This essay is an excerpt from a work in progress, entitled, The High King of Heaven: Discovering the Master Keys to the Great End Time Debate. In essence, the book is an exposition and defense of the eschatology of the classic Reformation, according to which Christ will return once, at the end of the age, to raise the dead, judge the world in righteousness, and bring in the new heavens and the new earth, the eternal Kingdom of God. This essay, and all the rest in this series, is meant to show how the NT richly supports this understanding of the Consummation.

THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT OF GOD

Interpreting 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10

In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, eschatological teaching appears even more prominently than in the first. The Thessalonians continue to endure severe persecution (1 Thess. 3:3, 2 Thess. 1:4). Because of this, and because of the apostle’s earlier teaching, they eagerly await the Coming of their Lord (1 Thess. 1:10). Now, however, a rumor is circulating, a rumor to the effect that “the Day of the Lord has come”— that Christ’s return is “at the very door” (Mt. 24:33). As a result, the Thessalonians are troubled, shaken from their spiritual composure (2 Thess. 2:2). Doubtless a vigorous debate has arisen in their congregations, seeing that the rumor does not square with Paul’s previous instruction (2 Thess. 3:5). Also, certain men, previously reproved for their indolence, are likely using this rumor as an excuse to dodge the responsibility of work (1 Thess. 4:11-12, 5:14). In the good providence of God, Paul gets wind of these things and again takes pen in hand.

Read More

This essay is an excerpt from a book in progress, entitled, The High King of Heaven: Discovering the Master Keys to the Great End Time Debate. In essence, it is an exposition and defense of the eschatology of the classic Reformation, according to which Christ will return once, at the end of the age, to raise the dead, judge the world in righteousness, and bring in the new heavens and the new earth, the eternal Kingdom of God. Lord willing, the book will be published in mid-2013.

THE COMFORT OF HIS COMING

Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians contain some of the New Testament’s richest veins of eschatological instruction. Written from Corinth around AD 50-51, they reveal that the apostle’s early ministry to European Gentiles was charged with a lively expectation of Christ’s soon return (1 Thess.1:10, 2:19, 3:11-13; cf. Acts 17:16ff, 1 Cor. 15).

They also reveal a problem among the Thessalonians: Paul’s Jewish opponents had forced him quickly to flee the city, with the result that some of his converts were left confused (or ignorant) about his teaching on the afterlife and the Consummation (Acts 17:1-9). These letters feature Paul’s painstaking efforts to clear up every such misunderstanding. As a result, they speak often, and in great detail, about the Last Things: the signs of Christ’s Parousia, the nature and purpose of his Parousia, the Resurrection, the Judgment, and the World to Come (1 Thess. 4:13-18, 5:1-10; 2 Thess. 1:3-12, 2:1-13). Accordingly, they are a vast treasure-trove of eschatological truth!

To read the rest of this article, please click here. 

Note: This article is an excerpt from a book in progress, called The High King of Heaven. It’s great goal is to show that the classic eschatology of the early Church and the Reformation is indeed the biblical one; that Christ will come again once, at the end of the age, to raise the dead, judge the world in righteousness, and bring in the new heavens and the new earth, the eternal home of the redeemed. Our text from Philippians, like so many others in the NT, seems clearly to teach this very thing. 

All Things Subjected to Himself

(Philippians 3:17-21)

I have touched on this text several times, but want to linger over it here, seeing that in two short (and very inspiring) verses, the apostle marvelously encapsulates, reiterates, and confirms his entire eschatology.

In this brief paragraph, Paul is exhorting the saints to imitate him and their other leaders (17). In order to move them to do so, he brings before their eyes the final destiny of both sinners and saints. As for worldly, gluttonous, and licentious men, who walk as enemies of the Cross of Christ, their (final) end is destruction, by which Paul means, not annihilation, but eternal “tearing down” in Gehenna, rather than eternal “building up” in the World to Come (Mt. 7:13, Rom. 9:22, 1 Cor. 5:5, 2 Cor. 10:8, 1 Thess. 5:3, 2 Thess. 1:9).

Read More

This is the LAST (yes, you read that right!) in a series of posts dealing with the proper interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP). If you’re new to this subject (or to my blog), you’ll want to read the essay with which I introduced the series (just click here).

My goal in these eschatological adventures is two-fold.

First, I want to open up something of the Christ-centered truth and beauty of OTKP to my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Secondly, I want to reason a little with my premillennial brethren. In particular, I want to make the case that we all will best understand, enjoy, and profit from OTKP when we see that its true sphere of fulfillment is: 1) Christ, 2) the New Covenant he instituted by his blood, 3) the two-staged spiritual Kingdom he has already introduced (and will soon consummate), and, 4) the New Covenant community he is creating out of elect Jews and Gentiles: the Church.

In short, I would like my premillennial brothers to reconsider the amillennial approach to the interpretation of OTKP.

Since the end of the age will soon be upon us, it is important that we stand together as much as possible. Seeing eye to eye on eschatology would definitely help. These essays—and the book in progress from which they are extracted—represent my best effort at contributing to that worthy goal.

Since the prophetic texts I deal with are quite long, I have not reproduced them here. You will need to bring an open Bible to each blog. My hope and prayer is that you will enjoy them all.

Jerusalem In That Day: Interpreting Zechariah 12-14

We turn our attention now to the most prolific—and most fascinating—of the three post-exilic prophets: Zechariah (fl. 500 BC). Like his rough contemporaries, Haggai and Malachi, this great OT priest, seer, and martyr comforted a subjugated and much enfeebled nation with visions and prophecies of a glorious future: the coming of the Messiah, the final defeat of Israel’s enemies, and the final restoration of God’s people, land, temple, priesthood, and holy city—Jerusalem.

Our focus in this study is Zechariah 12-14. It is the second of two lengthy prophetic oracles dealing with the future Kingdom of God. To better understand the second, let us look briefly at the first.

(To continue reading, please click here)

 

This is the next to the last post (yes!) in a series of  essays dealing with the proper interpretation of Old Testament Kingdom Prophecy (OTKP). If you’re new to this subject (or to my blog), you’ll want to read the essay with which I introduced the series (just click here).

My goal in these eschatological adventures is two-fold.

First, I want to open up something of the Christ-centered truth and beauty of OTKP to my brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Secondly, I want to reason a little with my premillennial brethren. In particular, I want to make the case that we all will best understand, enjoy, and profit from OTKP when we see that its true sphere of fulfillment is: 1) Christ, 2) the New Covenant he instituted by his blood, 3) the two-staged spiritual Kingdom he has already introduced (and will soon consummate), and, 4) the New Covenant community he is creating out of elect Jews and Gentiles: the Church.

In short, I would like my premillennial brothers to reconsider the amillennial approach to the interpretation of OTKP.

Since the end of the age will soon be upon us, it is important that we stand together as much as possible. Seeing eye to eye on eschatology would definitely help. These essays—and the book in progress from which they are extracted—represent my best effort at contributing to that worthy goal.

 

Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Sevens

The year is 539 B.C. Daniel, still in captivity under Darius the Mede, has been reading the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 25:11-12, 29:10). He realizes that the 70 years of Jerusalem’s desolation are nearing an end, but also that many captive Jews remain unbroken and impenitent (9:13). They are not spiritually qualified for the great restoration promised decades earlier.

So Daniel prays (9:3-23). First, he rehearses and confesses the sin of God’s covenant-breaking people (9:3-10). Then he acknowledges God’s justice in sending them into captivity (9:11-15). Finally, he makes his petition. Appealing solely to God’s mercy, grace, and zeal for the honor of his Name, he pleads with the LORD to fulfill his promise given through Jeremiah: to restore his City, his Sanctuary, and his Holy Mountain (9:16-19).

His words are not in vain. Even as he is praying, the angel Gabriel arrives and stands before him, declaring to Daniel that God has indeed heard his prayer and answered it. He (Gabriel) has been sent to give Daniel “insight and understanding” about the coming Restoration (9:20-23). In the four long verses that follow, he does (9:24-27)

Are you familiar with this famous OTKP, often referred to as the prophecy of Daniel’s Seventy Sevens (or Weeks)? If so, you know at least one thing for sure: A whole host of commentators have been seeking insight and understanding ever since! In the paragraphs ahead, we will see why.

To continue reading, please click HERE.