Author Archives: John Mahaffy

Satan’s Doom

Rv2005a“[I]n this reprise of the last battle the conflict ends almost before it starts (20:9). the besieging forces gathered on breadth of the earth surround ‘the camp of the saints.’ Like ancient Israel, the church on earth is a wilderness community, camping by not at home in the earth. The church does, however, have a lasting identity despite it present temporary status as sojourners, so John adds a second description, ‘the beloved city.’” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, pp. 295–296).

“The major point is that Satan will be finally defeated, and that even before that time God takes care of his saints and gives them enjoyment of the benefits of his triumphant rule. This assurance ought to comfort us, whatever our millennial position.” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 178).

John reassures suffering Christians that even their death, from Christ’s perspective, is the first resurrection. Sometimes Satan uses the discouragements of your daily life to try to make you give up hope. Perhaps you ask, does it really matter if I continue to trust in Christ? Does it make any difference if I continue to serve him? Again, the answer is yes. That doubt is part of Satan’s tactic of deception. Christ is victorious, and he does give hope to his people.

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

Isaiah: A Prophet for Our Times

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Rembrandt’s Isaiah (Louvre)

The 101 Bible Study in Astoria is beginning a study of the Book of Isaiah. 

“Isaiah brings us face to face with Him who sits upon the throne, high and lifted up, who controls the des­tinies of nations, and who sends to us a Child, even our Lord and Redeemer. The late Dr. J. Gresham Machen once spoke of the Old Testament prophesies as ‘full of the grace of God.’ And as we read of that grace may our deepest grati­tude be to Him who is the true Author of this prophecy, and who in the fullness of time sent to this earth Him whose name is Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (E. J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, pp. viii-ix).

“In the first chapter we also find a reference to ‘a few survivors,’ that is, a remnant. This, too, is a recurring theme in the book. Isaiah already raises it in con­nection with his calling (6:13). He named one of his sons Shear-jashub, which means a remnant shall return or repent (7:3). Isaiah’s prophetic mission may have seemed a thankless task, but it was not, for there re­mained a remnant chose by God in His sovereign grace.” (C. Vanderwaal, Search the Scriptures, Vol. 5, pp. 14–15).

King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Rv1911As North Americans we may be fascinated with British royalty when it involves princesses, princes, and weddings, but we have a history of being less appreciative of kings. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted a declaration, which alleged: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.” Included in the list that follows was, “He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” One might wonder what the members of that Congress would have thought of our present Federal bureaucracy in comparison to the one that triggered their war, but I digress. Although Independence Day is this week, this morning’s message is not about that event. Rather, it is about the great, final battle fought by the King of kings, as recorded in Revelation 19:11–21. Our history may make it difficult to appreciate the importance of a true king, but both Lewis and Tolkien, with strong Christian roots, make clear in their fiction that for things to go right, the true king needs to be on the throne: sons of Adam and daughters of Eve on the four thrones in Cair Paravel, and Aragon in Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor.

“The wars of earthly armies typically leave much unjust suffering and destruction in their wake. This war, however, is utterly just, because of the supreme power and justice of the One who wages war.” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 174).

“Throughout Revelation we have been forewarned that the cosmic conflict is not only between Satan and his beast and God and his Christ. Rather, each stands in the midst of a community, and the destiny of each community rests with the success or failure of its champions. . . . [J]ust as Christ’s white horse promises his certain victory, so the white horses of the riders who follow him assure the church that his triumphs will be ours as well.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 275).

“[T]hat no one knows the name mentioned here except Christ means that the prophecy of Isaiah 62 and 65 has not yet been consumately fulfilled. But Christ’s ‘name’ will be known to his people when they experience the fulfillment of prophecy in a new, consumated covenantal marriage relationship with Christ.” “In the OT to know a name means to have control over the one named. Therefore, the confidential nature of the name here has nothing to do with concealing a name on the cognitive level, but alludes to Christ being absolutely sovereign over humanity’s experiential access to his character.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, pages 953, 956).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

A Wedding Invitation

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Do away with the idea that eternal glory is some kind of ephemeral, hazy existence. It includes a real banquet, rich food, aged wine. The triumph of Christ over death is a real victory and results in real celebration. John’s imagery gets complicated. The bride is the church, but those who receive the invitation are also part of the bride. Thus it is no accident that when the Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper, he did so at the Passover Feast. The small piece of bread, the cup that we drink, not only point back to his suffering and death, but also give you a foretaste of a much richer banquet that you will enjoy in perfect fellowship with him in the new heavens and earth.

hallelujah_6500c“The saints offer praise only to God because he alone deposed Babylon and deserves glory for this deed, which accomplished ‘salvation’ for his people and demonstrated his ‘power.’ This hallelujah and those to follow stand in stark contrast to the laments in 18:9–19.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 926).

“The culmination of God’s redemptive plan is often pictured in Scripture as a feast overflowing with joy and rich food and drink. . . . Weddings and feasting belong together (Matt. 22:1–14), and the blessed guests who are invited to the Lamb’s wedding feast are themselves included in the bride who is so honored by her Husband’s love.” (Dennis. E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 264).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church