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Chapter 41-The Final Judgment

October 8, 2014 1 comment

The Final Judgment

THE partial processes of God’s judgements are not only constantly occurring, but are often distinctly manifested. Hence many expressions of Scripture, in which his judgements are spoken of, have no certain reference, and others, no reference at all, to the final judgement of all men. But, in numerous other places, such a judgement is made known. We are taught the appointment of a time when there will be a public, general judgement of all the righteous, and the wicked.

 

I. A SPECIAL TIME APPOINTED FOR IT.

It is expressly declared that “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness.” Acts 17:31. The numerous designations of the day of the coming of Christ, and of his judgement of men, were pointed out in the preceding chapter. Among those peculiar to the judgement are “the day of judgement,” (2 Pet. 2:9); “the great day,” (Jude 6); “the great day of their wrath,” (Rev. 6:17); “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God,” (Rom. 2:5); and “the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” Rom 2:16.

The duration of the time thus appointed cannot be determined. The indefinite meaning of the word “day” forbids any statement of even its probable length. It has been argued that, from the vast numbers to be judged, and the many events connected with the life of every man, it will comprise a long period of time. But the rapidity with which, in some conditions, the mind will run over the course of a long life, in a moment of time, shows that a period of even exceeding brevity may suffice for a full revelation and judgement of all persons and events. The indefiniteness of the word should, however, caution us against the assumption that the day must be of only a few hours duration.

 

II. THE JUDGEMENT WILL BE PUBLIC AND GENERAL.

This has been denied by some who think that the judgement of each man occurs at death. These hold that to confine the judgement to that at death only, is not contrary to the real meaning of Scripture, which they suppose is not to be found in the literal language used, but in such an interpretation as will accord with the fact that the destiny of each man is fixed, and that consciously to himself, at death. They think that the indefiniteness of the word “day” permits a continuous process of judgement extending over the whole period connected with the deaths of men.

The chief basis of this theory is that the certainty attained at the death of each man, as to his position towards God, makes unnecessary any further judgement, because his case has thus been already judged. But we have very little knowledge of the amount of that certainty, especially in the case of the wicked. The righteous man, because of his presence with Christ, doubtless knows that his salvation is secure; but who can tell what alternate hopes and fears may constitute a part of the torture of the wicked in the intermediate state? But, even if he is also certain of his fate, there may be weighty reasons for a public manifestation of his position. Even “the angels, when they sinned,” whose condition in this respect is certainly equally ascertained, are said to be “reserved unto judgement,” as well as unjust men whom the Lord keeps “under punishment unto the day of judgement.” 2 Pet. 2:4, 9. It may be that the day of judgement is appointed, in order that the full sentence, as to the reward or punishment of each man, may be uttered, when he stands clothed in the resurrection body, in which these are to be suffered, or enjoyed during all the future. Other purposes will be subsequently suggested in connection with the vindication of God, and the manifestation of the causes and circumstances of his action, which, independently of any relation of the judgement to any individual man, make a public judgement day not unsuitable. The certainty of that publicity will appear from the person of the Judge. But, in addition to all other considerations, the Scriptures use language about the judgement day, and its events, which cannot be justly interpreted otherwise than as teaching it to be public in the sight of all, and general to all, not particular to each man. The declarations of its universally sudden appearance, of the angels and the glory which shall attend the descending Judge, of the convulsions of nature, of the burning up of the world, of such a gathering of all nations as permits a separation before all into two distinct classes, and the fact that some will rise up in special condemnation of others; these, and other statements, are utterly inconsistent with only a particular judgement of each at death. Especially is it impossible to reconcile the statement, that the resurrection of men will precede the final judgement, with any theory which makes this occur at death. All of this is independent of the further reply which may be urged, that no indefiniteness of the word “day” would permit the idea that a time, appointed within the life of mankind, should extend throughout the whole period of that life. It ought at least, to be a somewhat limited portion of the time which contains it.

 

III. THE PERSON OF THE JUDGE.

God alone is competent to perform this office of Judge in the great day. He alone has the right to Judge. He alone has the necessary qualifications. Chief among these is that perfect rectitude of character by which only can justice be exercised with due regard to the law and those under it, according to strict principles of equity. Equally important, however, is that complete knowledge of the law which leaves unknown neither its requirements, nor its penalties, nor its rewards, nor its possible relaxations. He also has that omniscience by which all things are known to him, even the innermost secrets of men; not their actions only, but their inward thoughts and hidden motives, even their natures and the possibilities of those natures. This, which is essential to due judgement, can be found only in him who searcheth the reins and hearts, and can make due application of the law, in all its aspects, to the whole conduct and character of those to be judged; and his the infinite power to execute that law, as well in the bestowment of its rewards, as in the infliction of its punishments.

Hence the Scriptures speak of God as “the judge of all,” (Heb. 12:23); and of his judgement according to truth and righteousness, which cannot be escaped, Rom. 2:2, 3, 5. In the Apocalyptic vision, John “saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne” when the books were opened for judgement. Rev. 20:12, 13.

But this judgement is not by God, as God. Jesus told the Jews that “neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgement unto the Son.” John 5:22. The cause of this is that the Son is not only divine, but human, and that his relation to humanity endows him with peculiar qualifications for this office, which, like those for the salvation of man, could not be possessed by one only divine. Christ, therefore, taught his disciples that the judge would be the “Son of Man,” (Matt. 16:27, 28; 25:31-34), and declared to the Jews, that the Father “gave him [his Son] authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man.” John 5:27. Indeed, it would seem that the judgement is to be exercised peculiarly by Christ as man; for it is at least especially announced of him in his nature. Peter preached to Cornelius, concerning Jesus of Nazereth, “that this is he which is ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead.” Acts 10:42. Paul wrote of “the day when God shall judge the secrets of men according to my gospel by Jesus Christ,” (Rom. 2:16); and encouraged the Corinthians by declaring that “we must all be made manifest before the judgement seat of Christ,” (2 Cor. 5:10) and, on Mars’ Hill, announced that God had “appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained.” Acts 17:31.

We cannot hope to understand all the reasons for this appointment of Christ, as Son of Man, to the judgement of all. They are connected, in part, with the position of King and Lord, to which he has been assigned for the complete triumph of his kingdom, and the manifestation of God’s power and grace. They are also doubtless associated with the relation which, as man, he occupies to mankind, and especially to the church of “first-born ones.” But it is certain that, by the connection of the office of judge with Christ as man, is removed every obstacle in the way of a public, visible judgement. Since it is the Son of God who is the Son of Man, all that makes it necessary that God be the judge is found in him. But as man, the judge is no longer the invisible God, who can only be seen in the works of his Creation, and Providence; but God in Christ, the Godman, in his visible material form, who, therefore, can be manifested before the eyes of all, in a judgement which is, not simply general, as inclusive of all, but public, as openly manifested before all. It appears, therefore, that the person of the judge adds another reason to those heretofore mentioned why any judgement which occurs at death will be supplemented by, and consummated in, the final judgement of the last day.

 

IV. THE PURPOSES OF THIS PUBLIC JUDGEMENT.

Still further proof of the same fact will appear from some, at least, of the purposes of this public judgement.

1. In the purpose fulfilled by the revelation of it to men in this life. The conviction of such a judgement to come produces a decided influence for good upon the conduct of men in this life. Doubtless is it on this account that it is taught so plainly, and so frequently, and in so many ways, that none should fail to be impressed with the certainty of its occurrence. This would, indeed, in no small degree, be accomplished by the knowledge of a private and individual judgement at the hour of death. But it is manifest that this effect is greatly enhanced by the terrors and solemnities with which the Bible clothes the scenes of that day. That its publicity is in itself fearful is evident from the extent with which even those shrink from a revelation of their sins, who as believers in Jesus, confidently hope for a favourable sentence from God. The question so frequently asked whether the sins, as well as the good works, of God’s people will then be revealed, is the fruit of this apprehension.

It is probable, however, that the influence of the expectation of this judgement is unimportant, as compared with the purposes connected with it actual occurrence. These are to be found in the manifestations of God, and Christ, and of men in that great day.

2. The purposes that appear in connection with the day itself.

(1.) As to God.

(a.) It will furnish a worthy arena for the display of the attributes of God. A continuous purpose of God, in connection with his intelligent creatures, has been to make known to them the glory of his character. This is assigned as a reason even of his spiritual quickening of his people together with Christ. Eph. 2:4-7. Now, no mention can be made of any one of his attributes, which he has thus far revealed, which will not, at the judgement day, be signally displayed. This will be especially true of his vindicatory justice, the perfection of which has been, in some degree, dimmed, while, because of his forbearance and grace, he has delayed the due punishment of sin. Hence, this day is called “the great day of their wrath,” (Rev. 6:17), and “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God.” Rom. 2:5. Yet, how signally will then, also, appear the wisdom of his purpose, the truth and faithfulness of his promises, his power to accomplish his will, his universal benevolence, his sacrificing love, his unbounded mercy, his delivering power, his conquering grace, and, not to attempt to enumerate further, everything that can be imagined as constituting that holiness which, in one word, embraces all moral perfection.

(b.) The wisdom and equity of God, in his providential and gracious dealings with men, will then, also, be apparent. These often give rise to perplexity, even in those who most firmly believe in God as one who does all things justly, and well. In this life men are called to exercise faith in God in all these matters. That faith will be vindicated by the manifestations at that time both of his character and acts. The inequalities of this life, and the prosperity of the wicked, and the adversity of the righteous, will then be not only equalized, but all will clearly see the wisdom, justice, and goodness of God, in giving them a place here in his providential government. It is more than probable that, in the full exhibition of all his purposes in Creation and Grace, that insoluble problem of this life, — the presence of sin in a world created, and governed by an Almighty, and Holy God, — will become a manifestation of unspeakable glory in God. Then, too, will appear, even more plainly than now, the righteousness of his choice of some to salvation, and condemnation of others for sin; and, also, the full responsibility of men for every sin, even when their circumstances and previous action have rendered certain things which they will do. Then, too, will be seen such sufficiency, in each man, of the light possessed, if he had walked therein, and of his power for good, if he had exercised it, as makes him guilty in the sight of God, and worthy of the punishment which he will inflict.

(2.) As to Christ.

But it is not simply the revelation of God; but of God in Christ.

(a) In that wonderful combination by which the created spirit, and even created matter of human nature were, through the making flesh of the divine word, (John 1:14), enabled to do that work which neither man nor God could separately do. Where, but on the throne of judgement, could this personage be seen by any except those who are made partakers of his glory? How fit is his appearance to fill with anguish those who have rejected him, and with exultation and praise all those who have trusted him. He appears not only as Judge, but as King and Lord, whose dominion as Lord is now shown to be universal, and whose kingship, in the hearts of his people, he now rewards by welcoming them to entrance into his joy, and participation in his glory.

(b) The glory of Christ’s work will also then appear.

In its displays of the divine attributes; of truth, in the fulfillment in him of the threatened curse of sin for all those saved by him; of inexorable justice, which requires that honouring of the law, not only in obedience, but also in penalty, exacted even from the Son of God, from him that is the fellow of Jehovah; and of love and mercy, which demand to be exercised even at the cost of the most fearful sacrifice. Pre-eminently will the glory of that work be seen in the harmony displayed in the exercise of these attributes; of justice in a way of mercy and love; of each of these in a way of justice, and all of them in a way of holiness and truth. The judgement day will clearly exhibit these perfections, and their harmony, to all the intelligences of God.

The glory of that work will also be seen in the manifested conquest of Satan. For the accomplishment of the purpose of God, he has long been permitted to exercise power and malignity. It will, at the judgement day, appear that it was always done by the sufferance of God, who chose not to conquer, and punish him and his angels, except through the Son of Man. The fact that this victory over Satan has not been one of divine power, but has been wrought out by the Son of God in his human nature, renders his defeat more signal and humiliating to him. It is a complete avengement of the temptation of the first Adam.

The delivering power from sin shown in the work of Christ will also exhibit its glory in a peculiar manner.

We can imagine an angel willing to undertake the conquest of Satan at the command of God. But, here was the work which no angel would have attempted, nor even had any hope of accomplishing. There were many problems, in connection with it, which could not be solved. How is the penalty which has been incurred to be endured, or to be escaped? How is the righteousness demanded, to be fulfilled, now that man has become a sinner? How can sin be eradicated, and an unholy nature be restored to its purity and original righteousness? How is another to secure these things in men? And, if not secured in them, how can the sin of a sinner, both in action and condition, be hidden from God? How can God be just and yet justify the ungodly?

Christ has solved all these problems, and more than done all the work which was needed. The sinner, united by faith to Christ, has now an assured safety, an unfailing righteousness, a more than sufficient satisfaction, a covert utterly impenetrable by the wrath or justice of God; and he will stand before the judgement seat of Christ, in the presence of men and angels, to manifest his Saviour’s power in eradicating sin, by the good works wrought out by that Saviour’s disciple in mortal flesh, even under the higher law of Christian duty.

(3.) As to man.

With respect to man especially, the purposes of the judgement day make it fit that it should be general, and public.

(a.) Because then will be revealed the character and acts of men.

It is set forth as a day when “each one of us shall give account of himself to God,” (Rom. 14:12), which account shall comprise “every idle word that men shall speak.” Matt. 12:36. This is to be at that time “when God shall judge the secrets of men.” Rom. 2:16. The object of this trial is not to ascertain what men have done, but to make manifest to those who are judged, as well as to all others, the things which are already known to God. To this end, even the sins unknown to the offenders, and good deeds, forgotten by the righteous, will be brought to light. Matt 25:31-46. We are told that the Lord “will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall each man have his praise from God.” 1 Cor. 4:5.

(b.) Because then will judgement be made as to each individual.

For this cause is it that “we must all be made manifest before the judgement seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:12. The very name of the day shows the object of its appointment, and the nature of the transactions in this direction, which will then occur. The descriptions of the judgement day, however figurative they may be supposed to be, mark this as an undoubted teaching of God’s word. The wicked are condemned, because both of character and conduct. How this may be, can easily be understood. But the righteous are accepted, and rewarded, upon the same grounds. The reason of this is not so apparent. It doubtless is based upon the meritorious work of Christ, through which, by faith, they have been justified by God even in this life. But the references to their own personal acts show, also, a personal justification in that great day. This is the justification by works, seen in them even while on earth. It is the manifestation of the life-giving principle imparted to them on earth in regeneration, and exhibited by them during the processes of sanctification. The good works are the fruits of that vital union with Christ, by which “the life also of Jesus” is “manifested in our body.” 2 Cor. 4:10; (cf. Gal. 2:20, and Rom. 8:1-4).

In the judgement, unto which men will thus be brought in the last day, there will be account taken of the light and knowledge which they have possessed. The heathen will be judged by a different law from that which will be applied to those who have had the light of revelation. Paul plainly teaches that the former have a law under which they live, (Rom. 2:14, 15), in want of conformity to, and violation of which they are “worthy of death,” (Rom. 1:32); and that they are judged only by the law which they have. Rom. 2:12. Christ taught the same truth, generally, as applied to all the various degrees of knowledge, when he spoke of the servants, to be beaten with few or many stripes, according to their knowledge of their Lord’s will. Luke 12:47, 48. He also taught it especially in comparing the degrees of guilt and condemnation of those who enjoy the knowledge of the gospel and those who lived before its proclamation. Matt. 12:41, 42; Luke 11:29-32; (cf. John 12:47, 48).

(c.) That the judgement is public and general is seen in what is said of the public bestowment of rewards and punishments.

The language here may perhaps be figurative, but must mean something, and can mean no less than the publicity of the awards Christ will give. No private judgement at death would account for the statements that all are to be gathered before Christ, and are to be separated by him into those on the right hand and those on the left, (Matt. 25:32, 33); nor for the declaration that, “in the end of this world, the Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity,” Matt 13:41; nor for that further teaching in v. 49, that “the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the righteous.”

 

V. THE PLACE OF THE FINAL JUDGEMENT.

It is evident, from what we have already seen, that the judgement scenes will occupy some place in the universe of God. Christ is to appear as the Son of Man, and, therefore, clothed in the body of his human nature, although that body will then have been glorified. The bodies of men, both righteous and the wicked, will have been previously raised, so that they shall be judged in the body for the deeds done in the body. The bodies, then, both of the Lord and of all men, will not only occupy space, but will so occupy it as to be mutually recognized as being in space.

The place may also be believed to be in some connection with our present earth. It is fit that this, which has been the scene of all the events which will culminate in the judgement day, shall also be the place of that final trial. It is natural to suppose that, as the first coming of the Lord was to this earth, to bear sin for the redemption of man, so his second coming in triumph, without sin unto salvation, will be to that part of the universe which has been thus signally distinguished as the theatre of God’s most gracious work. The statements of Scripture are indeed meagre, but they say nothing which may not be interpreted in perfect consistency with this opinion. Yet, after all, the conclusion that the trial will be in connection with this earth, is so much a matter of inference only, as not to forbid that it may be at some other point in the universe. All that we are definitely told is that “we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord,” (1 Thess. 4:17), and that “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Pet. 3:10. But, while this does not deny, it does not necessarily teach, the destruction of the whole universe. The catastrophe may be limited to this earth and its atmosphere, and yet all the phenomena mentioned may occur. We also know that combustion of matter is not its destruction, but only a change in its form. This accords with the prediction of a new heavens and a new earth, (2 Pet. 3:13), and with those expressions which refer to it as a “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21), and teach “that creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.” Rom. 8:21. But, whether the earth alone is to be purified by fire, or, as seems not so probable, the whole universe; or whether the judgement scene is to be connected with earth, or with some other point in the present, or in the renewed universe, it seems certain that it must be in some place. The place which is most probable is in connection with the point of space now occupied by this earth, and either in the atmosphere above it, during or after the configuration, or on the earth itself before it shall be burned.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

Chapter 39-Death and the Soul’s Immortality

September 24, 2014 2 comments

Death and the Soul’s Immortality

WE proceed next to the consideration of the death of man, and other topics which are intimately connected with it. In the present chapter will be discussed death; the immortality of the soul; and the condition of the latter between the hour of death, and that of reunion with the body.

I. DEATH.

The term death is most commonly applied to that separation of soul and body which is the most manifest form in which the penalty of sin is seen among men. That there is a death of the soul also, and that it is something far more terrible than the death of the body, has been shown in the chapter on the “Effects of Adam’s sin,” pp. 239-247. But, this death of the soul is spiritual in its nature, and does not forbid the continued existence of the soul; and its dread realities will be more plainly evinced in the unseen hereafter. Consequently the separation of body and soul makes a more profound impression among living men, and to it the term death is almost exclusively appropriated.

It is sometimes called “natural,” or “physical” death, to distinguish it from that which is “spiritual;” the death “of the body,” as opposed to that “of the soul;” and “temporal” death, in contrast with that which is everlasting.

This separation of body and soul is the almost universal destiny of men. The Scriptures, however, teach that Enoch did not die but “God took him,” Gen. 5:24, and that he “was translated that he should not see death,” Heb. 11:5; also that Elijah “went up by a whirlwind into heaven,” 2 Kings 2:11. Some have supposed that, in like manner Moses escaped death, but it is expressly stated that he died, and was buried in the land of Moab. Deut. 34:5, 6. But Paul declared that at the second coming of the Lord, “we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4:17. Even more explicitly he said “we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Cor. 15:51, 52. This is the fashioning anew of “the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory” foretold in Phil. 3:21.

But, while death comes thus almost universally to all, there is a marked difference between its connection with the righteous, and with the wicked.

The death of the wicked is easily accounted for. It constitutes a part of the penalty of sin, to which, the Scriptures teach, all men are liable (Rom. 5:12, 14; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22, 53-56), but from which, as such, the people of God are exempted because Christ has redeemed then from the curse of the law. The “death of the saint” instead of being accursed, is “precious in the sight of the Lord,” (Ps. 116:15), and this because he has redeemed them. Ps. 72:14. His death is a death “unto the Lord.” Rom. 14:8. Death is his. 1 Cor. 3:22. Its sting has been removed. 1 Cor. 15:56. But no one of these things is true of the wicked. He has neglected, or rejected the offer of salvation through Christ Jesus. There is no other method of escape from the penalty; and it rests upon him in all it fulness.

It is not so easy to account for the death of the righteous. As he is no longer liable to the penalty of sin, there is no legal ground upon which he must endure death, and, because of which, he cannot be released. This is confirmed by the fact that some righteous have not died, and others will only be changed. But, while death may not thus be legally necessary, it may subserve many purposes in the gracious providence of God, and is, ordinarily, the best way for the Christian to attain the “change” for which he is destined. This should be believed even if it could in no respect be explained.

It ought not to be forgotten that this is not the only dealing of God with his people, which evidently arises from some wise purpose which he has not fully revealed. They might have been taken out of the world as soon as they were justified. Yet, that this is graciously and wisely prevented, is evident from Christ’s declining to pray for it. John 17:15. They might have been preserved from affliction, and persecution, and similar inflictions from God or man. That these are blessed to them, is no proof that they would not have been more blessed without them, for they are taught to look forward to greater bliss in their exemption from them in heaven. Our Lord prayed that they might be kept from the Evil One, and they are doubtless protected from his power in answer to this prayer, but they are still left subject to his influences, and temptations, and are very far from escaping the presence and pollution of sin. In all of these things, we see some reasons for the action of God, though our knowledge is imperfect and incomplete. It ought not to be thought strange if, in like manner, we can only account partially for the death of true believers.

1. Some have thought that, for the attainment of perfect sanctification, it is necessary that the soul and body be separated, and the body reduced to its original elements. That this is not necessary is manifest from the examples of exemption from death already stated. But it may be admitted to be the ordinary method which God has ordained for such sanctification. For the desired perfection, there must be removal of the passions and appetites of the flesh by which man is tempted not only from himself, but through himself. The “change” at the last day accomplishes this in an extraordinary manner. The more ordinary method of God seems to be through death, in which, by its separation from the sinful body, the soul is freed from these temptations, and enabled to live perfectly the life of holiness for which it longs.

2. Another opinion which has been expressed, is, that death is natural to man, and that it, from its nature, becomes the means of his passing from a lower to a higher condition; in which through a more advanced organism the soul may live a more exalted life.

This opinion may be held either about the original, or the fallen condition of man. If about the original condition, it involves the position that the body of man was created mortal, and that its death, as a penalty, was not something superadded when man sinned; but is simply the natural condition of man’s life used by God as penalty, and so made known to man.

If held, however, only as to man’s present natural condition, it would not necessarily involve an original mortality.

As to this opinion, in either form, as well as to the former, it is necessary that it recognize death simply as the ordinary method of man’s passing into another life; for in respect to each of them the exemption of some shows that the end may be by other means accomplished. It derives some support from the analogy of the necessity of death in the seed for its change to a higher form presented in 1 Cor. 15:36-38.

3. Death is supposed by some to be necessary for a life of faith, rather than of sight, in the Christian. It is thought, that, on this account, it would be injurious to make so marked a distinction between the righteous, and the wicked, as would exist in the death of the latter and the change of the former in some other way. But the reason for this opinion is not apparent. It might be true, were the Christian personally changed in body as soon as he believes. But it would not be, if the change should occur only at the time when, otherwise, his death would take place. Doubtless the translation of Enoch was one fitted to produce a profound impression on his contemporaries. It certainly had had no evil influence on his own life. So, if the Christian should have no other certainty of exemption from death, than he now has of salvation, he could derive no motives from that exemption which would militate against his life of faith. It is much more probably because God does not choose to continue the miraculous testimony to the truth of Christianity throughout all time. But had he done this, the lives of Christians in the later ages would have been no less lives of faith than were those of Apostolic times.

4. It has been more generally stated that death is a means of chastisement. It has been shown that, while suffering is common to both, it is inflicted in punishment, by an angry God, in the way of penalty and in chastisement, but by a loving Father, only for correction and discipline; and thus, that the same event, death, may be a curse to the wicked, and a blessing to the righteous. It has been argued that this is the reason why even a Christian man must die. This is true so far as the death of a Christian is a cause of suffering and pain, either in death itself, or in his contemplation of it. It is undoubtedly often a cause of this kind. Even to the Christian it assumes not always an aspect altogether pleasant. He naturally shrinks from its loathsome embrace. It is an enemy, even if it is “the last enemy,” and one over which he is “more than conqueror.” But death is not always regarded with dread. The Christian’s thoughts sometimes leap forward to it with exultant joy. Especially is it true, that seldom, if ever, in the hour of death is the true Christian filled with apprehension and gloom. His own death becomes no chastisement in the event itself. God in that hour gives such sustaining grace that each of his servants is hopeful, peaceful, joyful, even sometimes triumphant.

5. Whether able or not definitely to state on what grounds the Christian is subjected to death, we know that it is a blessing to him. The inquiry into its cause and the various reasons suggested proceed apparently on the supposition that it is an evil which it would be desirable had he been spared. But the Scriptures speak of death as among the “all things” which belong to the Christian. 1 Cor. 3:22. This does not deny its possibly painful character, but asserts that, however painful, it is made his possession, and therefore is used for his benefit. This is in accordance with the universal law of blessing to him which the apostle announces in Rom. 8:28: “We know that to them that love God all things work together for good, to them that are called according to his purpose.” The principle of this law, however, admits either blessing or suffering. The suffering in connection with death was pointed out under the previous division. It will suffice briefly to indicate here some of the blessings also associated with it.

(1.) Death is a blessing to the Christian because, through its contemplation, his sanctification and purification in this life is carried forward. This contemplation of it includes all aspects in which it presents itself, whether painful or otherwise.

(2.) It is a blessing because in it he looks forward to the attainment of final freedom from sin and to perfect sanctification.

(3.) It is a blessing because he recognizes it as the portal to the possession of eternal life.

(4.) Death is a blessing because it gives him an opportunity of giving strong testimony in favor of Christ and his religion.

(5.) It is felt to be a blessing because it opens the doors to immediate conscious personal presence with his Saviour.

These points are obvious and need not be elaborated.

 

II. IMMORTALITY.

When the immortality of the soul is spoken of, its unending future life is usually meant. This is the immortality which is common to the righteous, and the wicked. The righteous, however, possess, also, that true immortality which the Scriptures teach to be that of the true life of the soul.

1. The unending life of the soul has been argued upon various grounds.

(1.) Reason alone has been supposed by many to furnish adequate arguments in proof of its truth.

(a.) The longing of the soul for immortal existence has been deemed to be an instinct implanted within, which gives assurance of its gratification. But, while, with a few, there may have been aspirations after a nobler and better life than that of earth, it may be questioned whether, in the vast multitude of men, there is more than a shrinking from the loss of such life as is possessed in the present stage of existence. The instinct seems, therefore, to be rather that dread of death which is not unknown to the mere animal, and which is given for the protection of the life that now is, and not as a basis of hope of that which may be hereafter.

(b.) The inequality, which is so manifest in the apportionment of good and evil to the characters and conduct of men on earth, has, almost universally, led to the belief of a future life, in which these will be duly adjusted. But, by these facts, is taught merely a future life, and not one necessarily of an unending duration; but only of sufficient length for such adjustment. It is the Word of God alone that teaches that the bliss or woe, which is the portion of man at death, will continue forever. It must be acknowledged, however, that, as universal as has been the belief in a state of future rewards and punishments, equally so has been the opinion that it shall never end.

(c.) This general belief in an unending life, has also been accounted for on the supposition that it is an intuitive perception of the mind. But it does not appear that such knowledge as reason can give of what the soul is, and of what endless existence means, awakens at once the conviction that the soul must exist forever. The most thoughtful men, who have been guided by nature only, have been afflicted with doubts, and alternate hopes, and fears, without attaining more than earnest, or, at most, confident expectations, much less such knowledge of a continuous future, as would result from the existence of an intuitive conception.

(d.) The capacity of indefinite progress in the mental and moral powers of men, has seemed, to many, to indicate a stage of being in which it may be developed. But no one will assert that there is here more than an indication, which is opposed by the evidence of the great waste in the productions of nature, and which, therefore, needs confirmation from some more decisive source to become other than a mere expectation.

(e.) Some metaphysicians have argued the indestructible nature of the soul from its pure simplicity. They have believed it to be uncompounded, and, therefore, incapable of dissolution, and consequent destruction. This is based upon the belief that it is purely spiritual, and that simplicity is a necessary attribute of spirit. But these facts are difficult to prove. They are by no means undisputed among those who rely on reason alone. It is from the Scriptures that we learn the different origin of body and soul, and that the latter came not from matter. Philosophy has not always regarded that soul as a unit. The terms “soul”, “mind”, and “spirit,” indicate a tendency to recognize, at least, some threefold aspects in the human spirit, in accordance with which, even while asserting the absolute unity of the soul, Mental Philosophy has recognized the threefold division of the will, the understanding, and the affections. It is well known that the most of the Grecian philosophers, following Plato, held to a distinction between [phi][upsilon][nu][kappa] (psuche, the animal life or soul), and [nu][omicron][upsilon][varsigma] (nous) and [pi][nu][epsilon][upsilon]ua (pneuma, the rational spirit). Even some Christian writers of our own day have maintained the same views. In this state of uncertainty, therefore, reason cannot speak convincingly of an ever continuing life of man, on the ground of the simplicity, and consequent indestructibility, of his spiritual nature.

It appears, therefore, that, from reason alone, all that can be attained, even as to a merely future state, is expectation; or at most belief upon uncertain grounds. It is true that, if it could be established, that the soul dies with the body, certain hopes, and fears would remain unaccounted for, and certain problems of divine government would be unexplained; but these could, at most, only produce conviction of some future state; and would prove nothing as to its unending or even indefinite duration.

(2.) The Scriptures, however, teach plainly the continued existence of all men after death.

(a.) It is everywhere assumed as a fact, neither to be doubted, nor proved; but that will be at once received without question.

(b.) The cases of Enoch and Elijah gave signal proof of another world than this into which even men might enter. But they furnished no evidence that any other than these two would go thither. They simply showed that the possible existence of men, otherwise than on this earth, has been actually realized in these servants of God. But, so far from thus furnishing conclusive proof of the future life of other men, the fact that these were not removed through death, but by extraordinary means, naturally suggested the possibility that exemption from death is necessary to that life, and that all those who go down to the grave perish together. It was only to those otherwise taught of the continued existence of the soul, that their removal gave confirmatory proof of such immortality. In like manner, we are taught the same truths by the presence of Moses, and Elijah, at the scene of the Transfiguration. The appearance at various times of angels to men furnishes additional proof of another world. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ confirm most conclusively the doctrine of a future life.

(c.) The Scriptures teach, in the account of the creation of man, that his soul did not originate from the dust; but was a direct spiritual creation of God. Gen. 2:7. They make further statements about the difference between soul, and body, confirmatory of the distinction made in their creation. Gen. 25:8; 35:29; Ecc. 12:7; Matt. 10:28; Acts 7:59.

(d.) They make express reference to the existence of the soul after death. 2 Sam. 12:23; Job 19:25-27. [Conant translates this passage. “But I, I know my Redeemer lives, and in aftertime will stand upon the earth; and after this my skin is destroyed, and without my flesh, I shall see God. Whom I, for myself, shall see, and my eyes behold, and not another, when my reins are consumed within me”]. Matt. 22:32; 25:46; Luke 16:19-31; John 11:25; 2 Cor. 5:1-4.

(e.) They make known that this future life is the lot of the wicked, as well as of the righteous; teaching that it is one of happiness to the latter, and of condemnation and misery to the former. Matt. 25:46; John 6:47; 12:25; 1 Cor. 15:17-20.

(f.) They declare the continuance of this, at least until the day of the Resurrection and Final Judgement. Job 21:30; Ecc. 3:17; Luke 14:14; John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15; Rom. 14:10; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Thess. 4:13-17.

(g.) They represent the decisions of the judgement day as fixing the destinies of men, for an unending existence. The evidence of this teaching will be given in the discussion of “The Judgement Day.”

The Scriptures are thus seen to teach conclusively the doctrine of an unending future life of all men. This, as has been stated, is what is commonly referred to as the immortality of the soul.

Before passing from this part of the discussion, special attention is called to the following statements of what is included in this kind of immortality.

1. Unending existence essentially belongs to spiritual natures. When, therefore, the Scriptures have taught that the soul is a spirit, the way is prepared for the metaphysical argument based upon the simplicity of the soul, and its consequent indestructibility. It is common, therefore, to speak of the natural immortality of the soul. By this is meant, that, because of its nature, it has an unending life. It has no elements of dissolution in it. Life belongs to it, because it is spirit. Just as God has made extension, and divisibility, properties of matter, so, has he made unending life a natural property of the spirit.

2. But this essential property of spirit must ever be recognized as one conferred upon it. It is because God has so made spirit, that it has unending life. It is not a property that belongs to it from any necessity in God, or out of God. It is the result of his purpose, or will, and of his power. He has made spirit to be thus, Because he has so willed. Doubtless, had he otherwise chosen, the result would have been different. To believe otherwise is to put an unjustifiable limit upon his power, and upon his absolute freedom of will, as to all outward matters. It thus appears that they speak falsely, even blasphemously, who say that God could not destroy, or annihilate spirit, if he should choose. That which prevents annihilation, is that he has not so chosen, and will not so choose.

The impossibility is not in the lack of power, but in the unchangeableness of his will. This is no imperfection of inability, but the highest perfection of immutability

The immortality, which has been thus far discussed, is that which is common to both the righteous and the wicked. In the beginning of this part of this chapter, it was stated that the righteous possess also that immortality which is the true life of the soul. The death of the soul, and its life, are set forth in the Word of God as something distinct, not only from that of the body, but even from the unending natural life of the soul. The spiritual death of the soul has been described in the chapter on the Effects of Adam’s Sin, pp. 239-247, as something different from natural death, and as constituting the most fearful of the penalties inflicted because of sin. It was there shown that the Scriptures describe it in the various aspects of alienation from God, loss of God’s favour, and corruption of the moral nature. The true immortality of the Christian consists in the removal of all these evils, and the bestowment upon him of their corresponding blessings. That this is done, and that this is the condition into which he is thus brought will abundantly appear from the following passages of Scripture. Matt. 10 :39; 16:25 (cf. Mark 8:35); 18:9; (parallel passages, Mark 9:45; Luke 9:24; 17:33; John 12:25); 19:17; John 3:36; 5:24, 40; 6:33, 35, 50-58, 63; 20:31; Rom. 6:4; 8:6, 13; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 4:18; 1 John 3:14; 5:12.

The contrast in immortality, between the righteous and the wicked, is very marked. “The wicked is thrust down in his evil doing: but the righteous hath hope in his death.” Prov. 14:32. “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish.” Prov. 11:7. But “blessed are the dead which die in the Lord;” . . . . “for their works follow with them.” Rev. 14:13.

The happiness of this immortality of the Christian is the greater because it is a state in which he is confirmed forever. The law of this condition, both of the righteous, and the wicked, is laid down in Rev. 22:11. “He that is unrighteous, let him do unrighteousness still:and he that is filthy, let him be made filthy still:and he that is righteous, let him do righteousness still:and he that is holy, let him be made holy still.” As the wicked shall not change his state, so shall not the righteous, his. The day of his trial and probation is over, and he stands secure of the bliss of heaven, confirmed by the unfailing promises of God. The scenes, through which he has passed on earth, fill him with no apprehensions that his weakness and insufficiency, will disable him from performing the perfect service of heaven. The recollection of Adam’s trial will suggest to him no possibility that he will be subjected to a test which will dissolve forever the bonds which unite him to God. Even the sin of the angels will not alarm him. For he is now assured of that “eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before times eternal.” Tit. 1:2. This is immortality indeed. This, and not mere continued life, is the life and immortality which he confers, “who abolished death, and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel.” 2 Tim. 1:10.

 

III. THE INTERMEDIATE STATE.

The Scriptures teach that the soul and body that have been separated in death, will be reunited at the Judgement Day. Meantime, the body crumbles into dust, and appears to be totally destroyed. The spirit has returned unto God who gave it. Ecc. 12:7. Hence, at his martyrdom, we hear the first dying Christian “calling upon the Lord, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Acts 7:59.

It is not in accordance with the methods of God in his revelations to man to answer the many inquiries which curiosity might suggest as to this intermediate state of the soul. But much more is taught about it than would at first be imagined. Such facts as are given are valuable to confirm and strengthen faith, and to give consolation. Those may first be mentioned which are common to the righteous and the wicked, and these may be followed by separate statements of the things wherein they differ.

1. As to those respects in which the condition of the righteous and the wicked is the same.

(1.) The soul exists without a body. Unquestionably it has not the body which it had on earth. But some have thought that it has some kind of a body, some spiritual body, which merely corresponds to, and is only thus identified with that of this life. But Paul’s discussion of the resurrection shows, that the “spiritual” body is one that is to be raised out of the grave in which the natural body was buried, and that it is “at the last trump” that “the dead shall be raised,” 1 Cor. 15:44, 52-54.

Some have argued, that body of some kind is necessary to give location to these spirits. But a spirit may have location without occupying space as a body does. Here may be recalled the quotation made by Hodge from Turretine as to the different relations that bodies, created spirits, and God, sustain to space; given on pages 72-73 of this volume.

(2.) The condition is consequently one of an imperfect life. It is the life of the spirit only, and not that of the man. Human nature is composed of both body and spirit; and his body is as truly a part of a man as is his soul. The condition, therefore, in which disembodied spirits exist, is not that of perfect men, but only of human spirits. This, which is an inference which may be drawn from the two-fold nature of man, is supported by the manner in which the Scriptures refer to the persons in this intermediate state. They are not spoken of as “men,” but as “souls,” and “spirits.” Heb. 12:23; Rev. 6:9; 20:4.

Another proof of this want of perfection of this condition is seen in the fact that the saints attain full entrance into their joy, and the wicked full infliction of their woe, only after the resurrection. Matt. 13:40-43, 49, 50; 25:34, 41, 46; 1 Cor. 15:44-54.

(3.) Both righteous and wicked have conscious life. This might have been inferred from the nature of spirit, which must always be in a state of conscious existence. But it is a plain teaching of the Bible. Luke 16:22-31. The word “Hades;” here means the place of departed spirits, and, as the scene occurs after the death of Lazarus, and before the final judgement, so must it be assigned to the intermediate state. In this the rich man is represented as in conscious torment.

The conscious condition of the righteous is taught in 2 Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 1:21-24; and also in the passages connected with Paradise. Luke 23:42,43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7; 22:2.

(4.) Neither the righteous nor the wicked are under probation in this intermediate state. Luke 16:22-31; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 22:11. Even if the language in 1 Pet. 3:19, 20 and 4:6 teaches, as some have taught, that our Lord went to the place of departed spirits, and preached to them; so that to those who had died up to the time of his death was given a probation in the gospel preached to them by him; that would be but a single instance of a favour shown to those who had died before his crucifixion; and, so far from proving a probation beyond the grave, would, from its exceptional character, imply the contrary.

2. The aspects of the intermediate state peculiar to the righteous.

(1.) It is a condition of happiness. Paul declared that “to die is gain,” and to depart this life far better than to remain in it. Phil. 1:21-24. He wrote to Timothy, looking forward exultingly to the hour of his death. 2 Tim. 4:6-8. He also referred to his longing for this future, as possessed by him in common with his brethren. 2 Cor. 5:1-8. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the happiness of the latter is described by his being in Abraham’s bosom. Luke 16:23.

(2.) It is a condition in which the believer is present with Christ. This is also taught in all the passages referred to in the previous paragraph, except the last; and constitutes in each of them the ground of the happiness which they declare.

(3.) The believer is also said to be in Paradise. Whatever this may mean, whether only a condition or a place, it is unquestionably true that it is intended to convey the idea of the enjoyment of very great happiness. The passages in which Paradise is mentioned are, Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7. That these teach that it is a place can only be denied on the ground that very highly figurative language is used. Only the first of these, however, refers to the presence of Christ with any one, and this contains only his promise to the thief on the cross, “To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” But the location of Paradise, as made known by the Apostle Paul, 2 Cor. 12:1-4, taken in connection with this first passage, makes it more than probable that it is the place where the saints are with Christ. The Scriptures teach that “Christ was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:11; Acts 2:33, 34; Acts 7:55, 56; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 10:12; 1 Pet. 3:22. We are also taught that he must there remain “until the times of restoration of all things.” Acts 3:21. Now, in the account Paul gives of his ecstatic vision in 2 Cor. 12:1-4, he tells us that he was “Caught up even to the third heaven,” and “caught up into Paradise,” which locates Paradise either in or above the third heaven, or makes the two identical. So also Rev. 2:7, taken in connection with Rev. 22:2 and 21:10-27, states that the tree of life, “which is in the Paradise of God,” is “in the midst of the street” of “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God,” in which was no temple, “for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are the temple thereof,” and is “on either side of the river,” which is described as “a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb.” The place of the abode of the saints is with Christ, who is in the heavens with God. It is to that place that most probably the name Paradise is given in the Scriptures.

(4.) In that abode the saints are not probably inactive. Some have thought this because their condition is spoken of as one of “rest” and “sleep.” But evidently the former of these terms is used simply to declare the end of the toils and labours of this life, and the enjoyment of exemption from their present spiritual as well as temporal trials. This does not imply that there are not intellectual and spiritual duties and meditations suitable to that abode, such as may give due scope to that activity, which seems essential to personal conscious spirits. The “sleep” more probably refers to the appearance of the body in death, and is beautifully expressive of the calm repose with which the Christian sinks into final dissolution.

(5.) Neither is the intermediate state a place of cleansing from sin. That it is so is held by the Church of Rome. That church teaches that at death all unbaptized adults, and all who have fallen into and continued in mortal sin after Baptism, go immediately to hell. All who have been baptized, and remain in union with that Church, and have attained a life of Christian perfection, go immediately to heaven. Unbaptized infants occupy what is called “the Limbus infantum,” a place in the higher part of hell, which the flames do not reach, and suffer only a “paenam damni” (penalty of loss), and have no share in the “paenam sensus” (penalty of actual suffering), which afflicts adult sinners. But “the great mass of partially sanctified Christians, dying in fellowship with the church, yet still encumbered with imperfections, go to purgatory, where they suffer, more or less intensely, for a longer or shorter period, until their sins are both atoned for and purged out, when they are translated to heaven, during which intermediate period they may be efficiently assisted by the prayers and labours of their friends on earth.”

“They confess that this doctrine is not taught distinctly in Scripture, but maintain, 1st, that it follows necessarily from their general doctrine of the satisfaction for sins; 2d, that Christ and the Apostles taught it incidentally. . . . They refer to Matt. 12:32; 1 Cor. 3:15.” Hodge’s Outlines of Theology, pp. 556, 557.

But the first of these passages is manifestly but a strong way of declaring that the sin referred to shall never be pardoned, without authorizing the inference that there are other sins which will be pardoned in the world to come. The second passage, by the various things which are built upon the true foundation, which, if false or insufficient, shall be burned, refers not to personal character, but to teachings.

This doctrine of purgatory is based upon the very unscriptural theory of salvation through personal works and sufferings, which the Church of Rome holds, in connection with sacramental grace, to be supplementary to the meritorious work of Christ. While it has no support from Scripture, it is opposed to all that the Scriptures teach about the intermediate state of the righteous.

3. The aspects of the intermediate state peculiar to the wicked.

The Scripture teaching here is much more meagre. The four statements already mentioned, in which their condition and that of the righteous are similar, comprise almost all that is said. As peculiar to them, however, may be added.

(1.) That Christ, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, speaks of their condition as (a) one of torment Luke 16:23-25, 28, (b) from which there is no escape to the condition of bliss of the righteous, verse 26, and (c) as endured in a place of torment, vs. 23, 28.

(2.) Those who interpret 1 Pet. 3:19, 20 as referring to a personal preaching by Christ to the dead in Hades, necessarily hold that the wicked are “in prison.” But, otherwise, we have no other proof than seems to be conveyed in the “impassable gulf” mentioned in Luke 16:26.

(3.) It is a place in which they are reserved for punishment in the day of judgement. 2 Pet. 2:9.

(4.) The only place spoken of in connection with the wicked during the intermediate state is Hades, or the place of departed spirits, which is always translated Hell in the King James version, but is transferred in the Canterbury Revision. The passages in which Hades is used are Matt. 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15; 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; Rev. 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14.

 

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-17-The Future Life

February 13, 2014 8 comments

The Future Life

 

1. What do the Scriptures teach about the immortality of the soul?

They teach that the soul will never die, but will live forever.

2. Do not our bodies die?

They do, and after death return to dust.

3. Will these bodies ever be raised to life again?

They will, at the judgment day.

4. What is the judgment day?

It is the day God has appointed in which to judge the world.

5. By whom will He do this?

By his Son, Jesus Christ.

6. What will be done with the wicked?

He will send them away into everlasting punishment.

7. Into what place will He send them?

Into Hell, the place of torment.

8. What will He do for the righteous?

He will give them life everlasting.

9. Where will they Live?

In Heaven with Jesus — the home of all the good.

10. Who alone of mankind will be the righteous?

Those who have attained to the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

 

James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

Confession statement 52

November 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

LII. THERE shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust, and everyone shall give an account of himself to God, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Acts 24:15; 1 Cor.5:10: Rom.14:12.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

Question 37-Puritan Catechism

September 19, 2013 2 comments

Spurgeon 1Q. What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?

A. At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory, (1 Corinthians 15:43) shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, (Matthew 10:32) and made perfectly blessed both in soul and body in the full enjoying of God (1 John 3:2) to all eternity. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Strength will be found in Christ

fullerIn this way, reader, you will find rest for your soul. In your journey to the heavenly world, you will have much to do, much to oppose, and it may be, much to suffer; but by a life of faith on him in whom you first believed, you will find strength equal to your day. Duties will be pleasant, temptations will be overcome, and the sufferings of this present life will work a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

To demonstrate God’s providence

March 19, 2013 3 comments

Arthur PinkArthur Pink answers the question of why there are two testaments in scripture; the old and the new:

Third, to demonstrate more clearly the wondrous providence of God: using the Jews for so many centuries to be the custodians of the Old Testament, which condemns them for their rejection of Christ; and in employing the papists throughout the dark ages to preserve the New Testament, which denounces their idolatrous practices.

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

The Israel of God

February 19, 2013 3 comments

IsraelJerusalemOldCityViewFromMountOfOlives1Ephesians 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

There is unity throughout the whole of scripture

January 29, 2013 3 comments

Arthur PinkWhile there be great variety in the teaching of the Word, there is an unmistakable unity underlying the whole. Though He employed many mouthpieces, the Holy Scriptures have but one Author; and while He

“at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” and “hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1,2),

yet He who spoke by them was and is One

“with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17),

who throughout all ages declares: “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). Throughout there is perfect agreement between every part of the Word: it sets forth one system of doctrine (we never read of “the doctrines of God,” but always “the doctrine”: see Deuteronomy 32:2; Proverbs 4:2; Matthew 7:28; John 7:17; Romans 16:17, and contrast Mark 7:7; Colossians 2:22; 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 13:9) because it is one single and organic whole. That Word presents uniformly one way of salvation, one rule of faith. From Genesis to Revelation there is one immutable Moral Law, one glorious Gospel for perishing sinners. The Old Testament believers were saved with the same salvation, were indebted to the same Redeemer, were renewed by the same Spirit, and were partakers of the same heavenly inheritance as are New Testament believers.

Arthur W. Pink The Application of Scriptures-A Study of Dispensationalism

 

Sinners cannot hide from God

December 24, 2012 Leave a comment

fuller

And will you go on to provoke Omnipotence? Canst thou escape his hand? Whither wilt thou flee? If, attentive to thy safety, the rocks could fall on thee, or the mountains cover thee, yet would they not be able to hide thee from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. God hath beset thee behind and before, and laid his hand upon thee. Whither wilt thou go from his spirit? Whither wilt thou flee from his presence? If thou ascend to heaven, he is there. Or if thou make thy bed in hell, behold, he is there!

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered