Saturday, February 28, 2009


"One never gossips about the secret virtues of others." --Jan Comenius

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Benefits of Studying Eschatology

1. Any study of any part of God’s Word is “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

2. In addition, there is a special blessing for studying the Book of Revelation. “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are all those who hear, and keep what is written in it.” Revelation 1:3

3. The Book of Revelation in particular, provides us with a glimpse of the glory and vindication of Christ and His regency, “Him who is seated on the throne who lives forever and ever.” Revelation 4:9

4. The Book of Revelation also provides us with a sense of how the whole pattern of redemption flows from the beginning of time to the very end—thus, providing us with an essential lens through which to better understand the Old Testament, its sacrificial rituals, and its covenantal declarations.

5. The Book of Revelation also provides us with a glimpse of the worship of Heaven, where “day and night they never cease to say, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” Revelation 4:8

6. This glimpse of worship in turn informs us about our own worship—and ultimately enlivens and enriches that worship as we seek to “follow the pattern of Heaven in all things.” Hebrews 8:5

7. The fulfillment of God’s prophetic promises and the outpouring of His prophetic judgment in history provides us with an understanding of both the character and nature of God but a blessed assurance of His purposes in days yet to come. Revelation 22:18-21

8. Eschatology invariably drives us back to a Kingdom perspective. Revelation 5:9-10

9. A Kingdom perspective will in turn stir in us a passion for gracious evangelism and merciful service. Revelation 7:9-12

10. All the apocalyptic literature of the Bible provides us with a vivid context within which to begin to work out the literary beauty and complexity of the Bible. Revelation 22:6-17

11. This literary beauty and complexity inevitably provokes us to a greater love and appreciation of the Scriptures. Revelation 11:17-18

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Eschatological Primer

1. Jesus warned His disciples against undue eschatological speculation or fixation. (Mtt 24:43, Mk 13:32, 1 Thes 5:2,4, Acts 1:6-11, Rev 16:15)
2. The “Day of the Lord” is mentioned or alluded to at least 226 times in the OT (Amos 5:18) and 19 times in the NT (1 Cor 1:8, Phil 1:6, 2 Thes 2:2).

3. But, these “Last Days” are not the “End Times.” (Heb 1:2, 1 Ptr 1:20, 1 Jn 2:18)

4. Traditionally, eschatological theology is confined to the “Seven Great Endings.” These are:

a. Death (Gen 2:17, Ps 23:4, Ps 90:6-12, Ps 116:15, Rm 5:12-17)
b. The Intermediate State (1 Cor 15:26, 53, 2 Cor 5:4, 1 Thes 4:14, Heb 2:14-15)
c. The 2nd Coming of Christ (Mtt 25:13, Mk 8:38, Lk 12:40, Acts 1:7-10)
d. The Resurrection of the Dead (Rm 8:23, 1 Cor 15:12-49)
e. The Day of Judgment (Ps 96:13, Eccl 12:14, Mtt 10:14, Mtt 25: 31-46)
f. Hell (Ps 9:17, Mtt 7:13, 2 Thes 1:9, 2 Ptr 2:4, Rev 20:10)
g. The New Heavens and Earth (Isa 65:17, 2 Ptr 3:13, Rev 21:1)

5. The “Millennium” is only mentioned in six verses in a single chapter out of the whole Bible. (Rev 20:1-10). The “Battle of Armageddon” is never actually fought (Ezk 38-39, Rev 16:16). And, there is not a single “Antichrist” but rather many (1 Jn 2:18, 2 Jn 1:7) who have the “spirit of antichrist.” (1 Jn 4:3)

6. The idea of a “Rapture” is not actually mentioned—instead, it is extrapolated from a handful of isolated “proof texts.” (1 Thes 4:16-17, Mtt 24: 40-41) If anything, the idea is more applicable to the enemies of God than the remnant of God. (Mtt 23:2, Mtt 24:45-46)

7. Most of the prophecies of impending judgment mentioned in the New Testament were slated for fulfillment “very soon,” in that “very generation.” (Mtt 23:36, Mtt 24:34, Mk 13:30, Lk 21:32) Thus, the apocalyptic literature of the NT revealed impending judgment upon Jerusalem—largely fulfilled in 70 AD.

8. The special status of Israel is a mystery in the sense that God’s promises have been transferred to the Church, the New Israel (Rm 9:6-7, Rm 11:17-24), and yet the Jews remain a central focus of God’s redemptive work in the world. (Rm 11:1-10, 25-32)

9. There are no new or mysterious symbols used in the Revelation. Instead, the book draws on the rich literary and theological imagery of the Old Testament. (Rev 1:3)

10. Remember that all Bible prophecy has both an immediate context and fulfillment and an ongoing context and fulfillment. (Rev 22:18-20)

11. Remember too that there are still many events in the Victory of Christ and the Gospel, which have yet to occur—and thus there remain many outstanding promises for the future.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tolkien's Work Ethic

"It's a job that's never started that takes longest to finish."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Some Basic Hermeneutical Reminders

1. Remember the one, central story: the whole Bible is about just one thing. The pattern of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration runs throughout the Old and New Testaments.

2. Remember that the Bible is its own best commentary. The Word interprets itself; Scripture explains Scripture.

3. Remember to read individual passages in their context—textual, literary, symbolic, historical, cultural, grammatical, and theological.

4. Remember that all Biblical revelation is intended to reveal. Always look for the most obvious literary sense of a text.

5. Remember that all Scripture is inspired and superintended by the Holy Spirit. So, every little detail matters.

6. Remember that Scripture has only one meaning but multiple applications—so, it is important to distinguish between indicatives and imperatives.

7. Remember that we read translations of the Bible. All languages have strengths, weaknesses, and peculiarities—and moving from Greek and Hebrew to one of our modern languages (such as 21st century American English) will always require some additional scrutiny and study.

8. Remember that we must always interpret experience in light of Scripture; not the other way around.

9. Remember that the New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New.

10. Remember that "there is nothing new under the sun." So, beware of innovative or novel interpretations of Scripture. Steer clear of new “discoveries” in Biblical revelation. We have a rich legacy of wisdom passed down to us from throughout church history so we should consult good commentaries whenever possible--and look to the "old paths" more often than not.

11. Remember that we should always read Scripture prayerfully, submitting to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.