Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 151

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In Proposition 151, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom is identified with “the new heavens and new earth” of Is. 65:17 and 66:22, of 2 Pet. 3:13, and of Rev. 21:1.”

In this Proposition, Peters is attempting to demonstration a triangulation of passages, bringing into picture how Is. 65:17, 66:22; 2 Peter, 3:13, and Rev. 21:1 all paint the same picture regarding the new heavens and new earth as it relates to the coming Kingdom. For those not familiar with the passages in question, they are provided below:

Is. 65:17 – “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.”

Is. 66:22 – “For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain.”

2 Peter 3:13 – “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

Revelation 21:1 – “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 151 is the following:

“It is not necessary to repeat the arguments which show the connection of Isaiah and Peter. This has been done in the immediate preceding (e.g. 148 and 149) Propositions, to which, in justice to us, the reader will please refer. The views of the Jews, the correspondence of language with their belief, the reference direct to Isaiah by Peter, etc., must, in order to make the line of argument complete, be duly considered. To one party of our opponents, let it be said, that conceding as they do a Pre-Millennial Advent of Jesus and His reign during that age, they must explain how this is to be reconciled with Peter’s delineation of the scoffers and their language, which cannot be thus applied to accord with their theory, or with their expressed views of the approach of “the Day of God.” But the connection of Isaiah and Peter will appear more fully and distinctively by noticing how John corroborates it.”

Perhaps some might accuse Peters of simply doing a key word search for “new heavens and new earth”, listing the verses that come up, and then saying he rests his case. Peters is doing nothing of the sort. As we have seen throughout this study, both thus far of Volume 1 and Volume 2, Peters is making a methodical and purposeful positive case for the doctrine of the Kingdom. Having already established the clear connections between the OT Prophet Isaiah and the NT author the Apostle Peter, Peters now brings in another text from the book of Revelation. As noted in the comments on the Proposition, this is a triangulation of passages if you will. The purpose is to demonstrate a consistent theme being presented. All three biblical authors are referencing the new heavens and new earth in a future context, that of the coming Kingdom. Some scholars have attempted to suggest that Isaiah and Peter refer to one time period while John refers to another time period. Peters rejects such a notion and rightly so given the expectation of all three biblical authors is pointing to the Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 150

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In Proposition 150, George Peters states:

“The establishment of this Kingdom is not affected by the extent of Peter’s conflagration.”

In this proposition, Peters is referencing the previous proposition which discussed 2 Peter 3:10-13. For anyone who might have missed that discussion, here is the passage in question:

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”

Apparently, some have tried to make the case that 2 Peter 3:10-13 is a nail in the coffin for the doctrine of the Kingdom as being outlined by Peters. Essentially, opponents are attempting to use a single proof-text as a means to suggest the entire doctrine must fall apart due to their interpretation of what the fire (i.e. conflagration) must represent in 2 Peter 3:10-13. It seems opponents question how a kingdom can be established in a place that has been “destroyed” by fire and completely laid bare. Peters explains in the below observation why this nail in the coffin claim falls way short of being sound biblical exegesis.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 150 is the following:

“If there is a passage which should be examined and explained according to “the analogy of faith,” it certainly out to be this one of Peter’s. The reason is apparent; it is the only passage of Scripture which our opponents allege as conveying an irreconcilable difficulty in the way of accepting what (as we have shown) is taught in the naked grammatical sense in Covenant and Prophecy, and what was unmistakably believed in by the primitive Church. To make a single passage overthrow the Jewish faith, the early Christian faith, and, above all, that constant harmony of Scriptural statement down to that point, and to make it the necessity for introducing a spiritualistic interpretation of preceding Scripture, is imposing too much upon one text and is violating the proportion due to the doctrine of the Bible. The rules given by Horne (Introd. vol. 1, p. 342, etc.), are worth of attention, and if applied will inevitably relieve our doctrine of the Kingdom from any alleged incubus said to be imposed by Peter. Surely when our doctrine of the Kingdom is founded in the oath-bound covenant given to David, is reiterated by prophets, is preached, etc., as Proposition after Proposition has proven, then it ought not to be set aside, or weakened, or condemned by one passage; then the passage assumed to be contradictory out to be explained in the light of the vast amount of testimony preceding it; then the lesser out to be interpreted by the greater, the more brief by the more extended, the doubtful by the plainly revealed.”

Until just recently, I had not been aware of “the analogy of faith” element of biblical hermeneutics. I came across this aspect while listening to a debate about hell between Chris Date (Rethinking Hell) and Len Pettis (Bible Thumping Wingnut). I believe it was Chris Date who mentioned “the analogy of faith.” To put it simply, “the analogy of faith” is the principle of biblical interpretation that all Scripture is in agreement with itself and thus there are no contradictions within the biblical corpus.

As Peters notes regarding the doctrine of the Kingdom, when one applies “the analogy of faith” hermeneutic to 2 Peter 3:10-13, any supposed problems for the doctrine of the Kingdom are easily addressed by noting the plethora of evidence found in Scripture that help us understand what the Apostle Peter is saying. It is vital when exegeting difficult passages to interpret those harder to understand passages in light of the more easily understood passages. This does not of course give us license to simply ignore difficult passages nor to avoid grappling with their meaning. What is being stated is 2 Peter 3:10-13 presents no problems for the doctrine of the Kingdom when this verse is understand within the greater context of Scripture. Peters does an excellent job in this observation of using the analogy of faith to demonstrate the consistency of Scripture and how that internal consistency reveals the 2 Peter 3 passage to be just another wonderful set of support for the doctrine of the Kingdom.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 149

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In Proposition 149, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom is preceded by the conflagration of 2 Pet. 3:10-13.”

For anyone not familiar with 2 Peter 3:10-13 (I admit I had to look it up), here are Peter’s words:

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”

In this passage, Peters notes in quite vividly description language, events that will take place in the heavens and the earth on the Day of the Lord. Most notable is the mention of fire. Students of the New Testament, especially as it relates to prophetic passages, should be aware that often the NT authors echo that which had previously been spoken by the OT prophets. Slight differences may be found in the NT echoes, but unless clear evidence exists to the contrary, the NT echoes typically relay the OT prophetic declarations. Peters expains in the below observation the OT passage Peter uses as a reference.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 149 is the following:

“If we refer to the promises acknowledged by Peter and given by Isaiah, we find this view strengthened by the context. Thus e.g. Is. 66:22 is preceded by “the Lord will come with fire and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury and His rebuke with flames and fire. For by fire and by His sword will the Lord please with all flesh,” etc. While Is. 65:17 only mentions the sword as preceding, yet, if we take the prediction and turn to its strictly parallel mates, we find that fire also is connected with its ushering in, as evidenced by the same things being delineated as then taking place. Thus e.g. take Is. 51, and at the very time that God will “plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth,” that the redeemed return with singing and everlasting joy, the judgments of the Lord shall be poured upon the wocked and “the heavens shall vanish like smoke,” etc. At least one thing is apparent, that in the context of Millennial predictions (as Ps. 97:3; Joel 2:30; Mal. 4:1, etc.) there are sufficient intimations to warrant the Jewish belief that there would be, before Messiah’s Kingdom is established, an extraordinary manifestation of fire in some form, and that Peter in his prediction adopts this very belief by linking his prophecy with Isaiah’s.”

As noted above, in 2 Peter 3:10-13, Peter notes the heavens and the earth being detroyed and laid bare by fire on the Day of the Lord. Peters aptly notes this is a reference to OT prophecy, namely that of Isaiah who on a number of occasions, mentions the establishment by God of a new heavens and new earth. This prophetic language is echoed by Peter in 2 Peter 3:10-13. Such connections between OT and NT prophecy demonstrate a consistent biblical message about what will take place and when. Furthermore, these events are noted as preceding the coming of the Kingdom. What we can clearly observe from the 2 Peter and Isaiah passages is that fire will be used by God as a means of cleansing the heavens and the earth.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 148

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In Proposition 148, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom embraces the new heavens and new earth.”

It seems to go without saying, especially based on the previous propositions that have discussed the various phrases speaking of regeneration, renewal, and restoration, that such adjectives must describe something new taking place at the Second Advent. Given the physical elements of what will be regenerated, renewed, and restored, it is correct for Peters to note what will be made new. He aptly notes the doctrine of the Kingdom and the Kingdom itself will embrace the new heavens and new earth. The new heavens and earth after all will be what is inhabited by the righteous and where the Theocratic-David Kingdom will be established.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 148 is the following:

“The question, however, arises what are we to understand by this new heavens and new earth? Fully admitting (as e.g. the Prop. preceding 146) that the material atmosphere and earth shall undergo a transformationfor the removal of evils, etc., yet, keeping in view what heavens and earth are shaken and removed (viz., the Gentile Kingdoms and their upholders), it is but reasonable to believe that the Spirit to keep up the consistency of the figure thus used, means by “the new heavens and the new earth” taking the place of the former ones, the Renewed Kingdom (i.e. Theocracy) of God and the renewed willing adherents, attached and devoted to it. This accords with the predicted fact that when the Gentile domination is overthrown, then the Kingdom of heaven (Dan. 2 and 7) occupies the supremem authority over all the earth; then (Rev. 11:15, Prof. Stuart, Com. loci) “The Kingdom of this world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ,” or (as Lord, Apoc. loci) “The Sovereignty of the world has become our Lord’s and His Messiah’s.” This prophetical usage of language is purposely and most wisely chosen to delineate the restoration of the Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom, which supersedes all other Kingdoms. The word “new,” as has often been noticed, even by opposers, does not necessarily mean something entirely new, but denotes a “renewal or restoration” of something previously existing. It properly, then, denotes the renewwal or restoration, with increased glory, of that “heaven and earth” which once existed in its initiatory form; and the entire phrase – as the ancient believers logically held – includes the Messianic Kingdom. How deeply this ancient belief was still held, even down to the Council of Nice, is seen in Gelasius (Hist. Acts Council), when he refers as proof to Dan. 7:18; Ps. 27:13; Matt. 5:5 and Is. 26:6 for the expression of faith: “We expect new heavens and a new earth, according to the Holy Scriptures, at the appearing of the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”

What exactly will be “new” about the new heavens and earth? Will as some conjecture, the current heavens and earth be completely obliterated with God starting from scratch? After all, isn’t this what we typically think of when the word new is used? Peters notes something important in how we are to understand and apply the word new. The newness if you will will not be an entirely new heavens and earth in the sense of a previous version was completely destroyed and a completely new version is created. Conversely, the current state will undero renewal and restoration. It will be fully and forever cleansed of the death and decay it currently groans under. It is a return to the beginning, that Edenic state lost due to sin. Perhaps, as Peters suggests, the new heavens and new earth will be an amped up version of what is described in Genesis prior to sin. Either way, it will be glorious and beyond even the most vividly wild imagination.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 147

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In Proposition 147, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom is preceded by a wonderful shaking of the heavens and earth.”

The Second Advent is noted by Jesus, John the Revelator, and the prophets as being preceded by a time of unique physical events. In Matthew 24:21, Jesus states, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” He goes on to say in Matthew 24:29, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days: ‘The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.'” Can there be any doubt something great, might, and awesome will take place that involves the heavens and the earth being used by God? It would seem such a series of events is hard to deny and their occurrence signals the coming of the Kingdom.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 147 is the following:

“But while fully endorsing this view, that the great, important meaning of such phraseology is the subversion, overturning, and destruction of Kingdoms, etc., yet this does not forbid our entertaining the firm belief that these things will be accompanied by physical marvels, earthquakes, etc., which shall cause “men’s hearts failing them for fear,” etc. Analogy, pointing to the plagues preluding the deliverance from Egypt, to the events connects with the birth and crucifixion of Jesus, should cause us to hold that when the most solemn crisis for the world comes, God will cause His Almighty energy to be displayed in an unusual manner in the material nature which is to be a participant in the glory following. God has hitherto thus condescended to warn and speak, and there is every reason to believe, that as the end of the age draws nigh and the stupendous issues dependent upon it approach, God will again plead with man in a startling, strange, supernatural manner. While it may be difficult, and even impossible (owing to this figurative use of language just designated), to tell in each individual case whether the fulfillment embraces a literal, physical, or moral, or civil, or political sign, yet such is the variety of expression, the attitude of man himself, the actual participation of the material heavens and earth (as will be shown in following propositions) in the changes then introduced that the wisest and most profound students of the Word have unhesitatingly given their adhesion (see Prop. 174) to such a belief. Indeed, when the writer considers that this period is to be specially characterized by the denial of the supernatural by the worldly-wise, it seems eminently fitting and proper that such an exertion of power should be manifested, not only for the believing and prudent, not only for the admonition of the unthinking, but for the confounding of the crafty, who rely so much on nature.”

Peters rightly notes the connection with the events that will precede the Second Advent with the plagues imposed upon Egypt. Both signal a coming time of deliverance. What is also helpfully pointed out by Peters is the reason God employs these “physical marvels, earthquakes, etc.” It is not just to declare to the wicked His omnipotence. While that is certainly a reason for these events, as Peters aptly states, God “will again plead with man in a startling, strange, supernatural manner” to repent. If those events to not grab the fullness of man’s attention, nothing will. Before the renewal and regeneration of the heavens and the earth takes place, a great shaking will occur as the great and terrible Day of the Lord draws nigh. The righteous will be watching and waiting with great anticipation. The wicked will find their’s hearts melting with fear.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 146

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In Proposition 146, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom is associated with the deliverance of creation.”

This theme of regeneration and restoration is added upon by Peters with a look at the deliverance that is declared will take place for creation upon the establishment of the Kingdom. We know there is a current state of bondage from the words of Paul in Romans 8:22-24 which states

“22 For we know that the whole creation groans together and suffers birth pains until now — 23 and not only creation, but even ourselves. We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Ruach, groan inwardly as we eagerly wait for adoption — the redemption of our body.

24 For in hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (TLV)

In order for this current state of bondage, decay, and groaning to be dealt with, creation must be delivered from what it currently experiences. As Paul as noted, creation includes not just what we typically think of when we hear the word creation (i.e. the earth, the heavens, etc.). Creation also includes man. All of creation will be delivered from the bondage it is currently enslaved to due to sin. This deliverance will take place at an appointed time, namely at the establishment of the Kingdom at the Second Advent.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 146 is the following:

“One of the striking peculiarities attached to Millennial prophecies describing the establishment of this Kingdom, is, that the land, the earth is represented as participating in the favors of the King; and the joy and happiness of the nations is immeasurably enhanced by their liberal bestowal. This is so clearly and explicitly stated, was so universally received b the early Church, and has been so generally entertained by eminent divines of all denominations, that it needs no special pleading. Even our opponents, who are the most disposed to depart from the grammatical meaning and engraft a spiritual sense, admit that, if those predictions are fulfilled as recorded, they must bring back a Paradise regained. No system of Theology is completed, without, in one form or another, advocating a final restoration of nature. Without detaining ourselves with a feature that is so commonly received, let our attention be directed to several disputed points.”

I affirm the thoughts of Peters in this observation, specifically when it comes to the importance of recognizing the extent of the deliverance that will take place at the Second Advent. Far too often, we are man centric in our understanding and application of this coming deliverance. Most certainly the righteous will experience full deliverance when sin and death are dealt their eternal blow. With that said, we must not forget that all of creation will be delivered. This is as we have been noting for several posts in a row, a return to that which was lost in the Garden. The timeline of salvation history will make its complete cycle and restoration/regeneration/deliverance will be experienced by the righteous and all of creation will no longer be in slavery and bondage to the impact of sin. This is so fundamental to the entire message and flow of Scripture that it cannot be denied. Unfortunately, while it is not often denied, it is often overlooked.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 145

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In Proposition 145, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom includes “the regeneration” of Matt. 19:28.”

In this Proposition, Peters notes “the regeneration” spoke of by Jesus in Matthew 19:28 as being an element of what is included in the Kingdom. Matthew 19:28 states:

“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Other versions of Scripture use the words “new world” rather than “in the regeneration”. Regardless of the terms being used, the idea presented by the Greek noun paliggenesia is that of something new or restored. So once again, we have another biblical phrase/description of the Kingdom, one that continues to relay the understanding of a return to the beginning for the righteous.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 145 is the following:

“The Kingdom itself, the reign of the saints, the deliverance of creation, in brief, all the blessings, so vividly described by Jones, Seiss, and many others, are introduced by this very “regeneration.” Jesus is the first begotten of the dead, and His brethren must first experience the same birth before these promises can be verified. Hence it is very doubtful whether it is a word as far-reaching as the phrase “the restitution of all things;” for the latter embraces the resurrection, restoration of Kingdom, Paradise, etc. – the bringing back of all things to their original condition or intention – while the latter, at most, can only refer to man and nature, taking the broadest definitions given to it. But with Lange and others, it must be said to be more precious, since it more directly refers to the individual, not simply restored to a forfeited position, but brought into a life most exalted and glorious through resurrection and transforming power, thus fashioning the saint after the pattern presented by Jesus. The phrase “in the regeneration” does not simply allude to the time when the resurrection is experienced, but to the fact that it is an ever-continuing reality – an unchangeable state from the period of its happy realization. It is during this wonderful regenerated life that the Kingdom of God is manifested; or, as Robison (Gr. N. Test.), “the complete external manifestation of the Messiah’s Kingdom, when all things are to be delivered from their present corruption, and restored to spiritual purity and splendor” shall be seen; or, as Van Oosterzee (Theol. N.T., p. 123), it shall embrace after the personal Sec. Advent, “the entire reversal of the natural and spiritual creature.” As the regeneration of the Lord Jesus (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5; 1 Cor. 15:20) is separate from, precedes, and yet is connected, with the ultimate renewal of creation itself, so the regeneration of the believers, accounted worthy to obtain this Kingdom, is separate from, precedes, and yet stands related to, the mighty changes which shall transform nature into the Edenic state so rapturously delineated by the prophets.”

Peters presents some very valuable thoughts in this observation on this current and future nature of this idea of regeneration. So as not to allow regeneration to exist solely as a function of the coming Kingdom, Peters saliently notes that regeneration is something that also takes place in the life of the believer in this current age. Perhaps a more familiar and related term is that of sanctification. The underlying idea of regeneration is that of something new. In the case of the believer, it relates to the new birth, a new life in Christ. The Apostle Paul references this in Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” This process of regeneration is a work of the Holy Spirit. This is a creative act of God in the life of the believer given that man is incapable on his own of regeneration.

This means that regeneration takes place in the here and now as part of the overall idea of sanctification. The believer in Christ should be desiring to live a life pleasing to God and to bring through the work of the Holy Spirit, all elements of their life into subjection to God to the glory of God. The full act of regeneration of all things will take place with the establishment of the Kingdom as noted by Jesus in Matthew 19:28 and numerous other passages that speak of creation being restored. This cosmic regeneration if you will is also a creative act on the part of God. As Creator, He will restore and renew all of creation to its Edenic state. In the interim, believers are regenerated into a new man via salvation in Christ. This should result in a change in how we live our lives, namely a life lived with a new purpose to bring glory to God in holiness and righteousness, a small reflection of the greater regeneration to come.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 144

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In Proposition 144, George Peters states:

“This Kingdom embraces “the times of refreshing” and “the times of the restitution of all things” mentioned, Acts 3:19-21.”

The journey through biblical phraseology as it relates to the doctrine of the Kingdom continues in this Proposition, this time focusing on the phrases “the times of refreshing” and “the times of the restitution of all things.” The referenced text is Acts 3:19-21:

19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

This time of refreshing will be experienced by the righteous given the declaration by Peter to repent from sin. A result of repenting and turning from sin will be the times of refreshing. The time frame Peter annotates in this passage as to when this time of refreshing and restoration will take place is at the Second Advent, that which the prophets spoke of so long ago.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 144 is the following:

“While the view of restitution, embracing the restoration of the Theocracy and the return to the condition of things before the fall of Adam, is consoling and grand, yet even this would limit its meaning, for a more sublime and scriptural aspect of it is, that, while including those mentioned, it is a restoration to that very condition which Adam and his descendants would have attained to had they not fallen. Adam himself is restored in that immortal condition which he forfeited by sin (i.e. to that which he had not yet attained), and in the entire restitution God indicates, not merely the bestowment of blessings previously enjoyed, but that of others superadded to qualify those participating in it for the exercise of that government which the number, state, etc., of Adam’s descendants and God’s purpose in creation makes important or even necessary. Hence in some of its aspects, transcending all experience and knowledge, it may be beyond our comprehension; at least, the Bible intimates in a number of places that it is scarcely possible for us now, situated as we are, to form adequate conceptions of its extent and glory. Hence, also, as we shall show in a following proposition, it extends to the restoration of the race (not of the wicked) as a race to its lost, forfeited condition.”

We are once again brought back to a specific reality of the end, namely that it is a return to the beginning and that which was lost in the Garden once sin entered the picture. In Genesis, we find a sinless creation, one in which death and decay had not part. As noted in the previous Proposition and Observation (Prop. 143), a Sabbath rest had been established. I have to believe that part of the beauty of the fulness of the Sabbath rest (which I think we can only experience in part in this age), is this “time of refreshing” noted by Peter in Acts 3. Because of sin, there will be the requirement for a restitution of all things, again as noted by Peter in Acts 3. A restitution to what state? As Peters notes in this observation, it is a restitution to the state that was lost in the beginning.

Now I have to admit I repeatedly try to imagine what that state was like as it informs what the state of things will be like in the Theocratic Kingdom. God dwelled and walked with man in the garden. God will again dwell and walk with man in the coming Kingdom. All that was lost because of sin will be restored. This will indeed be a time of refreshing. After all, in the presence of the Lord is fulness of joy. It is a completely and utterly refreshing experience to be in God’s presence. There is truly no means by which we can grasp what that will be like.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 143

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In Proposition 143, George Peters states:

“The early church doctrine of the Kingdom is supported by “the Rest,” or keeping of the Sabbath, mentioned by Paul.”

The Sabbath is on my list of topics to do an in-depth study on sometime in the near future. There is much to be discussed on the Sabbath and I humbly submit all the “noise” if you will surrounding the Sabbath, misses the simplicity and importance of the issue as a whole. While that is a subject for another time, I bring it up to as Peters notes in his Proposition, the earch church understanding and position on the Kingdom finds support in the biblical message fo the Sabbath, in particular as expressed in the writings of Paul. Some often approach Paul as the NT writer who wrote on how we have been freed from the law of which the Sabbath is part. Perhaps that understanding is part of the overall unfortunate “noise” and misunderstanding of the Sabbath. I tend to think it is for reasons Peters elaborates upon in the below observation, at least in part.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 143 is the following:

“There is something remarkable in the contrasts presented by this Sabbatism. Man, when created, immediately entered upon the Sabbath, so when re-created (the resurrection being such) he again enters upone one, for the Sabbath is a following after a creation, and it is but reasonable to support that the Mill. age, preceded as it is by an astounding exertion of creative energy and power, should be a glorious Sabbatism. God, instituting the Sabbath, assigning the reason of resting or ceasing from creation, refers us (as Lewis, Six Days of Creation) to “a greater Calendar” in which a special Day of the Lord is thus expressed, and as sons of His (made such in realization, as David’s Son was, by the power of the resurrection), we enter into the same kind of a rest after a baptism of creative power is experienced, thus in actual experience constantly representing in a lesser state or condition that occupied by God Himself. For being incorruptible, immortal, fashioned after Christ, etc., there is no more creative power to be exerted to bring us to the desiny intended. Creation ceases: a Sabbath folloes – a Sabbath, however, in which works of Providence (“He hath worked hitherto and yet worketh”), works of mercy, love, etc., are still continued. With the Sabbath begins man’s inheritance; with it begins his divine calling to bless God; with it begins the dominion over the earth: it is fitting that another Sabbath should re-introduce the inheritance which he lost, the divine calling which he prostituted, and the dominion which he forfeited. Hence as Adam in company with Eve went forth into the Sabbath to participate in the rest and enjoyment of God, so the Second Adam accompanied by His “Helpmeet” go forth upon their inheritance, calling, and dominion, in the glory of a Sabbath, which the Spirit of God, which knoweth all things, eulogizes in the most exalted terms.”

It is a new year and with a new year comes the reinvigoration of yearly Bible reading plans. If one starts in Genesis, which I assume most do in such reading plans, they will read about God resting on the seventh day of creation, blessing that day and most notably, setting it apart as qodesh (holy). This means God treated this day as something special, something different and unique than all the other days of the week. His creative efforts had ceased and the pinnacle of His creative efforts, man, entered life I belief observing this Sabbath day, provided they made it a full week without sinning. Regardless, the establishment of the Sabbath as a day of rest had been made by the Creator.

We have the Sabbath at the beginning, we have the Sabbath reminded at Mt. Sinai, and we have the Sabbath again at the end of the book. Some try and spiritualize the Sabbath saying Jesus is our Sabbath rest. While true, this overlooks the physical reality of this day of rest and remembrance established at Creation. This is not a Mosaic ordinance. While it was reiterated at Mt. Sinai, it was established way back at the beginning by God as an appointed time for His people. He expects His people to remember the Sabbath. Some also treat the Sabbath as merely a shadow of something that has either already come and thus the Sabbath is no longer needed in practice, or again that is can be spiritualized rather than a physical observance. Such a position seems to ignore the continued importance of the Sabbath from the front of Scripture to the end.

I appreciate Peters treatment and discussion of the Sabbath in this observation. We should continue to observe this shadow. Why do I call it a shadow in the current state? I call it that because it is a shadow of an even great experience yet to come. We look forward to a return to that which was lost in the Garden. There will be a time when God’s people will celebrate the Sabbath into all eternity with great joy in the prescence of our Creator and as the Helpmeet of the bridegroom. Peters paints a beautiful picture of the original creation and the re-creation at the end of this current age and expresses with great clarity how the Sabbath plays into the doctrine of the Kingdom. May we remember the Sabbath as we look forward to the return of the bridegroom and eternity remembering this set apart day. If we are claiming to want to do what the early church did, then remembering the sevent day as the Sabbath is one plact to start.

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Michael Boling – Thoughts from the Theocratic Kingdom (Vol. 2): Proposition 142

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In Proposition 142, George Peters states:

“The Kingdom being related to the earth (extending over it), and involving the res. of the saints (in order to inherit it), is sustained by the promise to the saints of their inheriting the earth.”

Peters begins to tie several previous assertions together in this proposition, noting that if a series of statements is true (which the previous propositions have been determined to be so), then a particular something sustains the saints inheriting the earth. This something is the covenanted promises made by God to His people throughout Scripture. Essentially, these covenant promises are God’s way of telling His people they can rest assured that what He says will take place will take place in the manner declared in those promises. When it comes to the Theocratic-David Kingdom, it will indeed be established on a renewed earth with the saints enjoying its fruits.

The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 142 is the following:

“This doctrine teaches us how to regard the various theories of inheritance, such as the third heaven idea, the central universe notion, the metaphysical heaven (of Good’s, etc.), which gives no place of existence, the spiritualist’s visible unfolding of the invisible, “the Sun our Heaven” (so Mortimore, Wittie, etc.), and the infidel’s no future inheritance. By overlooking the plainest promises and oath-bound covenants, or by spiritualizing them, men manufacture inheritances of their own. No matter that the inheriting of the earth was a favorite Jewish doctrine based on the Messianic prophecies and the predicted supremacy; when Jesus uttered this promise it must be modernized and accommodated to the supposed advanced theological opinions of this age, molded by the influence of some favorite philosophy. No matter that the Patriarchs are personally promised such an inheriting; that the saints, as part of a perfected Redemption, are to realize it; that a thousand predictions direct attention to it, the leaven of the old Gnostic spirit against matter and the claimed higher spirituality, deliberately refuses the plain grammatical sense, and substitutes another sense at the will of the interpreter.”

This is a powerful and important observation. I could unpack a great many things Peters has stated here, but I will focus on an unfortunate reality he has uncovered. That unfortunate reality is the tendency for theologians in particular but also laymen to completely ignore the plain reading of Scripture in order to insert man-made ideologies into the text. Now a good deal of conversation can be had about how to determine what is the plain reading of Scripture. Should every single part of Scripture be taken completely literally? Of course not as certain genre, most notably apocalyptic texts, are replete with symbolic imagery. With that said, even that symbolic imagery is rooted in something we can look back upon to inform our understanding.

When it comes to God’s covenant promises regarding the Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom, the manner in which it will be established, where it will be established, and who will inherit it, let’s just say what God had to say is plain as day. To insert man-made philosophy and ideologies into the text is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order. Unfortunately, the continued influence of Platonic and Gnostic beliefs provides the impetus for many theologians to lay claim to aberrant theology on a number of subjects. What is most unfortunate is a number of Platonic and Gnostic based beliefs become accepted doctrine, not because they are rooted in Scripture, but simply because enough theologians have held sway over the years in support of such notions. It is high time those who declare sola Scriptura actually adhere to that declaration. In doing so, they may find what the have held dear when it comes to theology might need some serious adjustments.

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