Saturday, March 31, 2012

Three Views on Eschatology

By Patrick Zukeran

Christians generally hold various views concerning the end of the age.  Before we examine some of these different views on eschatology, I will share what we all believe in common.  First of all, Christians agree with the immortality of the soul, acknowledging that man is composed of material and immaterial components.  At death, the physical body dies but the immaterial essence of man, comprised of his soul and spirit, lives in an eternal and conscious state either in heaven with Christ or in Hell, eternally separated from Him.

Secondly, the immaterial essence of man exists in an intermediate state awaiting the resurrection of the physical body, which will occur at a future time.  Thirdly, the Bible teaches that at some appointed time, the physical body will be resurrected, transformed into its eternal state and united with the soul and spirit of the individual.

Fourthly, the Bible teaches that there will be a divine judgment at the end of the age when the righteous will receive their rewards and the unrighteous will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire.  Furthermore, Christians agree that Christ will one day return physically to rule over the earth.  Finally, all Christians look forward to the eternal state.  Christ will one day create a new heaven and a new earth and judge evil once and for all.  Afterwards, we will enter into the eternal state as described in Revelation 22.

 These are some basic beliefs all evangelical Christians share in agreement.  However, differences occur when attempting to interpret the millennial kingdom mentioned in Revelation 20:1-3.  Questions such as whether the thousand-year rule of Christ should be interpreted literally or symbolically begin to arise. This leads to an even bigger issue of how the book of Revelation should be explained.  Are we to interpret the prophecies literally or allegorically?  Are these future prophecies or do they describe events in church history?

Read more -->HERE.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Eschatology: A Broad Overview

It has been a point of study for me for a while now, Eschatology, the study of the end times. I have long-held certain beliefs about the end times (as I am sure many of you have also) that were based purely upon what I had heard in the sermons of others but not upon my own personal study. Actually, generally speaking, I have found that most Christians either hold strong opinions about the end time based on little study (or perhaps a thorough reading of the Left Behind Series), or they withhold any real opinion other than “Jesus is coming back and I’m on His side” because they have studied eschatology enough to know it is complicated. I often tease some of my fellow Reformed brothers that they simply don’t have an opinion about eschatology because Calvin didn’t write a commentary upon Revelation! All kidding aside, to be sure, it is a complex issue and it is one that as brothers and sisters in Christ we ought to show each other with differing views some charity.
The core beliefs concerning the end that we must uphold as Christians is that Jesus Christ will return bodily to the earth once again (Acts 1:9-11) and the dead shall be resurrected, the saved to eternal life with Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16) and the lost to eternal torment in Hell (Revelation 20:11-15). If someone expresses a view that is contrary to this then, while charity towards the person is always due, charity toward their view need not be extended, but a strong refutation of their view is quite in order.
In this post I want to take a moment and briefly look at some of the most popular schools when it comes to the topic of eschatological teaching in the Bible. We will look at eschatology broadly today and then in an upcoming post we will take a closer look at the issue of how the Millennium in particular is viewed by various schools of thought. The purpose of this post is only to introduce the different schools of thought and so we are not going to dive very deep into the biblical rationale for each school at this point, though I will make a comment here or there about some things. The following are examples of the general framework of some of the schools of thought, it is certainly not exhaustive and there are variations out there of every school:
The Historicist School:
This Historicist School seeks to match biblical prophecy (particularly that of the book of Revelation) with historical events between the time of Christ and present day as illustrated by this chart:
Read more -->HERE.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Elder's Wife Gives Her Testimony About Mars Hill Church

"Spiritual abuse occurs when someone uses their power within a framework of spiritual belief or practice to satisfy their own needs at the expense of others. It is a breach of sacred trust. Christians are commanded by Jesus to love one another.

When that is projected, articulated, enjoyed and then treacherously betrayed, the wounded person is left with “a sense of having been raped, emotionally and spiritually” – not by a stranger, but by someone who was deeply trusted. (See Recovering from Church Abuse by Len Hjalmarson)"
The quote above is taken from article referenced in the title.  I found the original link here at Sola Sisters.  You may read the entire testimony here.

I can identify with the emotional and spiritual rape comment.  It is very difficult when someone you trust betrays.  I can identify also with Jonna Perry's reflection of how easy it is to take our focus off of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Stay in the Word, be bold and courageous for His righteousness.  May any situation and/or circumstance that you have gone through or are going through be used to glorify Him and remove dross.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What is a Reformed Baptist?

Note: Several articles I have posted mention the Sabbath Day or Lord's Day - I believe that Christ's purchase gave us entry into Sabbath-ing with Him.  That keeping one day as a Holy Day is not commanded.  I affirm and believe that we are NOT to forsake the assembling of ourselves with other believers.  That we should, as much as possible, make effort to assemble with our brethren.

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 12:01 am
The term ‘Reformed Baptist’ best refers to those who adhere to the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689) in practice as well as in theory.
The name ‘Reformed’ refers to the distinctive historical and theological roots of these Baptists. There is a body of theological beliefs commonly referred to as the ‘Reformed’ faith. Such great biblical truths as sola fide (justification by faith alone), sola gratia (salvation by God’s grace alone), sola scriptura (the Bible alone is the basis for faith and practice), solus Christus (salvation through Christ alone), and soli Deo gloria (the fact that God alone is to receive glory in the salvation of sinners) are all noted hallmarks of the Protestant and Reformed faith.
Yet, the Reformed faith is perhaps best known for its understanding that God is sovereign in the matter of man’s salvation. This is to say that God has, before the foundation of the world, chosen or elected certain sinners for salvation. He has done so sovereignly and according to His own good pleasure. Additionally, the Reformed faith teaches that, in time, Christ came and accomplished salvation by dying for the sins of those elected by God. Furthermore, the Reformed faith teaches that the Holy Spirit, working in harmony with the decree of the Father and the death of the Son, effectually applies this work of redemption to each of the elect in their personal conversions.  As a result of this emphasis on the sovereignty of God in salvation, the Reformed faith also promulgates the ‘doctrines of grace’: doctrinal truths which set forth the total depravity of man, the unconditional nature of God’s election, the limited or particular nature of Christ’s atonement, the irresistibility of the effectual call and the perseverance and preservation of the saints.
The Reformed faith, however, touches on far more than these foundational truths regarding God’s glory in salvation. It is also concerned with God’s glory in the church, in society, in the family and in the holiness of the believer’s life. The Reformed faith has a high and God-centered view of worship, regulated by the Word of God alone. The Reformed faith embraces a high view of God’s law and of His church. In short, the Reformed faith is no less than a comprehensive world and life view, as well as a distinctive body of doctrine.
Out of this theological understanding came a great stream of confessions and creeds: the Synod of Dort, The Savoy Declaration, The Westminster Confession of Faith and The Heidelberg Catechism. Similarly, this Reformed tradition produced some of the great names of Church history. John Calvin, John Knox, John Bunyan, John Newton, the famous Bible commentator Matthew Henry, the great evangelist George Whitefield, the great American theologian Jonathan Edwards, Adoniram Judson, William Carey, C.H. Spurgeon, A.W. Pink and a host of others all held tenaciously to the Reformed faith. We must underscore that Reformed Baptists do not hold these truths because of blind allegiance to historic creeds. Nor, do Reformed Baptists hold them merely because great men of church history stood in this tradition. Rather, Reformed Baptists hold these truths because Jesus and the apostles so clearly taught them.
The confession of faith embraced by Reformed Baptist churches takes its place among, and is deeply rooted in, these historic Reformed documents. In most places the 1689 Confession is an exact word for word copy of the Westminster and the Savoy.  Consequently, the term ‘Reformed’ Baptist is not a misnomer.  Reformed Baptists stand firmly on the solid ground of the Reformation heritage.
Read more -->HERE.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Theonomy and Eschatology | Some Reflections On Postmillennialism

Still browsing through the eschatology topics...and read this article...still no definitive position.  A review of the different views and a brief description might be beneficial....will hunt something up.

THEONOMY AND ESCHATOLOGY | Some Reflections On Postmillennialism

By Richard B. Gaffin, Jr.(1)

Essential to the emergence of theonomy/(Christian) reconstructionism has been a revival of postmillennialism. (2)

Among current postmils, to be sure, there are some who are not reconstructionists, but all reconstructionists—whatever their differences—consider themselves postmils. Or so it would have seemed until just recently with the unanticipated and apparently growing impact of reconstructionist viewpoints in circles whose eschatology is characteristically premil. Still, for reconstructionism’s leading advocates, postmillennialism is plainly integral—whether logically or psychologically—to their position as a whole. Nonreconstructionist postmils would naturally deny any such connection.

This chapter provides some partial, personally-tinged, yet, I hope, not entirely unhelpful reflections on the resurgent postmillennialism of the past 20-25 years. My reservations lie in at least four areas.


A large element of ambiguity cuts across much of today’s postmillennialism. Before trying to specify that ambiguity it will be helpful, historically, to give some attention to the fact that in the past, too, postmillennialism has not been the clearly defined, unambiguous position that some of its contemporary proponents make it out to be.

It is fairly common to point out the inadequacy of our conventional designations pre, post, and a. But, no less commonly, in ensuing discussion that recognition recedes. As a result, efforts, for one, to distinguish between the postmil and amil positions get confused—usually, as it turns out, more than a merely terminological confusion.

Who coined the term amillennial and when did it first begin to be used? Perhaps I’ve missed it somewhere, but the usual sources don’t seem to know or at least don’t say. At any rate, in 1930 Geerhardus Vos, for instance, viewed today as an amil, still seems to distinguish only between a premil and postmil position and to include himself in the latter. (3)

And as late as 1948, a year before his death, again in contrasting the two positions, he distances himself, apparently, not from postmillennialism as such but only from “certain types” of it. (4)

Similarly, in a 1915 article B. B. Warfield, besides characterizing “premillennial” and “postmillennial” as “unfortunate,” “infelicitous” terms, seems to recognize only those two positions. (5)

More representatively, the original (1915) and revised (1929/30) editions of the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia have no entry for amillennialism, and under “Millennium, post-millennial view” simply refer the reader to Vos’s (decidedly amil) article, “Eschatology of the New Testament.” (6)

To note a couple of other related examples: On the millennium passage (Rev. 20:1-10), Warfield adopts what almost everyone today would consider an amil view. (7)

And the late John Murray, though often claimed (mistakenly, I believe) as a postmil, sets forth, in what in my judgment is the clearest extant statement of his overall eschatological outlook, a position that—if we are to choose one of the standard labels—is best designated amillennial. (8)

Murray’s exegesis of Romans 11 no more makes him a postmil than Warfield’s exegesis of Revelation 20 makes him an amil. (By the way, can anyone who has carefully read Murray’s 1968 address on Matthew 24-25 seriously question its amillennial thrust? (9)

It may be somewhat speculative on my part, but hardly unwarranted, to detect in this address—it does not refer explicitly to the work of others—a refutation of the characteristic postmil treatment of Matthew 24, advanced around that time, for instance, by J. Marcellus Kik, particularly the notion that everything up through verse 35 is fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. (10)

With typical incisiveness Murray shows that the passage covers history down to its consummation and that the decidedly non-“golden” element of tribulation for the church “is represented as characterizing the interadvental period as a whole,” p. 389.) In the past, then, especially over against premillennialism, “post” appears also to have covered what, in effect, was “a.” The possibility for that sort of usage lay in the obvious (though sometimes overlooked) consideration that the amil view is postmillennial in the sense that for both views Christ will return after the millennium; all amils are postmil.

What prompted invention of the word amillennial? While the precise origins of the term may be uncertain, the reason for its emergence seems plain enough. Eventually those who did not share a “postmil” emphasis on the millennium as purely future felt the need to have a label for their view. “Amillennial” has functioned, at least characteristically, not necessarily to deny that the millennium is on earth (although some “amils” have no doubt taken such a position) but to maintain the identity of the millennium and the interadvental period. The “a” negates in two directions: (1) the millennium is the interadvental period, not an interregnum following it (the premil view), and (2) the millennium is the interadvental period in its entirety, not just an era toward its close (the postmil view).

Read more -->HERE.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Blessed Assurance

Author: Fanny J. Crosby
Composer: Phoebe P. Knapp 

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! 
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in His blood. 

This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long; 
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long. 

Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight; 
Angels descending, bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love. 

Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Saviour am happy and blest; 
Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quote - John Flavel

Let us consider and marvel that ever this great and blessed God should be so much concerned, as you have heard He is in all His providences, about such vile, despicable worms as we are! He does not need us, but is perfectly blessed and happy in Himself without us. We can add nothing to Him.

—John Flavel

Saturday, March 24, 2012

7 Marks of a Right Heart Before God

1) A right heart is a NEW heart (Ezek. 36:26). It is not the heart with which a person is born—but another heart put in them by the Holy Spirit. It is a heart which has new tastes, new joys, new sorrows, new desires, new hopes, new fears, new likes, new dislikes. It has new views about the soul, sin, God, Christ, salvation, the Bible, prayer, heaven, hell, the world, and holiness. It is like a farm with a new and good tenant. “Old things are passed away. Behold all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
2) A right heart is a BROKEN and CONTRITE heart (Psalm 51:17). It is broken off from pride, self-conceit, and self-righteousness. Its former high thoughts of self are cracked, shattered, and shivered to atoms. It thinks itself guilty, unworthy, and corrupt. Its former stubbornness, heaviness, and insensibility have thawed, disappeared, and passed away. It no longer thinks lightly of offending God. It is tender, sensitive, and jealously fearful of running into sin (2 Kings 22:19). It is humble, lowly, and self-abased, and sees in itself no good thing.
3) A right heart is a heart which BELIEVES on Christ alone for salvation, and in which Christ dwells by faith (Rom. 10:10Eph. 3:17). It rests all its hopes of pardon and eternal life on Christ’s atonement, Christ’s mediation, and Christ’s intercession. It is sprinkled in Christ’s blood from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22). It turns to Christ as the compass-needle turns to the north. It looks to Christ for daily peace, mercy, and grace—as the sun-flower looks to the sun. It feeds on Christ for its daily sustenance, as Israel fed on the manna in the wilderness. It sees in Christ a special fitness to supply all its needs and requirements. It leans on Him, hangs on Him, builds on Him, cleaves to Him, as its physician, guardian, husband, and friend.
Read more -->HERE.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quote - John Flavel

If God has given you but a small portion of the world, yet if you are godly He has promised never to forsake you (Heb. 13:5). Providence has ordered that condition for you which is really best for your eternal good. If you had more of the world than you have, your heads and hearts might not be able to manage it to your advantage.

—John Flavel

Thursday, March 22, 2012

John Calvin on Lent

This week I was pleasantly surprised to see the Reformed Baptist Fellowship blog re-post my article on Lent.  It’s not an issue quite like justification or the Trinity, but it’s important nonetheless for a variety of reasons.  In some sense it is indeed connected to justification, particularly how we view our own actions before God.  Rather than go on about this again, I’d much rather quote someone whose theological knowledge dwarfs my own.
In the Institutes of the Christian Religion (4.12.20), John Calvin had this to say about the practice of Lent:
Then the superstitious observance of Lent had everywhere prevailed: for both the vulgar imagined that they thereby perform some excellent service to God, and pastors commended it as a holy imitation of Christ; though it is plain that Christ did not fast to set an example to others, but, by thus commencing the preaching of the gospel, meant to prove that his doctrine was not of men, but had come from heaven.
And it is strange how men of acute judgment could fall into this gross delusion, which so many clear reasons refute: for Christ did not fast repeatedly (which he must have done had he meant to lay down a law for an anniversary fast), but once only, when preparing for the promulgation of the gospel. Nor does he fast after the manner of men, as he would have done had he meant to invite men to imitation; he rather gives an example, by which he may raise all to admire rather than study to imitate him.
In short, the nature of his fast is not different from that which Moses observed when he received the law at the hand of the Lord (Exod. 24:18; 34:28). For, seeing that that miracle was performed in Moses to establish the law, it behoved not to be omitted in Christ, lest the gospel should seem inferior to the law. But from that day, it never occurred to any one, under pretence of imitating Moses, to set up a similar form of fast among the Israelites.
Nor did any of the holy prophets and fathers follow it, though they had inclination and zeal enough for all pious exercises; for though it is said of Elijah that he passed forty days without meat and drink (1 Kings 19:8), this was merely in order that the people might recognise that he was raised up to maintain the law, from which almost the whole of Israel had revolted.
It was therefore merely false zeal, replete with superstition, which set up a fast under the title and pretext of imitating Christ; although there was then a strange diversity in the mode of the fast, as is related by Cassiodorus in the ninth book of the History of Socrates: “The Romans,” says he, “had only three weeks, but their fast was continuous, except on the Lord”s day and the Sabbath. The Greeks and Illyrians had, some six, others seven, but the fast was at intervals. Nor did they differ less in the kind of food: some used only bread and water, others added vegetables; others had no objection to fish and fowls; others made no difference in their food.” Augustine also makes mention of this difference in his latter epistle to Januarius.
It’s clear that the human condition is indeed universal.  There’s always a tendency to want to “do something.”  To add something to the Gospel.  To craft something of our own in order to please God.  This is especially appealing to the uniquely American philosophy of pragmatism.  Praise God that He is pleased with His people only because He is pleased with the person and work of His Son, our only Mediator.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jesus Wasn't Crucified on Friday or Resurrected on Sunday

Article by Scott Ashley

How can we fit three days and three nights between a Friday afternoon crucifixion and an Easter Sunday sunrise? The fact is, we can't. So what is the truth about when Jesus was crucified and resurrected?

About one billion Protestants and another billion Catholics believe that Jesus Christ was crucified and entombed on a Friday afternoon—"Good Friday"—and raised to life again at daybreak on Easter Sunday morning, a day and a half later.

Yet when we compare this to what Jesus Himself said about how long He would be entombed, we find a major contradiction. How long did Jesus say He would be in the grave? "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:40).

The context in which Jesus Christ said these words is important. The scribes and Pharisees were demanding a miraculous sign from Him to prove that He was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. "But He answered and said to them, 'An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah'" (verse 39).

This was the only sign Jesus gave that He was the promised Messiah: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (emphasis added throughout).

Traditional timing doesn't add up

The Gospels are clear that Jesus died and His body was hurriedly placed in the tomb late in the afternoon, just before sundown when a Sabbath began (John 19:30-42).

By the traditional "Good Friday–Easter Sunday" timing, from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown is one night and one day. Saturday night to Sunday daybreak is another night, giving us two nights and one day.

So where do we get another night and two days to equal the three days and three nights Jesus said He would be in the tomb?

This is definitely a problem. Most theologians and religious scholars try to work around it by arguing that any part of a day or night counts as a day or night. Thus, they say, the final few minutes of that Friday afternoon were the first day, all day Saturday was the second day, and the first few minutes of Sunday morning were the third day.

Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?

The trouble is, it doesn't work. This only adds up to three days and two nights, not three days and three nights.

Also, John 20:1
tells us that "on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb."

Did you catch the problem here? John tells us it was still dark when Mary went to the tomb on Sunday morning and found it empty. Jesus was already resurrected well before daybreak. Thus He wasn't in the tomb any of the daylight portion of Sunday, so none of that can be counted as a day.

That leaves us with, at most, part of a day on Friday, all of Friday night, a whole daylight portion on Saturday, and most of Saturday night. That totals one full day and part of another, and one full night and most of another—still at least a full day and a full night short of the time Jesus said He would be in the tomb.

Clearly something doesn't add up. Either Jesus misspoke about the length of time He would be in the tomb, or the "Good Friday–Easter Sunday" timing is not biblical or accurate.

Obviously both cannot be true. So which one is right?

Understanding God's time is the key

The key to understanding the timing of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection lies in understanding God's timetable for counting when days begin and end, as well as the timing of His biblical festivals during the spring of the year when these events took place.

We first need to realize that God doesn't begin and end days at midnight as we do—that is a humanly devised method of counting time. Genesis1:5
tells us quite plainly that God counts a day as beginning with the evening (the night portion) and ending at the next evening—"So the evening [nighttime] and the morning [daylight] were the first day." God repeats this formula for the entire six days of creation.

In Leviticus 23, where God lists all of His holy Sabbaths and festivals, He makes it clear that they are to be observed "from evening to evening" (verse 32)—in other words, from sunset to sunset, when the sun went down and evening began.

This is why Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, followers of Jesus, hurriedly placed His body in Joseph's nearby tomb just before sundown (John 19:39-42). A Sabbath was beginning at sundown (verse 31), when work would have to cease.

Two kinds of "Sabbaths" lead to confusion

As John tells us in verse 31: "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies [of those crucified] should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken [to hasten death], and that they might be taken away."

In the Jewish culture of that time, the chores of cooking and housecleaning were done on the day before a Sabbath to avoid working on God's designated day of rest. Thus the day before the Sabbath was commonly called "the preparation day." Clearly the day on which Christ was crucified and His body placed in the tomb was the day immediately preceding a Sabbath.

The question is, which Sabbath?

Read more -->HERE.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Fallacy of Good Friday

How We Know Christ was Crucified on Passover Wednesday by Truth Broadcast Ministries

“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly;so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” Mat 12:40

“… and be raised again the third day”
Mat 16:21

“…beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done” Luke 24:21

     Today we are going to study an esoteric doctrine: the fallacy of Good Friday.  Have you ever wondered about the seeming contradiction in the Bible, that Christ died on Friday, was in the grave three days and three nights, and rose on Sunday?  How do you get three days from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning?

     The answer to this question is that the tradition of Christ dying on Good Friday is erroneous and unscriptural.  Today we will expose this fallacy, explore how it came to be the prevalent teaching in Christianity, and unequivocally prove that Christ was killed on Passover Wednesday, buried and in the ground by Thursday, and rose on Saturday night (which would be Sunday by Jewish reckoning).  I strongly suggest you follow along in your own Bibles. Let’s begin!

     The source of the Good Friday fallacy comes from a misunderstanding of scripture.  After Jesus had been crucified, and as evening approached, it is stated that the following day was a Sabbath:

“And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath”   Mark 15:42

     Looks like the following day must be Saturday, right?  But wait, the Sabbath referred to here is not the regular weekly Sabbath.  Rather, it is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a “feast day” Sabbath that followed Passover.

     Passover took place on the 14th of the Jewish month of Nisan. Following the Passover was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which occurred from the 15th of Nisan to the 21st of Nisan.  The 14th of Nisan was called also called the “preparation day,” because the Jews had to “prepare” for the Sabbath that followed on the 15th of Nisan. They “prepared” by finishing all servile work, travel, or other activities before the Sabbath began.

     The month of Nisan had many Sabbaths and special feast days that followed each other in succession. The 15th and 21st of Nisan were special “feast day” Sabbaths, also called “high” Sabbaths that corresponded with the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  From the 14th to the 21st of Nisan there could be as many as three Sabbaths—the weekly Saturday Sabbath, the “high” Sabbath which took place on the 15th of Nisan, and the “high” Sabbath which took place on the 21st of Nisan.  Let’s see what the Old Testament says on this subject:

“…on the fifteenth day of the same month (Nisan) is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.  In the first day (15th Nisan) ye shall have an holy convocation (high Sabbath): ye shall do no servile work therein… in the seventh day (21st Nisan) is an holy convocation (high Sabbath): ye shall do no servile work therein”
Lev. 23:6-8
     If there was any doubt as to which Sabbath followed the day of Christ’s death, the Gospel of John clears it up with this parenthetical insert:

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day  (because that sabbath day was an high day,)” John 19:31

     The Sabbath referred to here is not the regular weekly Sabbath, but the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of Nisan.  It was a “high” Sabbath, and thus did necessarily have to fall on Saturday.

     Besides the issue of the Sabbath, another source of confusion involves how time was measured during Jesus’ day.  The Romans measured time from midnight to midnight, just like we do today.  Jews, on the other hand, measure time from sunset to sunset, commencing approximately at 6:00 P.M.  The new day begins with darkness because it is recorded in Genesis that evening came first: “the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen 1:5). 

     The Jews divide the day into twelve hour increments, measured approximately from dusk until dawn.  So for example, when the Bible says that it was “the ninth hour,” that would be either 3:00 A.M or 3:00 P.M. (counting each hour from 6:00 o’clock A.M. or 6:00 o’clock P.M.), depending on whether it was light or dark outside.

     The Old Testament states that Passover was to be on the 14th of Nissan (Lev. 23:5).  This was the time that Jesus and His disciples ate their Last Supper together.

     But contrary to scripture, the Judean Jews in Jesus’ had a custom of eating the Passover meal on the 15th of Nisan, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This has often made it seem as if there were two Passover meals, because some of the Jews celebrated Passover on the 14th while others celebrated it on the 15th of Nisan.

     Thus Passover is often used synonymously with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and when the Passover is spoken of in the Gospels, it could be referring to either the 14th of Nisan or the 15th of Nisan depending on the context:
 “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh (15th of Nisan), which is called the Passover”    Luke 22:1

“In the fourteenth day of the first month (14th of Nisan) at even (better rendered ‘at twilight’ or ‘between the two evenings’) is the Lord’s Passover”  Lev 23:5

     Jesus and His disciples ate the Passover on the correct day, the 14th of Nisan.  However, many Jews ate the Passover on the 15th of Nisan, the “High Sabbath” of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was also called “the Passover.”

     Herein, we have covered some of the origins of the Good Friday fallacy and confusion surrounding the day Christ died..  Now we shall present the last week of Christ’s life and prove that he was crucified on Wednesday and in the grave for three days and three nights, just as the scripture records.

Read more -->HERE.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Altar Call

We are to preach the Word, and if we do it properly, there will be a call to a decision that comes in the message, and then we leave it to the Spirit to act upon people.

Early in the 1970s Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones was the speaker at a ministers' conference in the USA and at a question session was asked the following question:

Q During recent years, especially in England, among evangelicals of the Reformed faith, there has been a rising criticism of the invitation system as used by Billy Graham and others. Does Scripture justify the use of such public invitations or not?

A. Well, it is difficult to answer this in a brief compass without being misunderstood. Let me answer it like this: The history of this invitation system is one with which you people ought to be more familiar than anyone else, because it began in America. It began in the 1820s; the real originator of it was Charles G. Finney. It led to a great controversy. Asahel Nettleton, a great Calvinist and successful evangelist, never issued an "altar call" nor asked people to come to the "anxious seat." These new methods in the 182Os and were condemned for many reasons by all who took the Reformed position.

One reason is that there is no evidence that this was done in New Testament times, because then they trusted to the power of the Spirit. Peter preaching on the Day of Pentecost under the power of the Spirit, for instance, had no need to call people forward in decision because, as you remember, the people were so moved and affected by the power of the Word and Spirit that they actually interrupted the preacher, crying out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" That has been the traditional Reformed attitude towards this particular matter. The moment you begin to introduce this other element, you are bringing a psychological element. The invitation should be in the message. We believe the Spirit applies the message, so we trust in the power of the Spirit. I personally agree with what has been said in the question. I have never called people forward at the end for this reason; there is a grave danger of people coming forward before they are ready to come forward. We do believe in the work of the Spirit, that He convicts and converts, and He will do His work. There is a danger in bringing people to a "birth," as it were, before they are ready for it.

The Puritans in particular were afraid of what they would call "a temporary faith" or "a false profession." There was a great Puritan, Thomas Shepard, who published a famous series of sermons on The Ten Virgins. The great point of that book was to deal with this problem of a false profession. The foolish virgins thought they were all right. This is a very great danger.

I can sum it up by putting it like this: I feel that this pressure which is put upon people to come forward in decision ultimately is due to a lack of faith in the work and operation of the Holy Spirit. We are to preach the Word, and if we do it properly, there will be a call to a decision that comes in the message, and then we leave it to the Spirit to act upon people. And of course He does. Some may come immediately at the close of the service to see the minister. I think there should always be an indication that the minister will be glad to see anybody who wants to put questions to him or wants further help. But that is a very different thing from putting pressure upon people to come forward. I feel it is wrong to put pressure directly on the will. The order in Scripture seems to be this - the truth is presented to the mind, which moves the heart, and that in turn moves the will.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quote ~ Richard Sibbes

As men cherish young plants at first, and fence them about to keep them from hurt, but when they are grown, they remove them, and then leave them to the wind and weather, so God besets His children first with props of inward comforts, but afterwards exposes them to storms and winds, because they are better able to bear it. Therefore let no man think himself the better because he is free from troubles. It is because God sees him not fit to bear greater. ~ Richard Sibbes

Saturday, March 17, 2012

8 Symptoms of False Doctrine

By Erik on 

Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.
1. There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their “earnestness” makes many think they must be right.
2. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge: many fancy that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.
3. There is a general tendency to free thought and free inquiry in these latter days: many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.
4. There is a wide-spread desire to appear charitable and liberal-minded: many seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.
5. There is a quantity of half-truth taught by the modern false teachers: they are incessantly using. Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.
6. There is a morbid craving in the public mind for a more sensuous, ceremonial, sensational, showy worship: men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.
7. There is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly, lovingly and earnestly, and a determination to forget that Satan often masquerades himself “as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
8. There is a wide-spread “gullibility” among professing Christians: every heretic who tells his story plausibly is sure to be believed, and everybody who doubts him is called a persecutor and a narrow-minded man.
All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. I defy any observing person to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. They make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, “Do not be carried away!”
~ J.C. Ryle

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Benefits of Affliction


Since I wrote last, the Lord has been gracious to us here. He crowned the last year with his goodness, and renews his benefits to us every day. He has been pleased to bless the preaching of his Gospel amongst us, both to consolation and conviction; and several are, I hope, earnestly seeking him, who were lately dead in trespasses and sins.

Dear Mr. **** was released from all his complaints the 25th of November. A few days before his death he was enabled to speak more intelligibly than usual for about a quarter of an hour, and expressed a comfortable hope, which was a great satisfaction to us; for though we had not the least doubt of his being built upon the Rock, it was to us an answer to prayer that he could again speak the language of faith; and much prayer had been made on this account, especially that very evening. After that night he spoke little, and hardly took any notice, but continued chiefly drowsy till he died. I preached his funeral sermon from Lam. 3:31-33.

Mrs. L ****'s complaint grows worse and worse: she suffers much in her body, and has much more perhaps to suffer; but her consolations in the Lord abound. He enables her to maintain faith, patience, and submission, in an exemplary manner; and shews us, in his dealings with her, that he is all-sufficient and faithful to those who put their trust in him.

I am glad to hear that you had comfortable seasons while at Bath. It is indeed a great mercy that God's ordinances are established in that place of dissipation, and I hope many who go there with no higher view than to drink the Bath waters, will be brought to draw with joy the waters of life from those wells of salvation. He does nothing in vain; and when he affords the means, we may confidently hope he will bestow the blessing. The dissipation of spirit you complain of, when you are in a strange place, is, I suppose, felt by most, if not by all, who can be satisfied in no place without some token of the Lord's presence. I consider it rather as an infirmity than a sin, strictly speaking; though all our infirmities are sinful, being the effects of a depraved nature.

In our present circumstances new things excite new ideas, and when our usual course of life is broken in upon, it disjoints and unsettles our thoughts. It is a proof of our weakness: it may and ought to be lamented; but I believe we shall not get the better of it, till we leave the mortal body to moulder into dust. Perhaps few suffer more inconvenience from this article than myself; which is one reason why I love home, and seldom leave it without some reluctance: and it is one reason why we should love heaven, and long for the hour when, at liberty from all encumbrance, we shall see the Lord without a vail, and serve him without distraction.

The Lord, by his providence, seconds and confirms the declarations of his word and ministry. Much we read and much we hear concerning the emptiness, vanity, and uncertainty of the present state. When our minds are enlightened by his Holy Spirit, we receive and acknowledge what his word declares to be truth: yet if we remain long without changes, and our path is very smooth, we are for the most part but faintly affected with what we profess to believe. But when some of our dearest friends are taken from us, the lives of others threatened, and we ourselves are brought low with pain and sickness, then we not only say but feel that this must not, cannot be our rest.

You have had several exercises of this kind of late in your family; and I trust you will be able to set your seal to that gracious word, That though afflictions in themselves are not joyous, but grievous, yet in due season they yield the peaceful fruits of righteousness. Various and blessed are the fruits they produce. By affliction prayer is quickened, for our prayers are very apt to grow languid and formal in a time of ease. Affliction greatly helps us to understand the Scriptures, especially the promises; most of which being made to times of trouble, we cannot so well know their fulness, sweetness, and certainty, as when we have been in the situation to which they are suited, have been enabled to trust and plead them, and found them fulfilled in our own case. We are usually indebted to affliction as the means or occasion of the most signal discoveries we are favoured with of the wisdom, power, and faithfulness of the Lord. These are best observed by the evident proofs we have that he is near to support us under trouble, and that he can and does deliver us out of it.

Israel would not have seen so much of the Lord's arm outstretched in their behalf, had not Pharoah oppressed, opposed, and pursued them. Afflictions are designed likewise for the manifestation of our sincerity to ourselves and to others. When faith endures the fire, we know it to be of the right kind; and others, who see we are brought safe out, and lose nothing but the dross. will confess that God is with us of a truth; Dan. 3:27, 28. Surely this thought should reconcile us to suffer, not only with patience but with cheerfulness, if God may be glorified in us. This made the Apostle rejoice in tribulation, that the power of Christ might be noticed, as resting upon him, and working mightily in him. Many of our graces likewise cannot thrive or shew themselves to advantage without trials; such as resignation patience, meekness, long-suffering.

I observe some of the London porters do not appear to be very strong men; yet they will trudge along under a burden which some stouter people could not carry so well: the reason is, that they are accustomed to carry burdens, and by continual exercise their shoulders acquire a strength suited to their work. It is so in the Christian life: activity and strength of grace is not ordinarily acquired by those who sit still and live at ease, but by those who frequently meet with something which requires a full exertion of what power the Lord has given them. So again, it is by our own sufferings we learn to pity and sympathize with others in their sufferings such a compassionate disposition, which excites our feelings for the afflicted, is an eminent branch of the mind which was in Christ. But these feelings would be very faint, if we did not in our experience know what sorrows and temptations mean.

Afflictions do us good likewise, as they make us more acquainted with what is in our own hearts, and thereby promote humiliation and self-abasement. There are abominations which, like nests of vipers, lie so quietly within, that we hardly suspect they are there till the rod of affliction rouses them: then they hiss and shew their venom. This discovery is indeed very distressing; yet, till it is made, we are prone to think ourselves much less vile than we really are, and cannot so heartily abhor ourselves and repent in dust and ashes.

But I must write a sermon rather than a letter, if I would enumerate all the good fruits which, by the power of sanctifying grace, are produced from this bitter tree. May we, under our several trials, find them all revealed in ourselves, that we may not complain of having suffered in vain. While we have such a depraved nature, and live in such a polluted world; while the roots of pride, vanity, self- dependence, self-seeking, are so strong within us; we need a variety of sharp dispensations to keep us from forgetting ourselves, and from cleaving to the dust.

I am, &c.