The Bible Project – Character in Biblical Narrative
Gary Wayne – Decoding Hidden Symbolism in Washington D.C.
“Hell Under Fire” Under Fire, Part 1: The History of Hell
In Proposition 163, George Peters states:
“This Kingdom will be preceded by the predicted “battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
In this propostion, Peters is not setting out to establish that a battle will take place as he has already noted that fact in previous propositions. What he does strive to do is to elaborate on specific elements of the battle, most notably how the Antichrist and his “kingdom” will attempt to essentially rule the world through civil, military, and spiritual means and in doing so, will make war against the people of God. Of course, this false kingdom will meet its end in a spectacular fashion which Peters alludes to in the below observation.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 163 is the following:
“The greatness of this Antichrist in his civil and military aspects, which are, as we have shown, sustained by the religious, is also predicted. The Spirit beholding in prospect the coming of this gigantic power says (Rev. 13:3-4), that “All the world wondered after the beast” and “they worshipped the beast, saying: Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with the beast?” The beast is a civil polity; it is, as we have shown Prop. 160, the revived Roman Empire in a modified form; and the last head, the virtually eighth, is, as the controlling head or the representative of it, this beast. It is by virtue of hsi being thus the head of civil government that he is enabled to make and carry on the extensive military preparations announced by Daniel (latter part of ch. 11, see Prop. 160) and the prophets. He will surely overcome all oppositio that other civil powers may excite, for it is written: “and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” We are told that he will not reach the climax of power and arrogance without meeting foes whome he will overcome with much bloodshed. But in the wars carried on, he shall be successful, being prospered beyond all precedent. This is purposely allowed both as a punishment to the nations (inflicinting the predicted distress of nations), and to make the final overthrow of Antichrist the more impressive in the eyes of the world. Under the most specious pretexts, including that of religion, preparatory to the final conflict. While he is thus meeting with success and elevating himself to the most lofty and commmanding position, believers will ponder such passages as Joel 3:16; Ps. 92:7-9, Micah 4:11-12; Ps. 37 and 73; Heb. 1:12-17; Is. 35:4, etc., anticipating, by faith, his utter destruction. It seems that God intends to show in the most striking manner, both by allowing this ascendancy and by the subsequent overthrow, how utterly vain and false are the high-swelling expectations inculcated by rebellious reason in behalf of “Collective Humanity,” unified and deified in the person of the last head.”
Some might wonder why God will allow someone like the Antichrist and his fellow conspirators to take control of the world in the end of days. I think Peters notes an important reason and that is to make the fall of the Antichrist and his minions all the more spectacular. You see only pride and sheer hubris can cloud a person enough to bring them to the point where they actually think making war against God and His people will come to a successful outcome. The Antichrist will seem to be achieving success at ever turn. As with the current seemingly victories of the wicked, this will be short-lived. Success will be fleeting.
Furthermore, this period can be construed as a time of testing for the saints. Will this period of history serve as a pruning hook if you will for the saints? We are after all called to endure to the end, placing our faith and trust in the promise that God will be triumphant. Even if physical death is the result of declaring our faith in God in the face of the onslaught of the Antichrist’s evil reign, so be it. As Peters has rightly noted, the righteous can have confidence is such passages as:
Joel 3:16 – “The LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.”
Ps. 92:7-9 – “That when the wicked sprouted up like grass and all who did iniquity flourished, It was only that they might be destroyed forevermore. But You, O LORD, are on high forever. For, behold, Your enemies, O LORD, For, behold, Your enemies will perish; All who do iniquity will be scattered.”
Micah 4:11-12 – “And now many nations have been assembled against you Who say, ‘Let her be polluted, And let our eyes gloat over Zion.’ “But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, And they do not understand His purpose; For He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor.”
Is. 35:4 – “say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
(By the way, I am now sure the reference made in the observation to Heb. 1. There are only 14 verses in that chapter.)
“Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
The great and main object of gospel-preaching and gospel-practice, is a coming to Christ. It is the first article in Christianity, according to John 5:40, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” It is the connecting chain, 1 Peter 2:4, “To whom coming as unto a living stone…ye also as lively stones are built up…“ And it is the last exercise of the Christian; for when finishing his warfare, the invitation is, Matthew 25:34, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you…“ It is virtually the all which God requireth of us, John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” The words of the text are a most solemn and ample invitation which Christ gives to sinners. In them I shall consider,
The connection. For which look to verses 25 and 26, compare Luke 10:21, “Jesus rejoiced in spirit.” It was a joyful time to him when he made this invitation. He rejoiced in the account of the good news, the success with which the message of the disciples was attended; and in the wise and sovereign dispensation of grace by the Father, which he here celebrates, as also upon the view of his own power, where he shows, that all power was lodged in him. The keys of the Father’s treasures of grace were in his hand, yea, and whatsoever is the Father’s. He also shows that none could know the Father, but by him, for that is given to him only. He, as it were, opens the treasure-door to sinners in the text. From the connection of this verse, as just now stated, I would observe, that the solemnity of this invitation is most observable. There seems something to be about it more than ordinary.
To continue reading Thomas Boston’s article, click here.
Does “their fire shall not be quenched” in Isaiah 66:24 really allow for a fire that consumes and then goes out? Or is there a serious challenge to this claim that we have not seen before?
Adam Blauser, a blogger over at Old Testament Studies Blog has been giving us some free rent in his mind of late and has invested a bit of time responding to blog entries here at Rethinking Hell. In his first response Blauser takes issue with my article about the meaning of apollumi in the synoptic gospels. He grants the fact that the term means literally kill and destroy in the examples I discuss but insists that this does not literally inform the word’s meaning when it is used to describe final punishment, for it is wrong to assume that the word there carries the meaning that it universally carries in grammatically similar instances. This is because hell is an eternal matter and we can’t assume that words carry their normal meaning, the meaning they have in normal speech discussing natural matters, when we are speaking about the affairs of the age to come. I responded in the comments section over there and while the argument isn’t substantial enough to warrant lengthy comment here I shall describe it very briefly: Scripture speaks literally about eternal matters with the same language that we use in normal speech about natural affairs all the time. When it comes to apollumi — which, as I showed, in grammatically similar contexts always carries the strong meaning of literally kill or destroy—and the subject is final punishment, the only reason we would have for resisting a natural meaning for that word is if we began by assuming that there is something about final punishment that is not compatible with literal destruction. But how else are we to know what scripture teaches about final punishment if not by learning from the terms that it uses to do so?
To continue reading Glenn Peoples’ article, click here.
In Proposition 162, George Peters states:
“This Kingdom will be preceded by a fearful time of trouble, both in the Church and the World.”
Whenever the reader of Scripture comes across an eschatological (i.e. end times) passage, it is likely they are presented with a description of a time of trouble. Perhaps the student of Scripture overlooks the reality that the people of God will also endure a time of trouble. Debate certainly rages as to how long or even if believers will endure what is known as the Great Tribulation. Space and time do not permit an investigation of the various positions on that issue. What can be said is what Scripture is quite clear upon, and that the end will be a time of great turmoil such as has never before been seen or experienced by humanity. This time of trouble will precede the coming Theocratic Kingdom.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 162 is the following:
“The reader need not be detained for us to prove that this tribulation immediately precedes the re-establishment of the Davidic throne and kingdom. This has been done under various Propositions and in numerous Observations. It is sufficiently clear that immediately after the tyranny and persecution of this last head of the beast, and that after the overthrow of the confederation under this Antichrist, the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus appears with its Millennial blessedness, and extends itself over the nations of the earth. Leaving the abundant Scripture already presented, we confine ourselves to a solitary illustration, which forcibly describes this period of the enemies’ triumph, their overthrow, and the peaceful kingdom that succeeds. Take Ps. 46 and consider how the Spirit describes the confidence of the true believer in a time of unparalleled trouble and commotion, precisely such as attends this period of tribulation. It is a time when “the heathen raged, the kingdoms were move,” and God helps His people amid the waving, troubled and swelling waters “when the morning appeareth”(marg. reading, comp. Prop. 139) and He breaks to pieces the warlike equipments of the nations, exalting Himself among the heathen – that “a river (i.e., a kingdom), the streams whereof shall make glad the City of God,” appears and is firmly established, because, “God is in the midst of her.” (Comp. other versions which, with some change, even make it more expressive as e.g., Luther’s, that the City of God, in which are the holy habitations of the Most High shall be joyful, etc.). The testimony on this point is overwhelming, and to an extent too that leaves every one who rejects it inexcusable. There is no doubt whatever that so much is said respecting it, that when the hour of the sorest trial comes to the Church, she may console and encourage herself by the glorious prospect before her.”
I firmly believe Peters is correct in stating it is inexcusable for the exegete or even the casual reader of Scripture to ignore or debate against the overwhelming evidence found throughout Scripture that the time preceding the coming Theocratic Kingdom will be a time of great distress. As Peters saliently notes, even during a period of great distress, the believer can and should have hope in that no matter what persecution they may endure and regardless of how long, in the end, we are consoled by the promise of the coming Kingdom. The evil kingdoms of this world will come to an end and will one day be no more. We can and must take great joy in that reality.
“And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Law and to do these Statutes.” — Deut. 17.19
What Cicero said of Aristotle’s politics, may not unfittingly be said of this book of Deuteronomy, it is full of golden eloquence. In this chapter, God instructs the Jews about setting a king over them, and there are two things specified, as to his election, and his religion.
1. His election, verse 15. “You shall in any way set him king over you, whom the Lord your God shall choose.” There is good reason that God should have the choice of their king, since “by him kings reign.” Prov. 8.15.
2. His religion, verse 18. “When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priest.” Here was a good beginning of a king’s reign; the first thing he did after he sat upon the throne, was to copy out the word of God in a book. And in the text, “It shall be with him, and he shall read it, all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this Law and to do these Statutes.” “It shall be with him.” The Book of the Law shall be his Vade Mecum, or daily companion. Charles the Great used to set his crown upon the Bible. Indeed the Bible is the best support of government. “And he shall read it.” It is not below the majesty of a prince to peruse the oracles of Heaven; in them are comprised sacred apothegms, Prov. 8.6: “I will speak of excellent things.” In the Septuagint it is “grave things,” in the Hebrew, “princely things,” such as are fit for a God to speak and a king to read. Nor must the king only read the Book of the Law at his first installment into his kingdom, but he “shall read it all the days of his life.” He must not leave off reading, till he has left off reigning. And the reasons why he must be conversant in the law of God, are in the subsequent words: 1. “That he may learn to fear the Lord his God.” Reading the word is the best means to usher in the fear of the Lord, 2. “That he may keep all the words of this Law, to do them.” 3. “That he may prolong his days in his kingdom.”
To continue reading Thomas Watson’s book, click here.
Christ Had to Become Man in Order to Fulfill the Office of Mediator
Reasons Why It Was Necessary That the Mediator Should Be God and Should Become Man
Section 1 Only He Who Was True God and True Man Could Bridge the Gulf between God and Ourselves
It deeply concerned us that He Who was to be our Mediator should be very God and very man. If the necessity be inquired into, it was not what is commonly termed simple or absolute, but flowed from the divine decree on which the salvation of man depended. Our most merciful Father determined what was best for us. Our iniquities, like a cloud intervening between Him and us, utterly alienated us from the kingdom of heaven (Is. 59:2). None but a person reaching to Him could be the medium of restoring peace. But who could thus reach to Him? Could any of the sons of Adam? All of them, with their parents, shuddered at the sight of God (Gen 3:8). Could any of the angels? They had need of a head, by connection with which they might adhere to their God entirely and inseparably (Eph. 1:22; Col 2:10). What then? The case was certainly desperate if the Godhead itself did not descend to us, it being impossible for us to ascend. Thus, [it was necessary that the Son of God should] become our Emmanuel, that is, “God with us” (Is. 7:14; Mat 1:23), and in such a way that by mutual union His divinity and our nature might be combined. Otherwise, neither was the proximity near enough nor the affinity strong enough to give us hope that God would dwell with us, so great was the repugnance between our pollution and the spotless purity of God! Had man remained free from all taint, he was of too humble a condition to [approach] God without a Mediator. What then must it have been, when by fatal ruin, he was plunged into death and hell, defiled by so many stains, made loathsome by corruption, [and] overwhelmed with every curse?
To continue reading John Calvin’s book, click here.
In Proposition 161, George Peters states:
“This Kingdom will not be re-established until after Antichrist is overthrown.”
As Peters has noted in other propositions, there are event markers provided in Scripture to help the people of God to correctly watch, wait, and be prepared for what will transpire in the end of the age. The overthrow of the Antichrist is one such even marker.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 161 is the following:
“The Church has always kept its eye fixed on the prophecies pertaining to Antichrist. Every century, from the Christian era down, gives us in the writings of eminent men an expression of opinion relating to it. However important the subject in the past, interest in it increases proportionately to the increasing nearness of the Millennial age. he Millennium can never be introduced before the fearful scenes under that Antichrist are first witnessed and experienced. The prominence given to Antichrist in the Scriptures and by the faith of the Church; the nearness of fulfillment that may be nigh to us; the delineation of character and work given by the Spirit; these are sufficient warrant for a careful consideration of this powerful actor in the world’s history.”
Much debate centers on the identity of the Antichrist. Will the Antichrist be an individual or representative of a collective spirit of the age? Will the Antichrist be a political figure, full of charisma who steps in at a critical juncture to secure what appears to be peace for the world? Does this figure arise out of a revived Roman Empire? All these and many more are typical questions that are asked. It seems each time a charismatic figure arises somewhere in the world, especially in a region associated by people as the center stage for end times events, that figure is given the label of being a potential Antichrist. Whomever that person ends up being, his rise and fall serve as even markers for the coming Theocraic Kingdom.
The subject of this treatise is, in the highest degree, important and interesting to both saints and to sinners. To know it experimentally is to be wise unto salvation, and to live habitually under the influence of it is to be at once holy and happy. To have spiritual and distinct views of it is the way to be kept from verging towards self-righteousness on the one hand and licentiousness on the other; it is to be enabled to assert the absolute freeness of sovereign grace, and, at the same time, the sacred interests of true holiness. Without an experimental knowledge of and an unfeigned faith in the law and the gospel, a man can neither venerate the authority of the one nor esteem the grace of the other.
The law and the gospel are the principal parts of divine revelation; or rather they are the centre, sum, and substance of all the other parts of it. Every passage of sacred Scripture is either law or gospel, or is capable of being referred either to the one or to the other. Even the histories of the Old and New Testaments, as far as the agency of man is introduced, are but narratives of facts done in conformity or in opposition to the moral law, and done in the belief or disbelief of the gospel. The ordinances of the ceremonial law, given to the ancient Israelites, were, for the most part, grafted on the second and fourth commandments of the moral law; and in their typical reference they were an obscure revelation of the gospel. The precepts of the judicial law are all reducible to commandments of the moral law, and especially to those of the second table. All threatenings, whether in the Old or New Testament, are threatenings either of the law or the gospel; and every promise is a promise either of the one or the other. Every prophecy of Scripture is a declaration of things obscure or future, connected either with the law or the gospel, or with both. And there is not in the Sacred Volume one admonition, reproof, or exhortation but what refers either to the law or the gospel or both. If then a man cannot distinguish aright between the law and the gospel, he cannot rightly understand so much as a single article of divine truth. If he does not have spiritual and just apprehensions of the holy law, he cannot have spiritual and transforming discoveries of the glorious gospel; and, on the other hand, if his view of the gospel is erroneous, his notions of the law cannot be right.
To continue reading John Colquhoun’s book, click here.
A Boundless Fathomless Ocean
Eternal love moved the heart of Jesus to relinquish heaven for earth — a diadem for a cross — the robe of divine majesty for the garment of our nature; by taking upon Himself the leprosy of our sin. Oh, the infinite love of Christ! What a boundless, fathomless ocean! Ask the ransomed of the Lord, whose chains He has dissolved, whose dungeon He has opened, whose liberty He has conferred, if there ever was love like His!
What shall we say of the ransom price? It was the richest, the costliest, that Heaven could give. He gave Himself for us! What more could He do? He gave Himself; body, soul and spirit. He gave His time, His labor, His blood, His life, His ALL, as the price for our ransom, the cost of our redemption. He carried the wood and reared the altar. Then, bearing His bosom to the stroke of the uplifted and descending arm of the Father, paid the price of our salvation in the warm lifeblood of His heart!
What a boundless, fathomless ocean! How is it that we feel the force and exemplify the practical influence of this amazing, all commanding truth so faintly? Oh, the desperate depravity of our nature! Oh, the deep iniquity of our iniquitous hearts! Will not the blood drops of Jesus move us? Will not the agonies of the cross influence us? Will not His dying love constrain us to a more heavenly life?
To continue reading Octavius Winslow’s article, click here.