Essential Theological Video and Audio

Video:

Michael Mize – The Bible & Evolution: Investigating the Truth of our Origins

Ian Stamps – Allegiance to Jesus

Audio:

Joel Beeke – Providence: The Weaver’s Skillful Hand

John MacArthur – The Four Soils: The Rocky Ground

Just a short drive from the freeways and congestion of Los Angeles you’ll find barren hills and mountains. During the rainy season they suddenly spring to life with luxuriant-looking greenery. But they quickly revert to a parched brown. The green that looked so promising turns into lifeless scrub, good for nothing but feeding California’s wildfires as tinder.

That’s a perfect metaphor for the way some people respond to the gospel. They are the polar opposite of the hard-hearted hearers we discussed last time. They are the “rocky soil” in Christ’s original parable.

The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great. (Luke 8:5–8)

To continue reading John MacArthur’s article, click here.

Tim Challies – When It’s Time To Remember All the Stupid Things You’ve Said

We don’t want to live in the past or dwell on former sins. On the whole, not much good comes of thinking back to the unwise things we’ve said or the depraved things we’ve done. We trust that God has fully and finally forgiven our sins, and we do well to leave the past in the past.

But the Bible does make at least one exception. There is at least one time we may benefit from dwelling on our shameful history. Solomon explains in Ecclesiastes 7:21: “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.”

To continue reading Tim Challies’ article, click here.

Charles Spurgeon – The Withering Work of the Holy Spirit

The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: the grass withereth, the flower fadeth; Because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: But the word of our God shall stand forever. — Isaiah 40:6-8

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. — 1 Peter 1:23-25

The passage in Isaiah which I have just read in your hearing may be used as a very eloquent description of our mortality, and if a sermon should be preached from it upon the frailty of human nature, the brevity of life, and the certainty of death, no one could dispute the appropriateness of the text. Yet I venture to question whether such a discourse would strike the central teaching of the prophet. Something more than the decay of our material flesh is intended here. The carnal mind, the flesh in another sense, was intended by the Holy Ghost when He bade His messenger proclaim those words. It does not seem to me that a mere expression of the mortality of our race was needed in this place by the context. It would hardly keep pace with the sublime revelations which surround it, and would in some measure be a digression from the subject in hand. The notion that we are here, simply and alone, reminded of our mortality does not square with the New Testament exposition of it in Peter, which I have also placed before you as a text. There is another and more spiritual meaning here, beside and beyond that which would be contained in the great and very obvious truth, that all of us must die.

To continue reading Charles Spurgeon’s booklet, click here.

David Powlison – An Open Letter to Those Nonchalant about Their Sexual Sin

Dear friend,

Sex is like fire. When it blazes in the fireplace, a good fire warms and brightens the room, enhancing joy and companionship. But when fires ignite in the wrong places, the house burns down. Is your sexuality igniting in the wrong places? Are you treating sexual sin casually? How do you know when this has happened? Let me offer a few tests that can rouse your conscience.

Is what you are doing simply wrong? The outright evils of sexual immorality are not hard to identify. Our culture makes the water very muddy, and preaches the doctrine that dirty water is good to drink. But the line between love and lust is clear. We are to treat other human beings in a familial way. You don’t ever sexualize a person whom you are called to treat as your brother or sister, your mother or father, your son or daughter. Sexuality is reserved for marriage. You are to protect other people, not lust after them. Consensual immorality is still immorality.

To continue reading David Powlison’s article, click here.

Michael Boling – The Feasts of the Lord: The Fulfillment of Yom Teruah (The Feast of Trumpets)

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“Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the LORD is coming, For it is at hand.” (Joel 2:1)

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (I Thess. 4:16-18)

As with the other Feasts of the Lord we have covered thus far, in this post, we will examine the possible ways in which Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) will be fulfilled. Unlike the other feasts we have discussed, the fall feasts have yet to be fulfilled in the biblical timeline. Given the variety of viewpoints on matters of eschatology, we will be spending less time examining those respective approaches to end times events and more time connecting what the blowing of the Shofar represents in Scripture and in ancient near eastern (ANE) practice to determine as best we can how Yom Teruah will be fulfilled.

The 8th century Jewish scholar Ma’se Daniel once wrote:

“Messiah ben David (son of David), Elijah and Zerubabbel, peace be upon him, will ascend the Mount of Olives. And Messiah will command Elijah to blow the Shofar. The light of the six days of Creation will return and be seen, the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and God will send full healing to all the sick of Israel. The second blast which Elijah will blow will make the dead rise. They will rise from the dust and each man will recognize his fellow man, and so will husband and wife, father and son, brother and brother. All will come to the Messiah from the four corners of the earth, from east and from west, from north and from south. The Children of Israel will fly on the wings of eagles and come to the Messiah…”[1]

As we can see, the expectation surrounding the sounding of the Shofar has been connected for some time in both biblical and Jewish thought with the return of the Messiah for His people. This Messianic expectation can be observed throughout Yom Teruah. As we noted in the previous post, Yom Teruah was the beginning of the Jewish spiritual year as well as the beginning of the Jewish New Year as well. Something that is very interesting in this regard is presented by Barney Kasdan who provides the following observation:

“All the details of Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) become more interesting as we consider the New Testament and the life of Yeshua. The bulk of biblical evidence has led me to agree with those who say the Messiah’s birth took place in the late fall, not the winter. If this is true, we can approximate the time when Yeshua started his public ministry. As Luke notes in his Gospel (3:23), Yeshua was “about thirty years old” thus placing his baptism and first preaching in the fall of that year.

Consider the parallel themes to Rosh HaShanah. Would it be surprising that Yeshua took a special immersion/mikveh in the fall of the year (Matthew 3:13-17)? Is there an relationship to the forty day period of testing by the adversary (Matthew 4:1-11)? And what was the message Yeshua immediately started proclaiming after the forty days? “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!”

What better time could there have been for the Messiah to start his earthly ministry than the time of the spiritual new year? The historical evidence seems to indicate the month of Elul served as the perfect time of preparation for the greatest spiritual message ever to come to Israel: return to God, Messiah has come!” [2]

Passages such as Psalm 89:15 which states “Blessed [are] the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance” take on a whole new perspective when the coming of the Messiah to be the propitiation for our sins took place during this festival period. Just as the blowing of the Shofar represented a time of awakening, when Jesus declared to the people of Israel, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, this was a declaration to awaken from their spiritual slumber and to awaken them to the fact the promised Messiah had come. The Apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 15:46 states “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.” This spiritual awakening began to take place in earnest with the coming of the Messiah.

Another interesting element of this fall feast and its future prophetic fulfillment is the time of year it takes place. Marvin Rosenthal comments “The Feast of Trumpets is Israel’s dark day. It occurs at the New Moon when the primary light of the heavens is darkened. Israel’s prophets repeatedly warned of a coming dark day of judgment. They knew it as “the Day of the Lord,” that terrible period of time at the end of this age when the Lord would pour out His fiery judgment…But even as the darkening of the moon in the night heavens announced the Feast of Trumpets, so, too, the heavens will be divinely darkened in a future day as the Day of the Lord commences.”[3] We can see that before the judgment of the Lord, a trumpet will sound. So what will the blowing of that trumpet before the judgment of the Lord, that terrible Day of the Lord signify?

Rosenthal notes there are only two occasions in Scripture where God is said to be the one who blows the Shofar. One was at Mt. Sinai when God provided Israel with the Torah, His word, and the other will be at the time when the Word, the Messiah will return. There is an interesting parallel between the events that took place at Mt. Sinai and that which the prophets described would take place at the return of the Messiah, both occasions when the Shofar will be blown for all to hear. As Israel camped at the base of Mt. Sinai, they observed the following:

“Now Mount Sinai [was] completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. Then the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.” (Ex. 19:18-20)

The prophet Zechariah, when speaking of the time when the Messiah would return, declared a very similar sounding scenario: “Then the LORD will be seen over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet, And go with whirlwinds from the south.”

Here we have the two occasions mentioned in Scripture where the blowing of the Shofar announces the coming down of God to meet with His people. The first time represented the giving of the Torah, God’s marriage covenant with His people. The second time will be when the bridegroom comes for His bride. Both events involved the blowing of the Shofar which if we can hearken back to the previous post, was a signal for the people that something important was taking place.

Certainly there is much debate over whether there will be a pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation “rapture” of the bride. Debate has waged for many years over the validity of each position. As noted at the outset of this post, the purpose of discussing the fall feasts, those which have yet to be fulfilled, is not to determine which position is correct nor is the purpose of this discussion to enter the fray of that debate. With that said, there are some lessons we can glean as believers from Yom Teruah in this time of preparation we are currently in as we await the coming of our bridegroom.

The first thing we must remember is the Messiah will return again as he promised. Whether that will take place before the tribulation, during the middle of it or at the end, is to some degree a moot point. What we all can and should affirm is he will return. The fact of the second coming at in and of itself should mean something to us, something more than just the simple fact of his return. Yom Teruah and the blowing of the Shofar was a time for the people of Israel to remember a number of things, first and foremost that God is Creator of the universe. A reason for the blowing of the Shofar is that Yom Teruah “is the celebration of the birth of creation and that God began to rule over the world on this day. When a king begins to reign, he is heralded with trumpets. That is why Psalm 47 precedes the blowing of the Shofar; it is a call to the nations: “Sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth.” Thus, Yom Teruah and the sounding of the Shofar during this feast signifies God as Creator and King as well as the future coming of the Messiah to rule and reign as promised.

As we also discussed in our previous post, one of the three blasts of the Shofar was to signify a time of remembrance. Mitch Glaser states “Remembrance is an appeal to God to remember His covenant with Israel and a similar appeal to man to repent of his sin and obey God.”[4] During this time of year, the Days of Awe if you will, we should be reminded of our marriage covenant with God, our necessity to be a faithful and chaste bride, and to be faithful to our bridegroom as we await his promised return. We can have great confidence that God will be faithful to His covenant promises, but “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Yom Teruah is a time when we should assess our level of faithfulness to God.

Finally, Yom Teruah gives us great confidence that death has no sting. Paul noted in I Thess. 4:18-20:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

In Isaiah 26:19, the prophet Isaiah stated “But your dead will live, LORD; their bodies will rise– let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy– your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.”

Both these passage speak of the promise of the resurrection, an event that will take place when the Messiah returns. When that Shofar blasts, the dead in Christ and those who are alive and remain will forever be with their King and bridegroom, Jesus Christ. What a glorious promise to rest upon. So while the sound of the trumpet during Yom Teruah signified spiritual awakening, a call to repentance, it will one day signify the awakening of the dead as well, the time of the resurrection, the final nail in the coffin for death. As noted by Daniel Fuchs, “Our great expectation is to hear the trumpet that will sound as the dead are raise incorruptible.”[5] After that glorious day will come the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles, the final two feasts on the Jewish calendar which we will discuss in our next few posts.

References:

[1] Ma’se Daniel, Patai, 143.
[2] Barney Kasdan, God’s Appointed Times (Baltimore: Lederer Publications, 1993), 66.
[3] Marvin Rosenthal, The Feasts of the Lord (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1997), 113.
[4] Mitch Glaser, The Fall Feasts of Israel (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1987), 38.
[5] Daniel Fuchs, Israel’s Holy Days (Neptune: Loizeaux Brothers, 1985), 48.

Lee Roy Shelton, Jr. – The Saving Work of the Holy Spirit

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” — John 16:8-11

1. Its Necessity

In prayer for the Holy Spirit’s leadership as to the need of our hearts, I have been impressed to give a series of messages on the theme: the saving work of the Holy Spirit, specifically, in the salvation of the saints. We find much spoken today about the Holy Spirit, much written about the Holy Spirit, and we hear of those — many in fact — who are seeking the Holy Spirit; but we see little of the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst — the true work, the primary work for which He was sent into the world: “To reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me [Christ]; of righteousness, because I [as the sinner’s perfect righteousness] go to my Father;…of judgment because the prince of this world [Satan] is judged” (John 16:8-11), as well as all those who are controlled by him.

To continue reading Lee Roy Shelton Jr.’s booklet, click here.

Michael Boling – The Feasts of the Lord: Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets)

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“Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first [day] of the month, you shall have a sabbath-[rest], a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. ‘You shall do no customary work [on it]; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.’ ” (Lev. 23:24-25)

Now that the fall feasts of the Lord are rapidly approaching, it is time to resume our study of these important holy convocations. After a long summer break following the completion of the Feast of Pentecost, the next feast on the biblical calendar is that of the Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah, the Day of the Awakening Blast.

As noted by Daniel Fuchs, “The most solemn holy days of Israel’s sacred calendar are celebrated in the month of Tishri, the seventh (sabbatic) month of the year. These solemn, sacred convocations include the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. In modern Judaism, these are usually called “the days of awe.”[1] In the next post, we will engage the prophetic implications of Yom Teruah and in the process it will become very clear why that description of this feast is known as the days of awe. In this post, we are going to look at the different reasons for the blowing of the shofar or ram’s horn and just what this Feast of Trumpets was believed to have signified.

Let’s begin with an overview of the various reasons for the blowing of the shofar in ancient Israel. The 10th century Jewish Rabbi Saadia Gaon, provided 10 reasons for the blowing of the shofar. These include:

1. The Shofar is used to announce the coronation of a king. It is blown on Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the universe, to declare God’s Sovereign rule.

2. The Shofar blast calls us to examine our deeds and return to God.

3. The blowing of the Shofar is a reminder of the time when it was blown at the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. It is a reminder to always study and cherish the word of God.

4. The Shofar’s blast is also a reminder of the oracles of the Old Testament prophets who called the people to do justice and mercy and to follow the ways of the Lord.

5. The Shofar sounds like crying, a reminder of the destruction of the Temple.

6. Since a Shofar is a ram’s horn, it is a reminder of the binding by Abraham of Isaac and the provision of a lamb, a true demonstration of God’s sacrificial love and a call for faithfulness.

7. The Shofar’s mighty blast is a reminder for humility and the power and awesomeness of God.

8. On the Day of Judgment, a Shofar will be blown to announce God’s rule over all the earth. The call of the Shofar is a reminder to prepare for that time.

9. The blowing of the Shofar foreshadows the time when peace and joy will reign when Messiah comes to rule and reign on the earth. It is a reminder to have hope and faith in the salvation provided by our Messiah.

10. The Shofar will be blown in Messianic times to announce the redemption of all things, when everyone, everywhere will recognize that God is One.[2] But wait, there’s more!

Christina Fox – When Homeschool is Hard

Whenever I meet someone new, they inevitably ask what grade my children are in and what school they attend. When I answer that we homeschool, I often hear in response, “I thought about homeschooling once. For about five minutes. I decided not to because I just don’t have the patience. I am impressed with anyone who can do it.”

I smile and nod. Sometimes I leave it at that. Other times I tell them the truth, “Yes, it is hard. In fact, I quit about once a week.” This usually makes them laugh.

But really, I do quit once a week.

To be honest, homeschooling isn’t hard just because my patience gets stretched. It’s hard because everything is stretched. The longer I do it, the more I realize what I’ve sacrificed. Because I homeschool, it means I’m not employed in my profession, the one I worked so hard to learn and attain. Because I homeschool, I miss out on engaging with other adults. People are often concerned that children who are homeschooled miss out on social interactions. The truth is, I miss out on social interactions. There are ministry opportunities I can’t participate in. Not only that, but it’s hard to squeeze in all the necessary things of life when your day is filled with lessons—like personal doctor’s appointments.

To continue reading Christina Fox’s article, click here.

I. C. Herendeen – Holiness: Is It Necessary For Salvation?

The subject before us is supremely and vitally important. The reader is earnestly urged to give it his most earnest and serious attention if he values his eternal salvation.

II Tim. 4:2 commands us to “Preach the Word; be instant (urgent) in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” The servant of the Lord is required to “keep back nothing that will be profitable” to his hearers if he would be a faithful servant. He is to proclaim the whole counsel of God. Sometimes this requires dealing with matters not altogether palatable, as Ezek. 2:5 says of his hearers “whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.” No one of us likes to be “reproved” or “corrected” but something this is necessary for our spiritual good, just as a doctor is at times obliged to give bitter medicine so his patient will regain his health. I trust the Spirit of God will blesh this message to each reader’s heart by making him sensible of how far he has fallen short of “the glory of God,” and how sinfully he has failed to measure up to the high standard of the Word of God; also in bringing any unsaved reader under such deep conviction of sin that he will cry out in soul travail “What must I do to be saved?” for Hell is deep and everlasting Turn, poor sinner, turn and flee now, for tomorrow may be forever too late.

To continue reading I. C. Herendeen’s article, click here.