Trying to Get the Rapture Right, Part 5

Read the series so far.

In this piece I want to go behind the subject of the rapture so as to approach it from another angle. Please bear with me.

The book of Revelation has been the subject of varied interpretations. Since the Greek word apocalypsis means “a disclosure” or “unveiling,” the different interpretative approaches to the book are quite ironic if not a little embarrassing. The opening verses of Revelation inform us that it concerns “things which must shortly take place” (Rev. 1:1, 1:19). Because John write of “things which must take place after this” (Rev. 4:1) it is hardly surprising to read him describing his book as a “prophecy” (Rev. 1:3).

Now although scholars like to cite etymology to try to prove that prophecy is more “forth-telling” than “foretelling,” the Bible itself does not assist them much. For instance, when Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from a prophet of the Lord it wasn’t because he wished to hear a declamation on the present reign of his ally Ahab. Rather he wanted to know about the future (see 1 Kings 22). John’s Revelation is about the future. But it is about a particular time in future history. That time may be determined by the contents of the book. Read more about Trying to Get the Rapture Right, Part 5

Following in the Footsteps of Faith: Waiting on the Lord while walking in Faithfulness

(Read the series so far.)

Abraham has waited thirteen years. He has watched Ishmael grow. But Ishmael is wild, and as he grows, friction in the family grows with him. But maybe, just maybe, Ishmael is the promised child. And for thirteen years the domestic gloom and growing darkness about God’s promise build. God has made a promise, but Abraham’s faith has faltered. In Genesis 17, God breaks back into the scene and confirms His covenant with Abraham while also calling him to a life of faith and holiness.

God guarantees His promises to His people (Gen. 17:1-8).

We mess up. We fail. I sometimes say I am going to do something then forget or don’t follow through. God doesn’t. His success rate is 100%.

Two things to note in light of God’s promises:

1. God calls His people to be faithful (Gen. 17:1-3).

Just as we can’t take the fulfillment of God’s promises into our own hands, we also can’t allow ourselves to grow complacent in awaiting God’s action. In verse 1, Yahweh reveals Himself to Abraham as “El-Shaddai” or “God Almighty.” This is a name of God that emphasizes God’s power and sovereignty. Nothing can stay His hand or thwart His plan. Read more about Following in the Footsteps of Faith: Waiting on the Lord while walking in Faithfulness

Book Review - A Commentary on Exodus

Image of A Commentary on Exodus (Kregel Exegetical Library)
by Duane Garrett
Kregel Academic 2013
Hardcover 752

“Exodus is the true heart of the Old Testament” (p. 138). So says Duane Garrett in his recently published book A Commentary on Exodus (Kregel Exegetical Library). Garrett explains further at the beginning of the book:

Exodus it the true beginning of the story of Israel. Genesis is essential to the story, but it is a prologue, describing the lives of individual patriarchs rather than the history of a people. With Exodus we begin the story of the national entity called Israel….Exodus is the beginning of everything that is distinctively Israelite, and it is the fountainhead of most of the literature of the Old Testament that follows. (p. 15)

A Commentary on Exodus is part of the new exegetical commentary series, Kregel Exegetical Library, published by Kregel. This commentary series is mainly written for pastors to provide them with an exegetical foundation of the text along with theological guides. Each chapter is characterized by the following: Read more about Book Review - A Commentary on Exodus

Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 2)

Published as a single article in DBSJ 2 (Fall 1997): 81–103. Used by permission.

Part 2 continues Part 1’s consideration of what “nature” means in the “one or two natures” question.

Theological Usage

As was previously noted, the use of the term nature as it relates to the question of one or two natures does not stem primarily from a particular text. Instead, it can more correctly be viewed as a theological term, essential to the discussion at hand, but whose meaning is generally derived from its common, ordinary usage. Webster, for example, defines nature as “the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing: essence, disposition, temperament.”1 Smith helpfully observes that

except when it is used for the material world or universe, the term “nature” does not designate a substance or an entity. Instead, it is a word which refers to the inherent or essential qualities of any substance or entity.2

Read more about Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 2)

Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 1)

Published as a single article in DBSJ 2 (Fall 1997): 81–103. Used by permission.

In recent times the popular radio preacher and author, John MacArthur, has attacked the idea of two natures in the believer. He says at one point: “If you are a Christian, it’s a serious misunderstanding to think of yourself as having both an old and new nature. We do not have a dual personality!”1 Similar attacks have come from a number of others. J. I. Packer says: “A widespread but misleading line of teaching tells us that Christians have two natures: an old one and a new one.”2 John Gerstner labels the two-nature viewpoint “Antinomianism.”3 Are these attacks justified? Is it unbiblical to speak of two natures within the believer? This essay purposes to tackle the issue. Read more about Does the Believer Have One Nature or Two? (Part 1)

Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving: Giving in the Old Testament

We’re examining what the Bible says to today’s Christian about financial giving. I encourage you to read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already. They are essential to knowing how the following information fits in the sequence of thought.

Giving material and financial resources in worship to God is not new. Let’s look at giving in the Old Testament context. We can then understand better how the Old Testament principles and practices fit into the New Testament setting and how they relate to Christians today.

The Practice of Giving In the Old Testament

There are three kinds of giving that God instructed the children of Israel to observe. They are sacrifices, tithes, and freewill offerings. Let’s look at each.

Sacrifices

People offered sacrifices to God long before He instituted the sacrificial system into the lives of the Jewish people. A moment of reflection brings to mind Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3-4), Noah (Gen. 8:20), and Abraham (Gen. 22:1-14). These all gave sacrifices as a form of voluntary worship to God. Read more about Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving: Giving in the Old Testament

Millennial Dawn: A Counterfeit of Christianity

(About this series)

CHAPTER VIII MILLENNIAL DAWN A COUNTERFEIT OF CHRISTIANITY

BY PROFESSOR WILLIAM G. MOOREHEAD, D. D., UNITED PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, XENIA, OHIO

Six rather bulky volumes, comprising in all some 2,000 pages, are published by the “Watch Tower and Tract Society” of Brooklyn, N. Y. The author of this work is Mr. Charles T. Russell. Formerly his publications issued from “Zion’s Watch Tower”, Pittsburgh, Pa. They then bore the somewhat ostentatious title, “Millennial Dawn,” (1886). The volumes now bear the more modest inscription, “Studies in the Scriptures”, (1911). Why the change in the title is made can only be conjectured. Some rather severe criticism and strictures of the views advocated in these books have brought Millennial Dawn into disrepute in the minds of many people, and accordingly we think the former title has been dropped and the later and less objectional one substituted for it. Some color is given to this conjecture by the fact that certain evangelical terms are applied to the movement of which Mr. Russell is the head, as, e. g., “People’s Pulpit of Brooklyn”, “International Bible Students’ League”, “Brooklyn Tabernacle”, “Bible House and Tract Society”, (Our Hope, Feb., 1911). The later title and the various names now freely used tend to allay suspicion and to commend the propaganda of Mr. Russell and his followers to the Christian public. Read more about Millennial Dawn: A Counterfeit of Christianity

Reading Scripture Aloud with Animation

Written for The Body Builder, a publication of Highland Park Church.

Today’s article seeks to help us better implement 1 Timothy 4:13, “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (ESV).

One goal of a pastor-teacher is to train believers to better serve our Lord (Ephesians 4:12-16). In my view, one characteristic of a good church is one in which most people are active in some form of ministry. Whether engaging in acts of hospitality and love (like taking meals to a new mom or contributing to funeral dinners) or ushering or youth work or special music or running the video projector or teaching—or salting the ice—we all need to serve. One way many of us can contribute to the Body is by reading the Word aloud. Read more about Reading Scripture Aloud with Animation