Drawing from the Well, 1/24/17

For an introduction to the series, read this.

We come today to the final article in my church’s statement of faith, based on the Baptist Faith and Message. It is focused on eschatology, or the doctrine of last things.

Statement of Faith Article for the Week

VIII. LAST THINGS

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Thoughts for Discussion with Children

No story is complete without a proper ending. The Bible tells us that we are living in a story that is headed toward a very happy ending. Actually, it is a very happy ending for some, but not for others. And that’s how most stories go: at the end, the hero and his friends celebrate victory, and the villains have fallen to defeat.

But everything in this story is focused on one Man: Jesus Christ. He is the hero. At his first coming, he was born as a baby to a poor family, and he came to be put to death by his enemies so that he could save us from our sins. When he comes again, he will come in power and glory, with his mighty angels, to judge all who oppose him and rescue all who love him. The Bible teaches that God will judge all people through Jesus Christ, the God-man, dividing us all up into two groups of believers and unbelievers. So, in the end, there are two places we can go: some will have life forever with God in Heaven, and some will suffer under punishment for their sins forever in Hell. There is no other option.

So there is nothing more important than knowing, trusting, loving, and following Jesus right now. That is what determines how this story will end for you. That is what will make all the difference between Heaven and Hell. And yet, when we finally come to the end of the story, we will find that it is really just another beginning, the beginning of a joyful life beyond anything we have ever imagined. And because God never ends, our life with him will never end. Praise him for that hope, and live for that coming day.

Suggested Readings for the Week: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:1-22:8

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Progressive Covenantalism and Israel: How I Changed My Mind

Until recently, I would have considered myself somewhere on the spectrum of what is called “progressive dispensationalism,” meaning I expected the kingdom of God to include a future phase of a national restoration of a redeemed Israel in Christ, with full possession of the land promised to her as part of the inheritance of the whole earth for all of God’s redeemed people. I came to this conclusion some time back based largely on Paul’s argument in Romans 9-11. My reasoning went like this: Continue reading

Covenantal Typology: A Proposal

Often times, when we discuss types in Scripture, we may assume that an Old Testament type passes away when the New Testament antitype brings it to fulfillment. Often times, this is the case. Here are some examples:

  • The Old Testament Levitical priesthood has now passed away. It pointed us forward to Christ, who is now our permanent high priest in the order of Melchizedek (see Hebrews 7). Fulfillment requires the passing away of the type.
  • The Old Testament sacrificial system has now passed away. It pointed us forward to Christ, who is now our permanent sacrifice (see Hebrews 10). Again, fulfillment requires the passing away of the type.
  • The Old Testament holy places (tabernacle, then temple) have now passed away. Jesus is the true Temple, the new covenant locus of God’s presence with us. Fulfillment requires the passing away of the type.

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A New (to Me) Argument for Premillennialism

I’m preaching through the book of Daniel, and I came across a few verses in chapter 7 that seem to cohere best with a premillennial theology, and these are verses that I personally don’t remember ever seeing brought into the discussion of eschatology models.

Daniel 7 is an account of Daniel’s vision of four beasts who emerge from the sea: a lion with wings, a bear with three ribs in its mouth, a four-headed, four-winged leopard, and an unidentified, terrifying fourth beast with ten horns, from which emerges a little horn different from the others. My understanding of these beasts is that they represent successive human kings/kingdoms (see vv. 17, 23), pictured as horrifying beasts in order to demonstrate the horror of human rebellion against God. Continue reading