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.

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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.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 123

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In Proposition 123, George Peters states:

“The Pre-Millennial Advent and the accompanying Kingdom are united with the destruction of Anti-Christ.”

In this proposition, Peters is focused on the matter of the timing of the Pre-Millennial Advent and the establishment of its accompanying Kingdom. He notes this Advent and Kingdom are unitd with the destruction of the Anti-Christ. This proposition is rooted in the writings of Paul, Daniel, and John in 2 Thess. 2, Daniel 7, and Revelation 19 respectively. Peters spends the majority of his focus in this Proposition examining the words of Paul in 2 Thess. 2 as they relate to the Second Advent and their relation to the destruction of the Anti-Christ.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 123 is the following:

(Due to the lengthy nature of the observations made in the Proposition, I have chosen a selection from observation 2)

“Those to whom Paul wrote were looking for the personal Advent of Christ. This appears form several considerations. 1. The Apostle distinctly and repeatedly mentions the personal Coming. Thus in 1 Thess. 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:16; 5:23; 2 Thess. 1:7; 2:1; 3:5. Hence the minds of the Thessalonians were specifically directed to this subject. 2. This very Coming, we are told. 2 Thess. 2:2 – the subject matter of Paul’s discourse – was calculated to shake and trouble them, deeming it past and they are not saved. If a “spiritual” or “providential Coming” was only intended, as some contend, it is singular that Paul does not explain it as such; if it was to “convert” and not “to consume and destroy,” it is astonishing that Paul does not declare the same; and if it was a providential Coming at Jerusalem (as a few assert) in which the Thessalonians were not personally concerned, it is strange that the Apostle does not mention the fact to relieve their minds. The only satisfactory explanation which meets the condition of their trouble is, that they supposed the day of Christ had come, was inaugurated, and hence they expected that a personal Advent had taken place. They believed in such a personal Coming from Paul’s previous teachings. They supposed it at least to be immenent, if it had not already transpired. The Apostle seeing that this supposition agitated their minds, etc., makes the imminency, the nearness of such a visible Coming as they believed in, the subject of his remarks. It would, in the nature of the case, be unreasonable for him to introduce any other Coming than the one under consideration, without a specific mention that they were mistaken in their ideas respecting such a personal Coming; or, if another Coming was to be understood, growing out of the one stated, without pointing out, in some way, the distinction between them. 3. The reference to a personal Coming is established by the phraseology appended, “as that the day of Christ is at hand.” The period when the Messiah is to be personally manifested as the Judge, the King, etc., is often called “His day,” etc., and was so understood both by the Jews and early Christians. This phrase clearly proves that the Apostle was writing to those who not only held to a personal Advent, but united the day of Judgment, the disctinctive day of Christ in which His power and majesty was to be revealed, with that Coming. Paul’s endeavoring to show that such a day of Christ (see how he used the phrase in Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5; 1 Cor. 3:13; 2 Cor. 1:14; 1 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 4:30; Phil. 1:6, 10), of which he had told them in the First Epis. (1 Thess. 5:2), “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” was not so near as they apprehended, that certain great events would intervene, unmistakably corroborates his entire and exclusive reference in this verse to a personal Advent.”

Peters rightly identifies the expectations of the Thessalonians in reference to the Second Advent. Paul wrote to them in part to correct their errant suppositions, specifically the expectation or fear they had somehow missed out on the Second Coming of Christ. What is evident in their belief is the expectation of a physical, personal Coming. Paul did not correct that supposition as it was correctly rooted in truth. What Paul desired to address and correct was their errant understanding of the timing of the Second Advent. In 2 Thess. 2:8, Paul notes that the wicked will be “consumed with the spirit of His mouth” and they shall be destroyed at the “brightness of His coming.” This places the physical, personal Coming of the Messiah (the Second Advent) at a time when the son of perdition, this man of lawlessness, will be destroyed, thus connecting the two events to a time yet in the future.

Again, Peters notes the theologically incorrect position of treating this Second Coming as nothing but a spiritual event. The writings of Paul in 2 Thess. 2 demands a literal, physical coming given the Anti-Christ will be literally and physically destroyed at the “brightness of the coming” of the Messiah. These are important eschatological time markers if you will for which we must take note.

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Jefferson Vann – Five Questions to Ask While Reading the Rich Man and Lazarus Story

I love the story of the rich man and Lazarus, but not for the same reason that many others do. It is a story that we can all easily picture. We see a fat rich man, clothed in a purple robe, feasting all the time in his big house, while just outside his door a beggar waits and starves. Then they both die, and things change drastically. The former beggar is now welcomed into a very comfortable place. But the former rich man is burning in agony.

The rich man and Lazarus is the last in a string of stories Jesus told in response to the Pharisees criticism of the riffraff that Jesus was associating with.1 We can read those stories in Luke 15-16.

  • a shepherd leaves his 99 sheep in the wilderness and searches for the one that he lost,
  • a woman ransacks her house looking for a coin that she had lost,
  • a prodigal son returns, and is welcomed by his father, but not by his older brother,
  • an employee is about to be fired, so he makes sure that he has plenty of friends to take care of him when that happens.

Jesus got to the point of these stories when he told those Pharisees “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts.”2 The parable of the rich man and Lazarus highlights the fact that some people think their eternal destiny is safe because they are currently doing ok. But God is looking for people who know they need him. He is looking for people who repent of their sins and trust in his gospel of grace.

But even though we all mostly get that point, the incidentals of the rich man and Lazarus story seem to side-track many of us. We start out with a clear view of rich Pharisees, but wind up with scary pictures of flaming torment in the afterlife. Our reading of the parable tends to get us off target to its original purpose.

To continue reading Jefferson Vann’s article, click here.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 122

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In Proposition 122, George Peters states:

“As Son of Man, David’s Son, Jesus inherits David’s throne and Kingdom, and also the land of Palestine.”

This proposition posits some very commons sense thinking. If Jesus is of the line of Judah and heir to the throne of David, then the logical conclusion is as the heir, Jesus will inherit the throne of David. This throne is in a specific piece of land, albeit ruling over all the earth. The specific land is the land of promise, covenanted by God to His people.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 122 is the following:

“The student will see that the inheritance covenanted is not typical of something else. The mystical views that would make it a type of something spiritual are refuted by the literal tenor of the covenant, and that all the prophecies and promises reiterate that literality which is corroborated by the idea of inheriting. The Kingdom at the time of the covenant was literal; the promise of inheriting is literal, confined as it is by the express terms to the literal Theocracy; the Coming of the Heir is literal; the postponement is literal; all is literal. Whatever spiritual blessings and additional glory may be added, the inheritance cannot, without the greatest violence, be transmuted into something else. The same tabernacle fallen down (Acts 15:16) is Christ’s inheritance, and to fulfill the covenant is to be rebuilt again when Jesus, David’s Son, comes again. It is the same Kingdom that (Props. 69. 70, and 71) the preachers of the Kingdom under special Messianic instruction declared as see e.g. in Acts 1:6. It is (Props. 32 and 33) the same Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom that was removed, that is finally, after (e.g. Hos. 3:4) a long interval, to be restored.”

The literal understanding and nature of this inheritance cannot be overstated. While there is a definite spiritual component to the rule of God both in this life and in eternity, the doctrine of the Kingdom as it relates to what will be inherited by Jesus is absolutely a literal construct. A literal return of the heir to the David throne will result in a literal Theocratic kingdom being established. To propose this is all just some mystical/spiritual event ignores the literal nature of what was covenanted by God.

Peters rightly notes a mystical/spiritual only approach involves great violence. Great violence against what? Violence against the clear teaching of Scripture to include the covenant rooted promises of God, promises declaring the establishment of a literal, future, eternal kingdom. The consistent pattern and declaration of Scripture to include the prophets and the NT authors, demands we understanding this coming kingdom in a literal manner. The very nature of Jesus being the heir to the throne demands such an observation by Peters and rightly so.

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Brittany Salmon – More Than a Political Stance: Adoption and the Pro-Life Cause

Our family stands out.

We can’t go to a grocery store without someone stopping and asking us questions about each of our children. For starters, we have identical twin daughters with bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. Like typical four year olds, they are feisty and sweet with a touch of sass. The amount of commentary we receive on them alone is enough to write a whole other blogpost, but to add to the excitement we also have a son who doesn’t look anything like us at all.

You see, our son joined our family through the blessing of adoption. He is a beautiful, strong black boy. He is smart and kind and loves to laugh loudly at his sisters. Put that combo together in a grocery store and we’re magnets for conversation starters. Some people stare. Some people are kind. But our diverse family draws attention in a homogenous world in which we tend to surround ourselves with people who think, look and act like us.

One day while standing in the checkout line, a well-intended fellow believer approached our family and commended us on the pro-life stance we took by adopting. I smiled and said, “Yes, we are pro-life, but our son’s birth mom is the true hero; she’s the one who should be commended for her pro-life choice. We really are the lucky beneficiaries of her brave love.”

To continue reading Brittany Salmon’s article, click here.

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Ron Neller – The Water Cycle: H2O Goes With the Flow

Every living organism relies on water to survive, and the distribution and movement of water (known as the water or hydrologic cycle) is taught from primary school through to university.

This pattern of water movement is well understood. Water evaporates, condenses in the clouds, and then returns to the earth as precipitation (rain or snow). Some soaks into the ground (infiltration) and is stored as soil water and groundwater. From there, it is transpired back into the atmosphere by plants. Some becomes stream flow, eventually making its way back into lakes or the ocean. An obvious enough process, but did we always understand it?

Historical beliefs

The ancient Greeks had quite different ideas about the water cycle. Thales of Miletus (late 7th–early 6th Century BC) believed streams and rivers emerged from a vast subterranean freshwater lake, connected to the surface of the world by chasms. Water then flowed out via surface springs into the rivers of the world.

In the 4th century BC, Aristotle described the water cycle more accurately, but like Thales, remained convinced that subterranean water was the main source of stream flow. He wrote that it was absurd “if one were to suppose that rivers drew all their water from the sources we see (for most rivers do flow from springs).”

To continue reading Ron Neller’s article, click here.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 121

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In Proposition 121, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom, of necessity, requires a Pre-Millennial Personal Advent of Jesus Christ.”

For those not familiar with the term Pre-Millennial, how it is defined and applied often depends on what “flavor” of eschatology to which one affirms. At its core, Pre-Millennialism can be defined as the belief that

“the Second coming will occur before a literal thousand-year reign of Christ from Jerusalem upon the earth. In the early church, premillennialism was called chiliasm, from the Greek term meaning 1,000, a word used six times in Revelation 20:2-7. This view is most often contrasted with Postmillennialism which sees Christ’s return after a golden “millennial age” where Christ rules spiritually from his throne in heaven, and Amillennialism which sees the millennium as a figurative reference to the current church age.” [1]

From what I have been able to discover, George Peters affirmed the dispensational approach to eschatology and thus falls into the pre-tribulation rapture position, a position to which I do not adhere for reasons at this point outside the scope of this particular study/post. With that said, both dispensationalists and non-dispensationalists can be pre-milliannialists. I know it can be confusing when all the various nuances and associated positions subsumed within eschatology are explored. For the purposes of this Proposition, Peters is merely affirming the pre-millennial position as defined above without, at least at this point, inserting any dispensational specific language.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 121 is the following:

“This Sec. Advent will be the greatest and grandest event that the world has every yet witnessed. Great and glorious as was the First Advent – unspeakably precious and indispensably necessary unto Salvation – yet it was a Coming in humiliation and ending in death, with a glimpse at exaltation, but this is a Coming in overwhelming power, splendor, majesty and glory – a Coming in triumph and like the mighty Theocratic King. To this Coming the Scriptures especially turns the eye of faith and speaks of it in the most lofty and exultant strain; and we may rest assured that what God thus describes, and to which He directs the hope of prophets, Apostles, and believers, must be in conceivably magnificent. It is an honor to aid in upholding and directing attention to it.”

I appreciate the majestic nature by which Peters describes the Second Advent. It is fast approaching the time of year when the First Advent is typically remembered. Much pomp and attention is given to the Messiah coming to earth through the miracle of the virgin birth for the purpose of saving us from the wages of sin which is death. I fear we often forget, misunderstand, and do not appreciate the even greater majesty that will be the Second Advent. The entire movement of salvation history and thus Scripture points us to this event. It would behoove us to join Peters in “upholding and directing attention to it” and to better understand this doctrine of the Kingdom.

References:

[1] “Premillennialism,” Theopedia, accessed December 12, 2017, https://www.theopedia.com/premillennialism.

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Mike Leake – What to Do When Your Sin Makes Your Enemies Pounce

“It is a marvel that any man escapes ruin, the dangers which beset even the best being many and terrible.” –W.S. Plumer

Have you noticed 90% of news stories necessitate a person being ruined? Occasionally the ruin is not a result of a bone-headed decision or immoral choice. But more often than not, it is because sin has caught up with someone. And if you and I are being honest we’d have to admit that our absence from the front page isn’t for lack of opportunity but rather because of grace.

Psalm 38 is a painful Psalm. David is the guy on the front page whose life is ruined because of a personal transgression. And his whole world is coming apart. His relationship with God feels strained, his friends are keeping him at a distance, and his enemies are using this as an opportunity to pounce. The worst part is that David isn’t an innocent victim, he’s a guilty sinner. His conscience is not on his side.

Thankfully, I have not had an experience which totally fits King David’s scenario. I have said and done things which are dumb and/or sinful. I have had to endure consequences of my mistakes, but I do not believe I have experienced fully what David is going through in Psalm 38, at least not to this depth. And I hope I never do.

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

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