Friday, December 08, 2006

You want me to do what???


I know that most of the time there is serious stuff on here, but I got this from my boss this morning and nearly fell off the chair at the sight of this dog's face. This is truly hilarious! Everyone have a great weekend!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Revelation Seals - Gospel Comparisons

Revelation Seals Gospel Comparison

I told Hank I was going to put up a short comparison of the seals of Revelation with birth pangs spoken of by Christ in the Gospels. This comparison is taken from the book by David Chilton titled, Days of Vengeance. I would love to have some interaction with this chart if there is disagreement.

Revelation 6
1. War (v. 1-2)
2. International strife (v. 3-4)
3. Famine (v. 5-6)
4. Pestilence (v. 7-8)
5. Persecution (v. 9-11)
6. Earthquake; De-creation (v. 12-17)

Matthew 24
1. Wars (v. 6)
2. International strife (v. 7a)
3. Famines (v. 7b)
4. Earthquakes (v. 7c)
5. Persecutions (v. 9-13)
6. De-creation (v. 15-31)

Mark 13
1. Wars (v. 7)
2. International strife (v. 8a)
3. Earthquakes (v. 8b)
4. Famines (v. 8c)
5. Persecutions (v. 9-13)
6. De-creation (v. 14-27)

Luke 21
1. Wars (v. 9)
2. International strife (v. 10)
3. Earthquakes (v. ha)
4. Plagues and famines (v. llb)
5. Persecution (v. 12-19)
6. De-creation (v. 20-27)

Along these lines, my friend Gordan has posted his perspective in regards to the first four seals of Revelation from the historicist position.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dissing Dispensationalism 7

Continuing with the dispensational post from Dan Phillips.
I know some big names who used to be dispensationalists, and aren't. Really? I know some big names who used to be Christians, and aren't. I know some big names who used to be Calvinists, and aren't. Besides, when I hear a guy like [big vaunted amill expert "ex-" author] open his mouth on the subject, it's easy to see why he's an "ex." No evidence of a clue about dispensationalism in what I see him saying now.
When Peter, all full of himself, tells Jesus "We have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God" (John 6:69), Jesus replies, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil" (John 6:70). I take it that our Lord saw Peter as relying on the consensus; so Jesus throws back at Peter, in effect, "...and what if your consensus becomes a consensus of one? What will you do then?" When Judas left, was Jesus less the Messiah and Holy One? (To be clear, my only point in this is that the issue is the Word and truth and what I, myself, do with it, and not how many are voting for an interpretation of it. Some -- in fact, I'd say most -- of the finest, holiest men and women who ever cracked a Bible were not dispensationalists.)

Yeah, this is another silly argument against anyone. However, I am always interested in what it is that changes a person’s thinking that they leave a certain belief system for another, not just dispensationalism. What does get me here, though, is those finest, holiest men and women, from Dan’s perspective evidently lost total faith in the perspicuity of Scripture when they chose to go down the road of non-dispensationalism. Ironic isn’t it?
I am in total agreement with the statement regarding the individuals responsibility to the Truth and the Word. As I stated in a previous post, let God be true and every man a liar, even if that means me.
Dispensationalism is divisive. Just what Arminians say about Calvinism. I don't care from divisive. Everything Biblical is divisive to someone. My only concern: is it Biblical?

And to this I offer a hearty “Amen!” and that in the literal sense However, it is divisive in a way that Dan didn’t mean it. See, I can tell the difference between what is literal and what is not. It is divisive in how it divides up the people of God. See the previous posts for that interaction between the Church and Israel. Specifically not that glaring passage in Ephesians 2 and following (emphasis mine)
11 ¶ Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh——who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands—— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 ¶ For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
1 ¶ For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles—— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. 8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.
What dispensationalism does is make a future where the work of Christ and the gospel of Christ, in fact, tear these two apart again. Not only that, but they want to erect a real literal Temple, in spite of the fact of what the New Testament calls a Temple. Something that they do fail to realize is two things. The Temple was part of the old covenant, not the Abrahamic covenant, and the writer of Hebrews tells us that the old covenant was put away in order to establish the new (Heb. 10:9). Second, if this Temple were to be built in the future, since classic dispensationalists would hold to animal sacrifices being instituted, would there also be a veil re-erected? What would that imply? Isn’t that a complete undoing of the work of Christ and the gospel?
Dispensationalism is defeatist. Dispensationalism is just what you are when you treat all the Bible respectfully. That's defeatist? Let's see: man cannot solve his own problems, Christ must deliver His saints personally, must personally come in power, grace, and glory to set up His kingdom, human sin and rebellion are shown to be absolutely inexcusable, and Christ reigns forever to the eternal glory of the Triune God. Hunh. Sounds like Calvinism to me. But then again, happy-face Christianoids think Calvinism is defeatist. Guess there's a little Pelagius in everyone, eh?

Well, I have to say, that this charge also comes to some of the a-mil crowd as well. Uh, Bunky, LOL (JK), I am not dispensational and I treat all the Bible respectfully. So stop it. Just stop it. That isn’t a valid argument from Dan either.
I agree with part of his statement (ie. Man cannot solve his own problems, Christ must deliver His saints personally). The next part is only partial. I do believe in a time when history will end and we enter the eternal state and the kingdom is delivered up to the Father according to 1 Corinthians 15, but come on Dan, if you are literal here, then surely you would recognize the apostle Paul’s words from Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. Now what kingdom is this? Is it yet future. Does the Son not have his kingdom? Was Paul and all believers not translated, past tense, into this kingdom with Christ as our King? What is this future setting up of “His kingdom”? That kingdom has been established and Christ will reign till all His enemies are put under His feet and then He delivers the kingdom up to His Father. If we take 1 Corinthians 15 literally, we do not come up with your scenario.
He then says, “human sin and rebellion are shown to be absolutely inexcusable.” So do we have to wait for this future kingdom for that to be shown? I thought that was shown in the garden and for that matter every day as Paul stated in Romans 1 that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against ALL ungodliness. We don’t need a future kingdom to show us that.
Christ reigns forever? I thought that kingdom, from the dispensationalist’s point of view, was only a literal 1000 years.
That is not Calvinism. Nor is it a bit of Pelagianism. The only way defeatist can truly be given to the dispensationalist is if indeed they are the types like we witness in the “popular” dispensational culture who are every second thinking they are seeing biblical prophecy fulfilled and are ready to throw in the towel and jump to the clouds. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am quite happy to go be with the Lord as well, but as long as He keeps me here I am quite happy to be here for that is a blessing as well and I take that promise to children obeying their parents from Ephesians 6 as a literal blessing so my time on earth is great, whether in tribulation or not. The point is, Paul was the same way and saw living as unto the Lord and going to be with the Lord as even better, but he did not think being here was terrible.
Dispensationalism is fatalistic. Funny criticism, coming from Calvinists. If Calvinism is not fatalistic (and it isn't), neither is dispensationalism.

Yeah, I think I agree on this point too. Of course, I have not heard this argument, as well as, many that Dan presents here. It is amazing though how this could be a valid argument since usually, but not always, such as in Dan’s case, dispensationalism comes from Arminians. As a matter of fact, it’s roots are in Arminianism (ie. Darby, Scofield, etc.).
Dispensationalism is escapist. Hm, I hear a similar complaint about the Gospel all the time. "So let me get this straight: you sin and sin and sin, and then just believe in Christ, and it's all gone? But some humanitarian who isn't a Christian goes to Hell? How convenient." Viewed from one angle, yep: salvation is convenient. More than convenient, it's glorious, it's stupendous, it's amazing. When you think of all that Christ accomplished for His people on the Cross, all He rescued us from, and delivered us to -- yep, pretty darned convenient.
The pre-tribulational Rapture is small potatoes compared to that great salvation, a fortiori. It's hard to understand shrugging at God's hot fudge sundae, but then carping when He reaches out to place a cherry on the top. Compared to the deliverance from Hell in which all Christians believe, deliverance from the great tribulation is just really nice of God. But certainly not non-credible, on the lame grounds that it is "escapist." What kind of criticism is that from a professedly sola Scriptura guy, anyway?

I would say that you first must prove the pre-trib rapture and honestly I just haven’t seen it. I bet it’d take one of those long books by Dr. So and So that Dan mentioned to actually convince someone of it, since you can’t derive it from any passage of Scripture in its immediate context.
In light of Jesus’ prayer in John 17, it does seem very interesting how this would all fit together. There Jesus prayed,
"I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
Maybe, we should make a distinction between dispensationalists and hyper-dispensationalists. In all honesty, I know dispensationalists that are truly “escapists” and I know some who are not, though when you get them started on the pre-trib rapture stuff they might cross the line
I give a hearty “Amen!” when Dan references the great salvation that Christ won for us. There is not doubt that is where our focus is and should be upon, but Dan cannot tell me that those out front in the popular dispensational arena, such as Tim LaHaye, John Hagee, Thomas Ice and others are doing that. Dan maybe doing just fine concerning that, and for that I am thankful.
Dispensationalism teaches a false offer by Christ. This is yet another one of those oft-heard criticisms that is amazingly ironic to hear from Calvinist lips/pens. It is precisely the criticism Arminians of all stripes make of Calvinist evangelism. "You're telling this non-elect guy that if he believes in Christ he'll be saved, even though he'll never believe and never be saved, because he's not elect." We Calvinists reply that the offer is absolutely genuine: if the man repents and believes, he will be saved.
So was the presentation of Christ to Israel.
I genuinely wonder, since such otherwise-smart people keep making this stupid criticism -- what do you think would have happened if Israel had, en masse, repented and believed in Christ at the First Advent? Nothing? Nothing would have been different? What if Adam had never sinned? What if Noah had swatted those two mosquitoes? What if, what if, what if?
I've got another. What if we left off the what-if's, and contented ourselves with the text of Scripture? Wouldn't that be nice? Wouldn't that be Reformed?

Ok, here Dan does not give a good response to what I think I understand is the argument. I think he means to say that there are those who say that dispensationalists say that Christ offered the kingdom to Israel at His first coming and that if the nation had received Him as King then there would have been this geo-political establishment that dispensationalists want. This is implied in the term offer.
The problem is at what point does Jesus offer such a kingdom? It is true He is was and is King, but even before Pilate He reiterated the fact that His kingdom didn’t derive its authority from this earth. It is not a carnal kingdom. When the people came to make Him King, He rejected that (Jn. 6:15), not the other way around. As I pointed out in my post on Psalm 2, God never stopped being King of Israel when they asked for a human king. This should be understood here as well. Jesus did not need the permission of the nation to be King.
Dan, rightly uses the word presentation when referencing Israel. We need to understand this. Just as Gordan Clark was hit with this concerning the presentation of the gospel over half a century ago, we should be clear on this as well. Christ was presented to the nation Israel as King. Their rejection of Him didn’t keep Him from being King and it didn’t keep the kingdom from coming either! The same is true with the gospel. The gospel is not an offer in the sense that we use the word. Though those who wrote the confessions used the word, they had the idea of presentation, not a cordial “will you or will you not?” The gospel is a command.
As to the comment in regards to “what-ifs”, that has been my sentiment for so long that I am in total agreement with it. It is amazing the even well meaning Calvinists often bring this into the equation as though it will have any bearing upon anything. There are not what ifs. There is only what has happened, what is happening and just as in both of those things, the sovereign God of history has determined what will happen in the future. SDG

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dissing Dispensationalism 6

Next up from Dan’s post.


It isn't a spiritual hermeneutic. Gosh, this one's such a hanging curveball. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Where to start? First, take off that "Plato is my homey" T-shirt, so we can talk. Oops, didn't see that "The Docetists are my crew" T-shirt underneath. Off with that too.

So, tell me: the resurrected body of Jesus -- carnal? Or spiritual? I'll play the Jeopardy music while you look up 1 Corinthians 15:44f. (Hint: God made matter. He's really okay with matter. Matter matters. Sin ruined matter, the regeneration will redeem it.)

Finally, if none of that helped you out of your decoder-ring quagmire, this thought: try not to be more "spiritual" than God, 'kay? When God said Messiah would come from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), He knew it meant "house of bread" -- but He meant the city anyway. I imagine what a CT would have done with that, before fulfillment: "What God is really saying would have been perfectly clear to the Jews. It was symbolic. Messiah would come from 'the house for bread,' from the storehouse of God's spiritual nourishment, and He would give life, as bread does. Those wooden literalists who look for fulfillment in an actual city are perverting the Word to their carnal imaginations."

Trying to out-spiritual God is really stupid.

Do I get to use the Bunky name here?:) JK. Look, obviously there are those things which are carnal and those things which are spiritual. Simply put let’s recap those others that are spiritual though they were spoken of with carnal language. Remember those? The temple from John 2, the new birth from John 3, the living water from John 4, John 6 the bread come down from heaven. In every one of those passages the hearers thought just like Phillips, but in everyone, they were wrong.

Spiritual hermeneutic is not the issue here. Literary hermeneutic is. For those who understand this is where we get the term literal from. When we speak of something literal, we don’t mean normal, we mean words used in the natural context of the kind of literature read. For instance, most of us clearly understand that when we read poetry, we would read it literally, right? Of course, but in that literal reading, we would understand the use of symbolism and imagery. I am not saying dispensationalists don’t do this, but there are times when they cannot see in apocalyptic writings that imposing a literal interpretation that doesn’t go with that sort of literature brings about all sorts of problems.

Is out-spiritualizing God the real issue here? Of course no one is even trying to do that. I don’t know of any a-mils or post-mil theology that views matter as evil, sin tainted, but not evil in and of itself.


Dispensationalists are antinomian. Bologna. I'm the former, and yet I'm not the latter. (In fact, gutless-gracers say I'm a legalist.) Makes just as much sense as saying amillennialists are Roman Catholic, because Roman Catholics are amillennial. Not only is there no necessary connection between dispensationalism and gutless-grace insanity, but the very hermeneutic that produces dispensationalism also deals howling, shrieking death to antinomianism.

While I do know some dispensationalists who are antinomian, I also know some reformed folks who are also, at least in my opinion. This again is not a good argument against dispensationalists in general. This would be specific to the person.


We should interpret the Old by the New. In itself, fine. Show me where the New says the Old is a lie, a fake, a trick -- because that's what replacement theology makes it. What I read in the New Testament is Jesus Christ severely blaming unbelievers for not accepting what's there in plain sight (Matthew 16:1-3; Luke 16:29-31; John 5:45-47). I don't see Him saying, "I really can't blame you for not seeing this -- who could have? It was totally hidden from everyone!"

One hears, "The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed." Given the interpretive violence some folks do to the Word, a more appropriate version I've heard might be, "The Old is by the New restricted; the New is on the Old inflicted."

What is this about replacement theology? Where did that come from. Has he really read CT? I am sure he has. This sounds like some Arminians who attack Calvinists to me. Change what the CTs actually say and then “Gotcha!” That’s not to hard to do. There have been several statements already that I could have done that with Dan’s words, but I don’t think that would be fair to him. His lack of understanding our position concerning the differences in the nation of Israel and the Church and the identical nature of the spiritual Israel of the Old Testament with the Church of the New Testament is simply disappointing.

As he responds to the words of Christ and I agree with part of his point. He fails to also take into account these words from Matthew 13,

"13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 "And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; 15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ 16 "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 "for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Seems to me Dan should take that into account.


You can't take everything literally. Do you mean that literally? Of course you do. {pause}

See number 9 response here. BTW both sides do thisJ


Dispies are over-literal. Have you actually heard a dispensationalist lay out his hermeneutic? People who offer "over literal" as a seriously critique of dispensationalism have seemingly never read a book dealing with hermeneutics, written by a responsible dispensationalist. Try this for an interpretive principle:

When the plain sense of Scripture makes good sense, seek no other sense. Therefore, take every word in its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and fundamental and axiomatic truths, clearly indicate otherwise

It's a totally dispensational hermeneutic, and it's an equally dandy Reformed hermeneutic -- or should be. There's quite the chasm between saying "Of course God isn't literally a 'rock'," and saying "Mount Zion -- oh yeah. Has to be the universal Christian church!" Dispensationalists are what all Reformed folks would be, if they were consistent in their hermeneutics.

Well, I’ll give him a C for effort here. The problem comes in the principle itself with that word literal. Again, I wonder how Dan would handle passages that are apocalyptic, even in the Old Testament which seem to speak to the utter destruction of the world, when in fact just a particular nation is being addressed (ie. Babylon). What does he do with passages in the New Testament that clearly spell out the interpretation of Mt. Zion or the New Jerusalem. I mean, I continually come back to this: Why would someone continue looking backwards towards the carnal, when the spiritual reality, interpreted for us by the inspired apostles tells us this? I simply don’t get it.


I think Hal Lindsey is stupid, and I like to make fun of him. Really? I think Harold Camping is stupid and, well, he is pretty easy to parody. Is this helpful?

I completely agree with both of these commentsJ And no, neither one is helpful.

Dissing Dispensationalism 5

As you can see these are short comments, because as best I can see it, there really isn’t any meat to get into here. But Dan was complaining that no one actually addressed his points, so I am giving it a try. If you don’t know or haven’t seen the his post, you can find it here.


But the Reverend Doctor Professor _____ wrote a 600-page book destroying dispensationalism! Yeah. Have you ever noticed that it takes an awful lot of very detailed, sophisticated argumentation to "prove" that a passage doesn't mean what it says? If we're talking about the meaning of yom in Genesis 1, I can say "It means a day" in four words -- but it'll take hundreds, or even tens of thousands to "explain" that yom doesn't really mean what it clearly seems to mean. Once, I was asked if I could explain what a prophetic OT passage meant. "Sure," I replied. "Means what it says." That was my complete answer, and everyone knew exactly what I meant by it. Ohh boy, but that ticked off a guy whose obnoxious new girlfriend was Covenant Theology. But you know, before I was a Christian, I was in a cult whose answer to every uncongenial passage was, "We have to look for the deeper meaning." Funny how the "deeper meaning" was always the precise opposite of what the passage said, and exactly in harmony with what our cult believed. I left that sort of gameplaying behind with my conversion, and anything that even smells like it to me, smells.

I agree with the first part. Just because someone writes a long book about something doesn’t mean he has accomplished the task he set out to do.

And, yes, I’ve heard that argument before from those against Calvinism too. That doesn’t make the point. While I certainly wouldn’t use the specific argument he addressed, I do think it rather arrogant to deal with the claim on such a level. First there are greater minds than both of ours and to push aside a valid response, such as Dr. So and so’s book on the subject without fully dealing with it is just ridiculous. I wonder how much Dan has had to take steps and long talks to engage those who are opposed to him concerning Calvinism. I’m sure, if it’s like the rest of us, it takes a long time and lots of illustrations and Scripture and metaphors and so on. This doesn’t mean the texts don’t mean what they say.

No one, as far as I know, is looking for a “deeper meaning”, so don’t lump CTs in with that. BTW, speaking of cults, I can point to almost every cult there is in America (Mormon, JW, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventists, etc.) today and at their heart they have a form of dispensationalism. That is not an argument against dispensationalists, but it is a glaring contrast of the impact that the theology spun out, which coincidentally all these groups, minus RCs, came about at just after the rise of dispensationalism. Hmmmm. I smell a rat!

Speaking of game playing: the whole idea behind a future Tribulation with a pre-trib rapture is rather spurious, don’t you think? Try actually pulling that out of a text in its context. It will never happen.


You can't prove all those dispensational distinctives and prophetic features from the New Testament alone! Um, Bunky? Three words? "Plenary verbal inspiration." Dispensationalists do what all Reformed folks say they do: they believe in the whole Bible. Sort of got that idea from Jesus. So, just as no Reformed guy worth anything would accept such a demand as "Prove sovereign-grace election solely from 1 Chronicles 1:1," so no dispensationalist who believes in the principles of the Reformation should rise to the demand, "Prove every detail of your system from 1/3 of the Canon!" There is no passage that teaches everything that every other passage teaches. If so, God would have inspired a Bible with one verse.

Or perhaps a better statement would be that God did inspire a Bible with one verse. It's just a really, really long verse. And so, no believer in Reformed principles should indulge in trying to impose such a faulty premise. It's simply not Reformed to do so.

First, let me say that I completely cracked up at the “Bunky” line. That was too funny.

However, maybe Dan would like to comment on Psalm 2:7-9 and ask if it means what it says it means. Of course, I believe it does mean what it says it means. However, it would take some explaining for some who would not understand how it is used, such as MacArthur, who Andrew Lindsey pointed out sees this “begotten” part as the incarnation, rather than the apostle’s view which is the resurrection. Again, the problem that I see is that while he is saying the Bible is “one really, really long verse”, he in fact, does separate it out. The issue for those of us who are not dispensational is this: The New Testament interprets the Old Testament (or at least I speak for myself). This is because of the fact that the Old is the shadows and pictures and the New is the fulfillment of those things.

In reality, some things were not fully revealed in the Old Testament, thus the reasoning behind shadows, pictures and allegory and then in the New Testament we see that revelation in fulfillment. Dan then gives us the argument concerning plenary verbal inspiration. I certainly agree with the point he makes concerning interpretation or proof from only a section of Scripture. The problem is not as simple as he makes it though. The issue being brought up is that the NT affirms the promises fulfillments in Christ, not a geo-political entity.

While I understand his point and how it would go against the argument he stated, I don’t understand how it would addressed real questions in regards to what the New Testament affirms specifically against dispensationalism that I would raise. Therefore, if the NT denies to the dispensationalist their interpretation of the Old Testament they would do well to abandon their interpretation, no matter how much they cry foul.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dissing Dispensationalism Review 4

Next up are three of the arguments from Dan’s post.

4. So many dispensationalists are goofs. Sure they are. I'll tell you another truth: so many Covenant Theology types are goofs. So many amills are goofs. So many Trinitarian inerrantist monergists are goofs. In fact, so many Christians are goofs. Better quit them all, right? Just become an amorphous nihilist? Oh, wait -- lots of amorphous nihilists are goofs, too. Guess I'll just have to exercise my priesthood, and think for myself, under God -- like He says I should (John 12:48; Hebrews 4:13). Next?

Don’t we all agree on this one? There are many goofs in all camps. As a matter of fact, this author can get goofy at times tooJ

5. Dispensationalist writers have made false predictions. First, let's be more accurate. Since another thing to love about dispensationalism is that its advocates also affirm the sufficiency of Scripture, they tend not to be Charismatic, and so they don't fake "prophecy." Therefore, they don't make faux-supernatural predictions, as if they were prophesying. But it's true: some have said "I think X Bible teaching means that Y will happen," and some have been wrong.

Now to this there is some truth here. Many well respected dispensationalists say what Phillips says that they say and use the words or phrases such as “think” or “possibly could be”. However, there are many of the popular, and I use that word in the sense of those who have a very loud voice via media, who clearly are loudly declaring certain things to actually come to pass, and I might add that all of them eventually lead us after a God we have not known through various other perspectives on the person and nature of God.

I could probably cite numerous folks like Hal Lindsey, the Lalondes, Van Impe, La Haye and others who have done this. Really, though Dan in all honesty, these men do become the voice of dispensationalism to the nation, whether you or I agree with that or not.

Second, this game is a cheater's delight. Since the decoder-ring set spiritualizes all unfulfilled prophecy (except the bare fact of Jesus' eventual return) into shapeless goo, they have no specific predictions. No specific predictions = no falsifiability. So when you don't say anything is going to happen in the real world, you'll never be wrong. That's a coward's victory.

And this is simply an uninformed comment from Phillips. If you go to the comments section and actually read questions that were offered to him concerning specific passages, he basically shrugs them off and then launches into sarcasm and that perspicuity issue, which is not an issue in this discussion. When Nathan or I asked questions regarding the enthronement of Christ from the Old Testament Scriptures, which the New Testament apostles said were fulfilled in Christ, then he would simply ignore what was actually said, or he would not deal with the whole of the prophecy. I must ask, is that literal? Absolutely not.

I give a lot more credit to the man who expects to see prophecy actually fulfilled in history, and makes a tentative but well-reasoned application that doesn't come to pass, than I do to the counsel-of-despair man who throws prophecy in a blender, reduces it to paste, and then mocks those who don't follow suit.

counsel of despair man?? What on earth is he talking about? This is simply filler for his response here. He knows better. Are we as those who see fulfillment in Christ and His church “counsel-of-despair men”? I certainly am not. I am very optimistic that Christ will not only conquer at the end, but actually conquered at the cross, in the grave, in the resurrection, at the ascension, at the destruction of the old system, and all throughout history has been conquering as His wonderful gospel is proclaimed and will continue to do so and His church will prevail until He comes again.

And no, that is not throwing prophecy in a blender. Obviously we see many different passages that speak of the same fulfillment, but don’t we also see that with many of the shadows and pictures of the Old Testament concerning Christ? Of course we do, but we would never fault a dispensationalist and say he was just throwing all those in a blender and voila! Baked a cake from it. That is just a bad argument.

They are like the modern Charismatic counterfeit of "prophecy," whose perps hide under generalizations so vague that it is impossible to prove them wrong. Zero points for credibility.

Now this one gets under my skin. He has yet to really interact with any arguments from non-dispensationalists that I’ve seen. He has tried to give different words so that those of the dispensationalists, “who expects to see prophecy actually fulfilled in history, and make a tentative but well-reasoned application that doesn't come to pass” don’t actually fall under false prophecies or false teaching. However, I think we can distinguish from the wackos in the dispensationalist camp and the more responsible men. Yet, as far as I know, they are all looking for a national restoration of the Old Testament Israel and by that they mean with ethnic Jews. Brothers, I don’t know how I can say this nicely: That is false. That is wholeheartedly false. It takes everything that Christ accomplished and turns back the clock. Notice when dispensationalists write that they have to go back to types and shadows. They erect temples, institute sacrifices and various other Old Testament symbols are resurrected in the presence of the Christ! They cannot see what they are doing when they do this. They even break up the people of God. They reverse what Christ did between Jew and Gentile. He made them one with no distinction. Ephesians 2:11 and following point out as much. But the dispensationalists have said and at their heart this is what the system is: divide the two the Church and Israel. Again, I must clarify that the Church is not a national, political, geological entity like national Israel, but Paul makes the point in Romans 9 that the true Israel of God was within the national Israel of the OT and in Romans 11 the Gentiles have been grafted into that Israel. With that said the Scriptures clearly refer to the church as a holy nation and a called out people (holy). The church is simply the fulfillment of those promises in Christ and no the Jews aren’t excluded, they along with Gentiles are incorporated into one man (Eph. 2:15). Dispensationalists see a future where that one man will be cut in half, thus going against clear NT teaching and the work of Christ stated in that very passage.

Isn't it ironic? Jesus faulted His generation for not looking for the fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 16:1-3). These oh-so-sophisticateds fault those who do. Thus, they have deftly turned that vice into a virtue.

Yeah, and even more ironic was what they were looking for Dan. They were looking for fulfillment the same way you are, in a geo-political kingdom with all of their Old Testament types and shadows still intact. There’s irony. Again, those same people were chided constantly for that type of interpretation of Scritpure.

6. The best scholars hate dispensationalism. Depends on what you mean by "best," doesn't it? I keep hearing that the best scholars hate the Bible. The best scholars hate Calvinists. The best scholars hate Christ. If you've been around academia much, and surveyed its shifting sands, you'll know at least one truths: scholars are just as subject to peer pressure as anyone. Sometimes even more so. I'd say I've not seen too many Profiles in Courage in academia. So go back to #1.

Again, this is a bad argument against dispensationalism. Sticking to the text is the best argument when what we are dealing with is the text. By this I don’t mean that we can’t quote someone from the past or present when they say something much more clearly and concise than we can. We should do that. But to argue like that is just ridiculous. We wouldn’t want anyone to argue against our position like that.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dissing Dispensationalism 3

Ok, This is the second point from Phillips post on dispensationalism. Phillips says,

It's new. Sorry, must have missed the memo -- when was the last truth gleaned from the Bible? I knew the Canon was closed to addition; I didn't realize it was closed to study as well. Funny that anti-dispensationalists would effectively relegate Psalm 119:18 to a different dispensation.
And, while we're at it, tell me again -- how old are the five Sola's as a formulation? How about the acronym TULIP? Um, Covenant theology -- when was that systematized? And what was the chief objection raised to Luther by learned Roman doctors at Worms? Or go way back, fifth century -- how old is the doctrine of the Trinity now? "Old as the Bible," you growl? I totally agree. Same for dispensationalism.

Here, Dan makes an excellent point. Dispensationalists see their view as old as Scripture itself, just as everyone else who seeks to formulate an understanding of what is said in Holy Writ.

With that said, as a system, it has only taken shape in the last 180-200 years. That does not make it untrue, just because it’s new and that is not a valid argument against it, but it is one that should cause us to examine it closely. As a matter of fact, I would say that many of the principles of dispensationalism were held by those of the first century who did not understand the first coming of Christ. They were so segregated as far as Jews and Gentiles that they could not even see that Gentiles would even be included in the kingdom. They saw them as beneath them. Jesus demonstrated as much in His parable of the Good Samaritan. These tended to see the promises of God being dependent upon their ethnic descent. Though many dispensationalists won’t actually come out and say it, they end up making the point that there will be physical descendants of Abraham who are saved because of that, though I am sure Phillips would not hold to that view.

Psalm 119:18 relegated to a different dispensation? I’m sorry I don’t get that at all. Maybe I have not been well read enough to understand Phillips’ remarks here. If he means that many writers speak of the gospel opened up in the Law, then fine. I have no problem with that. What else are we to see from the Law of God? It is holy and just. It reveals to us our utter sinfulness and in the broad scope of the Law we see the imagery of Christ and His work (His perfect active obedience to it), so what is the problem with that? Why is it relegated to another dispensation?

It's not Reformed/Calvinistic. First, some shocking news: my goal in life is not to be judged as perfectly Reformed or Calvinistic. (I'm hopeful that brother Hendriksen, now with the Lord, would concur.) When I stand before the throne, I don't expect the Lord to say, "Let's see... how Reformed were you?" Anyway, maybe someone can point out where Calvin (or Luther, or Knox, or Zwingli, or Owen) maintained that, after he himself died, nothing remained to be learned, because he/they had been perfect in all his scholarship and thinking, and had exhausted every last bit of truth from the Bible. I can't think that these great men imagined that they had mined every last grain of ore from the vast Biblical treasury, leaving us today only to visit theological museums, or reminisce about how great it must have been to live when the Bible still had more to teach, and we had more to learn.

Hm. "Calvin the Apostle." Don't like it.

One last thought on these first three. If these are really big, determinative factors -- they have been, to a great many of dispensationalism's bitterest critics -- then it seems to me that we owe Rome an apology. In that case, we agree with Rome that we dare not directly delve into Scripture for ourselves. We agree with Rome that we need a Magisterium to filter Scripture for us. Like Roman Catholics, we're not allowed to see anything in Scripture that our (Reformed) Magisterium tells us isn't there; and with Loyola, we should say that white is black (and Israel is the Church), if Mother (Reformed) Church tells us so.

Ok, I totally agree with these comments and frankly there are times when I think some reformed folks simply would drink the kool-aid if certain idols that they have erected offered it to them. This would actually go hand in hand with his opening comments to this post.
However, it is the last point that gets me. Again, go back and read my posts concerning eschatology so far and you will find that I didn’t come to the understanding of the true Israel of God being the Church and vice versa by reading Reformed idols. Is there a distinction between the nation Israel and the remnant, which is the true Israel (according to the inspired apostle Paul in Romans 9)? This is not replacement theology. It is simply understanding who the Israel of God is: it is all of the elect.

BTW, I don’t like Calvin the Apostle either and I’m sure he (Calvin) would concur.

For those who are just joining, the post can be found here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

25 Stupid Reasons For Dissing Dispensationalism Review 2

This is the second installment, though it’s actually the first concerning Dan Phillip’s post on Dispensationalism. He starts the post out with some comments in general.

It's just not "cool" to be dispensationalist, anymore. The system had particular prominence in the seventies and beyond, which excited a lot of envy and resentment among the non's ("Hey, what about us?"). So they produced a lot of sourpuss, wanna-be literature, trying to take back every area that dispensational writers had held.

They haven't fully succeeded. This really irritates them, because many of them still think that dispensationalists are unsophisticated knuckle-draggers at best, or heretics at worst. It's like listening to evolutionists talk about the Great Unwashed, who they see as too stupid to agree with them, still boneheadedly clinging to inane creationistic notions. They alternate between sniffing in disdain, and wondering why their outreaches fail to penetrate their foes' Stygian darkness.

But anti-dispies have succeeded with some folks, more (I think) through image than substance. They have convinced them that it isn't cool to be a dispensationalist.

Particularly, it's not cool to be Reformed and dispensationalist. In responding to a letter of mine about something entirely different (the problem of evil), decades ago, the great commentator William Hendriksen slapped me down something fierce. I had made the mistake of mentioning in passing that I was a Calvinist, and a dispensationalist. The great man told me you can't be "100% reformed/Calvinist" and dispensationalist. He told me to read this and that book, and not to write him again until I was 100%. As I recall, he even suggested that this doctrinal error lay at the root of my problem with evil.

Yet stubbornly here I am, still unrepentantly both, and still for the exact same reason: when I consistently apply the hermeneutic that God used to save me, I end up Reformed... and dispensationalist.

Now for the most part I am in agreement here with him concerning how many view dispensationalists. They look at them as unlearned and unsophisticated. I however, do not. There are many dispensationalists who I greatly admire such as John MacArthur and Phil Johnson. However, dispensationalists receive this kind of treatment because of those who are simply “out front” and more popular. This cannot be denied.

Hendriksen is completely wrong about what he said to Phillips. However, he probably would say the same thing to me since I don’t believe in infant baptism, therefore I’m not Calvnistic or totally reformed. On that last point I would concur, I am in the process of reforming.

No one can deny the great contributions that many dispensationalists have contributed to the church. However, I would also make mention of the fact that their dispensationalism has also been of great concern in both theological and practical matters. Some of these I have made mention of before. So understand that we are dealing here with the message and not the messenger. With that in mind, let’s look at the first point he makes. I’ll put my comments in blockquote.
1. All of the coolest guys are amillennial/"historical" premill/covenant/whatever. I suspect this is the real reason many adopt amillennialism. They want to be just like Augustine, or Calvin, or Owen, or Packer or Waltke or Whoever, or any of all those cool guys. It's just so cool to be cool. I'll admit it -- I've felt that pull. Just give up, give in, join the RHRG (Really Hip Reformed Guys). Then when they mock and make fun of people who still take all of the Bible seriously, it'll be okay. You'll be on the giving end, instead of the receiving end!

Uh, eh, what??? I certainly didn’t come to my conclusions from reading really hip reformed guys on the subject. I came to the thinking that I have through exposition. While I admit, there have been some writings that have aided that, the questions I raised came from Scripture, not the other way around. True, some may be in that camp, but not I.

Take all of the Bible seriously?? Come on, you can do better than that. I don’t know of whom he is referring. Are any of the guys he cites not taking all of the Bible seriously? Or is this simply a silly charge like the “perspicuity” charge towards the guys at Fide-O? I'm sure the dispensationalists, as well as, the non-dispensationalists are taking the Bible seriously.

Plus, prophecy doesn't require hard work anymore. Just shrug and say, "Jesus. The church. Whatever." Here, I'll show you:
o Mount Zion to be made the capital of the earth? "Jesus. The church. Whatever."
o Israel to be fully restored in spite of all her sins? "Jesus. The church. Whatever."
o Wars and conflicts such as have never happened, followed by unprecedented deliverance for the nation of Israel? "Jesus. The church. Whatever."
o Eight chapters of detailed prophecy about a temple such as has never yet been built? "Jesus. The church. Whatever."
See? Cool!

See? Ridiculous. See? Superficial. See? No real interaction with how those passages are actually interpreted. That seems to mock people who have tried to actually interact with the text and see their fulfillments rather than deal with the arguments, and with that I have a few questions of my own:
1. Who is spoken of as the Israel of God in the New Testament?
2. Who are those restored unto God in spite of their sins in the New Testament? BTW, these are also called the Israel of God.
3. Wars and conflicts followed by unprecedented deliverance for the nation Israel?? Does any dispensationalist really believe that? After all don’t they believe that many if not most of the nation they claim with be slaughtered? And then they still have the audacity to say that “ALL Israel” will be saved.
4. Ezekiel’s Temple? Well, again, we might want to see the distinction between the two temples of the New Testament and also I might throw in the fact that towards the end of the Book of Revelation, chapter 21, we are told that NO temple is in the New Jerusalem, which, by the way is the Church, the Bride of Christ (see vss. 9 and following of that chapter), but the text says,But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.

And I'll also say that it's largely true that the coolest have been, to say the least, non-dispensationalists. Most of my greatest theological and otherwise-Christian heroes were not dispensationalists: Machen, Spurgeon, Calvin, van Til, E. J. Young, and on and on.

On this we agree.

But then there's that little principle that I also gained at my conversion, and that has saved my spiritual life countless times. I'm a Christian because of Jesus. My judge is God, my rule is His Word. Other believers (dead or living) are important, but not all-important. My business is with God's Word (Hebrews 4:12-13). This focus has kept me Christian through countless instances of treachery, hypocrisy, betrayal, malice -- and I'm not about to leave it when it comes to formulating my theology.

Again, on this we agree.

But if you're going to let peer-pressure mold your theological system, you had best not think too deeply about John 7:48 ("Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?", the Pharisees snort). No, you'll have to embrace your inner approbation-lust, and ignore the fact that it is the opposite of God-centered faith ("How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" -- John 5:44).
Especially try not to think of your Reformer heroes. In their day, all the coolest guys were Roman Catholic.

Again, I agree. But again, this first point, is simply mocking with no real substance. There are other arguments. I simply wouldn’t buy this kind of argument from non-dispensationalists anymore than dispensationalists, but I find Phillips arguments not compelling. Not only that, but he falls into the very kind of interpretation that those of Jesus day fell into concerning this issue. With that said, please don't anyone take it that I'm saying that Dan is a Pharisee. I am not. I am simply saying regarding dispensationalism, he is in fact imploring the same hermeneutic that the Pharisees and those during the ministry of Christ held to and were constantly being corrected for.

Again, Dan's post can be found here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

25 Stupid Reasons for dissing Dispensationalism Review

Ok, I know I promised a continuation of Matthew 24, but I got sidetracked while reading Nathan’s latest post and then being directed over to Dan Phillips post on Dispensationalism. I can’t help it, but for some reason when I read Dan’s stuff, sometimes it just seems that he’s trying to get under people’s skin, maybe it’s just me. Anyway, many times I am in agreement with him on subjects that he writes on. However, this post of his will probably be one thing that I will have to critique, for in it is good material from the author to refute. With that said, I want to be clear that the issue concerning my previous post on Psalm 2, in my opinion is the death blow to Dispensationalism. As soon as it has been proven that Christ is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic, as well as, the Davidic covenants, then all the other stuff goes right out the window. This is the definitive issue brothers on this subject. So, I am sorry to run rabbits, but it seems appropriate, at least for me to do so. This first post will simply place my response to just a couple of the arguments he made in regards to Acts 15 and claiming people don’t believe in the perspicuity of the Scriptures, which I thought was the silliest argumentJ Here’s my response.


I was linked from Nathan's blog and read the comments. There is much I would like to respond to. However, I am pretty much taking my time doing that over at my blog via some exposition:)

This last comment, and I don't know who Ruben is:), that you made concerning Acts 15, you made mention of Johnson's quote. The problem as I see it is precisely what you cited. No where in that passage is anything remotely like a "nod to the Jewish faction, assuring them that the nation will have the promised future." As a matter of fact, nothing of the Jewish nation is even mentioned. Simply a mention of the tabernacle of David and this rebuilding is so that the Gentiles may seek the Lord. Surely this would be referenced in other NT passages where the church is spoken of in such terms (ie. Eph. 2:21; 1 Cor. 6; Rev. 3:12). Of course in these passages the believer as well as the church is spoken of as the temple of God. The term used in Acts 15 denotes the movable tabernacle. In either case, the nation is not in focus.

This leads to part of the problem I see where you say others are denying the perspecuity of the Scriptures. Were the Scripture unclear to the Pharisees and disciples during Jesus' time concerning the nature of the kingdom??? It seems their "literal" (and I use that lightly) reading of Scripture led them to the wrong concclusion. Jesus seems to constantly be correcting them in regards to a "physical political kingdom" (see Luke 17:20,21).
Maybe somehow the words of Christ were unclear when He stated,

Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."John 2:19

Yet those around him believed he spoke about the standing temple and not the temple of His body. If you were standing there would you have assumed He spoke of His body? In regards to that several passages that dispensationalists claim are somehow future, such as the reign of Christ from David's throne are simply shot down in the face of apostolic New Testament statements. I point this out in a recent post on Psalm2. There is no reason to assume that we are waiting on Christ to come to a throne in the middle of the desert to reign from earth when He already is seated at the right hand of His Father (Mr 16:19; Ac 2:33; Ro 8:34; Col 3:1; Heb 10:12; 1Pe 3:22) till all His enemies are put under His feet (1Cor. 15) and already has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt 28:18) and is currently ruling the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 3:27). If this is indeed the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant and I believe it is since the inspired apostle Peter says so in Acts 2, and I quote,

25 "For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ 29 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."’ 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

This has been fulfilled. Now I ask anyone in the forum, what is not clear and literal about that passage??? If that is true, then at its heart dispensationalism's foundations crack. Respectfully submitted.

For those who may come here and are dispensationalists, you are welcome to comment. I have no ill feelings toward dispensationalists, unless they are the simply wacky kind (Lahaye, Van Impe, Lindsey, etc.). Please take these comments in the tone they are given and that is that we may arrive at the Truth and a love for it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Many thanks to my brothers and Happy Thanksgiving!

Wow! So it’s been over a month since I’ve actually posted anything and look….the world still turns! This just goes to show that the world doesn’t revolve around me:) Well, I have been extremely busy and out of town a lot, not to mention involved in study for Revelation at our church. Recent comments over at both Nathan’s blog and Gordan’s blog have challenged me and have aided in some of my understanding of eschatology and for that I am very thankful. Many thanks to Hank as well, who has made time for me with several calls and I have always come away very edified.

I would recommend a reading of Nathan’s latest post on Matthew 24. Thank goodness I had not gotten that far in my posts and had to retract something, LOL. It has been beneficial to see what he shared, though I would still, at this point, hold to what I have posted thus far from Matthew 24. I will probably take some of his thoughts in the future and present them a little more fully, after all, he posted the entire chapter in one post! OK, ok, he’s not a MacArthur (expositional dump truck)………….yet, but I do believe that God is using him tremendously now and will continue to do so in the future.

In regards to this issue where I have been corrected, there is one thing that I want to let all of my 4 or 5 readers know and that is this: we are men and at times we can be wrong. Therefore it is good to be correctable and patient in our dealings with one another. For those, my brothers, that I cherish for God’s using them in my life, I genuinely say, “Thank you for earnestly contending for the faith and the truth. Thank you for helping me in my understanding of God’s Word. Thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for your persistence in your own understanding of the Word.”

There are many pastors today who cannot stand the thought of being corrected. They somehow will give lip service to the fact that they don’t know everything, but practically they seem oblivious to the idea. I say, “Let God be true and every man a liar”. With that in mind, I will hopefully post some things this week in continuation of Matthew 24, as well as, some Stonewall Jackson quotes from a book we've been reading.

As a bonus, I'm throwing in a little Thanksgiving treat for you all, the picture of the kids. Last year the kids were all Pilgrims, this year Denise made them all Indians. I know, I know, the boys should have used bow and arrows, but I think muskets were available then, LOL. Also, Dakota celebrated his seventh birthday on the 12th (and yes, my wonderful esposita made that great looking spider-man cake) and also it seems that Ms. Hailey has been wearing herself out as of late, so much so, that she simply passed out in the middle of driving. I hope this isn't a sign for the future.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Psalm 2 - The King takes the Throne

Ok, I had typed out most of my post for Psalm 2 and somehow have lost it. How can that happen? Anyway, in God’s Providence, I am doing it again. Of course, this time it will be on the road, which is sometimes a better time to do it. My boss and I are traveling to Raleigh this morning so I should have about 3 hours or so to do it. I hope it is edifying.

As I begin, I just want to note that Psalm 2, though many would see it as being fulfilled in some future millennium, is clearly presented in the New Testament as being fulfilled in Christ’s first coming and in fact in His resurrection and ascension. With that in mind, let’s look at the text and see how the apostles interpret this incredible passage regarding the King.

1 ¶ Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3 "Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us."
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:
6 "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion."
7 ¶ "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’"
10 ¶ Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

The first passage that comes to mind is the words of Luke in the book of Acts. There he records the words of the church as they respond to the report of Peter and John. This is that declaration,

24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,
25 "who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’
27 "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together
28 "to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

Notice that these quote the very first few verses of this passage and in doing so thus declare it’s fulfillment. They even attribute the fact that the fulfillment of the passage is not awaiting something in the future, but are clear in pointing to the elements surrounding the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. They specifically point to Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel as all involved. Clearly we see the kings of the earth referenced here, but also the rulers, those of the Sanhedrin and High priest who sought the death of the Son of God. Also, it is clear that they are against Christ, or the Hebrew word here is xyvm, or Messiah. This is the prince who is now crowned King of kings and Lord of lords.

I don’t think too much commentary is in order here. Those first few verses are clearly taught as being fulfilled, not by some unknown little elder from a teeny tiny church in North Carolina, but by the apostles inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.

What is God’s response to this? Verse four says that He laughs at them. Now brothers, it is not a good thing for God to be laughing at you. Surely judgment is waiting in the wings with such laughter and indeed it is. We are told that He will speak to them in wrath and distress them in His deep displeasure.

Notice how all these things are mentioned in the parable that our Lord gave concerning the vineyard.

Matthew 21:33 ¶ "Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.
34 "Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit.
35 "And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another.
36 "Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them.
37 "Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
38 "But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’
39 "So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.
40 "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?"
41 They said to Him, "He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons."
42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’S doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.
44 "And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder."
45 Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them.

Jesus is clear and becomes even clearer through the following chapters of Matthew up through of the judgment awaiting those who seek to stop the enthronement of the King. If they would not bow the knee to the King and suffered such great judgment as in 70 AD, then how can we today who live after the enthronement of the King escape such great condemnation?!

This judgment was prophesied long ago back in Deuteronomy 29:24. There was a foretelling of how the nations would respond to the judgment that would come upon Israel for their rejection of Him as their King.

"All nations would say, `Why has the LORD done so to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?”

Remember, and if you don’t get anything else, get this: The entire saga is about the glory of God and His sovereign Kingly rule over His creation. When Israel was not content to have Him as King and desired that they have another king just like the Gentiles, God did not move over and allow another king to take His place. No He appointed Saul as a physical head over Israel and said they would learn a hard lesson from him, but He never ever stopped being King and He never gave up His right to sit whom He chose, namely His Son, to be King over them, as well as, all the earth.

And so, for the believer, verse 6 is a great comfort. Though the men of the centuries prior to the coming of Christ sought to bring the promises of God to nothing and though the men of the first century sought to bring the death of the Son of God to completion and though men still try to break the bonds of God and cast His cord from them, God has seated His King, even His Son, upon the throne in Mt. Zion! Glory! Hallelujah!

Now that I’m all excited(, notice verses 7-9. There we are told the promise of the Father to the Son. I simply love this: everything pertaining to the New Covenant and everything pertaining to the kingdom is bound up in the word of the Father to the Son from before the foundation of the world. It is not dependent upon an ethnic people, nor is it dependent upon any man, but upon the faithful promise of the faithful and living God. We are merely graciously bestowed benefactors of that great covenant by faith.

So were verses 7-9 fulfilled? Let’s look to the New Testament. We could site numerous passages that Jesus was the Son of the Living God and that His Father on more than one occasion declared that He was well pleased with Him (Matt. 3:17: 17:5). So when we see the declaration concerning the Son, we know this is in reference to Christ. Interestingly enough, when God says in this Psalm, “Today I have begotten You”, He is not referring to Christ’s incarnation, but rather to His resurrection. Notice how the beloved apostle fits this fulfillment in His gospel message in Acts 13,

29 "Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.
30 "But God raised Him from the dead.
31 "He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
32 "And we declare to you glad tidings——that promise which was made to the fathers.
33 "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’
34 "And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.’
35 "Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’
36 "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;
37 "but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.
38 "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
39 "and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

You see my friends, Christ is not only Savior and Lord, He is the eternal King. Our King does not reside in the tomb as David did, but was not allowed to see corruption. He came forth from the grave on the third day and lives forevermore and rules the universe from His Father’s throne.

29 "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Peter knew of the same promises, though these are not specific to the second chapter of the Psalms, it seems clear that Peter has in mind many of God’s promises concerning His Son, the resurrection and His ascension to the throne.
Acts 2:30 "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
31 "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand,
35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."’
36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

In verse eight we have the promise that the nations would be Christ’s inheritance. Obviously as we go to the New Testament we can see the inclusion of the Gentile nations being included in the kingdom, for Christ did not come only for the Jews, but for the Gentiles. He came that He might redeem a people unto God from every nation, tribe, and tongue and that His glory might be reflected in the redemption of the whole world. Again, this is so obvious that it really does boggle my mind when there are those who do not see the fulfillment of these things in Christ.

Many still say that verse 9 awaits a future fulfillment. Hear the words of the inspired apostle while in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,

Rev. 2:26 "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations——
27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ ——as I also have received from My Father;

In this passage where Jesus expressly addresses the fulfillment of this passage by linking overcomers with Him in His rule over the nations, He clearly states at the end of verse 27 “as I also have received from My Father”. The word used here for “have received” is didwmi. The word is in the perfect tense and indicates that is has been enacted in the past once and for all with no need to have it occur again in the future. Clearly Christ declares that this text has also been fulfilled at the time of the writing of Revelation. So obviously we are not waiting for that to occur……. It already has!

Finally, the last three verses of the passage are wise counsel from the Father. His command is that the kings and judges of the earth serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. They should seek to find peace with the Son. They should be aware of His right to the throne and to rule over them. They should take to heart the great duty that is theirs to serve as a representative of the living God. Specifically, it seems that this prophecy is more directed towards those of the days of Christ, though I would affirm that there is a practical aspect to all rulers of all times, including our own. They have been given their authority from the Lord Himself. They have not attained it on their own.

We recall Christ’s words before Pilate when He stated, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above (Jn. 19:11).” Any and all authority must recognize the authority that gave them theirs whether it be king, governor, mayor, pastor, or father. They must kiss the Son, lest He be angry. They must love Him and seek to glorify Him with the proper use of the power given to them. Their trust must be in Him and Him alone for the governing of their jurisdictions.

Sadly for those in the time of Christ, they failed to love and honor the Son and instead chose to murder Him and found themselves under His wrath, not only in time but for all eternity. Sinners would do well to heed the cry of the Psalmist, “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

Saturday, October 07, 2006

2nd Day at the Conference

I posted earlier this morning last night's sessions here at the Apologetics Group's conference on "The Family: God's Weapon for Victory". I am delighted to share with you the rest of the conference sessions. Be warned, reformation ahead! Both Pastor Nettles and Robert Andrews' messages were timely and poignant! You will be broken. You will be encouraged. You will be exhorted. You will be rebuked. You will be corrected. BUT, you will not be bored. Enjoy!

The Family: God's Weapon for Victory

Greetings from Draper, VA! We arrived yesterday afternoon after about a 3 hour trip from Clover. Everything went well and unfortunately I was on the phone most of the time doing work related stuff. However, we got here and it began to drizzle, but it was ok. The kids have been so excited to see their friends and hit it off right away.

Jerry showed up with Pastor Robert Andrews and we talked for several hours. I must say that I was so encouraged by Pastor Andrews. We are looking forward to hearing him twice today in the conference. The conference is about twice the size as last year and we are meeting in Draper Valley Presbyterian Church. I think they may have to move to the new part of the building next year if it continues to grow. That's a good thing.

Also, I wanted to post a link to the first two mp3s I recorded last night. They are a substantial size, but I figure that all of you who read this probably have high speed internet and can download them quickly. I don't have the capacity to record at a low level kbps and have good quality, so these are high.

These are the first two sessions:

The Two Shall Become One Flesh: A Biblical Theology of Marriage
by Pastor Ken Pierce

The Death of Love in the Love of Romance
by Jerry Johnson

You can click on the titles to stream them, or you can right click and save them if you use an ipod or want to archive them. Enjoy and be encrouaged!

I have added the second day's mp3s here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Busy weekend

Well I am gearing up for a very busy weekend. Our family is going up to Virginia (that's pronounced with that wonderful Virginian accent as Vir-Gin-EE-uh) for the Apologetics Group Conference on the Family. Jerry Johnson ha graciously opened his home to us again this year (he is a glutton for punishment:). Our kids are excited about going and seeing the Johnson children and we are excited about seeing Jerry and his bride again. I will try and see if I can record the sessions in mp3. If i can, I'll get some of you guys who are unable to attend a copy.

Work lately has involved a lot of travel and out of town. I am content with what the Lord has given me, but we are constantly petitioning Him for some work closer to home. I ask my brothers to pray for the same, if I come to mind.

Denise and the children are busy making hats and various items for members of our family, as well as, the Johnson's. They also came up with the idea to make some little hats for new borns and distribute them. Some will be given charitably, while others they are going to seek to offer midwives. We'll see if the new entrepreneurial enterprise will be lucrative or not.

For those who don't know, Nathan is conducting a Q&A on Eschatology. I find the interaction very helpful and done in Christian charity. I do think he's coming around though:) LOL.

I will try and post on Psalm 2 by Monday. Of course, there are no guarantees with my study of Revelation and the conference this weekend, but I will make a serious effort at it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Matthew 24 Part 4

Matthew 24

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

10 "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

These words of Christ are by far the most personal towards the disciples. Yes these words are directed at the disciples specifically. They are not directed specifically at those of us in the future. With that said, can there be application that may follow those who follow Christ? Absolutely, we can look back over history and find that believers at different times have been hated and killed by those who oppose the truth.

However, let us note the pronouns here. First we see “they”, “you”, and nations. It appears in the context that “they” refers to the Jews. Indeed all throughout the New Testament we find that the Jews are the biggest instigators of persecution upon God’s people, the true Jews.

For instance, we will take a few examples. First we will note that by and large the persecution of God’s people was not new to the era of the Messiah. We discover throughout the Old Testament that the prophets that were sent by God to Israel were constantly ridiculed, persecuted and killed. It is no different in the beginning of the New Covenant age. Many of those such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and even Moses were constantly facing a rebellious people who would not hear the Word of God calling them to repentance, Instead, they met with hostilities, resentment, complaining, suffering and anguish from those they sought to lovingly call back to their husband, the Lord.

Jesus references this history of Israel in His parable of the vineyard owner from Matthew 21.

33 ¶ Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

Notice that in this passage, the chief priests and Pharisees perceived that He was speaking of them. Again, there is an air here of impending judgment upon those whom Jesus specifically references, those Jews who remain in unbelief.

Most of us are aware of many of the persecutions and the bringing before the nations and kings of the apostles and their followers. If not here are several references to this very thing being accomplished with this generation.

Acts 4:1 ¶ Now as they (Peter & John) spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,

2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

Acts 4:18 And they called them (Peter & John) and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

20 "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

Acts 7:54 ¶ When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.

55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,

56 and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord;

58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.

59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Acts 12: 1 ¶ Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.

2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.

4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.

Acts 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.

Acts 14:5 And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them,

6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.

Acts 14:19 ¶ Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

Acts 16:22 Then the multitude rose up together against them (Paul & Silas); and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.

23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.

24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

These are just a few of the numerous historical accounts from the book of Acts. All through out the New Testament we see encouragement for those suffering and undergoing persecution. Truly the words of the Lord did come to pass. As a matter of fact, Luke tells us in the first chapter of Acts that Jesus told the disciples that they would be His martuv. This does obviously refer to a legal witness, but also carries with it the idea of a martyr. All of the disciples underwent martyrdom for there witness, except for the apostle John, but that was not for a lack of attempts by both the Jews and the Romans.

In picking up on the term “they” in verse 9, I think if there is any contextual appeal to Matthew 24 someone must identify who the “they” is that is spoken of here. Let’s note the parallel passage from Luke 21.

12 "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake.

13 "But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.

14 "Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;

15 "for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

It seems to be consistent that the “they” that is in reference here is tied to the Jews. Notice that the disciples are to be delivered to synagogues and prisons. Again, the numerous accounts both in history and the Scripture testify to just such actions. As a matter of fact, I believe it is this kind of persecution that the apostle Paul spoke of when in 1 Corinthians 4 he said,

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;

8 ¶ we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;

9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

12 So death works in us, but life in you.

Ultimately this came to a head and it was no longer just the Jews persecution. Remember with Christ it started out that way and eventually moved to the Romans. The same was true for the disciples. They were first persecuted by the Jews and then later in history by the Romans, or we could say “nations” since that is definitely a clear reference to those outside the Jewish state. Obviously, these things did take place in the first century. There is ample evidence of this. However, we know that throughout the world persecution against believers takes place, but where are those whom Jesus spoke of as “they” doing so? They have long passed from the scene.

History as well as Scripture affirms this. While Jewish persecution rose fairly early in the life of the apostolic church, It was not until just prior to the siege of Jerusalem that the Romans involved themselves in a serious manner of persecution towards Christians (64-68 AD).[1] Tacitus is one who recorded how the infamous Nero persecuted the Christians. He writes that Nero “inflicted unheard-of punishments on those who, detested for their abominable crimes, were vulgarly called Christians” so that eventually “an immense number were involved in the same fate.”[2] One church father by the name of Orosius (AD 390-?) writes of the Neronic persecution and says that he (Nero) “was the first at Rome to torture and inflict the penalty of death upon Christians, and he ordered them throughout all the provinces to be afflicted with like persecution; and in his attempt to wipe out the very name, he killed the most blessed apostles of Christ, Peter and Paul.”[3] This persecution is also purported to have been prompted by orthodox Jews in the capital by some.[4]

There are a few words in verse 10 we should be aware of. First we find the word translated here as offended. The word is skandalizw from which we get our word scandal. In the context, it is possibly referring to an enticement to sin, specifically in regards to the things it is associated with. In effect it speaks of some being trapped or taken into sin. Some translations actually translate it as “fall away”. I think scandalized may be a good understanding.

Second, we find the word betray or paradidwmi. This word speaks specifically to delivering someone up to be judged. There were going to be those who may have associated with the church, but in reality were not a part of the true body. These are among many of those that I believe the writer to the Hebrews was concerned with.

Third, we find the word hate or misew. This word carries the simple meaning of hatred and is tied closely to betray. We just finished up chapter 26 of Matthew in our fellowship and saw the betrayal of Judas Iscariot of our Lord. Some years ago there was movie out called “The Judas Project” in which the attempt was made to put the gospel accounts into a modern day setting. To be honest, at first I was a bit skeptical, but actually thought much of it was good. However, they attempted to put Judas in a sympathetic light as though he really didn’t know what he was doing. Judas was evil at his core. He thought only of self in the face of being selected to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus. He was looking out for number one and in doing so he showed hatred and contempt for Christ. Yes, he realized afterwards that he had betrayed innocent blood, but he never really realized the person of Christ and loved Him for who He is.

Now we should not be so hard upon Judas, for the fact is that we are all so subtly deceived at different points in our lives, both before we become believers and at times afterward. The old song says,

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;

We all know daily what it is to feel the desires of sin crouching at our door and desiring to take hold of us, even at times to gain at the expense of others. How often have we succumbed to the temptation to spare ourselves while selling someone else out? No doubt some of this is clearly tied to this passage. The love of systems, the world and applause of men and even of this life itself will sometimes drive those we think that are close to us, to betray us. Many during this time did just that.

John has already identified that many had apostatized or fallen away in 1 Jn. 2:19. There he states,

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

Paul also speaks of those who forsook him. In 2 Timothy 1:15 he says, “that all those in Asia have turned away from me.” Many of us are struck with His words concerning a fellow worker in ministry when he says, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world (2 Tim. 4:10) and also in verse 16 he laments that “at my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me.” Surely these things were occurring during the apostles’ lifetimes, just as Christ prophesied.

If we look at the parallel passages in Mark and Luke these things become even more specific and even more horrifying when we consider just who it is who will be involved.

Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. Mark 13:12

And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. Luke 21:16

These betrayals, persecutions and hatreds come from within families and among friends. Now, I know this post has gone a little long, and has been a long time coming, but let’s get one thing straight: family is not the gospel. It is not an idol to be worshipped. Our focus should not be the family. Jesus was clear when He said,

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:34

I am a firm believer in family. I believe we have a duty to our families, but family is not the end all. The God of glory is. We must love our families and cherish and nurture them, but we must never idolize them for they are fallen, just as we are. They are prone to the same sins everyone else is, even the sin of hatred of both God and man. Let us not forget that. If there is one thing we need today in our culture of “We need to do this for the children”, is a biblical call to “Do what we do for the glory of God”. Doing things “for the children” will produce the same type of mentality that was prevailing in the first century and that was an air of superiority, ethnicity, and progeny. In essence, it became a very selfish culture rather than one filled with love and instead of bringing glory to the grace of God, ended up bringing glory to the just wrath of a Holy God.

[1] Gentry, Kenneth, Before Jerusalem Fell, Chapter 5

[2] Quoted from The Great Tribulation: Past or Future, Gentry, Kenneth & Ice, Thomas, pg. 41. This is from the excerpt where Gentry quotes Tacitus from Annals 15:44.

[3] Orosius, The Seven Books of History Against the Pagans, 7:7

[4] Frend W H C, The Rise of Christianity, pg. 109