Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Heaven’

The Wednesday Word: Pleasures for Evermore

You will show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore Psalm 16:11

Psalm 16 is prophetic of Christ and since all believers are ‘in Him,’ it applies to us. When the eternal Word arrived, His path was from the manger to the cross, from the cross to the grave and from the grave to Glory.

As believers we also have a path to follow. Consider the following from our verse.

Thou wilt show me the path of life. What I´m about to say may seem like a broad sweeping statement. That’s because it is.

“Jesus is the path of life.”

That´s why he said ¨Follow Me.¨ …

“ME”

No new Gurus requested or required. Follow Christ.

All life is in Christ. He is the word of life, the well of life (John 4:14), and the tree of life. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. May we see Jesus moment by moment. To know Him is eternal and abundant life. In Him is the favour of the Almighty and in His favour is life.

Jesus alone is the way of life. He is our path of life.

We are entirely dependent on Him. Had Jesus not died there would have been no life. In fact, His death is our life. Because of the cross, we have life in Christ … life through Christ, and life with Christ;

You will show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Presence

Here again, we see Jesus. He is the presence of Yahweh. As He said to Moses, “My presence shall be with you and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33 14-15). We cannot but feel measures of His joy when we are in his presence. That´s why, dear pastor, I urge you to proclaim Jesus to your flock. What a wonderful Saviour. In Him (Jesus) the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9).

Preach the Gospel to the saints. It brings His presence. Pause and consider this scripture, “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20).

You will show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Fulness of Joy

Not partial joy; but full, satisfying, unalloyed, unclouded, unmingled with anything that would diminish its fulness or its brightness; joy that will not be diminished, as all earthly joys must be, by the feeling that it must soon come to an end’ (Barnes).

Knowing our salvation brings joy. Therefore, we read, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

There is fullness of joy in the Gospel.

You will show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

The Right Hand

Who can be at the right hand but God? The term right hand is not talking about a physical right hand. The right hand represents ultimate authority. Therefore, we read, “The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly (Ps 118:16). The right hand shows Christ’s exaltation, strength and power. It verifies His dominion, might, victory and triumph. He saves with His right hand and His right hand is full of righteousness (Psalm 48:10).

Jesus is the Path of life as our Prophet;

He is the ·Presence of Yahweh as our Priest;

He is the Power of the right hand as our Potentate (our King).

In Him are pleasures forevermore.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

Advertisements

Duty of Preparing for the Future World: Heaven: Book Eight- Chapter 4

September 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Book Eighth

CHAPTER IV.

HEAVEN.

THE RIGHTEOUS WILL BE TAKEN TO HEAVEN, AND MADE PERFECTLY HAPPY FOR EVER IN THE PRESENCE AND ENJOYMENT OF GOD.[1]

Godliness has the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. It often happens that the believer in Christ has an afflicted lot in the present world; but, in the midst of tribulations, be is enabled, through grace, to rejoice in hope of the glory of God. So much does the happiness of his present life depend on the hope of a better portion hereafter, that he is said to be “saved by hope.”[2] This hope has for its object an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.[3] He is taught by the doctrine of Christ, to look for this portion, not in this world of sin, not in the pursuits and enjoyments of carnal men, but in another and better world, to which his faith and hope are ever directed.

The believer’s portion is laid up in heaven.[4] That heaven is a place, and not a mere state of being, we are taught by the words of Christ, who said, “I go to prepare a place for you;”[5] but in what part of universal space this happy place is situated, the Bible does not inform us. It is sometimes called the third heavens[6] to distinguish it from the atmospheric heaven, in which the fowls of heaven have their habitation, and from the starry heavens, which visibly declare the glory of God. The glory of the third heavens is invisible to mortal eyes; and the place may be far beyond the bounds within which suns and stars shine, and planets revolve. Some have imagined that it is a vast central globe, around which the stars of heaven are making their slow revolutions, carrying with them their systems of attendant planets. There is something pleasing in this conjecture, which connects astronomical science with the hopes of the Christian: but it must be remembered that it is mere conjecture. No telescope can bring this glorious place within the reach of human view. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”[7] Yet, though science cannot give us a knowledge of this happy world, divine revelation has made us to some extent acquainted with it. Paul adds to the words just cited, “but God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit.” By faith, which is the evidence of things not seen, we look at things unseen and eternal. The light of revelation brings the glories of the distant land before the eyes of our faith; and in the spiritual enjoyment which we are made to experience, even in this land of exile, we have an earnest[8] and foretaste of heavenly joy. These drops of heaven sent down to worms below, unite with the descriptions found in God’s holy word, to give such ideas of heaven as it is possible for us to form; but at best, we know only in part. “It doth not yet appear, what we shall be,” or where we shall be, or in what our bliss will consist. But though in looking forward to the inheritance in prospect, we are compelled to see through a glass darkly, we may yet discover that the future happiness of the saints will include following elements:

1. An intimate knowledge of God. Now we know in part, but then we shall know even as we are known.[9] Heaven is “the high and holy place, where God resides, the court of the great King.” He says, “heaven is my throne.”[10] Though present everywhere throughout his dominions, he manifests himself in a peculiar manner in this bright abode, of which the glory of God and the Lamb are the light. Here the blessed are permitted to see God. To see God, as human eyes now see material objects, by means of reflected light, will be as impossible then as it is now, for God is a spirit: but we shall have such a discovery of God, as is most appropriately expressed by the word see; otherwise, the promise of Christ would not be fulfilled. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”[11] The knowledge of God will be communicated through the Mediator. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”[12] Though God dwells in light which no man can approach unto, and is a Being whom no man hath seen, or can see;[13] yet the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, the same that shines into the hearts of God’s people on earth, fills the world of bliss. There no sun or moon shines; but “the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” The glory of God is the illumination, and the Lamb is the luminary from which it emanates. Jesus will still be our teacher there, and through him we shall acquire our knowledge of the perfections and counsels of God.

Our knowledge of God will be for ever increasing. On earth, believers “grow in the knowledge of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ,” and the advantages for attaining to higher knowledge, instead of ceasing at death, will be far greater in heaven. The perfections and counsels of the infinite God, will be an exhaustless source of knowledge, a boundless subject of investigation; and the Mediator, the equal of the Father, and his bosom-counsellor, will be our all-sufficient instructor; and our glorified spirits will be fitted to prosecute the study through eternal ages. It follows, that we shall continue to grow in the knowledge of God, while immortality endures.

The angels diligently study the dealings of God with his people on earth, and, by this means, acquire knowledge of God’s manifold wisdom. They saw his creative skill and power displayed, when the creation sprang forth from his hand in its unmarred beauty; and they rejoiced in songs and shoutings. They learned the justice of God, when some of their number were driven from heaven for their transgression, and doomed to interminable woe. While the angels have been making the dispensations of God’s providence and grace their delightful study, we cannot suppose that the spirits of the just, who are their companions in glory, have been indifferent to these subjects; which interested them so deeply while on earth. It must be, that they continue to make progress in the knowledge which, while here below, they so earnestly desired to acquire, and in which they made a small beginning. Here, the ways of God appear dark and mysterious, and the doctrine taught us in his word, is attended with difficulties, which our finite minds labor in vain to remove. We desire instruction on these points; and Jesus has said, “What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.”[14] We wait now for the fulfilment of this promise; and we hope hereafter, with the spirits that are before the throne, to drink in the knowledge which we are here so desirous to obtain, which we so greatly long to acquire.

How far the learning of the future world will include the sciences which are taught in the schools on earth, it is of little use to inquire. It will certainly include whatever is necessary to the knowledge of God. We shall study his works, his moral government, and the mysterious scheme of redemption. New truths, of which we have now no conception, will be unfolded to our view; and the truths of which we have now some knowledge, will be exhibited in new relations, and with new attractions. The truths which now appear discordant with each other, will have light thrown on their connecting links; and the whole will be seen, in one grand system of beautiful proportion and perfect harmony, and in everything God will be displayed. All our knowledge will be the knowledge of him.

2. Perfect conformity to God. The first man was made in the image of God; and the subjects of regeneration are renewed, after the image of God. But the likeness given in creation has been lost; and that which is reproduced in regeneration is incomplete. God’s people are striving and praying for a higher degree of conformity; and they are looking to the future world for the consummation of their wishes: “Then shall I be satisfied, when I awake in thy likeness.”[15] They are predestinated to be conformed to the image of God’s Son,[16] who is the image of the invisible God.[17] As they study the divine character here, they grow in conformity to it: “We, beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”[18] The same transforming influence which the knowledge of God exerts in this life, will continue in the future world. As we make progress in the knowledge of God, we advance from glory to glory, in the likeness of God; and this progress will be interminable, through all our immortal existence. “We shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”[19]

In being conformed to God, who is love, we shall love the display of divine perfection, of which we shall obtain increasing discoveries in our study of the character, works, and government of God. As our knowledge enlarges, our love to the things learned will become more intense, and the new developments which will be made at every stage of our endless advancement will be increasingly ravishing. What would be subjects of barren speculation to merely intellectual beings, will be to us as moral beings, having a moral likeness to God, sources of ineffable bliss, ever rising higher and higher in its approach towards the perfect and infinite blessedness of God.

3. A full assurance of divine approbation. In this world we groan, being burdened. A sense of sin, and God’s displeasure on account of it, often fills the mind with gloom. We see, in the gospel of Christ, how God can be just, and the justifier of the believer in Jesus: but our faith is often weak. We are conscious of daily offences against infinite love; and the bitterness of grief possesses the soul. Oh! to see our Father’s face, without a cloud between, and to feel that perfect love occupies the full capacity of our hearts, and governs every emotion! We pant after God, the living God. We long for heaven; because there we shall dwell for ever in the light of his countenance. The sentence of the last judgment, “Come, ye blessed of my Father,” will give an eternal assurance of divine acceptance, and perfect love in the heart will for ever exclude all fear.

4. The best possible society. Paul thus describes this society: “Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.”[20] Our brethren who have gone before us, with some of whom we took sweet counsel here, and went to the house of God in company, are there waiting to welcome our arrival. The angels that attend on us as ministering spirits, during our pilgrimage here, will convey us, when we leave the world, to the glorious abode, in which they ever behold the face of our Father in heaven, and will form part of the happy society into which we shall be introduced. There we shall be with Jesus, the Mediator, who loved us, and gave himself for us, in whose blood we shall have washed our robes, and made them white; there we shall approach to God, the Judge of all, who is our Father, the object of our love, and the source of our joy. In such society we shall spend eternity. We are travelling to our final home, through a desert land, a waste howling wilderness, but we seek a city; and God is not ashamed to be called our God, for he hath prepared for us a city.[21] A city is a place where society abounds. The rich and noble resort to cities, that they may enjoy life. Here they display their wealth, erect magnificent palaces for their residence, and multiply the means of enjoyment to the utmost possible extent. In our eternal home, we shall not be lonely pilgrims; but we shall dwell in the city of our God; where the noblest society will be enjoyed, where the inhabitants will be all rich, made rich through the poverty of Jesus, and all kings and priests to God; and where the King of kings holds his court, and admits all into his glorious presence.

5. The most delightful employment. The future happiness of the saints is called a rest: but it is not a rest of inactivity; which, however desired it may sometimes be, by those who inhabit sluggish bodies, is not suited to spiritual beings. The rest resembles the Sabbath, the holy day, in which the people of God now lay aside their worldly cares and toils, and devote the sacred hours to the worship of God. Such a sabbatism remains for the people of God, when the cares and toils of this life shall have ceased for ever. To the glorified saints, inaction would be torture, rather than bliss. Their happiness will not consist of mere passive enjoyment. They will serve God day and night; and, in this service, will find their highest enjoyment. They pray now, that his will may be done on earth, as it is done in heaven; and when they are themselves taken to heaven, they will delight to do his will, as it is done by all the heavenly host. The worship of God, and the study of his holy word, form a part of the delightful employment of the saints on the earthly Sabbath. So, to worship God with joyful songs of praise and suitable ascriptions of glory, constitutes, according to the Scripture representation, a part of the saints’ employment in glory. The subjects of their transporting songs, and rapturous ascriptions of praise and glory, will be supplied by their continually fresh discoveries of the divine perfections, the study of which will also form an important part of their blissful employment.

6. The absence of everything which could mar their happiness. Sin, which here pollutes all our joys, will never enter there; for nothing entereth that defileth.[22] Devils and wicked men will be confined in their eternal prison, and will be able to molest no more. The sorrows and afflictions of this world will have passed away. There will be no more sickness, no more curse; and death, the last enemy, will have been destroyed.

7. A free use of all the means of enjoyment. Future happiness is promised as a kingdom: “Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[23] “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom.”[24] A king is superior to all the nobles of his realm, and holds the highest place of dignity in his dominions. Christ, as king, is crowned with glory and honor; and believers also will be exalted to glory, honor, and immortality. The subjects of earthly despots are often deprived of their possessions by the injustice of those who have power over them; but the king is above the reach of such injustice. He commands the resources of his dominions, and makes them contribute to his pleasure. Hence, to minds accustomed to regal government, royalty conveys the idea of the most abundant resources, and the highest measure of undisturbed enjoyment; hence the language of Paul: “Now ye are full; now ye are rich; ye have reigned as kings.”[25] In this view, the children of God will be made kings. Besides the honor to which they will be exalted, their enjoyments will be boundless. All the resources of creation will be made tributary to them, and no one will dispute their claim, or hinder their enjoyment. Earthly crowns are often tarnished by the iniquity of those who wear them, but the crown bestowed on the children of God is a crown of righteousness, not only because it is righteously conferred, but because, without any unrighteous violence, the wearers will have all the honors and enjoyments of royalty secured to them for ever.

[1] Matt. xxv. 34; Luke xii. 32; John xiv. 2; Col. iii. 4; 1 Thess. iv. 17; Luke xxii. 29, 30; Acts xiv. 22; Rev. iii. 21; vii. 15-17; xiv. 4; 1 Pet. i. 3, 4; Matt. xxv. 21; John xvii. 24; Rev. xxi. 4; xxii. 3.

[2] Rom. viii. 24.

[3] 1 Pet. i. 3, 4.

[4] Col. i. 5.

[5] John xiv. 2.

[6] 2 Cor. xii. 2.

[7] 1 Cor. ii. 9.

[8] Eph. i. 14.

[9] 1 Cor. xiii. 12.

[10] Isaiah lxvi. 1.

[11] Matt. v. 8.

[12] John i. 18.

[13] 1 Tim. vi. 16.

[14] John xiii. 7.

[15] Ps. xvii. 15.

[16] Rom. viii. 29.

[17] Col. i. 15.

[18] 2 Cor. iii. 18.

[19] 1 John iii. 2.

[20] Heb. xii. 22-24.

[21] Heb. xi. 16.

[22] Rev. xxi. 27.

[23] Luke xii. 32.

[24] Matt xxv. 34.

[25] 1 Cor. iv. 8.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Preparing for the Future World: The Last Judgment: Book Eight- Chapter 3

Book Eighth

CHAPTER III.

THE LAST JUDGMENT.

IN THE LAST DAY JESUS CHRIST WILL COME TO JUDGE THE WORLD; AND HAVING ASSEMBLED ALL MEN BEFORE HIM, WILL PASS SENTENCE ON THEM ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.[1]

Natural religion leads us to expect future retribution; and of course some sort of judgment, by which that retribution will be awarded. Even the heathen mythology had its judges, Æacus, Minos, and Rhadamanthus, by whom the dead had their place and condition assigned to them in the other world. But the doctrine of a public, general judgment, is peculiar to revelation. This teaches, that, besides the judgment passed on each individual when he leaves this world, there will be a final judgment, in which all men will stand at the judgment seat of Christ, and receive their final sentence from his lips. “God hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained.”[2] “It is appointed unto all men once to die, and after this the judgment.”[3]

As the condition of each soul will be determined, when it leaves the body, another judgment may, to our finite minds, appear to be unnecessary; but the wisdom of God has determined otherwise. All the reasons for this divine appointment, we cannot presume to understand; but we are able to conceive of some important advantages which may arise from a general judgment.

The general judgment will publicly and impressively vindicate the ways of God, in the view of all intelligent beings. The mystery of the divine administration will then be fully unfolded; the wisdom and righteousness of all God’s dispensations will then be made apparent; the justice of the sentences then pronounced will be rendered perfectly clear; and, on every creature, as he leaves the tribunal, to go to the place assigned him, an impression will have been made, which will last throughout eternity. It is for the glory of God, that his perfections should thus be displayed, in the view of his intelligent creatures; and the remembrance of this great day will constitute an important element in the happiness or misery to which each individual will be adjudged.

The general judgment will be honorable to Jesus Christ. It is called “the day of Christ.”[4] When Jesus stood, as an arraigned malefactor, before the Jewish council, he claimed, in their presence, to be the Christ, and he referred to this day as the time when his claim would be acknowledged. This will be the day of Christ, the day when every knee shall bow to him,[5] and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.[6]

The general judgment will extend to the bodies of men. The previous judgment, at the death of each individual, affects the spirit only. But men are to be judged according to the deeds done in the body, and it is fit that they should be judged in the body, and especially inasmuch as the body is to participate in the final retribution.

The general judgment will suitably mark the final victory over all God’s enemies. Among men, days of triumph have been observed, when wars have terminated, and victory has been attained. In the great day of the Lord, all the enemies of God will have been subdued; the kingdom, which, as rebels against him, they have seized and claimed, will have been fully restored; and universal peace and order will have been established in Jehovah’s empire. At this day of triumph, it is suitable that all creatures should be present, to do honor to the victory, and to him by whom it has been achieved.

The judge on the last day will be Jesus Christ, the same who was condemned at the bar of Caiaphas and of Pilate. How changed the scene! They who then condemned him to death, will now tremble before him, and be condemned by him to death eternal. “The Father has committed all judgment to the Son.”[7] The transactions of the great day will form a part of his mediatorial administration. Having undertaken to restore order to God’s empire, in which the rebellion of the human race had broken out, and having assumed the office of Mediator for this purpose, it will be proper, in this office, to complete the work; and therefore Christ the Mediator will be the Judge in the last great day: “We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.”[8]

At the day of judgment Christ will make his second coming. This coming is frequently spoken of in the Holy Scriptures. He instituted the Lord’s supper, to be observed until he come.[9] Believers are described as looking for his appearing.[10] As men look for a beloved friend who has gone away, leaving a promise of return; so believers in Christ look for the return of their Lord, who has promised, “I come quickly;”[11] and they pray, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”[12] He came, formerly, with sin; not sin of his own, but the sin of his people, which the Lord laid on him. Having fully expiated this by his death, he will come, the second time, without sin unto salvation.[13] On this great and terrible day, Christ will come to the salvation of his people, and will, at the same time, take vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel. In a subordinate sense, he is said to come, when he displays his power, either in the deliverance of his people, or in the destruction of his enemies. But all these times are over-

looked in the, computation, when, with reference to his appearing for judgment, it is said, “he will come the second time.” This will be the great day of deliverance and of wrath. There are other comings mentioned in Scripture, not included in this computation, which are only preparatory and subordinate.

An impression has often prevailed among the followers of Christ, that his second coming was near at hand. This impression, when soberly entertained, has a salutary influence. Compared with the eternity which is to follow, the interval until the day of judgment is exceedingly short; and but a very little part of this short interval is included in the life of any one individual; whose preparation for judgment must be completed before he is called away by death. It is therefore true concerning every one, that the time is short,[14] and that the Judge standeth before the door.[15] But the expectation that Christ’s coming will be so hastened as not to leave time for the fulfilment of prophecy, or for the measure of duty and suffering to which he has appointed us, is of injurious tendency. An erroneous impression on this subject had so disquieted the minds of the Thessalonian Christians, that Paul thought it necessary, in his second epistle to them, to free them from its influence: “Be not shaken in mind, or troubled, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”[16] It may be that they had mistaken his design, when, in his first epistle to them, he said, “We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep.”[17] They may have understood him to intimate, by his use of the word “we,” that he expected to be alive and remain when Christ should appear. He may have used this word as including himself, in interest, in the number of those who will be alive at the second coming; or he may intimate that believers of each successive generation should regard themselves as placed, for the time, on the watch-tower, to look for the coming of Christ, and that, compared with those who had fallen asleep, all who at any time are alive and remain, should regard themselves, though looking for his coming, as having no advantage to prevent [go before, or get the start of] those that are asleep. Whatever may have been Paul’s design in using this mode of speech, it is clear, from his second epistle, that he did not mean to make the impression that the coming of Christ was so near at hand. He stated explicitly, that the day will not come, “unless there be a falling away first, and the man of sin be revealed.”[18] It was necessary that time should be allowed for the Romish apostasy. So now, there are various prophecies remaining to be fulfilled; as, the calling of the Gentiles, the conversion of the Jews, and the millennial state of the Church. All these must be, accomplished before the coming of Christ; and, while these prophecies remain unfulfilled, believers should not permit themselves to be troubled in mind by those who would persuade them that the end of the world is just at hand.

Some suppose that the coming of Christ, and the resurrection of the righteous dead, will precede the millennium, and that the resurrection of the wicked will be at the end of the thousand years. This opinion, according to which the reign of Christ will be personal, is founded chiefly on Rev. xx. 4, 5: “And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” In carefully examining this passage, we may observe that the first resurrection here mentioned does not include all the righteous dead, but only the martyrs; and that it is not a resurrection of their bodies, but of their souls: “I saw the souls of them, and they lived,” &c. Making due allowance for the boldly figurative language employed in this prophetical book, we way understand this passage to mean, that generations of holy men will arise, at the time here referred to, who will so much resemble the ancient martyrs in zeal and devotion to the service of God, that it will be as if the souls of these martyrs had returned in new bodies. So Elijah reappeared, in the person of John the Baptist; not literally, but in the figurative sense in which we may interpret the passage before us; which, so understood, teaches a spiritual, and not a personal reign of Christ. It is true that Paul says, “the dead in Christ shall rise first:”[19] but the meaning of this is, that the dead in Christ shall rise before the living saints shall be changed. The interval, however, he represents to be exceedingly short: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”[20] Whether the wicked dead will be raised at the precise moment at which the righteous dead will be raised, we are not expressly informed; but, from the representations of the scene which are given in the Scriptures, we may infer that one voice, one trumpet will call forth all the dead, and that one hour[21] will suffice for the resurrection of all. In one and the same day,[22] the great day of the Lord, he will be revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God; and will come, to be glorified in his saints, and admired of all them that believe.[23]

The place of the final judgment will be on earth. Here Jesus was humbled, condemned, and crucified; and here he will be glorified, and sit in judgment over all the world. When he ascended from the earth, it was foretold that he would return as he had ascended.[24] A cloud received him out of the sight of his disciples,[25] who were gazing after him as he went up; and, on his return, he will be soon coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[26] A multitude of angels and the spirits of the just will attend him. The bodies of his saints, called forth from their graves, will rise to meet him in the air, and reunited with their spirits, will appear before him. The living saints will be changed and form a part of the company at his right hand. The wicked dead will be raised, and will stand on the left hand of the Judge. On what part of the earth the Saviour way choose to fix the throne of judgment, we are not informed, nor is it a matter of any moment. Why Sinai was selected for the giving of the law, Calvary for the crucifixion, and Olivet for the ascension, we know not. It is enough for us to know, that he will come, and that we must appear before him.

In the description of the great day, contained in the book of Revelation, it is said, that the Judge will be seated on a great white throne, and that the books will be opened; and that another book will be opened, which is the book of life: and the dead will be judged out of the things which are written according to their works.[27] The representation is doubtless figurative, but we may learn from it that the decisions will be made in perfect justice; and that the acquittal of the righteous will be an act of grace. Their names will be found in the Lamb’s book of life. They will be accepted in that day, because they belong to Christ, and in proof of their attachment to him, their work and labor of love in his cause, and towards his people, will be brought into remembrance.[28]

In the transactions of this great day, notwithstanding the greatness of the multitude that will be assembled, no individual will feel himself lost in the immense throng, or concealed from the view of the omniscient Judge. Every one will be brought to judgment, as if he were the only creature present, and every one will give account of himself, and receive sentence for himself with as much discrimination and perfection of justice, as if the judge were wholly absorbed in the consideration of his single case. So rapidly do our minds move, even now while bound to our sluggish bodies, that we can review our past history in a few moments, and judge and condemn ourselves before God. With a rapidity beyond our present conception, the deeds, words, and thoughts of our whole lives will pass in review before us on that day, and we shall realize that the eye of God is fixed on each particular with as thorough knowledge of it, as if that deed, word, or thought, were the only one on which he sat in judgment. How can we bear a scrutiny so severe, a knowledge so perfect? How shall we abide a judgment so strict? Who shall be able to stand?

[1] Rev. xx. 11, 12; Acts xvii. 30, 31; Eccl. xi. 9; xii. 14; Matt. xii. 36; 1 Pet. iv. 4, 5; 2 Cor. v. 10.

[2] Acts xvii. 31.

[3] Heb. ix. 27.

[4] Phil. i. 6; 2 Thess. ii. 2.

[5] Rom. xiv. 11.

[6] Phil. ii. 11.

[7] John v. 22.

[8] Rom. xiv. 10.

[9] 1 Cor. xi. 26.

[10] Heb. ix. 28.

[11] Rev. xxii. 12.

[12] Rev. xxii. 20.

[13] Heb. ix. 28.

[14] 1 Cor. vii. 29.

[15] James v. 9.

[16] 2 Thess. ii, 2.

[17] 1 Thess. iv. 15.

[18] 2 Thess. ii. 3.

[19] 1 Thess. iv. 16.

[20] 1 Cor. xv. 52.

[21] John v. 25.

[22] Acts xvii. 31.

[23] 2 Thess. i. 8-10.

[24] Acts i. 11.

[25] Acts i. 9.

[26] Matt. xxiv. 30; Rev. i. 7.

[27] Rev. xx. 11, 12.

[28] Matt. xxv. 34-40.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Preparing for the Future World: Resurrection: Book Eight- Chapter 2

Book Eighth

CHAPTER II.

RESURRECTION.

THE BODIES OF ALL WHO DIE, WILL BE RAISED FROM THE DEAD, AND RE-UNITED TO THEIR SPIRITS, FOR THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT DAY.[1]

Philosophy and natural religion may attain to an obscure discovery of the soul’s immortality; but we should have remained ignorant concerning the resurrection of the body, if we had not been instructed by divine revelation. From God’s book we learn that the body is redeemed,[2] as well as the soul; and that the body shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption. That no doubt may remain on the subject, the body which is to be raised again, is described as the corruptible, the vile body, the body deposited in the grave:[3] “This corruptible shall put on incorruption.”[4] “Who shall change this vile body.”[5] “All that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.”[6] Paul urges not to use the members of the body for sinful purposes, because the body is the temple of the Holy Ghost;[7] and, with reference to the same body he says, “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelt in you.”[8] No doubt can remain that the Scriptures teach the resurrection of the mortal body, the body that dies, and enters the grave.

The resurrection of the body is not only taught in the Scriptures, but it is exemplified in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact that he was raised from the dead, is testified by many witnesses, who saw him, and conversed, and ate and drank with him, after his resurrection; and who confirmed the truth of their testimony by astonishing miracles and sufferings. On this grand fact the truth of Christianity depends; and therefore the doctrine of the resurrection is fundamental and vital to the Christian system. If it is not true, Christ is not risen; and, if Christ is not risen, Paul admits “our preaching is vain, and your faith is vain, and we are found false witnesses of God.”[9]

As the resurrection is a desirable privilege to the just, only, it is treated of, in some passages of Scripture, as if it appertained to them exclusively: but other passages teach that it will be universal: “There shall be a resurrection of the just and of the unjust.”[10] “All that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.”[11] The only exception to its universality will be in the case of those who still be found alive at Christ’s second coming. Concerning these, Paul has taught us that they will undergo a change[12] equivalent to that which they pass through who shall have died and risen again. Their case, therefore, is virtually no exception to the general rule: “It is appointed unto all men once to die.”[13] “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”[14]

The power by which the dead are raised, is God’s. To the Sadducees, who erred respecting the resurrection, the Saviour said, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”[15] It is a work which nothing short of omnipotence could accomplish. The Son of God is represented as the immediate agent, “Who shall change our vile body, that it only be fashioned like unto his own glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”[16] Even when he was on earth, weak and despised, he claimed this power: “The hour is coming when all that are in their graves shall hear his voice [the voice of the Son of God], and shall come forth.”[17] At his command, who said, “Lazarus, come forth,” the dead shall quit their graves, and assemble at his tribunal: and the power which he will manifest, in bringing them before him, will demonstrate his right to judge them.

The resurrection, though it will require the same power that created the world out of nothing, will not be another creation. The glorified body will not be created out of nothing, but will be formed out of the vile and mortal body which the spirit once inhabited: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned,” &c.[18] The same body of Jesus which was nailed to the cross and laid in the tomb, was raised from the dead, and was seen by the disciples ascending from Mount Olivet. It had been transfigured on Mount Tabor, and rendered glorious in the view of the disciples who were present; and now it is crowned with glory and honor, in the presence of all the celestial hosts. It is now the “glorious body,” into the likeness of which he will fashion our vile bodies, when he fits them to inhabit the mansions that he has prepared.

How the “vile body” will be changed, we know not. We are under no obligation to suppose that all the gross matter of which it consists, will be included in the glorious body into which it will be fashioned. The corruptible body is perpetually losing, in the daily waste which it undergoes, the atoms of matter which compose it, and having their place supplied by other atoms, received from the nourishment taken in to supply the waste. The nails are pared away, and the hair shorn off; and other growth succeeds, to take the place of that which is lost. The bones, muscles, and all other parts of the body, undergo a change as real, though not so apparent, and as unceasing. The fluid parts of the body change more rapidly; and the solid parts are absorbed and renewed by the deposit of other matter, in the processes of nutrition and assimilation. It is not necessary to suppose that all the matter thus lost, during a life of fourscore years, will be gathered again. The identity of the body during life did not imply an identity of the atoms composing it: and much less is an identity of atoms necessary to be preserved, when it is changed into the glorious. Paul’s teaching on this point is explicit: “Thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain; but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him.”[19] What is deposited in the ground, is bare grain; but the body which God giveth consists of the blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear. The body deposited, dies; that is, it is decomposed, and ceases to be the bare grain deposited. Part of its matter is lost, and part enters into the composition of the new plant, and God adds other matter, constructing such a body as pleases him. Such is the illustration which this inspired writer gives of the process by which the dead will be raised; and we are certainly freed by it from the obligation of regarding a philosophical identity of atoms, as necessary to be preserved in the resurrection of the dead.

Yet, let us observe the relation which the glorious body has to the vile body. It is not another body, but the vile body changed. In Paul’s illustration, he says: “God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.”[20] So, every man who rises from the grave, will come forth with his own body. However changed, he will recognise himself, and will be recognised by others, as the same. When wheat, rye, barley, and other grains, are sown in the ground, a grain of each may be deposited in the same bed; and when they spring up together, though all have bodies differing from the bare grain that was sown, they differ also from each other. Every seed has “his own body;” and it may be determined with certainty which is the wheat, which the rye, which the barley, &c. The illustration is doubtless incomplete: but the wisdom of inspiration has given it, to assist our conceptions of this mysterious subject; and our faith, without presuming to be wise above that which is written, should thankfully receive the instruction graciously imparted.

What will be the form and the properties of the glorified body, it is impossible for us to know. Even the beloved disciple who lay on the bosom of Jesus did not claim to know this:- “Beloved, it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he

shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”[21] It ought to satisfy us that we shall be fashioned like the glorious body of Christ. But though this general information ought to be sufficient, the Scriptures, while they do not attempt to describe a glorified body, have given us some information respecting it.

It is incorruptible. Our bodies here undergo perpetual decay and perpetual renewal; and they finally suffer decomposition, and return to dust. The glorified body will suffer no decomposition, no waste, and, therefore, will not need renewal. The process of nutrition by food, and the organs of digestion, will not be needed. “Meats are for the belly, and the belly for meats; but God shall destroy both it and them.”[22] The glorified body will be adapted to all the purposes for which it will be used; but, as our mode of life will be entirely different, corresponding changes will be made in the members and organs, to adapt the body to the mode of life into which it enters.

It will be spiritual. Paul affirms this. He says, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”[23] What a spiritual body is, we are unable to say. We shall not be pure or uncompounded spirit, as God is; for we shall have a “body,” which God cannot be said to have. But that body will be “spiritual,” as distinguished from the natural or grossly material bodies that we now possess. It will be freed from the inactivity, the ponderableness that now binds us to the earth; and will be fitted for swift motion, similar to that of which angelic spirits are capable.

It is immortal. “Now this mortal must put on immortality.”[24] As there will be no need to supply a daily waste in each individual body, or to preserve it from corruption, so there will be no need to supply a waste of the race by death. “They neither marry, nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels.”[25] In a state of being so different from the present, we shall need bodies of far different construction and properties; and, from the likeness which we are to bear to the angels, we may infer that our spiritual bodies will resemble, to some extent the spirituality of these holy and immortal beings. The true and perfect pattern to which we shall be conformed, is the glorious body of the Redeemer, who, though once dead, now liveth for ever, and who will give us to share his own immortality. “Because I live, ye shall live also.”[26]

With what body the wicked will come, and to what likeness they will be conformed, the Scriptures do not tell us. As they will be raised, to stand in the judgment, and receive the sentence under which they will suffer everlasting punishment, in the fire prepared for the devil and his angels; we may conclude that, both in body and spirit, they will be fitted and capacitated for the everlasting endurance of the torments inflicted. We know that their bodies will not be “glorious,” for their resurrection will be “unto shame and everlasting contempt.”[27] Conjecture, on points which revelation has not enlightened, must be unprofitable.

[1] John v. 28, 29; Dan. xii. 2; Job xix. 25-27; Ps. xvii. 15; Acts iv. 2; xxiv. 15; xxvi. 8; Rom. viii. 11; 1 Cor. xv. 12-54; 1 Thess. iv. 14-17; Rev. xx. 6, 12, 13.

[2] 1 Cor. vi. 20

[3] John v. 28.

[4] 1 Cor. xv. 53.

[5] Phil. iii. 21.

[6] John v. 28.

[7] 1 Cor. vi. 19.

[8] Rom. viii. 11.

[9] 1 Cor. xv. 14, 15.

[10] Acts xxiv. 15.

[11] John v. 28, 29.

[12] 1 Cor. xv. 52.

[13] Heb. ix.27.

[14] 1 Cor. xv. 22.

[15] Matt. xxii. 29.

[16] Phil. iii. 21.

[17] John v. 28.

[18] Phil. iii. 21.

[19] 1 Cor. xv. 37, 38.

[20] 1 Cor. xv. 38.

[21] 1 John iii. 2.

[22] 1 Cor. vi. 13.

[23] 1 Cor. xv. 44.

[24] 1 Cor. xv. 53.

[25] Luke xx. 35, 36.

[26] John xiv. 19.

[27] Dan. xii. 2.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Preparing for the Future World: Immortality and Separate State of the Soul: Book Eight- Chapter 1

August 16, 2017 1 comment

Book Eighth

CHAPTER I.

IMMORTALITY AND SEPARATE STATE OF THE SOUL.

WHEN THE HUMAN BODY DIES, THE SOUL, WHICH IS IMMORTAL, CONTINUES TO EXIST IN A SEPARATE STATE.[1]

When the body dies, the atoms of which it consisted are not annihilated; but they separate from each other, and continue to exist in a different state, or in new combinations. The mind, which had previously existed in connection with the body, and had, in that connection, exhibited phenomena, superior to matter, and peculiar to mind, now disappears, and no longer manifests itself as formerly. Though it has disappeared, analogy suggests, that it has not been annihilated. The same philosophy that teaches the indestructibility of the atoms which compose the body, gives its sanction to the doctrine, that the soul is immortal. As the soul is not a compound substance, like the body, it is not susceptible of decomposition, and, therefore, if it continues to exist, it must exist entire, with the properties peculiar to it.

Though philosophy gives its sanction to the doctrine of the soul’s immortality, it arrives at the truth through so many perplexing difficulties, that it grasps it finally with but a feeble faith. Plants are bodies of peculiar organization; and are endowed with vitality, either arising from, or connected with, their organization. Brute animals possess organized bodies, endowed with vitality, and, in connection with this vitality, properties are exhibited, which resemble those of the human mind. In surveying the order of beings, from the most imperfect plant, through the rising scale, up to man, the most exalted of animals, philosophy asks, whether man alone is immortal. This question, with which philosophy is embarrassed, natural religion comes in to answer. The moral faculty of man, and its adaptedness to religion, separate him widely from all other animals, and justify the conclusion that he alone, of all the creatures that inhabit the earth, is destined to immortality.

Philosophy and natural religion have, after all, only an obscure view of this important truth. Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel.[2] Divine revelation was needed, to make the truth clear; and that revelation, in the light of the gospel, has so exhibited the truth, that he who does not see it, is wilfully blind. In the dawn of revelation under the former dispensation, so much light was thrown on this truth, that believers of that age regarded themselves as pilgrims and strangers in the earth, and declared plainly that they sought a continuing city, a place of everlasting abode, in another world. But the gospel of Jesus Christ has poured the light of noonday on this momentous truth. The doctrine of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus, have lifted the veil that hid the invisible world from our view, and we are now permitted to look into it, with the full assurance of hope.

When the soul leaves its mortal tenement, we are taught by the Scriptures that it is not companionless. The departing spirit of Lazarus was borne by angels to Abraham’s bosom.[3] This discourse of our Saviour concerning the rich man and Lazarus, was designed to give us knowledge of the future world. It is not called a parable, but if we regard it as such, it should be remembered, that the parables of Jesus were not like the fables of Æsop, in which beasts and birds spoke and reasoned, but were representations drawn from nature, and conformed to the existing properties of things. In this view, though we are not obliged to regard the account of the rich man and Lazarus, as the actual history of two individuals, it is such a representation as our divine teacher was pleased to employ, to give us some knowledge of the unseen world. In this representation, the angels, who, according to sacred teaching in which is no parable, are ministering spirits,[4] sent forth to minister to them who are heirs of salvation, are hovering around the despised beggar, in his last suffering, and receiving his released spirit, to bear it to its final happy abode. Death, to the departing saint, is not a journey through a solitary way. He is no sooner separated from earthly friends, than he finds himself in a company of celestial spirits, who offer themselves as his attendants and guides, to his eternal and blissful home.

Paul has taught us, that believers, who depart from the dissolving tabernacle, when absent from the body, are present with the Lord.[5] The promise made to the dying thief, is fulfilled to every expiring saint: “To-day, thou shall be with me in paradise.”[6] More than this, he has promised: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”[7] As the Lord descended on Mount Sinai, with ten thousands of his angels, so he comes with these attendant spirits, to the chamber in which the Christian dies. As he enters the unseen world, he can joyfully exclaim: “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” In company with his blessed Lord, and borne by ministering spirits, the departing saint is conveyed to the mansion which Jesus has prepared for him in the Father’s house. Here, he is brought into Abraham’s bosom, into intimate communion with the Father of the faithful, and with all the holy patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, and with all the spirits of just men made perfect.

The paradise to which the departing spirit goes, is not a place distinct from the heaven in which God makes the most glorious manifestation of himself, and in which the glorified body of Christ has been received until the restitution of all things. The idea, that the disembodied spirit has a separate existence in sheol or hades, shut out from the glorious assembly near the throne, has originated from a misinterpretation of Scripture. Sheol or hades means the unseen world into which the spirit enters, when it leaves the body; but nothing is determined, by the use of the term, respecting the place or condition of the departed. The rich man and Lazarus alike went to the unseen world; but the rich man was “in torment,” and Lazarus “in Abraham’s bosom.”

When separated from the body, the soul does not lose the mental powers which belong to it. The power of perception remains: for the rich man, though the eyes of the body were closed and in the grave, lifted up other “eyes” in hell, and saw Abraham afar off. The power of memory remains: for Abraham said “Son, remember that thou,” &c. The capacity of enjoying and suffering remains: for Lazarus was comforted, and the rich man tormented. It appears, also, from the discourse between Abraham and the rich man, that disembodied spirits not only know each other, but are allowed to hold converse with each other. Doubtless their modes of perceiving, and of communicating with each other, differ widely from ours; and all attempts to understand what is entirely beyond our experience and conception, must necessarily fail. What the Scriptures teach on the subject, is all that we can possibly know; and they explicitly declare that the instruction which they give on the subject, leaves our knowledge imperfect: “We know in part.”[8] “We see through a glass darkly.”[9]

The Scriptures teach us that the departed spirit of the saint is free from suffering. It no longer groans, being burdened.[10] Lazarus is comforted.[11] Together with freedom from suffering, it enjoys freedom from sin. The spirits of just men, when separated from the bodies in which they groaned, are “made perfect.”[12] ‘They are admitted into the high and holy place, where nothing impure can enter.

The souls of the wicked, as well as of the righteous, are immortal, and survive the body. They, too, have their companions; for the devil, by whom they have been led captive, and his angels, with whom they are to suffer everlasting punishment, receive them into their society. Their mental powers and capacities remain, to see heaven and glory at a distance, to remember and bitterly regret their sin against God, and the opportunity of mercy despised, and to endure torments without mitigation, or hope of relief.

Some persons have supposed that departed spirits become angels, and have cited, in proof of this opinion, the words of the angel to John: “I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren, the prophets.”[13] They understand that the angel declares himself to be the spirit of one of the ancient prophets. But this is an erroneous interpretation of the passage, which may be correctly interpreted thus: “I am the fellow-servant of thee, and the fellow-servant of thy brethren, the prophets.” The angels are spirits, but not human spirits. They were never redeemed by the blood of Christ; and therefore, in their joyful announcement to the shepherds of Bethlehem, they said: “Unto you,” not unto us, “is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour.”[14] Hence the song of redemption, when heard in heaven, is described as a new song,[15] having never been sung by the angelic choirs. Paul has clearly distinguished between the innumerable company of angels,[16] and “the spirits of just men made perfect,” though they are named together, as component parts of the great society into which men are introduced, when they become believers in Christ.

[1] Luke xvi. 22, 23; xxiii. 43; Matt. xxii. 31,32; Luke xx. 37, 38; Rev. xiv. 13; Heb. xii. 23; 2 Cor. v. 6, 8; Phil. i. 23; 1 Thess. v. 10; Eccl. xii. 7.

[2] 2 Tim. i. 10.

[3] Luke xvi. 22.

[4] Heb. i. 14.

[5] 2 Cor. v. 8.

[6] Luke xxiii. 43.

[7] John xiv. 3.

[8] 1 Cor. xiii. 9

[9] 1 Cor. xiii. 12.

[10] 2 Cor. v. 4.

[11] Luke xvi. 25.

[12] Heb. xii. 23.

[13] Rev. xix. 10.

[14] Luke ii. 11.

[15] Rev. v. 9.

[16] Heb. xii. 22,23.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Be content to be here a little for thou art not of the world

January 12, 2015 3 comments

Spurgeon 1And Christian, lastly, by way of practice, let me comfort thee with this. Thou art not of the world for thy home is in heaven. Be content to be here a little for thou art not of the world, and thou shalt go up to thine own bright inheritance by-and-bye. A man in travelling goes into an inn; it is rather uncomfortable, “Well,” says he, “I shall not have to stay here many nights; I have only to sleep here to night, I shall be at home in the morning, so that I don’t care much about one night’s lodging being a little uncomfortable.” So, Christian, this world is never a very comfortable one; but recollect, you are not of the world. This world is like an inn; you are only lodging here a little while. Put up with a little inconvenience, because you are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world; and by-andbye, up yonder, you shall be gathered into your father’s house, and there you will find that there is a new heaven and a new earth provided for those who are “not of the world.”

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Character of Christ’s People-Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 22, 1855

Whatever Happened to Rob Bell

December 29, 2014 3 comments

(Do you remember the name Rob Bell? Have you wondered what happened to him after writing his book “Love Wins?” As of today, he has left the Church and has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey. Go figure.)

 

 

 

(RNS) Rob Bell was once the evangelical It Boy, the hipster pastor with the thick-rimmed glasses and the skinny jeans whose best-selling theology was captured in books with names such as “Velvet Elvis” and “Sex God.”

By 2006, the Chicago Sun-Times wondered aloud whether the Michigan megachurch pastor could be the next Billy Graham.

And then he went to hell.

In 2011, his book “Love Wins” pushed the evangelical envelope on the nature of heaven, hell and salvation. Many dismissed him as a modern-day heretic, unwilling to embrace traditional evangelicals beliefs about the hereafter.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.