Harvest Time!

Rv1415“[W]hile Pentecost/Weeks had always been a harvest festival, it was only after the events of Acts 2 that the nature of the harvest could be understood. It was not a harvest of wheat and barley that was on God’s mind and heart but rather a celebration of the harvest of redemption that had begun with Christ himself. He broke open the grave on Firstfruits as the ‘firstborn of the dead’—not just of dead bodies, but of what dead bodies evidenced: a dead-in-sin world (Revelation 1:5). And if he was the first sheaf, this fuller harvest was a bin buster, absolutely cosmic in scope.” (John R. Sittema, Meeting Jesus at the Feast: Israel’s Festivals and the Gospel, p. 84). “[W]hile Pentecost/Weeks had always been a harvest festival, it was only after the events of Acts 2 that the nature of the harvest could be understood. It was not a harvest of wheat and barley that was on God’s mind and heart but rather a celebration of the harvest of redemption that had begun with Christ himself. He broke open the grave on Firstfruits as the ‘firstborn of the dead’—not just of dead bodies, but of what dead bodies evidenced: a dead-in-sin world (Revelation 1:5). And if he was the first sheaf, this fuller harvest was a bin buster, absolutely cosmic in scope.” (John R. Sittema, Meeting Jesus at the Feast: Israel’s Festivals and the Gospel, p. 84).
“The common expectation was that the Messiah would immediately execute the harvest judgment when he appeared, but Jesus’ parables (the sower, the tares among the wheat) taught that he came to inaugurate the long-awaited kingdom of God not as a grim reaper but as a patient sower (Matt. 13:1–30, 36–43). Through sowing the word a seed, apparently so vulnerable to the world’s hostile environment, Jesus would launch a harvest of grace in his first coming and continue it through the church’s gospel witness (John 4:35–38). In the story of the tares Jesus made clear that the final harvest foretold through the prophets, when when weeds are separated from wheat, would come only at ‘the end of the age’ (Matt. 13:40). John now sees this final separation in his vision.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 209).
“Anger, just like all things in life, has to begin with God (Genesis 1:1). First, we need to reevaluate how we think about the Lord and his anger. Mostly, we assume that anger is the dark side of God’s character that we need to keep hidden from the world.

“Our heavenly Father doesn’t have a dark side! John says, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). It’s impossible for there to be anything evil in God, which means God is both righteous and angry at the very same time (see Exodus 32:10, 34:6; Deuteronomy 29:28; 2 Kings 22:13; Psalms 2:12, 30:5; Romans 1:18; and more.)

“Anger is one of God’s most beautiful characteristics – in fact, his anger is a bright hope for the world. Because he is righteously angry, we can rest assured that everything sin has broken will be restored.” (Paul Tipp, https://www.paultripp.com/wednesdays-word May 14, 2018)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.

The Son of Man

“The Son of man as a heaven -descended being, and as returned to heaven, contributes by His human nature — more particularly, by His glorified human nature — to the saving process of communicating His human life top the disciples.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Self-Disclosure of Jesus, p. 247).

Hallowed be your name

prayer_1028c“By the ‘name’ of God we mean all those attributes under which He is revealed to us, — His power, wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy, and truth. By asking that they may be ‘hallowed,’ we mean that they may be made known and glorified. The glory of God is the first thing that God’s children should desire. It is the object of one of our Lord’s own prayers: ‘Father, glorify they name.’ (John xii, 28) It is the purpose for which the world was created. It is the end for which the saints are called and converted. It is the chief thing we should seek, that ‘God in all things may be glorified.’ ( I Peter iv. 11).” (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, at Matthew 6:9).

Ryle might have added, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” (Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 1).

“When you come to God, says our Lord, in effect, even though you may be in desperate conditions and circumstances, it may be with some great concern on your mind and in your heart; even then, He says, stop for a moment and just recollect and realize this, that your greatest desire of all should be that this wonderful God, who has become your Father in and through Me, should be honoured, should be worshipped, should be magnified amongst the people ‘Hallowed be thy name.'” (Martin Lloyd Jones, The Sermon on the Mount, Vol. 2, p. 61).

(For tonight’s study on the Lord’s Prayer at Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.)

Songs of Joy and Shouts of Judgment

Ps9601a“The Lamb’s army has been ‘purchased’ from the whole human family as ‘first fruits’ (Rev. 14:3–4). The term purchase recalls the earlier doxology to the worthy Lamb, whose blood ‘purchased’ for God persons from every tribe, tongue, people and nation, to become a royal priesthood (5:9–10) Here, however, John sees assembled in heaven just the firstfruits of a much larger harvest, the foretaste in miniature and in promise of a full harvest to come.”
“The lyrics of these celebrants’ songs are secret, known only to them. The purpose of this secrecy is not to keep God’s glory veiled but to symbolize the the astonishing truth that sinful people redeemed by the Lamb are qualified by that experience of salvation to extol him in a way that even the purest, highest angel cannot. Into the mystery of our salvation even angels long to look (1 Peter 1:12).” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, pages 203, 204).

 

Quotes used in the Reflection (on Revelation 141-13) for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

An Offering Acceptable to God

Rm1529“It is in Christ that the people of God will be resurrected and glorified. It is in Christ they will be made alive when the last trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible (I Cor. 15:22). It is with Christ that they will be glorified (Rom. 8:17). . . . Apart from union with Christ we cannot view past, present, or future with any­thing but dismay and Christ­less dread. By union with Christ the whole complexion of time and eternity is changed and the people of God may rejoice with joy un­speakable and full of glory.” (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, pp. 163-165).

“An offering to be acceptable to God must conform to condi­tions of purity. So in this case. The conditions of holiness are created by the Holy Spirit. Hence the clause, ‘sanctified by the Holy Spirit’, stands in appo­sition to ‘acceptable’”. (John Murray, The Epistle to the  Romans, Vol. 2, p. 211).

New: See “Study Notes” for the handout for this study

(One of the questions: “What is “ascension deficit disorder”?”

 

Beware the Beasts!

thorns_17324c“Because suffering is the church’s inevitable path to glory, the saints must demonstrate enduring faith. . . . Persistence in the word of our testimony to the Lamb is the means of our victory over the dragon who empowers and authorizes the beast.” (Dennis, E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 194).

“When purported Christian teachers take their primary cues from the surrounding culture instead of from God’s word, they corrupt the covenant community spiritually by encouraging it to live by norms and a faith that ultimately oppose the reign of God and Christ.”
“Believers are to beware of compromise, not just with the Roman emperor, but with all the facets of the state in collusion with religious, economic, and social aspects of the idolatrous culture, which all epitomize fallen humanity.”
“Why does John draw so heavily from Daniel in describing the situation of the church in the world of his day? The reason is that John, like Daniel, is criticizing the status quo of apostasy, compromise, and syncretism. The world system in which the Christians of Asia Minor live is a Satanic parody of God’s ordering of the world. The corrupt system is characterized by the blasphemy of rulers who claim deity and by the apostasy of so-called Christians who acquiesce to the compromising demands of emperor worship and of the institutions of pagan society.” (G. K. Beale, Revelation, pages 710, 725, and 729).

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

The Lady, the Dragon, and the Children

red-dragon“The curtain that separates us from the unseen world of spirits is here pulled aside for a moment as we are given a glimpse of a titanic struggle of spirits, a a struggle that goes on all around us, even though we do not see it with our own eyes. What I mean, of course, is the struggle of angels against the spiritual powers in the air.”(Herman Veldkamp, Dreams and Dictators: On the Book of Daniel, p. 215).

“The battle that issues in the dragon’s expulsion from heaven is not the primeval conflict before Adam’s fall, when Satan and other angels who had been created good inexplicably turned against their Creator. Rather, the war in heaven that John sees in symbol was fought on earth, when Jesus suffered and died on a cross outside Jerusalem and then rose from the dead. The dragon’s banishment from heaven to earth marks the coming of God’s kingdom and of his Christ’s authority (Rev. 12:10).” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 184).

“Israel, after the exodus from Egypt, wandered in the desert. This desert gave them relief from the idolatry and oppression of Egypt. But it was also a time of testing, when they were tempted to lose faith and rebel. They were to look forward to rest and satisfaction in the Promised Land. Similarly the church looks forward to final rest in the new heaven and the new earth. But for now, she is subject to testing on earth.” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 136).

Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church.