Archives For Theology

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Review of Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 20:11-15

11Then I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence. No place was found for the earth and sky. 12Then I saw the dead—the great and the small—they were standing before the throne. The books were opened, then another book was opened which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged from what had been written in the books according to their deeds. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it. Death and Hades also gave up the dead that were in them. Every person was judged according to his deeds. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire—this is the second death—which is the lake of fire. 15If someone’s name is not found written in the Book of Life, he is thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15) 1

The Great White Throne Judgment in Rev 20.11 to 20.15

Photo Credit: “The Last Judgment” (Stefan Lochner, 1400-1451)

C. General Remarks about Rev 20:11-15

“The account in these few verses, in spite of their brevity, is one of the most impressive descriptions of the Last Judgment ever written.” Metzger, Breaking the Code, 97

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II. THE GREAT WHITE THRONE (20:11)

Καὶ εἶδον θρόνον μέγαν λευκὸν καὶ τὸν καθήμενον ἐπʼ αὐτόν, οὗ ἀπὸ °τοῦ προσώπου ἔφυγεν ἡ γῆ καὶ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ τόπος οὐχ εὑρέθη αὐτοῖς.

Then I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence. No place was found for the earth and sky. (Rev 20:11) 2

A. Who Sits on the Throne

The one sitting on the throne is the Father and probably also Jesus. In the New Testament the Father is described as providing the last judgment (Matt 6:4; 10:32-33; 18:35; Mark 8:38; Rom 14:10; also see Dan 7:9, 10, 22), but Jesus has been given authority to judge (Matt 7:22-23; 25:31-46; John 5:22, 30; 2 Cor 5:10). Continue Reading…

Notes:

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

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons & Review

B. Text of Rev 16:12-21

“12Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl onto the great Euphrates River and its water dried up. This prepared the road for the kings of the east. 13Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs come out of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. 14For they are demon spirits making signs which go out to the kings of the whole earth to gather them for the battle of the great day of the Lord, the Almighty! 15Behold! I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays alert and keeps his clothing, so that nakedness does not walk around and people see his nakedness. 16The demonic spirits gathered the kings and their armies to the placed called in Hebrew, ‘Armageddon.’ 17Lastly, the seventh angel poured out his bowl on the air. And I heard a loud voice coming out of the temple from the throne saying, ‘It is done!’ 18Then there was lightening, roaring, thunder, and a great earthquake. The earthquake was so great and severe, that one of that magnitude had never been felt by man before. 19The great city was split into three parts and the cities of the Gentiles fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God and gave her the cup of wine of his angry wrath. 20Every island disappeared and no mountain was found. 21Then great hailstones that weighed 100 pounds each were coming down from heaven onto people. So people slandered God from the hailstone plagues because they were the most severe of his plagues.” (Rev 16:12-21) 1

The Sixth and Seven Seals and War of Armageddon of Rev 16.12 to 16.21

Photo Credit: Matthias Gerung

C. General Remarks

“Those who fall under judgment here are those who have been given every chance to repent, and have refused. They have chosen to go down with the monsters rather than to suffer and be vindicated with the lamb. In the language of chapters 17-22, they have chosen the way of the harlot rather than the way of the bride.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 146)

“Though we are not able to immediately understand all the details of these dramatic judgments, the unmistakable impression of the Scriptures is that the whole world is being brought to the bar of justice before Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. There is no escape from divine judgment except for those who receive the grace of God in that day of faith in Jesus Christ.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 251)

QUESTION: IS ARMAGEDDON A “PLACE” OR A “BATTLE?”

QUESTION: IS ARMAGEDDON THE “LAST” BATTLE ON THE EARTH?

QUESTION: IS ARMAGEDDON A “WAR” OR A “SINGLE BATTLE?”

QUESTION: IS JESUS PRESENT DURING THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON?

II. THE SIXTH BOWL JUDGMENT ON THE EUPHRATES RIVER (Rev 16:12-16)

“Numerous interpretations have been offered for this bowl judgment. Some have been farfetched, and the historical school has in the past attempted to identify this battle with a previous major world conflict. But the most natural explanation is the best, which is that this judgment actually dries up the great Euphrates River, thereby preparing for an invasion from the East.” (Walvoord, Revelation, 245)

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A. The Euphrates Dries Up (v. 12)

Καὶ ὁ ἕκτος ἐξέχεεν τὴν φιάλην αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τὸν ποταμὸν τὸν μέγαν τὸν Εὐφράτην, καὶ ἐξηράνθη τὸ ὕδωρ αὐτοῦ, ἵνα ἑτοιμασθῇ ἡ ὁδὸς τῶν βασιλέων τῶν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου.

“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl onto the great Euphrates River and its water dried up. This prepared the road for the kings of the east.” (Rev 16:12) 2

QUESTION: DOES GOD ALLOW BAD THINGS TO HAPPEN?

1. The Great Euphrates River

The river is called the “great river . . . Euphrates” in Gen 15:18; Deut 1:7; Josh 1:4.

Two Old Testament prophecies seem to predict this future event of the drying up of the Euphrates River:

  • “The LORD will make a dry path through the gulf of the Red Sea. He will wave his hand over the Euphrates River, sending a mighty wind to divide it into seven streams so it can easily be crossed on foot.” (Isaiah 11:15, NLT)
  • “They will pass safely through the sea of distress, for the waves of the sea will be held back, and the waters of the Nile will dry up. The pride of Assyria will be crushed, and the rule of Egypt will end.” (Zechariah 10:11, NLT)

2. Kings from the East Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek Text
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek Text

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons and Review

B. Text of Rev 16:1-11

1Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the seven plagues of God’s wrath on the earth.” 2So the first angel left and poured out his bowl on the earth. Then painful and harsh sores appeared on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue. 3Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea. As a result the sea turned into blood like from the dead, and every living thing in the sea died. 4Then the third bowl was poured out on the rivers and water springs. As a result they turned into blood. 5Then I heard the angel of the waters saying, ‘You are righteous. The One who is, was, the holy one that judges with these things, 6because the blood of the saints and the prophets has been poured out, so you gave them blood to drink, which they deserve.” 7Then I heard a voice from the altar saying, “Yes! Lord God, Almighty! Your judgments are true and just.” 8Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun and it caused the sun to burn up humans in fire. 9People were scorched with a scorching heat. So they slandered the name of God who holds power over these plagues, yet they did not repent and give him glory. 10Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast. As a result his kingdom was darkened and people were biting their tongues from the pain. 11They slandered the God of heaven because of their pain and sores. Yet, they did not turn from their evil deeds. (Rev 16:1-11)

The First Through Fifth Bowls (Rev 16:1-11)

Photo Credit: Matthias Gerung

C. General Remarks

“God will allow natural elements themselves (earth, sea, rivers and sun) to pass judgment on the human beings who have so grievously abused their position as God’s image-bearers with creation.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 142)

D. Opening Illustration

Well known Bible scholar and writer N.T. Wright, was cycling down the street one day when he came up beside a former teacher of his. Wright had studied the New Testament under him a few years earlier, but now Wright was neck deep in studying and writing about Rom 1:18-3:20. That section of Paul’s letter to the Romans is all about God’s wrath against all human wickedness. Wright confided in his former teacher saying, “I’m having a hard time with wrath.” To that statement his former teacher said, “Aren’t we all” and he cheerfully cycled off (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 141).

II. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BOWL JUDGMENTS (Rev 16:1)

“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go and pour out the seven plagues of God’s wrath on the earth.’” (Rev 16:1)

QUESTION: WHO IS IN CHARGE HERE? SEEMS TO BE THAT GOD IS IN CHARGE.

QUESTION: WHAT IS THE TIMING OF THESE BOWLS? FIRST OR LAST?

QUESTION: WHO’S VOICE DO YOU THINK THIS IS?

A. The Seven Angels

These are the same seven angels that are first mentioned in Revelation 15.

B. God’s “Wrath” Continue Reading…

This is my final post in the summary doctrine series. Today we look at what it means for people to respond to the Gospel and what happens to those who do or don’t accept the Gospel message. Like my other posts, I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith as a guide.

A Summary of the Doctrine of the Gospel and Hell

Gustave Dore’s “New Jerusalem”

Response and Eternal Destiny. Article #10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

I. BASICS OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE

A. The Gospel Message Continue Reading…

Throughout my summary of Christian doctrine series this is perhaps my favorite study. Today I am providing a summary of the doctrine of Jesus’s return which is also known as “eschatology.” Like normal, I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith as a guide:

A Summary of the Doctrine of Christ Return

Photo Credit: Gustave Doré’s “The Last Judgment”

Christ’s Return. Article #9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.         

I. THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS

I believe in the pretribulational rapture of the church, seven literal years of Tribulation, and the literal premillennial reign of Christ on earth.

A. Pretribulational Repture Continue Reading…

Continuing my series through the basics of Christian theology includes some thoughts on Christian Living. I’m using the Evangelical Free Church of America’s statement of faith as a guide which reads:

Christian Living. Article #8. We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.

A Summary of the Doctrine of Christian Living

The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt

I. SANCTIFICATION AND JUSTIFICATION

Justification and sanctification go hand-in-hand giving evidence of each other. Our faith in Jesus Christ has made us righteous (Rom 8:1; 1 Cor 1:2; Eph 2:8-9; Phil 3:9; 1 Peter 1:1-2) while that faith has caused sin to no longer be our master (Rom 6:1-14). Instead, our changed nature compels us to want to live in a Godly way (Rom 6:2-4; 8:29-30; Phil 1:6; 2:13; Titus 2:11-14).

II. HOW WE LIVE OUT OUR FAITH

Christians live out their faith first by showing love for other Christians and non-Christians. It was love that compelled God to send his son to die for sinners, and it should be love that compels us to have good relationships with Christians and non-Christians.

III. THE CHURCH’S RESPONSE TO THE POOR AND DISENFRANCHISED

Living out our faith means that we love God and love others. We love God by focusing our minds and hearts toward him (Deut 6:5-9). As a result of this, we also love others (Matt 12:39; John 13:34; Eph 5:25; 1 John 4:8-10) and care for others (Rom 12:10, 16; 14:13; 15:7, 17; 1 Cor 13:12; Gal 5:13; Eph 4:2, 32; 5:19, 21; Col 3:13, 16; 1 Thess 5:11; Heb 10:24; 1 Peter 1:22; 3:8; 4:9; 5:5; cf. Acts 4:32, 34-35).

The poor, aliens, and disenfranchised have been part of the entire history of the Bible and will always be part of the church age (Deut 15:11). Christians are supposed to care for these people (Prov 14:21, 31; 22:9; 28:27; Matt 25:31-46; Luke 14:12-14).

IV. SPIRITUAL WARFARE

This world is a fallen world (Gen 3:14-24) where Satan roams the earth (Job 1:6-8; 2:1-2; Luke 22:3; 1 Peter 5:8), has control over it (1 John 5:19), and is the ruler of it (John 12:31; 1 Cor 4:4; Matt 4:8-9).  Evidence of spiritual warfare between Satan and his minions against Israel and the church is clear throughout Scripture (Dan 10:12-14; Luke 10:18; Rev 12). Yet, with God’s Word (Eph 6:11-18), the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name (Matt 17:14-20; James 4:7-8), believers can combat Satan and his minions (Luke 10:17-20; John 12:28-32; Col 2:13-15; Heb 2:14-15; 1 Peter 5:6-8; Rev 12:11).

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…