Here are five lectures by G. K. Beale on how to interpret symbolism in the Bible and also these lectures will show you why the New Heavens and the new earth are equated with the temple.
G. K. Beale is one of the leading authorities on the Book of Revelation. His commentary on this book consists of over 1200 pages. If you would like to follow the temple of God from the Garden of Eden to the Church, then I suggest that you listen to these lectures.
This lecture series is entitled “From Symbolism to Significance” and consists of:
1. What you revere, you resemble
2. The Key to Understanding Symbolism
3. Why is the New Heaven and the New Earth equated with the Temple Pt 1
4. Why is the New Heaven and the New Earth equated with the Temple Pt 2
5. The Two Witnesses in Revelation
Here is another lecture by G. K. Beale entitled “The Use of the Old Testament in Revelation” and it can be found right here.
How many debates have you been in concerning the last book of the Bible? I imagine if you are compassionate about what you believe, then you may not be able to remember how many it has been. This is not necessarily bad. Christians ought to be passionate about God, his word, and things that accompany salvation. Nevertheless, Christians are also called to be good stewards of the word of God and to rightly divide the word of God 2 Timothy 2:15. Therefore we are going to take a look at the different schools of interpretation concerning the Book of Revelation.
There are generally four main approaches to the book of Revelation that most Bible students use when studying this book. In other words, most consider themselves as falling into one of these four main camps of interpretation as a student of this book. These four main interpretational approaches are as follows:
We shall discuss each theological view of the Book of Revelation in the order that I listed them.
“The preterist: that it describes in veiled language events of John’s own time, and until the end of the Roman Empire or at least the conversion of Constantine. This has the disadvantage in that it is only meaningful then but to us it is not as relevant. The beast is seen as only the Roman empire and Babylon is Rome, however there are clear references to the Rome of John’s time and it is helpful to know the circumstances of John’s time in interpreting the book. In Rev 1: 11 John is told “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” hence in some ways it is similar to Paul’s letters to the Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, Ephesians and Thessalonians. In both John’s and Paul’s letters God has chosen these to be preserved for His church throughout the centuries. Just as the letter to the Corinthians addresses specific problems they had then it also deals with these problems for future centuries. In the same way Revelation deals with the problems faced by the seven churches in Asia, but it also has a great deal to say to future generations. Because John uses symbolic imagery Revelation is not tied down to only the Roman Empire but may also be used to describe successive persecuting tyrannies down through the centuries. Examples of the preterist view are Morris, Hailey and Barclay. Chilton identifies the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 as the main focus of Revelation.(1)
Historicism: that it is a chart of the whole of history from Christ’s first coming to his second, and beyond. In this method people will try to make sections of Revelation fit in with specific historical events. The beast is seen as the current manifestation of the beast such as the papacy in the time of the reformation. This position is untenable because there will be a wide variation of interpretations through the ages. But because the principles are valid to all generations, as the idealist would suggest, each generation should be able to identify the characters portrayed by Revelation. Therefore the historicist’s view should not be disparaged, it has provided comfort in times of persecution throughout church history. The most important of the historical interpretation from the 12th century to reformation times makes the papacy the beast and Rome or the Roman church is Babylon. However to make Revelation a chart of the whole of human history and therefore to use it to predict when the end will come is wrong and is not how John intended Revelation to be read, but to use it to strengthen God’s people undergoing particular trials is a valid use.(2)
The idealist: that between messages for the first century and prophecies of the far future it deals chiefly with principles that are always valid in Christian experience. The beast is the Roman Empire of John’s day but also a succession of ungodly empires leading to the last empire from which the antichrist will come. Because Christians have been persecuted throughout the generations, each generation should be able to identify who their beast is. The main example is Hendriksen, see also Beale and Wilcock.(3)
The futurist: that it is largely a prophecy of events still to come, especially just prior to the return of Christ. This is the normal interpretation of someone reading the book for the first time because its imagery looks so fantastic. It means that the book will be especially relevant for those in the last generation. The beast is seen as the antichrist who emerges from a revived Roman empire. It is clear that the Second Coming features prominently throughout the book and therefore there is truth in the futurist view, but this view tends to overlook spiritual truth that is of value today. However note that John is told not to seal up the book (Rev 22:10) because the time is near, although Daniel was told to seal up the vision until the end times (Dan 12:4), this means that the book is about to start its fulfilment. The book of Revelation was written initially to the seven churches in Asia, and hence the preterist view. However the book will reach it final fulfilment when the last antichrist appears and Christ returns this is the futurist view.
Ladd divides the futurist views into two kinds, the moderate and the extreme view known as dispensationalism. The latter makes a sharp distinction between Israel and the church. The letters to the seven churches deal with seven ages of church history. Chapter 7 onwards concerns Israel because the church has been raptured by this point so that it does not suffer in the great tribulation, which occurs during the last 3 and a half years of history. This view is widely held in America, the best exponent of this view is Walvoord.”(4)
The only view that does justice to this book is the view held by the Idealists. This is because those holding this view allow the book to speak to the entire Church throughout the whole church age. All the other views tend to restrict this book to only a certain group or generation of peoples.
There is another method that not many employ when studying this book. Though it leans towards the Idealist camp, nevertheless it seeks to exegete the book in the historical context of which it was written and then makes it applicable to the entire Church age. In other words, this view approaches the study of the book by exegeting it in the historical context in which it was written, while recognizing that the entire Church age will always be dealing with the Beast and Christians will aways suffer persecution and martyrdom. This is called the Inductive method.
This view also sees the book as seven visions that use a ‘progressive parallelism’ grid as the visions build upon one another. This method is quite common throughout the Bible. God gives a general account of the creation in Genesis 1 and then recounts the creation in chapter 2, while adding greater detail.
Here is a brief outline of the progressive “parallelism method:”
“The system of interpretation of the book of Revelation which seems most satisfactory to me (though it is not without its difficulties) is that known as progressive parallelism, ably defended by William Hendriksen in More Than Conquerors, his commentary on Revelation.(5) According to this view, the book of Revelation consists of seven sections which run parallel to each other, each of which depicts the church and the world from the time of Christ’s first coming to the time of his second. The first of these seven sections is found in chapters 1-3.
John sees the risen and glorified Christ walking in the midst of seven golden lampstands. In obedience to Christ’s command John now proceeds to write letters to each of the seven churches of Asia Minor. The vision of the glorified Christ together with the letters to the seven churches obviously form a unit. As we read these letters we are impressed with two things.
First, there are references to events, people and places of the time when the book of Revelation was written. Second, the principles, commendations and warnings contained in these letters have value for the church of all time. These two observations, in fact, provide a clue for the interpretation of the entire book. Since the book of Revelation was addressed to the church of the first century A.D., its message had reference to events occurring at that time and was therefore meaningful for the Christians of that day. But since the book was also intended for the church through the ages, its message is still relevant for us today.
The second of these seven sections is the vision of the seven seals found in chapters 4-7. John is caught up to heaven and sees God sitting on his radiant throne. He then sees the Lamb that had been slain taking the scroll sealed with seven seals from the hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. The various seals are broken, and various divine judgments on the world are described. In this vision we see the church suffering trial and persecution against the background of the victory of Christ.
The third section, found in chapters 8-11, describes the seven trumpets of judgment. In this vision we see the church avenged, protected and victorious.
The fourth section, chapters 12-14, begins with the vision of the woman giving birth to a son while the dragon waits to devour him as soon as he is born—an obvious reference to the birth of Christ. The rest of the section describes the continued opposition of the dragon (who stands for Satan) to the church. This section also introduces us to the two beasts who are the dragon’s helpers: the beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth.
The fifth section is found in chapters 15-16. It describes the seven bowls of wrath, thus depicting in a very graphic way the final visitation of God’s wrath on those who remain impenitent.
The sixth section, chapters 17-19, describes the fall of Babylon and of the beasts. Babylon stands for the worldly city — the forces of secularism and godlessness which are in opposition to the kingdom of God. The end of chapter 19 depicts the fall and final punishment of the dragon’s two helpers: the beast out of the sea, and the false prophet, who appears to be identified with the beast out of the earth (see 16:13).
The seventh section, chapters 20-22, narrates the doom of the dragon, thus completing the description of the overthrow of the enemies of Christ. In addition, it describes the final judgment, the final triumph of Christ and his church, and the renewed universe, here called the new heaven and the new earth.(6)
It is here that I point you to an entire sermon series that uses this method and it consists of 81 lectures or sermons on this book. This sermon series is taught by Arturo G. Azurdia and can be found right here.
1. Taylor, R. A., (Copyright 2000) pg. 14 (online-at: http://www.thefishersofmenministries.com/revelatn.pdf)
2. ibid., pg. 15
3. ibid., pg. 15
4. ibid., pg. 15
5. William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1939). An exposition and defense of this method of interpretation, summarized in nine propositions, can be found on pp. 11-64.
6. Amillennialism: Part I – Introduction by Anthony Hoekema (online-at: http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/eschatology/amillennialism-part-i-introduction-by-anthony-hoekema/ )
Ephesians 3:3-6 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
It is amazing at how most within the American evangelical scene cannot understand these simple words. Paul is very clear here that Gentiles have now become fellow heirs of the same body of Israel and partakers of the promises in Christ by the gospel. Much of American Christianity, however sees no continuity between the Old Testament and the New. They claim that God has a separate plan for Israel and the Church. This view of scripture does not come from the Bible, but from presuppositions forced upon the text of scripture.
In order that we all might learn and grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ I point you to two articles written by my friend in Ireland. His name is Reverend Martyn McGeown. Just click the links below to read his articles.
The Israel of God Pt 1 by Martyn McGeown
The Israel of God Pt 2 by Martyn McGeown
It is quite true that the Epistle to the Hebrews makes mention of a better hope (Hebrews 7:19), a better testament or covenant (Hebrews 7:22), better promises (Hebrews 8:6), better sacrifices (Hebrews 9:23), some better thing for us (Hebrews 11:40), and yet it is important to recognize that the contrast is between the shadows and the substance. Romans 12:6, speaks of “the proportion [or “analogy”] of faith.” There is a due proportion, a perfect balance, between the different parts of God’s revealed Truth which must needs be known and observed by all who would preach and write according to the mind of the Spirit. In arguing from this analogy, it is essential to recognize that what is made known in the Old Testament was typical of what is set forth in the New, and therefore the terms used in the former are strictly applicable unto the latter. Much needless wrangling has occurred over whether or not the nation of Israel were a regenerate people. That is quite beside the real point: outwardly they were regarded and addressed as the people of God, and, as the Spirit through Paul affirmed,
“who are Israelites: to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises: whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came” (Romans 9:4,5).
Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism
In my last posts I introduced the topic of the attempt of premillennialists to prove their premillennialism with quotes from Church Fathers and modern theologians, instead of scripture. I pointed everyone to a blog, of which I have been following, that quotes from men such as John Walvoord and Mal Couch in order to prove that the early church taught the premillennial view.
Today I would like to counter John Walvoord’s quote, on the other blog, with a quote of my own. This quote is from “Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth” (A Critique of Dispensationalism (1)) by John H. Gerstner, PH.D(2) (John Gerstner follows the church age up through the centuries in his book showing what theologians have said about the view of the early church fathers on the millennium. In this quote he is only dealing with the second century A.D.)
“Most dispensationalists are prone to claim the whole sub-apostolic age for premillennialism. For example, John Walvoord calmly states that “the most ancient view, that of the church of the first centuries, was what is known as premillennialism or chiliasm.”(3) Such an ambitious statement goes far beyond the evidence. While we grant that Justin Martyr, Hermas, Papias, and Irenaeus may have been premillenarians and that many regard the epistle of Barnabas as also premillennial, the following considerations need to be noted.
First, it can be shown with respect even to some of these that their theology was clearly not dispensational. For example, Justin and Irenaeus(4) regarded the church as the fulfillment of the new covenant of Jeremiah 31:31. This fact precludes their Dispensationalism because Dispensationalism regards the church age as not predicted by the Old Testament prophets.
Second, Justin Martyr, though a premillennialist, did not regard premillennialism as a test of orthodoxy, but admitted that some right-minded Christians did not agree with his view on this subject.(5)
Third, it should also be pointed out that chiliasm was widely held among the heretics. Agreeing with the great German church historian (and Jewish convert to Christianity) August Neander, W. G. T. Shedd noted that the premillennialism in Christian churches was just a revival of a Jewish belief that flourished especially between A.D. 160 and A.D. 250. “Chiliasm never formed a part of the general creed of the church. It was diffused from one country (Phrygia), and from a single fountainhead.” (6) The arch-heretics Cerinthus, Marcion, and Montanus were premillennialists, as were apocalyptic books of Enoch, The Twelve Patriarchs, and the Sibylline Books.
Fourth as intimated by Neander, premillennialism was not the doctrine of the catholic creeds. Furthermore, the creeds appear to be distinctly anti-chiliastic. The Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds leave no room for a millennium, and, speaking of Christ’s kingdom, the Council of Constantinople affirmed that “of whose kingdom there shall be no end.” The Anthanasian Creed states: “at whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their own works, and they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.” (7) Thus, the eschatology of these early creeds is better characterized as amillennial or postmillennial. (8)
Finally, the millennialism of the first centuries is itself rather ambiguously premillennial. One of the ablest recent premillennial writers, D. H. Kromminga, claims far less for ancient millennialism. He finds Barnabas to be, not only not a premillenarian, but “The Father of Amillennial understanding.”(9) Of the Apostolic Fathers, Kromminga claims only Papias as a millenarian, but does not find the evidence conclusive. (10) He grants that Justin and Irenaeus acknowledge the presence of millennial eschatologies in the church. (11) He notes that Justin laid the foundation for the Reformed doctrine of the covenants and that he was not a premillennialists.(12) Speaking generally, he says:
“So far as the available evidence goes, there is no ground for ascertaining that Millenarianism was prevalent in the church during the apostolic period, ending with the year 150 A.D. Not only was there very little of it, so far as the literature indicates but what little there was can be traced rather definitely to un-christian Jewish apocalyptic sources. (13)
Others take a similar view of premillennialism in the early church. W. Masselink, for example, finds no chiliasm in Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Anthanasius, or Theophilus. (14) Louis Berkhof writes, “It is not correct to say, as Premillenarians do, that it was generally accepted in the first three centuries. The truth of the matter is that the adherents of this doctrine were a rather limited number.” (15)
An important treatment of this period by a dispensationalist is found in the Dallas Seminary thesis by Allan P. Boyd. (16) This work indicts the statement by Charles Ryrie that “Premillennialism is the historic faith of the Church.”(17) Citing noted dispensationalists Dwight Pentecost, John Walvoord, and others, Boyd points out that the assumption of “continuative premillennialism” is general among dispensationalists. Focusing on Ryrie, Boyd shows that his “premillennialism” includes rapture thinking, the division of Israel and the church, Dispensationalism, literalism, and pretribulationism.
After careful surveying and citing the texts of the early church fathers, Boyd ends by saying, “It is the conclusion of this thesis that Dr. Ryrie’s statement is historically invalid within the chronological framework of this thesis.”(18) “These early churchmen were not literalistic; drew no essential distinction between Israel and the Church; did not have a dispensational view of history; though Papias and Justin had a thousand-year kingdom, that was the only similarity to Dispensationalism; did not hold to imminency and pretribulationism; and their eschatological chronology was not synonymous with Dispensationalism’s.”(19) In fact, the early eschatology was “inimical”to Dispensationalism and was “perhaps” a seminal amillennialism. (20)
What was Ryrie’s response? Boyd comments in the preface that, “on the basis of classroom and private discussion….Dr. Charles Ryrie, whose statements regarding the historicity of dispensational premillennialism in the Church Fathers are carefully scrutinized in this thesis, has changed his opinion on these matters. Unfortunately, he has not published these clarifications, and it is hoped that he will do so in the near future.” (21)
Several in the above quote stated that Papias might have been premillennial, but premillennialist have no idea of the allegorical interpretations that Papias held concerning a millennium. Those who claim that millennialist hold a literal interpretation while amillennialist allegorize have first and fore most never read a church father and secondly have never understood proper hermeneutical methods of interpretation. Here is a quote by Papias:
“The days will come in which vines having ten thousand branches will grow. In each branch, there will be ten thousand twigs, and in each shoot there will be ten thousand clusters. Each cluster will have ten thousand grapes, and every grape will give twenty-five metretes of wine, when pressed…..In like manner, a grain of wheat will produce ten thousand ears.”(22)
Notice all the wine that will come from one grape according to Papias. One would need a truck to haul that grape around.
The fact that people try to quote theologians or early church fathers as proof texts for what they believe shows that the word of God is not their authority on what God has stated. These quotes were only given to counter those at Scripture Thoughts. Also many do not realize that Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Ignatius, and many others are the immediate church fathers after the apostles. In their writings, especially Ignatius’ writings, one cannot find any future millennial kingdom spoken of. (23)
My next post will be on Hermeneutics and then we will move to scripture to see what it teaches concerning a millennial kingdom. You can read part one of this article Here.
- I understand that Gerstner is writing mainly against Dispensationalism’s method of hermeneutics and not particularly writing against those who hold to Historic Premillennialism. Nevertheless if modern day millennialist want to quote dispensational theologians as proof that amillennialism is not true, then they need to take the whole system of these theologians into consideration. For instance, I was accused of diverting the discussion, on the other blog of which I commented, simply because I mentioned that I used to be dispensational, yet the author of the blog was quoting a dispensationalist. How ironic was that?
- John H. Gerstner, “Wrongly dividing the word of truth: a critique of dispensationalim” (Brentwood, Tn., Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991), 8-11
- John F. Walvoord, “Postribulationism Today, Part II: The Rapture and the Day of the Lord in 1 Thessalonians,” Bibliotheca Sacra 139 (1982):4.
- Justin Martyr, “Dialogue with Trypho,” in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1952; reprint ed.) 1:260-267, Irenaeus, “Against Heresies,” in the Ante-Nicene Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, reprint ed.), 1:511, 562
- Justin, “Dialogue,” p. 239.
- W. G. T. Shedd, A History of Doctrine, 2 vols. (Minneapolis, Minn.: Klock & Klock, 1978: reprint ed.), 2:642. See also Emil Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, 3 vols. In 5 (New York: Scribner, 1896), II/2:170-177.
- Philip Schaff, ed. The Creeds of Christendom, 6th ed., 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990; reprint ed.), 2:45, 59, 69-70.
- See James H. Snowden, The Coming of the Lord (New York: MacMillian, 1919), p. 20. From a survey of the early creeds, Snowden concludes that they are “postmillennial.” This, however, was because he entertained no alternative to premillennialism except postmillennialism.
- D. H. Kromminga, The Millennium in the Church (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1945), p.37
- Ibid., pp. 43, 48.
- Ibid., p. 43
- Ibid., p. 49. We will see later that Reformed covenants are quite different from dispensational covenants. See Harold O. J. Brown, “Covenant and Dispensation,” Trinity JournalNS 2 (1981):69-70.
- Ibid., p. 41.
- W. Masselink, Why a Thousand Years? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1930), p. 27.
- Louis Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrines (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953), p. 270.
- Allan P. Boyd, “A Dispensational Premillennial Analysis of the Eschatology of the Post-Apostolic Fathers (Until the Death of Justin Martyr)” (Th.M. Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1977).
- Charles Cardwell Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith (New York: Loizeaux, 1953), p. 17.
- Boyd, “Analysis,” p. 89.
- Ibid., p. 91.
- Ibid., preface. Larry Crutchfield has tried to offset this somewhat by his study of later church fathers in “Israel and the Church in the Ante-Nicene Fathers,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 144 (1987):254-276.
- Irenaeus Citing Papias, “A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs,” (Peabody Mass. Hendrickson, 1998), p. 450.
- Clement of Rome was a disciple of Peter and later Bishop of Rome. He wrote 1 and 2 Clement. This is said to be around 95 A.D. No millennium is spoken of in his writings. Ignatius on his way to Rome to be martyred is said to have written seven epistles. Some fix this date around 107 A.D. No millennium is spoken of in his epistles. Polycarp wrote his epistle to the Philippians and many other epistles that we do not now possess. He was martyred around 155 A.D. No millennium is spoken of in his epistle.
There seems to be a fascination among premillennialists to prove their view of the millennium from early Christianity, instead of the Bible. As if the deciding factor on whether or not a doctrine is correct rests on whether or not Justin Martyr and Irenaeus taught it. This to me seems almost a Romanist approach to Biblical exegesis. For instance, during the Reformation the Reformers were accused by Rome of teaching against the early Church Fathers. Calvin responded in his prefatory address to Francis King of the French by saying,
“It is a calumny to represent us as opposed to the Fathers, (I mean the ancient writers of a purer age,) as if the Fathers were supporters of their impiety. Were the contest to be decided by such authority (to speak in the most moderate terms,) the better part of the victory would be ours. While there is much that is admirable and wise in the writings of those Fathers, and while in some things it has fared with them as with ordinary men; these pious sons, forsooth, with the peculiar acuteness of intellect, and judgment, and soul, which belongs to them, adore only their slips and errors, while those things which are well said they either overlook, or disguise, or corrupt, so that it may be truly said their only care has been to gather dross among gold. Then, with dishonest glamour, they assail us as enemies and despisers of the Fathers. So far are we from despising them, that if this were the proper place, it would give us no trouble to support the greater part of the doctrines which we now hold by their suffrages.
Still, in studying their writings, we have endeavored to remember, (1 Corinthians 3:21-23; see also Augustin. Ep. 28,) that all things are ours, to serve, not Lord it over us, but that we are Christ’s only, and must obey him in all things without exception. He who does not draw this distinction will not have any fixed principles in religion: for those holy men were ignorant of many things, are often opposed to each other, and are sometimes at variance with themselves.”
Protestants realized that the traditional view of scripture was good in certain circumstances, nevertheless all our doctrines ought to rests in what the word of God teaches and not in the theological speculations of men who have come before us.
To give an example of such attempts by premillennialists to prove their assertions I shall point you to a blog that I have followed the pasts several months. This blog is called Scripture Thoughts and can be found right here.
What I found ironic about the blog is that it is a blog claiming the name Scripture Thoughts. By very definition of the title one would expect to find blog posts on thoughts concerning what scripture has stated, yet I have yet to see one blog posts come forth that has anything to do with scripture, but rather seems to be centered on quoting certain men in order too prove a premillennial view of scripture or to show that the Reformed faith is not true.
In the latest blog posts the author of this blog attempted to show that the early church fathers taught a premillennial view, yet the author of the blog never quotes any early church fathers, but rather quotes from John Walvoord and Mal Couch. I attempted to engage the author of this blog, but was instead accused of diverting the discussion. Also when I pulled out the Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs the author of the blog decided to shut down the comment section. Did the comment section get shut down because I was rude? No. If one reads my comments they will see that I was very gracious in all my responses. So the only reason one could conclude that the comment section was shut down is because the author of this blog did not want their quotes examined by the early church fathers.
The reason for my posts today is to first and foremost refute the assumption that quotes by men are the deciding factor on whether or not a doctrine is true. I am going to produce several articles that began with counter quotes and move towards showing what scripture states on the matter of the millennium. I pray that those reading will be blessed and edified and that whether one agrees with me or not they will still see that my approach to the question of a premillennial kingdom does not stem from what early church fathers have said or from what modern day premillennialists have said, but rather from what saith scripture.
This modern method of mishandling the Scriptures—for modern it certainly is, being quite unknown to Christendom till little more than a century ago, and only within recent years being adopted by those who are outside the narrow circle where it originated—is based upon 2 Timothy 2:15,
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Very little or nothing at all is said upon the first two clauses of that verse, but on the third one, which is explained as “correctly partitioning the Scriptures unto the different peoples to whom they belong.” These mutilators of the Word tell us that all of the Old Testament from Genesis onwards belongs entirely to Israel after the flesh, and that none of its precepts (as such) are binding upon those who are members of the Church which is the Body of Christ, nor may any of the promises found therein be legitimately appropriated by them. And this, be it duly noted, without a single word to that effect by either the Lord or any of His Apostles, and despite the use which the Holy Spirit makes of the earliest Scriptures in every part of the New Testament. So far from the Holy Spirit teaching Christians practically to look upon the Old Testament much as they would upon an obsolete almanac, He declares,
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the (Old Testament) Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism
The preaching of the gospel being an instituted means of grace, ought to be thankfully and frequently improved. And books that have a savoir and unction may likewise be helpful, provided we read them with caution, compare them with the scripture, and do not give ourselves implicitly to the rules or decisions of any man or set of men, but remember that one is our Master and infallible Teacher, even Christ. But the chief and grand means of edification, without which all other helps will disappoint us, and prove like clouds without water, are the Bible and prayer, the word of grace and the throne of grace. A frequent perusal of the Bible will give us an enlarged and comprehensive view of the whole of religion, its origin, nature, genius, and tendency, and preserve us from an over-attachment to any system of man’s compilation. The fault of the several systems, under which, as under so many banners, the different denominations of Christians are ranged, is, that there is usually something left out which ought to have been taken in, and something admitted, of supposed advantage, not authorized by the scriptural standard. A Bible Christian, therefore, will see much to approve in a variety of forms and parties; the providence of God may lead or fix him in a more immediate connection with some one of them, but his spirit and affection will not be confined within these narrow enclosures. He insensibly borrows and unites that which is excellent in each, perhaps without knowing how far he agrees with them, because he finds all in the written word.
John Newton—A Letter Written to a Certain Madam
I am often accused by Paedobaptist of not being part of the true Church because I reject infant baptism. This is a serious charge and one that should, if true, make them break fellowship with all Baptist and all that do not affirm what their views of the true church constitute.
This much stated, I want to say that unlike Paedobaptist, I do not have such a narrow view. In other words, I believe there are believers outside of our denominational titles. Of course I wouldn’t argue that every Paedobaptist is so arrogant that they believe the opposite of this to be true. Nevertheless, when in discussion with most Paedobaptist, I find myself feeling as if they believe that I do not even know Christ, unless I believe in their views of infant baptism.
I want to state that I believe that the sine qua non to knowing Christ is to place one’s faith entirely in Christ alone as one’s substitutionary atonement for one’s sins committed against a holy God. In other words justification by faith alone is an essential doctrine that must be believed by an individual in order for that person to be a child of God. One cannot come to God’s throne offering the fruit of their own works.
Though the doctrines concerning baptism are not essential to salvation, nevertheless they are important because these doctrines do involve the right use of a sacrament that was given to us by Christ himself.(1) Therefore I want to repond to my Paedobaptist bretheren with this article by Fred Malone:
Infant Baptism and the Regulative Principle of Worship
According to the Westminster Presbyterian and the 1689 London Baptist Confession (the mother confession of American and Southern Baptists),
“ the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture (WCF 21:1; italics mine).”
This regulative principle teaches that God-approved Christian worship includes only elements and practices “instituted by God Himself limited by his own revealed will [and not] any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.” In other words, speculation, invention, imagination, and uncommanded practices, etc., cannot be permitted to change or neglect instituted worship. Therefore, the only elements of worship approved in the regulative tradition, according to Scripture, are:
“Prayers: The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as also the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths and vows, solemn fasting, and thanksgivings upon special occasions, which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in a holy and religious manner (WCF 21:4-5; italics mine).”
Read the rest of the article here.
(1) Some Baptist would rather call ‘baptism’ an ordinance. I believe the word ‘sacrament’ is correct and had it not been for the abuse of the Catholic Church of the ‘sacraments’, then everyone would use this term.
The debate between paedo and credo Baptist rages on. Many think that the debate hinges upon a right understanding of the covenants. I myself hold this view. So here is an exchange between two Baptist on what constitutes a true Reformed Baptist and whether or not infants should be baptized based upon a right understanding of the covenants.
The Impossible Reformed Baptist by jaminhubner
Subject: A Challenge from a Reformed Baptist Pastor
I have noticed the explanation you give about baptism and the “Covenant of Grace” from a Reformed Baptist point of view. I have been studying the subject myself for some time in order to defend the legitimacy of being “reformed” and “baptistic” at the same time. My findings may surprise you, but I will like to share them with you if you like. The conclusion that has been taking shape on my mind, is that YOU CANNOT be Reformed and Baptist AT THE SAME TIME. Well, you and I (and a lot of other Baptist folks) may claim to be properly so, but the reality is that the biblical data simply is against us….sadly.
Read more here.