Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
I reminded the boys of this. We pointed to the fact that God shows us even in creation that there is a time to die. The Fall and Winter comes and we see the once green leaves of the trees turn colors and fall to the earth. We see the bark of the trees become dry and crack and appear grey. We watch the flowers fade and die along with many other plants. We feel the stinging cold when we go outside and if we are paying attention it may seem that all is going to die and pass away.
However, when Spring comes and then Summer we see in the Creation a "resurrection to life". As the trees begin to put forth their buds and the plants begin to spring forth with life and color we are amazed at how they are able to do so.
We should marvel, for the One who brings them forth from the death of Fall and Winter also has called us, His people, forth from death unto life. We were without hope and helpless before God. Our future, to us, appeared desperate and hopeless, but Jesus spoke forth and called us from the grave of sin and death. In fact, He died in our place and we died with Him and He rose and we rose with Him. Our identity is not in the Church we attend, but is in the One who has placed us into His church: His body. We are united with Him in marriage and are His and He is ours. We are His bride and He is our husband.
The powerful God who made all things, brought us forth from death in sin to life and that more abundant in Jesus Christ. All praise be to His name for His unspeakable love and mercy!
I also took time to think in regards to the things I've been studying. I was hoping to hear more from some others concerning Daniel chapter 9. I believe if you believe that has been accomplished then there is no longer a need to discuss pre, post, mid, or pre-wrath rapture scenarios, for they are all based on the fact that the 70th week of Daniel is yet future, but I am still looking for the argument that it is future from the text itself. I believe now that the rapture will be that which occurs on the last day, the day of Christ's return. The more I meditate on these things the clearer it becomes that we are indeed in the kingdom just as the Scriptures say and that Jesus is King now and is ruling and reigning and that when He returns, He will indeed deliver the kingdom up to His Father. Most would not question the idea that Christ is indeed reigning as King of kings, however, some may ask are we living and reigning with Christ now. Fair question. Let me answer it by stating clearly that the ones living and reigning with Christ are those who have gone before us. Look at the text.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Notice it is the ones who have been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God along with those who have not worshipped the beast or his image and have not received his mark. Those are the ones specifically addressed in the passage. They reign during the millenium. I do believe the millenium defines this period since the ascension of our Lord till the time of His bodily return on the last day to judge all men.
Now, I have already gone longer in this particular post than I wanted to, but I want to call upon all my reformed brothers who take the "pan" millenial approach. I once called the ministry of a well known apologist, a man I have deeply respected and learned from over the years to hear that escahatology and these things were not important and they really didn't impact anything. They were those whose eschatology was "It'll all pan out in the end." To me, this should not be the attitude of those involved in defending the faith. I believe we should defend the gospel and brothers, the gospel contains aspects of eschatology. Did Jesus really bind the strongman(Matt. 12:29; Luke 11:21; Mark 3:27)? Did He really crush Satan's head (Gen. 3:15)? Did He really disarm principalities and make a spectacle of them and triumph over them(Col. 2:15)? I could go on and ask other questions, but these seem to be tied to the work of Christ at the "time of the end".
Brothers, eschatology does matter!
I can see already how my former teachings gave me a vision of a darkened pitiful future. Now I am beginning to see the glory of the reigning King of kings. I see the crushing of the serpents head MORE clearly now and am gaining understanding in this area of theology. I am not one who thinks that these things are incomprehensible. I believe they are very much like the doctrines of grace. They need to be approached from Scriptures (in their contexts and the contexts of the books they are written in) and with a genuine interest to learn and understand. Let us not just disagree with a particular view because we don't understand it. Let us be willing to learn from those who have gone before us and understand the reasoning behind the eschatology and then we will be better equipped to hold fast the truth or discard the error concerning eschatology.
Remember we must not be silent on the issue of eschatology just be cause we don't understand it all. It is doctrines which we must understand and use to fight back the enemy of dispensationalism, which brings harm to true Christian doctrine, for in its purist form it presents different paths of salvation for different people at different times in history. The gospel is at the heart of eschatology. May God grant us understanding and perseverance to grasp these thruths from His word.