And He Will Reign For Ever and Ever

reign_8795c“The God who transcends time guides the entire course of history because he not only stands as sovereign over its beginning and end, but is also in its midst, invisibly guiding it.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 613).

“The seven trumpets of God, like those at Jericho, have gone before the ark of his covenant and shattered all resistance to the establishment of his dominion in the earth.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 154).

 

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

Beautiful Feet!

feet_15916c“The prophet is not asserting that Israel’s God has just ascended the throne, but is proclaiming the far grander, truly dynamic fact that Israel’s God does reign. And a remarkable declaration this is! The gods of the heathen could neither declare the past nor predict the future. Dead idols, they had no power. Israel’s God, however, was alive and He was sovereign.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Vol. 3, pages 551–552.

“Christ is being represented as being heard in the gospel when proclaimed by the sent mes­sengers. The implication is that Christ speaks in the gospel proclamation.” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, Vol. 2, p. 58).

This Friday evening I have the honour of preaching at the installation service of the Rev. Greg Hoadley as the new pastor of Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Airdrie, AB. The text is Isaiah 52:7, as it ties in with Romans 10:14. Helpful also is this excerpt from an article in Ordained Servant, June-July 2008:

The Reformation conception of preaching is embodied in the Second Helvetic Confession: ‘The preaching of the word of God is the word of God.’ Our Lord, the incarnate Word, has identified the preaching of his ordained spokesmen with his Word: ‘He who hears you hears Me’ (Luke 10:16). Herman Hoeksema correctly insisted that the Greek of Romans 10:14 should be translated as the American Standard Version has it: ‘And how shall they be­lieve in Him whom they have not heard?’ as opposed to ‘Him of whom they have not heard?’ Thus it is ‘the preached Word rather than the written Word’ which is the primary means of grace. Christ is immediately present as the true Speaker in the preaching moment. ‘The implication is that Christ speaks in the gospel proclamation.’ Preaching is not speaking about Christ, but is Christ speaking.” (Gregory E. Reynolds, “God Still Speaks,” in Ordained Servant, https://opc.org/os.html?article_id=108). See link for references for quo­tations.

Be God’s Faithful Witness

ezekiel_17098c“In Revelation 11 the measuring connotes God’s presence, which is guaranteed to be with the temple community living on earth before the consummation. The faith of his people will be upheld by his presence, since without faith there can be no divine presence. No aberrant theological or ethical influences will be able to spoil or contaminate their true faith or worship.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 559).

“Since we have already seen the church portrayed as priests who reign (Rev. 5:10), we may suspect that these two witnesses symbolize the whole church in its role as witnesses to God’s truth and against the world’s lies and wickedness.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 171).

“The scroll containing God’s plan for history, for the victory of his witness church through suffering, has been opened by the Lamb and delivered to the prophet John to be announced for the comfort and warning of the churches. Despite the rage of its enemies, the church is secure in the presence of its holy champion. Despite its spiritual security as a measured sanctuary, the church is vulnerable to the violent aggression of those who hate its testimony about Jesus and seek to silence its call to repentance. Yet the last word concerning the church’s paradox-filled experience in this time between the Lamb’s comings is the voice of the seventh trumpet, announcing at history’s end: ‘The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever’ (Rev. 11:15).” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 176).

 

Quotes used in the Reflection for a message on Revelation 11:1–14 at Trinity OPC.

The Powerful Spirit Working in Your Life

Ayear1002ec“The way to be filled with the Spirit is to let God’s word dwell in you richly. We will be more and more filled with the Spirit as we are more and more filled with Scrip­ture.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., The Work of the Holy Spirit, p. 31).

“. . . the Scriptures are espe­cially serviceable for this pur­pose — to raise up those who are prepared by patience, and strengthened by consolations, to the hope of eternal life, and to keep them in the contempla­tion of it.” (John Calvin, Com­mentary on the Epistle to the Romans, at Rom. 15:4).

 

Prayer–and the den of lions

lion_16661cIn the Wednesday evening Bible study and prayer time at Trinity OPC, we are in what is proving to be a long series on what the Bible teaches us about prayer. This evening we look at Daniel 6. Despite the king’s decree forbidding prayer to anyone except him for a month, Daniel not only prays, he opens his window towards Jerusalem to pray, and is thrown into the den of lions as a result.

What is God teaching us about prayer? What is he teaching us about his own character and his own work?

The curse of wild beasts is the penalty for covenant infidelity (Deut. 32:24). What Daniel experienced is the common experience of all Israel, which has been devoured by Babylon and swallowed up. With the restoration of Daniel, however, one sees a glimmer of hope that perhaps all Israel also will experience rest-oration. One man, devoured by the pit, and then returning from there, personifies all the saints–given over to death by fearsome forces, then against all hope being restored and seeing their enemies vanquished instead. One man is needed, who is in reality what Daniel is only in symbol. We need one morally perfect, blemish-free man who really does die on behalf of his people, who really is brought back from Sheol, and in so doing destroys the real enemy–the pit itself. Amen, come, Lord Jesus! George M. Schwab, Hope in the Midst of a Hostile World, p. 92, © 2006. Pub. by P&R Publishing.

Visitors are welcome!

 

 

A Bittersweet Scroll

beach_15979c“The radiance of the angel’s appearance marks him as one who bears the image of his Master, reflecting the Master’s glory as he brings the Master’s message. . . . Throughout Revelation angels are superhuman servants of God, doing his bidding and carrying his revelation to the embattled saints on earth.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 158).

“Also included in the metaphor of the scroll is the idea that the sweetness refers to God’s redemptive grace in the gospel to those believing and the bitterness to the fact that this grace must be experienced in the crucible of suffering (cf. 2 Cor. 2:15–16), since the little scroll connotes the Christian’s purposes on a small scale in imitation of the large-scale purposes of Christ signified by the larger book of ch. 5. . . . Perhaps sweetness and bitterness simply represent redemption and judgment. . . .” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 552).

“Although the Lamb’s redeemed people are drawn from ‘every tribe and tongue and people and nation,’ from this same group are drawn the enemies of the Lamb, destined for destruction. John’s prophecy concerning the nations is indeed bittersweet.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 164).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

The Truth and the Triumph of the Resurrection

risen3cIn Christ’s resurrection the end-time resurrec­tion-harvest becomes visible, a visible reality.”

In Paul there is no more important conclusion about the Christian life, nothing about its struc­ture that is more basic than this: the Christian life in its entirety is to be subsumed under the category of resurrection. Pointedly, the Christian life is resurrection-life.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight: Paul and the Order of Salvation, pp. 60 and 68).

 

Jesus says, ‘I lay down my life, in order that I may take it again’. Here we are apprised of a relationship that exists between His death and resurrection that too often escapes our attention. It is that the laying down of His life was to the end that He might take it again, that His death was to the end of His resur­rection. . . . The death of Christ is not an end in itself. It is subordinate to a great purpose that can be achieved only through resurrection.” (John Murray, “Who Raised Up Je­sus?” The Westmin­ster Theological Journal, May 1941, pp. 119-120).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC