Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 159

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In Proposition 159, George Peters states:

“This Theocratic Kingdom of the Lord Jesus, the Christ, will never come to an end.”

What a comfort for the believer to have confidence in the reality that the Kingdom of our Lord will never end. The sheer finality of the end to evil and the enemies of God and the believer provides us with a great hope in this life. Despite the seeming triumph of evil over the righteous in this age, as believers, we know this current construct of sin, death, and decay will come to an end and replaced with the Theocratic Kingdom and a new heavens and a new earth. Evil will never again rise up to try and usurp the throne of the King. Come quickly Lord!

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 159 is the following:

“While the words “eternal,” “everlasting,” “forever,” are sometimes employed to denote limited duration (i.e. duration adapted to the nature of the thing of which it is affirmed), yet such words applied to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ cannot be thus restricted, because an unending duration intended by them is stated in explanatory phraseology (as e.g. Luke 1:32 “of His Kingdom there shall be no end,” etc.). The thousand years are specifically mentioned as the period of Satan’s binding and of the time existing between the two resurrections, and of this era it is also asserted that Christ and His saints reign. the declaration of their reigning during this period does not limit the reign of it, but is added to indicate that the reign is already commenced and extends through this Millenary age. Jesus is not merely the king of “an age” but of “the ages” (1 Tim. 1:17 Greek), and His Kingdom is united, not merely to “an age,” but to “the age of ages” or “eternal ages,” thus indicating its extension onward through the vast succession of time in unending series. Hence the perpetuity of the Kingdom is freely declared in 2 Sam. 7:16; Heb. 1:8; Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 11:15; Is. 9:7; 2 Pet. 1:11, etc., and this is explained, Dan. 2:44, to be “a Kingdom that shall never be destroyed,” and in Dan. 7:14,” His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Indeed, so expressive are these and kindred passages that even thsoe who advocate a transfer of the Kingdom to the Father and some kind of an ending of the Kingdom, are still forced, by their weight and concurrence, unhesitatingly to acknowledge, in some form (as Barnes, etc.) “the perpetuity of Christ’s Kingdom and His eternal reign.” Hence this reign, beginning at the Millennial era, is not terminated by the close of the thousand years. The idea of the perpetuity of Christ’s reign was so generally diffused in the early Church, that we even find it in the Sibylline Oracles (B. 3) “the Holy King of all the earth shall come, who shall wield the sceptre during all the ages of swiftly moving time,” etc.”

The sheer volume of the biblical message regarding the eternality of the coming Kingdom is such that it is impossible to find any traction upon which to pose even the smallest argument against it. As Peters aptly notes, words such as eternal, everlasting, and forever can at times have a limited timeframe attached to them. Descriptions related to the Theocratic Kingdom do not have any element or sense of a limited duration. When Scripture says something will never end, well quite frankly it will never end. No ifs, ands, or buts about it as they say. As I noted above, this provides a great deal of confidence to the believer. Evil will be dealt an eternal blow. No longer will evil try and rear its ugly head. The King of King and Lord of Lords will reign forever. It sends goosebumps up my arms just thinking about that day!

Mike Ratliff – The Doctrine of Original Sin and the Wrath of God

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5 (NKJV)

Those who have a problem with the Doctrine of Original Sin and the Wrath of God against all sin attempt to paint the God of Reformation Theology as some sort of ogre full of anger with very little love manifest except in the case of a chosen few. In their examples of how God operates in saving people, sin is never the issue. They portray God as loving everyone to the maximum and even if their sin amounted open rebellion against Him on their part. In their theology He just looks the other way and attempts to save everyone, but the point of contention is that the God in their example is unable to save anyone. The salvation of people is only made a possibility with those actually being saved being those who hear the Gospel and respond by exercising their sovereign Free Will. On the other hand, the God of the Bible is not anything like this. He is Sovereign. He saves those whom He has elected or chosen unto eternal life. No one limits Him in any way. Man’s will is in no way a barrier to God fulfilling His Will. From these two vastly different understandings of theology comes two very different understandings of sin. Let’s look at a biblical view of sin and I invite you to compare your own understanding of it to what we unpack here. If your’s is different, I suggest to you that the Bible is not in error.

To continue reading Mike Ratliff’s article, click here.

Horatius Bonar – The Blood of the Cross

The precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:19

Preface

That blood has been shed upon the earth, and that this blood was no other than the “blood of God” (Acts 20:28), all admit who own the Bible. But admitting this, the question arises, how far is each one of us implicated in this blood shedding? Does not God take for granted that we are guilty? Nay further, that this guilt is the heaviest that can weigh a sinner down?

If so, then is it not a question for the saint, how far have I understood and confessed my participation in this guilt incurred by my long rejection of the slain One? How far have I learned to prize that blood, which, though once my accuser, is now my advocate? How far am I now seeing and rejoicing in the complete substitution of life for life — the divine life for the human — which that bloodshedding implies?

Is it not also a serious question for the ungodly, is this blood shedding really and legally chargeable against me? Is God serious in saying that He means to reckon with me for this? Is this blood at this present hour resting over me as a cloud of wrath ready to burst upon my head as soon as my day of grace runs out? Is it on account of my treatment of this blood that I am to be dealt with at the seat of judgment? Is my eternity really to hinge on this?

To continue reading Horatius Bonar’s booklet, click here.

Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 158

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In Proposition 158, George Peters states:

“The doctrine of the Kingdom aids in locating the Millennial period.”

This proposition is well stated. I say this because all the information that has been covered thus far by Peters has served as milemarkers if you will to help the reader understand not just the nature of the coming Kingdom, but its timing within salvation history. The individual parts are a key to the whole. Overlook or misapply those parts, and you will end up with the errant understanding of the Millennial period found in far too many eschatological positions.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 158 is the following:

“Against all theories which locate the Mill. age (the thousand years) in the past or present, or after the last resurrection, it is sufficient to point out, what every able commentator of the Apoc. concedes, viz., that the distinctive thousand years of Rev. 20 follow after the seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials; after a certain harvest and vintage; after a particular Advent and conflict; after a complete overthrow of Antichristian enemies; after a binding of Satan; and then after the supremacy and ruling of saints it is followed by “a little season” witnessing a remarkable but futile outburst of enmity; and then, and only then, after the thousand years are ended comes the last resurrection and the entrance into the eternal ages. No such order, no such events have been witnessed in the past or present, and by the very nature of the predictions, interposing time and events, cannot be transposed to the eternal state. Simple unity, justice to the order laid down, demands that Rev. 20:1-6 should be regarded as a distinctive period, that of the binding of Satan, after which he is released and the events follow which precede the consummation of the last resurrection and judgment. No Bible reader who simply follows the order laid down can mistake the plainness of prediction.”

I appreciate the pointedness of Peters in this observation. Yes his concluding statement might seem a bit overreaching. I disagree. The reality is if the faithful reader of Scripture follows the signposts God has provided, the clarit of the predictions God has made regarding the coming Kingdom and its timing as related to the Millennial period are quite clear. Perhaps they are laden at times in symbolism, but that symbolism is explained by the biblical authors in a way so as not to confuse the reader regarding matters of timing. As Peters has noted, a period of events will take place and those events are laid out in Scripture. If one rushes to conclusions and allows their presuppositions to control their understanding of the text, thenn it is possible to drive right by and miss these signposts. Take the necessary time on the other hand, and the salvation history map of events becomes quite clear. Does this take effort and hard work on the part of the reader? Of course, so we best get to it!

A. W. Pink – Guarding Your Heart

Introduction

“Do you think you came into this world to spend your whole time and strength in your employments, your trades, your pleasures, unto the satisfaction of the will of the flesh and of the mind? Have you time enough to eat, to drink, to sleep, to talk unprofitably — it may be corruptly — in all sorts of unnecessary societies, but have not enough time to live unto God, in the very essentials of that life? Alas, you came into the world under this law: ‘It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment’ (Heb 9:27), and the end (purpose) why your life is here granted unto you, is that you may be prepared for that judgment. If this be neglected, if the principal part of your time be not improved with respect unto this end, you will yet fall under the sentence of it unto eternity” (John Owen, 1670).

Multitudes seem to be running, but few “pressing toward the mark;” many talk about salvation, but few experience the joy of it. There is much of the form of godliness, but little of the power of it: Oh, how rare it is to find any who know anything experimentally of the power that separates from the world, delivers from self, defends from Satan, makes sin to be hated, Christ to be loved, Truth to be prized, and error and evil to be departed from. Where shall we find those who are denying self, taking up their cross daily, and following Christ in the path of obedience (Mat 16:24)? Where are they who hail reproach, welcome shame, and endure persecution? Where are they who are truly getting prayer answered daily, on whose behalf God is showing Himself strong? Something is radically wrong somewhere! Yes, and as surely as the beating of the pulse is an index to the state of our most vital physical organ, so the lives of professing Christians make it unmistakably evident that their hearts are diseased!

To continue reading A. W. Pink’s book, click here.

John Newton – Combating Worldliness

October 3, 1778.

Dear Madam,

You would have me tell you what are the best means to be used by a young person, to prevent the world, with all its seductive and insnaring scenes, from drawing the heart aside from God. It is an important question; but I apprehend your own heart will tell you, that you are already possessed of all the information concerning it which you can well expect from me. I could only attempt to answer it from the Bible, which lies open to you likewise.

If your heart is like mine, it must confess, that when it turns aside from God it is seldom through ignorance of the proper means or motives which should have kept us near him—but rather from an evil principle within, which prevails against our better judgment, and renders us unfaithful to light already received.

I could offer you rules, cautions, and advises in abundance; for I find it comparatively easy to preach to others. But if you should farther ask me, how you shall effectually reduce them to practice; I feel that I am so deficient, and so much at a loss in this matter myself, that I know not well what to say to you. Yet something must be said.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 157

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In Proposition 157, George Peters states:

“This doctrine of the Kingdom enforces the future ministration of angels.”

I don’t believe we often take into account the issue Peters has presented in this proposition. Angels are kind of a side note it seems for most Christians. We come across them in Scripture and they certainly make a big appearance at Christmas time when the birth of Jesus is front and center. With that said, have we stopped to ponder the role of angels in eternity future, specifically their purpose in the new heavens and new earth and in the Theocratic Kingdom? The aspect of spiritual warfare of course at that time will be over, so the role of angels duking it out if you will with the forces of evil is thus over. Will angels be out of a job and just hanging out for all eternity? Peters suggests and rightly so the angelic host will continue to serve an important role of ministration.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 157 is the following:

“To be “as the angels of God in heaven” (Matt. 22:30), or to be “equal unto the angels” (Luke 20:36) may, as the context seems to indicate, only refer to the mode of existence (i.e. in reference to marriage, happiness, and immortality), but there is one passage which distinctly teaches a certain pre-eminency over, at least, some of the angels. In 1 Cor. 6:3 we read: “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” which evidently means ruling over angels, just as “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” indicates clearly a ruling over the world. This is seen by a reference to Props. 133, 134, and 154, where the meaning of judging is given in detail. Now, such a governing power, bestowed in view of associated Rulership or Kingship with Jesus, is undoubtedly exercised in behalf of the administrations of the Theocratic Kingdom, and, consequently, must minister to the good, directly or indirectly, of its rulers or subjects. The realization can alone teach us the extent and the results of such a judging.”

Judging is most often thought of in the judicial sense of the word. Will the saints partake in judging the angelic host? Perhaps the intent of 1 Cor. 6:3 is to suggest the saints, as co-heirs with Jesus, will have the ability to judge the fallen angelic host in some manner. From a quick survey of commentaries, many biblical commentators approach 1 Cor. 6:3 in this way, stating the saints will to some degree serve as judges over the angelic servants of the enemy.

Peters references previous propositions where he discusses another means by which to understand what judging means in this passage. If we hearken back to Proposition 132, Observation 3, Peters asks, “Are we to understand by this Judgeship that Christ only sits in a judicial capacity to decide respecting the innocence or guilt of men; or, is far moe embraced in this term, such as judicial, legislative, and executive action, a supreme power, Kingly rule?” In response to his quetion, Peters states, “If we take the Bible idea of Judge, instead of the restricted, more modern sense engrafted upon it, there is no difficulty in replying that the latter is intended.” As proof, Peters points to the role of the Judges in the book of Judges, namely those whom God raised up to deliver Israel from oppressive enemies, enacting God’s judgment on those enemies, and then serving (at least for a time/cycle) in the office of Theocratic ruler. If we apply the Judgeship of Christ in this manner, then I can see how the saints can be understood to be judging the angels in eternity future. In this sense, the saints will not be performing judicial actions for all eternity over the angels. Conversely, our position will be elevated over the angels to such an extent that indicates the role of angels as ministering to the saints in the Theocratic Kingdom.

As further proof of Peters’ position, the meaning of the Greek word translated as judge in 1 Cor. 6:3, namely krinō, means in this context “to rule or govern.” While the term certainly has in its semantic range the idea of judicial oversight, properly understood, we should apply the meaning of ruling and governing to what Paul is telling us in 1 Cor. 6:3 as being part of the overall judging equation if you will.

Michael Boling – Justification

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INTRODUCTION
The issue of justification has had a lasting influence on the Christian understanding of the topic of salvation and its relationship to eternal security. Biblical scholars have developed numerous stances on this theological understanding often resulting in a situation which has left many believers pondering the precise application of justification in their Christian walk. Perhaps the best known debate over this topic was that between Martin Luther and the Roman Catholic Church and encapsulated in Luther’s statement “this is the true meaning of Christianity, that we are justified by faith in Christ, not by the works of the Law.” It was this understanding of justification which launched the Protestant Reformation and a return to the New Testament understanding of the relationship of faith and works.

The exegetical foundation reinstituted by Martin Luther guides most theologians today in their search for a more comprehensive understanding of this immeasurable theological issue. A proper understanding of the meaning, roots and application of justification by faith is obligatory in order to properly live out a vibrant and fruitful Christian life in equilibrium with the expectation of eternal security. Justification is the underpinning upon which the believer in Christ can have assurance in the forgiveness of sin and everlasting reception by a sovereign God.

DEFINITION
Justification can be defined as “the judicial act of God by which, on account of Christ, to whom the sinner is united by faith, he declares that sinner to be no longer exposed to the penalty of the law, but to be restored.” Further exposition on the root meaning of this term can be determined through an understanding of the Greek word for justification used in the New Testament. The judicial and legal terminology that is appropriated to dikaiōma is evident from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Strong notes that dikaiōma “uniformly, or with only a single exception, signifies, not to make righteous, but to declare just, or free from guilt and exposure to punishment.” In a similar stratum of interpretation, theologian George Stevens denotes that “justification is certainly in Paul an actus forensis, a decree of exemption from penalty and of acceptance into God’s favor.” Continue reading “Michael Boling – Justification”

Michael Bieleski – Soul in the New Testament

In the New Testament the word “soul” is sometimes used to translate the Greek word psuche. However, psuche is also translated by other words as well. For example, it is translated about forty times1) in the New Testament as ‘life’ or ‘lives’. Jesus says that we are not to worry about our life which suggests the present life experienced in bodily form.2

Therefore, understanding the way in which such words are translated has important implications. Sometimes the same Greek word is translated by different English words. Sometimes the same English word is used to translate different Greek words in different contexts. Sometimes an English word remains even though it could be replaced by a more effective equivalent. The task of the translator is to find a word that matches the intent of the writer by taking into account the context in which that word is found.

To continue reading Michael Bieleski’s article, click here.

Joseph Torres – Open Occultism and Millennial Magik

The more things change, the more they stay the same. With each passing generation, this cliché takes on deeper levels of truth. Many have noted just how different the so-called millennial generation (the 18-30 demographic) is from the generations that came before them: their lack of respect for authority, their obsession with entertainment, and their penchant for social media. Yet, for all these differences (and many of them are greatly exaggerated), one thing has remained consistent. The millennial generation is as much under the spiritual attack of paganism as every generation reaching as far back as the Garden of Eden.

Now, I can imagine that some may read those last few sentences with a jaundiced eye. Maybe I’m simply being a Pollyanna, a conservative alarmist warning the masses that the bad people are “coming for your children.” The fact is I’m also skeptical of fanciful claims with a conspiratorial bend. But it appears paganism, and by this I mean “out-and-proud” occultism is making a comeback among young people, and is backed with all the promotional punch of the Internet, social media, and Youtube.

To continue reading Joseph Torres’ article, click here.