Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 126

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In Proposition 126, George Peters states:

“In confirmation of our position, the Old Testament clearly teaches a Pre-Millennial resurrection of the saints.”

Peters now focuses on the Old Testament proof for a Pre-Millennial resurrection of the saints. In doing so, he presents a beginning to end biblical teaching on this future reality. This is an important proposition given that many forget about the OT saints as being part of the body of believers, members of the household of faith. There is often an inordinate amount of focus on the NT and the church resulting in an oversight of the OT teaching on the promise of the resurrection. While perhaps the OT teaching is not as elaborate as what is found in the NT, the OT nevertheless declares a hope in the promise that God would not leave His saints forever in the grave (Ps. 49:15).

Additionally, Messianic passages such as Psalm 16:10 point to the promise of a resurrected Messiah, an important doctrine as noted in the previous proposition. In short, the OT is not lacking in its discussion on this subject. While I noted a couple of Psalms, Peters notes numerous other passages that speak of the Pre-Millennial resurrection (Hos. 13:14; Dan. 12; Ezek. 37:1-14, Zech. 9:12 to name a few). This is a biblical doctrine.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 126 is the following:

“This doctrine of a literal Pre-Millennial resurrection we admit, is “Jewish.” This term of reproach (given in the this sense by man) we cheerfully accept, for it is a distinguishing feature of our faith, seeing that we find it in the covenant given to Jews, in Jewish Prophets, in the teaching of a Jewish Saviour and Jewish apostles, and in agreement with Jewish statements of doctrine; and that only such who are engrafted into the Abrahamic stock and become members of the Jewish commonwealth, shall participate in it. It belongs pre-eminently to the introduction of that Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom promised to the Jewish select nation. Even Rabbinical lore is full of intimations respecting it. That, therefore, which forms such an objectionable feature to many, is only an additional reason for retaining it. (Comp. e.g. Prop. 68).

This observation jumped out at me because of the numerous times I see such a position rejected by theologians and laymen because it is described as being too “Jewish.” Peters rightly rejects such a term of reproach, reminding us of a number of key facts – We affirm what is a covenant with a particular people (Jews), a promise made in the Bible written by Jewish prophets and apostles, and a hope brought to the saints by a Jewish Messiah, all rooted in a promised future Theocratic-David Kingdom. It is truly sad and unfortunate that such a promise is treated with reproach because it is “Jewish” in nature. As Peters notes, because of its Jewish nature, it is “only an additional reason for retaining it,” especially if properly understand the biblical principle of being grafted into the covenantal promises God made to the Jewish people.

John Owen – On the Holy Spirit (Books 1-5)

Chapter I.

General principles concerning the Holy Spirit and his work

The apostle Paul, in the 12th chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians, directs their exercise of spiritual gifts which they had asked him about (among other things and emergencies). Here are the fixed words with which he prefaces his whole discourse: Verse 1, “Now, concerning spiritual gifts,” — pneumatika, or charismata as his ensuing declaration shows. The imagination of some, that spiritual persons are meant here — contrary to the sense understood by all the ancients — is inconsistent with the context.

Because the church had consulted with Paul about spiritual gifts and their exercise, the whole series of his ensuing discourse is directed toward this. Therefore, at its close, he summarizes the design of the whole as he advises, “Covet earnestly the best gifts,” — namely, among those which he proposed to address, and had done so accordingly, verse 31. The ta pneumatika of verse 1 are the ta charismata of verse 31; as it is expressed in 1 Cor 14:1, “‘Desire spiritual gifts,’ whose nature and use you are now instructed in, as first proposed.” That church had received an abundant measure of these gifts, especially those that were extraordinary, and tended to convict unbelievers. For the Lord having “many people in that city,” whom he intended to call to the faith, Acts 18:9-10 encouraged our apostle, against all fears and dangers, to begin and carry on the work of preaching there; he continued in this “a year and six months,” verse 11. But the Lord also furnished the first converts with such eminent, and for some of them, such miraculous gifts, that they might be a prevalent means to the conversion of many others. For the Lord will never fail to provide instruments and suitable means to effectively attain any end that he aims at. In the use, exercise, and management of these “spiritual gifts,” that church (or a number of its principal members) had fallen into multiple disorders. They had abused their gifts, using them for their own aspirations and ambition. And from these, other evils ensued — just as the best of God’s gifts may be abused by the lusts of men, and the purest water may be tainted by the earthen vessel into which it is poured. Upon receiving this information, some who loved truth, peace, and order, were troubled at these miscarriages. In answer to a letter from the whole church, written to Paul about these and other occurrences, 1 Cor 7:1 he gave them counsel and advice to rectify these abuses. First, he advised them to rightly prepare themselves with humility and thankfulness, which becomes those who were entrusted with such excellent privileges as they had abused (and without which they could not receive the instruction which he intended for them). To do that, he reminded them of their former state and condition before their calling and conversion to Christ. “You know that you were Gentiles, carried away with dumb idols, even as you were led.”

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John Owen – On the Holy Spirit (Books 6-9)

Chapter I.

The Work of the Holy Ghost in the illumination of the minds of men

The objective cause and outward means of illumination are the subjects at present designed for our consideration; and it will issue in these two inquiries:

1. On what grounds, or for what reason, do we believe the Scripture is the word of God, with divine and supernatural faith, as it is required of us in a way of duty?

2. How or by what means may we come to rightly understand the mind of God in the Scripture, or the revelations that are made to us of his mind and will in this?

By illumination in general, as it denotes an effect worked in the minds of men, I understand it to mean that supernatural knowledge which any man may have of the mind and will of God, as revealed to him by supernatural means, for the law of his faith, life, and obedience. And so far as
it is comprised in the first of these inquiries, it is the declaration of this which we design at present, reserving the latter inquiry for a distinct discourse by itself.

As to the former, some things may be premised:

FIRST. Supernatural revelation is the only objective cause and means of supernatural illumination.

These things are commensurate. There is a natural knowledge of supernatural things, which is both theoretical and practical, Rom 1:19, 2:14-15; and there may be a supernatural knowledge of natural things, 1 Kings 4:31-34; Exodus 31:2-6.2

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 125

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In Proposition 125, George Peters states:

“The Kingdom to be inherited by these gathered saints requires their resurrection from among the dead.”

In this proposition, Peters rightly brings to the discussion the vital importance of the resurrection from the dead. As will be discussed in the below observation, the hope of the resurrection is often shoved to the proverbial backburner of theology in favor of focusing on the death of Jesus and the coming Kingdom. As Peters notes, in order to inherit this coming Kingdom, there must be a resurrection of the righteous dead.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 125 is the following:

“All along, the position has been taken that, owing to the postponement of the Kingdom, a preliminary dispensation of grace to us Gentiles has intervened, and that even the dead saints, whatever their position in this interval, are waiting until the “day of Redemption,” the time of the resurrection for their inheritance, etc. This is confirmed by the language of Paul in 1 Cor. 15:32, who lays the greatest stress on the resurrection as the necessary and appointed means by which the blessings that are covenanted can be obtained. The memorial, the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic covenant, promise after promise, involve a resurrection from the dead, and the resultant reception of blessings; and hence the emphatic language of Paul, because of this very relationship, “what advantageth me, if the dead rise not.” He well knew that inheritance, crown, and Kingdom belonged to the period of the resurrection. Auberlen (Div. Rev. p. 208) justly argues that one of the doctrinal defects of the Reformation was, that the resurrection of Christ was not made sufficiently prominent as compared with His sacrificial death, while in the apostolic preaching the Crucified and the Risen held equal place. And this feature extended finally in an undue exaltation of the intermediate state, until the resurrection is almost practically ignored as of comparative little consequence to the honor, glory, etc., of the deceased saint. To appreciate the force and pertinency of the resurrection, there must be a return to the scriptural presentation of the matter.”

Let’s just say I am really digging (no pun intended) Peters focus on this issue. Scripture clearly notes the importance not only of the death of Jesus on the cross, but also the importance of his resurrection from the dead. Paul declared in 1 Cor. 15:12-19, the following:

“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope[a] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

I am more and more interested in Peters view of the intermediate state, but with that said, it seems he is alluding in this observation to the common perception that the righteous immediately join the bridegroom at death. If such a position were true, then what is the point of the resurrection and why did Paul declare that if the resurrection of Jesus did not take place, we are all to be pitied? It seems we have yet again put the cart before the horse in our approach to the process of what will take place as evidenced in Scripture. The resurrection will take place for a reason. To skip over it is a theological mistake and to ignore the intermediate state, this time of waiting for the bridegroom to return or to improperly elevate the intermediate state to that of immediate enjoyment of at least a portion of the inheritance before the correct time, is a theological problem many fail to address or correct.

Nick Batzig – The Social Media Echo Chamber

Social media parlance and procedure are constantly evolving. Phraseology and expectations are mysteriously codified into the minds of the masses. In the social media echo chamber, parameters develop progressively and often imperceptibly. Paranoia and subtweets, expectations and ultimatums, flattery and bullying abound in the social media echo chamber. It is a messy world full of messy people.

From one point of view, the only difference between the Christian social media echo chamber and High School is that most of the influential figures on social media are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Human nature being what it is, social behavior never changes. Surely there must be a way for us to regulate our engagement in the social media echo chamber.

Nearly four years ago, Kevin DeYoung wrote a post titled, “The Ten Commandments of Twitter.” What he set out in that post is as apropos today as it was then. I especially find the second and eighth points helpful in light of the nature of social media: “Thou shalt not assume the worst about the tweets of others;” and “Thou shalt not make public demands of complete strangers.” If we would all commit to keeping these two rules, life would be quite a bit easier for all of us in the echo chamber of social media.

To continue reading Nick Batzig’s article, click here.

Dr. John H. Whitmore and Raymond Strom – Rounding of Quartz and K-Feldspar Sand From Beach to Dune Settings Along the California and Oregon Coastlines: Implications for Ancient Sandstones

Introduction

Quartz and K-feldspar are common minerals in most sedimentary settings, both modern and ancient. The minerals are easily distinguished under the petrographic microscope when the sample has been stained for K-feldspar (leaving quartz white and making K-feldspar yellow). While studying the petrology of some ancient sandstones, we became interested in the rate at which K-feldspar sand grains were rounded in comparison with quartz sand grains in natural settings. In this preliminary study, we collected both beach and nearby dune samples from California and Oregon coastlines so we could make comparisons between the two minerals to see if there was a significant difference in rounding due to eolian transport. It was assumed the dune sand was transported by eolian processes from the nearby beach environment to make the dunes. For comparison we collected and analyzed samples from the unlithified dunes of the Nebraska Sandhills and some other modern inland dunes. Our results have important implications for supposed ancient eolian sand deposits, many of which contain angular K-feldspar sand grains like the Coconino Sandstone (Whitmore et al. 2014) and the Hopeman Sandstone (Maithel, Garner, and Whitmore 2015).

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 124

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In Proposition 124, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom is delayed several thousand years, to raise up a nation or people capable of sustaining it.”

Peters notes this period of delay as the “period of the Gentiles” from the words of Jesus in Luke 21:24, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” It should be clear that if Jerusalem is being trodden down, that means it has not yet been established as the center of the future promised Theocratic Kingdom. A delay is currently in place as God continues to bring into the fold a chosen people from all nations as promised long ago to Abraham.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 124 is the following:

“This view of the Kingdom sustains the doctrine of an intermediate state, in which, whatever the condition of the saints, they are waiting for the period of redemption, waiting for the crown and promised inheritance. (See Delitzsch, Sys. of Bib. Psyc., pp. 496, 498, 527-8). This idea of the intermediate state is, however, not peculiar to our system, but belongs to various others. (Comp. Prop. 136.)”

This observation is a fascinating and important statement. Now I am not sure the totality of Peters view on what happens when we die; however, he does mention the existence of an intermediate state to include the righteous waiting for the period of redemption and their promised inheritance. If one is still waiting for something, that means they have not yet received that for which they are waiting. When it comes to matters of the intermediate state, what Peters is stating is in keeping with the words of Jesus in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” The time of receiving of the bride (the righteous) to the bridegroom (Jesus) has not yet taken place. Thus the purpose of the intermediate state.

Regardless of whether one affirms in the intermediate state the dead are consciously waiting or whether their breath of life returns to God and the body returns to dust with no conscious element to this state, what must be affirmed is the reward, namely being with the bridegroom and the fullness of redemption, is yet future. The righteous in the intermediate state are awaiting the promise of the resurrection and the Second Advent, the coming again noted by Jesus in John 14:3. The reason for the intermediate state is rooted in the delay of the coming of the Kingdom noted by Peters in this proposition. Thus, the bride and the bridegroom are not yet together as that event takes place when the bridegroom returns for his bride.

Let’s just say I am pleased to see Peters make note of this important point. It makes me more than a bit curious as to his larger belief system on this subject and what exactly he will discuss in Prop. 136. I admit I did take a quick peek.

Justin Huffman – The Wisdom from Above

James in his letter writes to professing Christians who are tearing each other, and the church, and their own lives to shreds. It was a crucial time, in which Christianity would either adopt earthly means and wisdom in order to seek Christian success, or they would learn to seek the humble wisdom of God, which only comes from above—a time much like every generation since, including our own!

You and I know something of their struggle: it’s that hot feeling in your head that tells you how right you are even as you cut your spouse or children with cruel words. It’s that bitterness that rises up in your heart every time you think of how nobody at church really appreciates you. It’s that feeling of success as you subtly stir up strife by “contending for the truth” while undermining the teaching and authority of the pastors.

It is astounding, shocking and horrifying how right we can feel as we go about doing the devil’s work, with the devil’s wisdom. But in his typically blunt—but pastorally practical—style, James gives the early church (and we through them) some simple, clear instruction regarding how to discern devilish wisdom from the wisdom that is from above. Let us then consider together the characteristics of the wisdom that is from above, to renovate our working definition of wisdom and success. Here’s a hint: it does not look or feel like we often think it does when we are in the midst of trying to win an argument or pursue our own selfish ends.

To continue reading Justin Huffman’s article, click here.

Eric Watkins – Cain and Abel: More than Sibling Rivalry

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Heb. 11:4)

Few biblical stories are more intriguing and saddening than that of Cain and Abel—the Bible’s first scene of death, martyrdom, and sibling rivalry. The book of Hebrews mentions Abel twice, in 11:4 and in 12:24. For now, we will focus on the first of these two references, though the second is both profound and edifying. In Hebrews 11:4, we are given the first instance of an Old Testament hero of faith. Abel is the first “witness” to testify to the better things that God promised to the saints of old and has now fulfilled in these “last days” (v. 3) in Christ. It is important to remember that in the book of Hebrews, God has not simply spoken to the Old Testament saints, He has also spoken through them. Thus, revelation of the better things to come in Christ was something of which the Old Testament believers were not only recipients of, they were also participants in—participants in the drama of redemption that would climax in the person and work of Christ.

To continue reading Eric Watkins’ article, click here.