Category Archives: General

The Time Is Near

Rv2207We have cringed at attempts to predict the date of Christ’s return. Without making predictions, news of wars and increasing wickedness draw remarks like, “It really seems as though the time is soon.” Yes, we ought to be looking for Christ’s return, but remember also that believers in every age since the Ascension, have made similar remarks. What does Jesus say about his return in Revelation 22:6–11? What should you be doing? How should you live?

“In the truest and deepest perspective, you are safe and secure, protected by the Lord God Almighty and defended by the Lamb who has overcome. You are the sealed people of God, marked with his name. Whatever may occur between today and the great day of the wrath of God and the Lamb, you know that on the last day you will be able to stand without terror and with expectant joy.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 335).

“The change from prediction in Daniel to imperatives in Rev. 22:11 expresses awareness that Daniel’s prophecy is beginning to be be fulfilled in John’s own time and that genuine believers should discern this revelation and respond positively to it.” (G. K Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 1133).

From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC

The New Jerusalem

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“Revelation shows the lengths to which the Lamb has gone and will go to make us the holy city in whom he will dwell forever. Christ loves his church and binds himself to her with bonds that no enemy from without and no failure of ours from within can sever.” “When we glimpse the bride through the eyes of her Groom, it lifts our head in hope and calms our frustrated hearts for persevering love for one another.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 342–3).

“All Old Testament concepts shed their external, nationalistic-Israelitish meanings and become manifest in their spiritual and eternal sense. . . . [T]he New Testament itself has given to the particularistic ideas of the Old Testament a universal and cosmic meaning. (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 661).
“But in the new heaven and new earth, the world as such is restored; in the believing community the human race is saved. In that community, which Christ has purchased and gathered from all nations, languages, and tongues (Rev. 5:6; etc.), all nations, Israel included, maintain their distinct place and calling (Matt. 8:11; Rom. 11:25; Rev. 21:24; 22:2). And all those nations—each in accordance with its own distinct national character—bring into the new Jerusalem all they have received from God in the way of glory and honor (Rev. 21:24, 26). (Herman Bavinck, p. 720). Continue reading

Books Were Opened

Rv2012“The big one is coming. We all know that. We also know the big one might turn out to be the very big one. The 700-mile-long Cascadia subduction zone that’s just off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington will, sooner or later, produce a mammoth earthquake, scientists say.” So writes Douglas Perry in the Oregonian last Friday. Historically, the big one has come at roughly 300–500 year intervals, and the last big one was in 1700. Telling people it is coming (8.7 to 9.2 on the Richter scale) is one thing. Getting us to take some kind of action is another. It may happen soon, or it may not happen until you have been dead and buried for a couple hundred years—in which case you likely will not notice. In Revelation 20:11–15 John writes of an event that will most certainly happen, though we do not know when. And it will involve, not only the living, but also the dead—every single person who has ever lived will stand before God’s throne.

“Injustice and suffering never escape God’s eye. Those who persecute and those who practice injustice can never win. God will judge every deed, all wrongs will be righted, and all attempts to dethrone God and enthrone oneself will be completely frustrated. The prospect of final judgment ought to be a terror to God’s enemies and a fountain of assurance to the saints.” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, pp. 182–183).

“The ‘life’ granted the saints in association with the book comes from their identification with the Lamb’s righteous deeds, and especially his death, which means likewise that they are identified with his resurrection. . . . The Lamb acknowledges before God all who are written in the book. . . .” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 1037).

From the Reflection 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”?”

 

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.

Why Did Christ Die and Live Again?

Ayear1142ec“The transformed attitude to death (cf. Heb. 2:14, 15) springs not from any change in the character of death but from the faith of what Christ has done to death and from the living hope of what he will do in the consummation of his conquest. It is the res­urrection of Christ, the hope of resurrection after the pat­tern of his, and the re­moval of sin which is the sting of death that transform the re­lation of the believer to death.” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, pp. 181–182).

“The Lordship of Christ is never suspended. The believer is never in a situation that is neu­tral or indifferent and so he must ever live in the recognition of Christ’s lordship and act in the intelligent and fully-per­suaded consciousness of devo­tion to him.” (“The Weak and the Strong” in Collected Writ­ings of John Murray, Vol. 4, p. 156).

Protected for Praise

C16year21ec“As Judah’s Lion proved to be the slain Lamb, displaying royal power through the weakness of his sacrifice, so the flock he protects sounds like a precisely numbered, exclusively Israelite army braced for battle but looks like a countless, international crowd celebrating a victory already won. The victory was won by the Lamb when he was slain to purchase this multitude from the peoples to become God’s treasured kingdom of priests (5:5, 9).” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 133 [on Revelation 7]).

“[T]he reason for the picture here is to emphasize the identity of the Lamb with his people. He is the corporate representative of his saints. Therefore, just as he first suffered and received his reward at the resurrection, so his flock follow the same pattern in their own lives (see on 1:5, 9, 20; 2:14). He led them by the Spirit on earth and will lead them in person in the future.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, p. 443).

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