the church will be held accountable for in judgement (keeping in mind what chastisements and scourgings are promised in this life for all as such is God’s grace towards the sons of God):

According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Now the Day, biblically, can be any day in which judgement is brought. Such is made evident in the mixing of the contemporaneous and apocalyptic views in Matthew 25. If we become enemies of our own house, if we tear down the temple as a wife who tears down her own house by her lips, we should fear. To humbly avoid that, Paul instructs us to become as fools, deferring to only speak what is known to be true such as words given by a faithful husband by the Spirit of Truth. For in multiplying words there lacks no evil thing. Remembering both that Paul speaks of the mysteries in Chapter 2, and how it is that Truth is revealed by the Spirit, we must truly take care not to destroy God’s temple by words which are not made known to us by Christ. Words are hammers, fires, arrows, and winds that can build up or destroy. What is worse than to ascribe to the Holy Spirit those words which are not his which can only kill, steal and destroy and not build up?

Paul’s subjects in his correctives are broad and among them are the correctives about the end times. His warnings about vain speculations flow throughout his epistles just as do his requirements for faithful teachers. Oh that we would learn from him not to go beyond what is written… meaning, not to speculate about that meaning. But to establish the meaning, as sure as the foundation, is the charge he was entrusted, which he then gave to his hearers and readers. Any opinion, even if correct, is as much a lie as that which is incorrect, for we are to be about establishing what is true, not what is opinion, and being convinced of it as TRUTH, to teach it. What man is trustworthy when not even he would venture upon the bridge constructed from his own imagination? So should a trustworthy servant avoid the entanglement in vain words? We are not to teach what is not of faith. We are to teach what are trustworthy sayings. And the faith, once and for all delivered to the saints is not left open for discussion. It is known for its ability to withstand and not wash away as if it were the sands of the seas, to be a sure path for the feet so that they will not slip.

It is not uncommon, the errors that abound in the church, as is made clear in Acts and the Epistles of the apostles, began in infancy, from without and from within, and even with nearly imperceptible, advancing deleterious effect, with age they always cripple. How quickly a little leaven can leaven the whole lump, also, even that which is innocently introduced by a man who does not know he is unsure of what he speaks. Yet all are without excuse, for Scripture gives us clear answers, and then warns us not to engage in what we are not clear in. We are to submit to the school of the prophets, we are to speak as oracles of God, giving him the credit for the words that come from our mouths with trembling, knowing that he can not ever be wrong and that we must be perfect as he is. How much blasphemy, then, is uttered in the name of the Lord? As Calvin noted, we are all guilty, by far. But these things should not be.

Let us then call upon all to cease from speculation as if it were doctrine, and cling to what we know. For in the end, there are those who are insane, and those who are evil. By our words, let us be innocent of the second and hope we are not found among the first.

The Almost Last Trumpet Sound

According to Scripture, the resurrection of both the just and the unjust occurs simultaneously. Jesus expressly states that he will raise believers up on the “last day” (Jn 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24). Thus we told quite clearly that the resurrection of the just occurs on the last day, at the end of this age. In addition, Jesus also proclaims that “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day” (John 12:48). Notice that the very same event is also said to be the time of judgment for those who reject Christ. Add to these important passages those additional verses that, relate the trumpet of God to the “last day” and to the return of Christ. The return of Christ will occur “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Co. 15:52; cf. 1 Thess 4:16). Notice that there are no gaps of time indicated between the resurrection and the judgement. These texts collectively speak of the resurrection, the judgment, and the return of Christ as distinct aspects of but one event, occurring at precisely the same time (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Premillennialists, who often chide amillennialists for not taking the Bible “literally” and who champion what they call the “literal” interpretation of Scripture, must now insert a thousand-year gap between the Second Coming of Christ (and the resurrection) and the Final Judgment to make room for the supposed future millennial reign of Christ! And this, ironically, when the clear declarations of Scripture do not allow for such gaps.

Thus, we can conclude that “this age” — the period of time Peter calls the “last days” (Acts 2:17), and which Jesus characterizes as a period of birth pains of wars, earthquakes, famine, and distress (Mt 24, Mk 13) — ends with the return of Christ, the resurrection and the judgement on the “last day.” An event that, by the way, Peter describes like the “day of the Lord [which] will come as a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (2 Pet 3:10). It is only after this that the age to come will be a present and visible reality. Notice that the focus is not upon a half-way kingdom and somewhat improved temporal age on the earth (i.e., a future millennium). Instead, the biblical focus is upon the consummation and the summing up of all things with the creation of the new heavens and the new earth! The return of Jesus Christ is the key event in biblical prophecy. For when our Lord Jesus Christ returns, the end of the age, the resurrection, the judgment, and the creation of the new heavens and the new earth are at hand!

Thus the two-age model is very simple in its structure and is based on texts that can only be described as clear and straightforward. This enables us to make the following conclusions about the nature of the New Testament’s teaching regarding the return of Christ and the timing of the so-called “millennial age.”

The Almost Last Trumpet Sound(MP3)

Last Trumpet, Last Trumpet, When Bloweth Thou, Last Trumpet

Without getting into a discussion about competing views of eschatology, read the following. I will rejoin the title in another post.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior’s sword. Then the Lord will appear over them, and his arrow will go forth like lightning; the Lord God will sound the trumpet and will march forth in the whirlwinds of the south. The Lord of hosts will protect them, and they shall devour, and tread down the sling stones, and they shall drink and roar as if drunk with wine, and be full like a bowl, drenched like the corners of the altar. On that day the Lord their God will save them, as the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land. For how great is his goodness, and how great his beauty! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women.

The Coming Day of the Lord

A Vision of a Golden Lampstand

Gentiles Grafted In

And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.