Today I take a brief look at the doctrine of the church. This is commonly known as “ecclesiology.” I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith. That statement reads:

The Church. Article #7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Church

Photo Credit: Russ Harlan

I. JUSTIFICATION, GRACE, AND FAITH

A. Justification Continue Reading…

Today’s post looks at a few elements of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. This area of theology is often called “pneumatology” considered under the topic of Trinitarianism. I’m basing my blog post off of the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith:

The Holy Spirit. Article #6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service. 

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Holy SpiritPhoto Credit: “Waiting for the Word” 

I. HOW THE HOLY SPIRIT GLORIFIES THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

The Holy Spirit helps us to “know Christ” (Phil 3:8), and it is through the Holy Spirit that we are “in Christ” (Eph 1:3, 4, 7; Rom 6:5; 8:1; 2 Cor 5:17). In this way, the Spirit’s role is not to magnify himself, but to bring glory to Jesus Christ (John 15:26; 16:14). He brings glory to Christ through the regeneration and adoption of sinful unbelievers.

Continue Reading…

Today I’m sharing some material about the doctrine of the work of Jesus Christ. This blog post is based on the Evangelical Free Church of America’s Statement of Faith which reads:

The Work of Christ. Article #5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Work of Christ

Lippo Memmi (1291-1356)

I. JESUS AS OUR “REPRESENTATIVE” AND “SUBSTITUTE” Continue Reading…

Today’s post looks at theology based on the person and work of Jesus Christ. While this post is a brief summary, I hope that this post can be a starting point when looking at the doctrines of trinitarianism and soteriology. 

Jesus Christ. Article #4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel’s promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate. (This statement is from the Evangelical Free Church of America)

A Summary of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ

Interior of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Venice) – Jesus Christ bearing the Cross

I. THE HYPOSTATIC UNION OF JESUS CHRIST
Continue Reading…

Today’s blog post is a brief explanation of the doctrines of anthropology and harmatology. This brief survey is based on the the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith which reads:

The Human Condition. Article #3. We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Human Condition, The Holy Scriptures in Picture and Story by William Foster

Photo Credit: “The Holy Scriptures in Picture and Story” by William Foster

I. ADAM AND EVE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

"The Fall of Man" by Cornelis van Haarlem (1562-1638)

“The Fall of Man” by Cornelis van Haarlem (1562-1638)

Adam and Eve were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27); therefore they were like God and represented God (Pss 8:3-8). The presence of God’s image is show by the facts that humans have

  • a mind/will/personality,
  • the capacity to rule (Gen 1:26, 28; 2:19; Pss 8; Gen 22:5),
  • spiritual/moral qualities (Gen 2:16-17; 3:22; Lev 11:45-46; Matt 5:48; Luke 3:38),
  • capacity for relationships (Gen 1:26; 2:20-23; 3:8),
  • personal social distinction, and
  • an image that will be improved and made perfect (Col 3:10; Eph 2:14; 1 Cor 15:49; 1 John 3:2).

Continue Reading…

Today I continue my summer summary series. In this blog post I look at the doctrine of the Bible (also known as “bibliology”) using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith as a guide.

The EFCA statement of faith on the Bible reads:

The Bible. Article #2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.

I. KEY TERMS 

A. General Revelation and Special Revelation

God has shown himself and his truth by both general revelation and special revelation.

1. General Revelation Continue Reading…

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Revelation 14:14-20

“14Then I looked and behold! A white cloud. The one sitting on the cloud was like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15Then another angel come out of the temple calling out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud. ‘Send your sickle and harvest because the hour to harvest has arrived with the harvest of the earth dry and ready.’ 16So the one sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth and the earth was harvested. 17Another angel went out from the temple in heaven holding a sharp sickle. 18Then another angel came out from the altar who had power over fire. He called out in a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle saying, ‘Send your sharp sickle and harvest the grapes of the earth because the grapes are ready.’ 19The angel swung his sickle on the earth and harvested the grapes of the earth and threw them into the wine press of God’s great wrath. 20The wine-press was trampled outside of the city and the blood went out from the wine press as high as a horse’s bridle for 184 miles.” (Rev 14:20) 1

The Earth Is Harvested (Rev 14.:14 -20)

Photo Credit: “The Harvest of the World” in the Phillip Medhurst Collection

You can get a PDF version of this blog post, a handout for small group study, & access my translation notes by becoming a patron of my blog.

C. General Remarks

“The whole passage is designed to convey a powerful message which we need today as much as ever. God’s time will come; God will bring his people safely home; God will take even the wickedness and rebellion of the world and make it turn to his praise and to the salvation of his people. In the meantime his people are to be encouraged in their suffering. Martyrdom itself will be part of God’s purpose to bring his wise, healing order – to bear upon the world.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 135).

“The implications of the message for today are only too plain. Today is a day of grace; but what is true of the tribulation is also true today, that God will ultimately judge all people. Today, however, the invitation is still open to those who will receive the grace of God by trusting in Christ and being saved from entering this awful period that may be impending for this present generation.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 230)

“There should be no doubt that this passage, describing the harvest and the vintage, is meant to be an occasion of great, uninhibited joy. We need a huge amount of evidence to force us to say anything else.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 133)

QUESTION: IF SOMEONE KNEW THAT YOU WERE STUDYING THE BOOK OF REVELATION AND ASKED, “WHERE IN REVELATION DOES JESUS RETURN?” WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

II. THE SON OF MAN (Rev 14:14)

Καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ νεφέλη λευκή, καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν νεφέλην καθήμενον ὅμοιον υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου, ἔχων ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ στέφανον χρυσοῦν καὶ ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ δρέπανον ὀξύ.

“Then I looked and behold! A white cloud. The one sitting on the cloud was like the Son of Man. He had a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.” (Rev 14:14)

QUESTION: WHERE ELSE IN THE BIBLE IS THE PHRASE “SON OF MAN” USED?

QUESTION: WHAT IS A “SICKLE?”

A. The Son of Man

The phrase, “Son of Man” is first used in Dan 7:13 and then in the Gospels, most notably in the Gospel of Luke as Jesus’s favorite way to describe himself. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (called the Septuagint or LXX) the phrase is very similar to this passage here in Rev 14:14: Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the Nestle-Aland 28 Greek text

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 14:6-13

“6Then I looked and I saw another angel flying in the sky. He was holding the eternal good news in order to share the Gospel with those who live on the earth which are from every ethnicity, nation, language, and people. 7He spoke in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory because the time of his judgment has arrived, so worship the one who made heaven, earth, sea, and fountain waters.’ 8Then a second angel followed saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is the great Babylon which led the nations to drink of her wine, wrath, and adultery.’ 9Then a third angel followed saying in a loud voice, ‘If someone worships the beast and his statue and takes the mark on his forehead or his hand 10he will drink from the wine of God’s anger which has been mixed in the unmixed cup of his wrath. He will be tormented in fire and sulfur before the holy angels and before the Lamb. 11The smoke of his torment will rise forever and ever. That torment will never cease day or night for the ones who worship the beast and his statue, as well as anyone who receives the mark of his name. 12Under these circumstances the steadfastness of the saints is clear. They are the ones who keep the commandment of God and faith in Jesus.’ 13Then I heard a noise from heaven saying, ‘Write this down. “Blessed are the dead in the Lord who die from now on.’” ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so they will rest from their toil, for their work follows them.’” (Rev 14:13) 1

Three Angels Fly Through the Air in Rev (Rev 14:6-13)

Photo Credit: Phillip Medhurst Collection

You can get a PDF version of this blog post, a handout for small group study, & access my translation notes by becoming a patron of my blog.

II. THE FIRST ANGEL (14:6-7)

A. The Eternal Good News (v. 6)

Καὶ εἶδον ἄλλον ἄγγελον πετόμενον ἐν μεσουρανήματι, ἔχοντα εὐαγγέλιον αἰώνιον εὐαγγελίσαι ἐπὶ τοὺς καθημένους ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶν ἔθνος καὶ φυλὴν καὶ γλῶσσαν καὶ λαόν,

“Then I looked and I saw another angel flying in the sky. He was holding the eternal good news in order to share the Gospel with those who live on the earth which are from every ethnicity, nation, language, and people.” (Rev 14:6)

1. Another Angel

In this instance, the longer reading is harder. The word was probably intentionally omitted in order to resolve the tension: Less likely, it might have been accidentally omitted since its spelling is similar to “angel” (ἄγγελος, angelos). If this is “another” angel, it is difficult to know who the first angel might have been since the last angel mentioned in the book of Revelation was in Rev 11:15. Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the Nestle-Aland 28 Greek text

I’m taking a break from my summer summary series because there are some changes I need to make to my doctrinal thesis. In a couple weeks I will re-start the series on theology, so for now here are some more posts working through the book of Revelation. 

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 14:1-5

“1Then I looked and behold. The Lamb was standing on Mount Zion and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his father’s name written on their foreheads. 2I heard a noise from heaven like the sound of lots of water and the sound of mighty thunder. 3They sang a new song in front of the throne, in front of the four living beings and elders. No one was able to learn the song except the 144,000 who had been purchased from the earth. 4These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, these are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes, and these are the ones who were purchased from the people of the earth. They are the first fruits of God and the Lamb. 5From their mouths no lie came. They were faultless.” (Rev 14:1-5) 1

 

Altar Piece at St Baron at Ghent on Rev 14:1

Altar Piece at St Baron at Ghent on Rev 14:1

C. General Remarks

“Chapter 14 brings to a conclusion the material found in chapters 12 through 14. Chapter 12 deals with the important characters of the period, chapter 13 with the evil rulers of the period, and chapter 14 with the ultimate triumph of Christ. This material is not chronological, but prepares the way for the climax that begins in chapter 15. Chapter 14 is a series of pronouncements and visions assuring the reader of Christ’s ultimate triumph and the judgment of evil. Much of the chapter is prophetic of events that have not yet taken place, but that in the context are now impending.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 219)

“The whole of chapter 14 is proleptic. A summary of the Millennium (20:4-6), the first five verses feature the Lamb in place of the beast, the Lamb’s followers with His and the Father’s seal in place of the beast’s followers with the mark of the beast, and the divinely controlled Mount Zion in place of the pagan-controlled earth. The remainder of the chapter furnishes a proleptic outline of the catastrophes and the bliss that receives a chronological and more detailed treatment of 16:17-22:5. In this fashion, the chapter is a sort of intermezzo to provide encouragement by telling the ultimate triumph for those who refuse the beast’s mark and to predict the doom of those who do receive it.” (Thomas, Revelation 8-22, 189)

Part of my weaknesses with the book of Revelation is that I want to see everything as chronological and in order. Walvoord’s comments above help to assure me that I don’t have to assume that what happens in chapter fourteen comes after chapter thirteen. While the flow of the book [link to chart] does have a loose chronological aspect, there are chapters that go back in time or even prophesy things that are to come.

You can get a PDF version of this blog post, a handout for small group study, & access my translation notes by becoming a patron of my blog.

II. JOHN SEES AND HEARS (REV 14:1-2)

A. The Lamb and 144,000 (v. 1)

Καὶ εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ τὸ ἀρνίον ἑστὸς ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος Σιὼν καὶ μετʼ αὐτοῦ ἑκατὸν τεσσεράκοντα τέσσαρες χιλιάδες ἔχουσαι τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένον ἐπὶ τῶν μετώπων αὐτῶν.

“Then I looked and behold. The Lamb was standing on Mount Zion and with him were 144,000 who had his name and his father’s name written on their foreheads.” (Rev 14:1)

1. A Review of the 144,000

These 144,000 people are the same people mentioned in Rev 7:1-8. They consist of 12,000 people from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. In chapter 7 of Revelation there are four angels that are told to not harm the earth, sea, or tree (Rev 7:1) until the seal of the living God could be placed on the 144,000 (Rev 7:3). These 144,000 were marked with the seal of God (Rev 7:4). A further explanation of these 144,000 and the views on who they are listed below.

2. What Is Mount Zion? Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 text

This blog post is the first of my Summer Summary Series. In these blog posts I am providing an examination of the ten articles of the statement of faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America (the organization which I hope to receive my ministry license through).

The EFCA statement of faith on God reads:

We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

A Summary of the Doctrine of God

“The Adoration of the Holy Trinity” by Johann Heinrich Schonfeld (1609-1684)

I. GOD IS CREATOR

The Bible is absolutely and solemnly clear that God is the one who created the world and the universe (Gen 1:1; 14:19, 22; Exod 20:11; Neh 9:6; Pss 146:6; Acts 4:24; Heb 11:3; Rev 4:11; 14:7). God created this world out of nothing—ex nihiloin seven literal days with the appearance of age. Before the world was created only God existed with himself (John 1:1-3; Rom 4:17). Therefore, the world and universe which we live in should not be worshipped; God should be the only object of our worship. God also created heaven and those who live there (Neh 9:6; Pss 103:21; 148:2-5; Acts 4:24; Col 1:16; Rev 10:6).

II. BROAD EXPLANATION OF GOD Continue Reading…