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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary

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Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead

This chapter concerns itself with eschatology, which is the doctrine of the last things. It discusses questions concerning what happens after we die, the second coming of the Lord Jesus, and the resurrection of the just and unjust.

I hold to the Amillennial view of eschatology, therefore what is written here will reflect that eschatology. Basically, Amillennialism teaches that the thousand years of Revelation 20 are symbolic for the whole time between Christ's Ascension and Second Coming. When He comes that will be the end of everything. The rapture, general resurrection and final judgment will take place, then God will usher in the World to Come. There are neither multiple resurrections nor multiple judgments. There are no 7 years of Great Tribulation. There are no two peoples of God, Israel and the Church. Rather, the Church is the Israel of God. The promises of restoration and blessing pertain not to the Fallen World, but to the World to Come. We do not believe that the Bible teaches a golden age on this Fallen Earth.

In paragraphs 2-3 there is a case for Amillennial eschatology and a critique of Premillennialism throughout the sections.


§1 The Intermediate State

  1. The bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous being then made perfect in holiness, are received into paradise, where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell; where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day; besides these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
    1. Gen. 2:17; 3:19; Acts 13:36; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:22[1]
    2. Gen. 2:7; James 2:26; Matt. 10:28; Eccles. 12:7
    3. Ps. 23:6; 1 Kings 8:27-49; Isa. 63:15; 66:1; Luke 23:43; Acts 1:9-11; 3:21; 2 Cor. 5:6-8; 12:2-4; Eph. 4:10; Phil. 1:21-23; Heb. 1:3,4:14-15; 6:20; 8:1; 9:24; 12:23; Rev. 6:9-11; 14:13; 20:4-6
    4. Luke 16:22-26; Acts 1:25; 1 Peter 3:19; 2 Peter 2:9

The bodies of men after death return to dust (Gen. 3:19), the original substance, but their souls...having an immortal subsistence (i.e., a state of existence)...neither die nor sleep and immediately return to God (Eccles. 12:7 ). Our bodily death is not the cessation of our life. When our bodies die, our souls immediately return to God Who gave them. There is no period between our physical death and our returning to God. After our last breath, we immediately return to God. There is no period of waiting or soul sleep. But this returning to God of our souls does not mean we remain with God. Only the souls of the righteous now having been made perfect...are received into paradise, where they are with Christ (Heb. 12:23; Phil. 1:21-23). What a blessing and a privilege to be with Christ for all eternity. The One Whom we love and adore and to behold His face is the greatest blessing which we can imagine. We will likewise behold the face of God in light and glory, no longer afraid or trembling at His sight or in fear of our lives because of His glory. The souls of the righteous await in heaven the redemption of their bodies (Rom. 8:23) at the Second Coming of the Lord ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary

...iests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” 

The Davidic Covenant

The covenant of God with David and His promise is in many ways similar to the Abrahamic Covenant, both in its fulfillment and the “I will” of God and “you shall” of the human party. As a Christian and an Amillennialist at that (see my case for Amillennialism in Chapter 31), I will make the case that the Davidic Covenant is currently being fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

God's Story

Since the days of Moses and Joshua have passed, the people of God were settled in the land promised to their fathers. But the people were stiff-necked and disobedient, as God testified of them in the wilderness (Exod. 32:9). They did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and forgot the God Who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt. As promised by the Mosaic Covenant, so the judgments of God came upon Israel and they were ruled by their enemies and taken captive. Then the Lord would graciously raise up judges when they would come to repentance and seek His face so that they would free them. That went for about 400 years.

Then the people came and demanded a king to be set over them, just like the other nations they were surrounded with when the LORD Himself was their king. The Lord gave them Saul, a man whom Israel loved and followed after. The Lord blessed Saul until Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord. When Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord and thus disregarded God, the Lord rejected Him (1Sam. 15). At that time, when the Lord abandoned Saul, the Lord sent unclean spirits upon him that would torment him (1Sam. 16:14). They soon learned that a certain youth could drive the spirit away by his playing on the lyre and therefore Saul could be at rest. That youth was none other than David. One of the icons and most known people from the Bible. A biblical hero and an example of faith and failures. 

The Lord chose David to be “prince” over His people Israel because David was a man after the Lord's heart (1Sam. 13:14). David wanted to follow the Lord wholly and carry out His will with no delay. He was the one chosen despite all circumstances and appearances. But in the choice of David, the Lord was fulfilling what was prophesied by Jacob concerning his son Judah:

Gen. 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin and concerning that tribe, Jacob did not have any kingly blessings (Gen. 49:27). But clearly, kingship and rulership are promised to the tribe of Judah of whom David is the man after God's own heart. After the Lord established David as king and after Saul was gone, the Lord promised that He would bless David and will always keep a descendant of his on the throne of Israel.

God's Covenant with David

We find the main text in 2 Samuel 7 and its parallel in 1 Chronicles 17:11-14. I'd like to highlight some things from the text as our starting point about the covenant. But before we do that, let us get a little bit of context. 

The Lord had given the kingdom of Israel to David and He has clearly been with him and giving him victory. David is perplexed in his heart by the fact that he lives in a great house, but the Ark of the Lord stays in tents. Therefore, David decides that he wants to build a house for the Ark of the Lord. But the word of the Lord comes to the prophet who was ministering to David, ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 19: Of the Law of God - Commentary

...e and thereby show that the natural law was summarized on Sinai in ten commandments. In this section I will unashamedly quote a lot from various authors from whom I’ve benefited. I have consulted the following works:

I will have things to say myself, but I will likewise let men much wiser than me explain the Decalogue of God to us and to our benefit.

It was a great and very helpful observation that I read in Calvin first and which is expressed in the words of the WLC that “where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded: so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included” (Q. 99, rule 4)[15]. This is a very helpful observation to see that the Decalogue not only calls us to abstain from sin, but at the same time to do good. Thus the sixth commandment not only commands unlawful killing, but also the call to protect the lives of people and count life as precious. The ninth commandment not only commands refraining from false witness and lies, but also telling the truth at all times. I believe this is what is meant by the statement that the moral law was “summarized” in the Decalogue. To preserve life, to speak truth, to be faithful to one’s spouse, to love God, to honor elders are self-evident moral truths, yet they are not explicitly commanded in the Decalogue, but we implicitly acknowledge that they’re in this way required.

Preface To The Decalogue

Exod. 20:1-2 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

God delivered Israel from bondage by grace. They certainly did not deserve the greatest redemption in the Old Testament and throughout their history they demonstrated that. But the Lord delivered them according to His promise to the fathers and brought them with a mighty arm from slavery. He freed them by grace and now He gave them His laws so that they would walk in His ways. Israel received the moral, ceremonial and civil laws of God. In Exodus 20 the Lord Himself speaks to them the Ten Words of His covenant.

It was the Lord Himself, not through the ministry of Moses as the other cases, Who spoke the Decalogue to all the people of Israel from Mt. Sinai (Deut. 4:33, 36; 5:4, 22). This demonstrates the special care of God concerning these commandments and displays their primacy that God Himself would declared their words to the people without a mediator. This shows us that God sees them as very important, but this also implies certain things as Thomas Watson observes. If God truly spoke these words then:

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1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...ongunworthy of the Lord's table, and cannot, without great sin against him, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves.
  1. Matt. 7:6; Eph. 4:17-24; 5:3-9; Exod. 20:7, 16; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; 2 John 10; Acts 2:41-42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33-34
  2. 1 Cor. 11:20-22, 27-34

Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead [Return] [Commentary]

  1. The bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous being then made perfect in holiness, are received into paradise, where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell; where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day; besides these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.
    1. Gen. 2:17; 3:19; Acts 13:36; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:22
    2. Gen. 2:7; James 2:26; Matt. 10:28; Eccles. 12:7
    3. Ps. 23:6; 1 Kings 8:27-49; Isa. 63:15; 66:1; Luke 23:43; Acts 1:9-11; 3:21; 2 Cor. 5:6-8; 12:2-4; Eph. 4:10; Phil 1:21-23; Heb. 1:3,4:14-15; 6:20; 8:1; 9:24; 12:23; Rev. 6:9-11; 14:13; 20:4-6
    4. Luke 16:22-26; Acts 1:25; 1 Peter 3:19; 2 Peter 2:9
  1. At the last day, such of the saints as are found alive, shall not sleep, but be changed; and all the dead shall be raised up with the selfsame bodies, and none other; although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever.
    1. 1 Cor. 15:50-53; 2 Cor. 5:1-4; 1 Thess. 4:17
    2. Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15
    3. Job 19:26-27; John 5:28-29; 1 Cor 15:35-38, 42-44
    4. 1 Cor. 15:42-44, 52-54
    5. Dan. 12:2; Matt. 25:46
  1. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honour, and be made conformable to his own glorious body.
    1. Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29
    2. Rom. 8:1, 11; 1 Cor. 15:45; Gal. 6:8
    3. 1 Cor. 15:42-49
    4. Rom. 8:17, 29-30; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 48-49; Phil. 3:21; Col. 1:18; 3:4; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 1:5

Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgment [Return] [Commentary]

  1. God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, by Jesus Christ; to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father; in which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.
    1. John 5:22, 27; Acts 17:31
    2. 1 Cor. 6:3; Jude 6
    3. Matt. 16:27; 25:31-46; Acts 17:30-31; Rom. 2:6-16; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; 2 Peter 3:1-13; Rev. 20:11-15
    4. 2 Cor. 5:10, 1 Cor. 4:5, Matt. 12:36
  1. The end of God's appointing this day, is for the manifestation of the glory of his mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of his justice, in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient; for then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fulness of joy and glory with everlasting rewards, in ...

Welcome To The Staunch Calvinist

Welcome to The Staunch Calvinist. This is a place where Calvinistic Theology will be displayed. A place where the Doctrines of Grace will be explained and defended. This is a place where the Sovereignty of God is cherished and promoted. We hope you will be ministered to through the material on the website. Our goal is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and honor Him. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

The following document may help you to understand the Biblical case for ‘Calvinism’: God's Absolute Sovereignty – A case for Calvinism

I have two sections dedicated to the Doctrines of Grace: defining the Doctrines of Grace & defending the Doctrines of Grace, which are taken from the document above. In the general section, you will find some book reviews and the resources from which I mainly drew the content of the “God’s Absolute Sovereignty” document.

As a Reformed Baptist, I started the 1689 Confession section wherein I seek to explain the chapters and make a biblical case for what is said on a particular subject. As of 18/09/2016, the commentary is complete:

  1. Of the Holy Scriptures
  2. Of God and the Holy Trinity (the attributes of God and a case for the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity)
  3. Of God’s Decree (I make a case for predestination, election, reprobation and absolute sovereignty even over evil and sin)
  4. Of Creation
  5. Of Divine Providence
  6. Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof (Total Depravity)
  7. Of God’s Covenant (1689 Federalism)
  8. Of Christ the Mediator (including a case for the Substitutionary Atonement, Active and Passive Obedience of Christ, Definite Atonement and answers to passages used against the doctrine)
  9. Of Free WIll (with the help of Jonathan Edwards, the consistency of moral agency being found in carrying one's desires, the inconsistencies of libertarian free will, explanation of necessity and inability)
  10. Of Effectual Calling (with a case for infant salvation)
  11. Of Justification (faith is a gift and regeneration precedes faith)
  12. Of Adoption
  13. Of Sanctification
  14. Of Saving Faith
  15. Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation
  16. Of Good Works
  17. Of The Perseverance Of The Saints (A positive case for the Reformed doctrine and responses to passages such as Hebrews 6 and the like)
  18. Of The Assurance Of Grace And Salvation
  19. Of The Law Of God (Threefold Division of the Law, the Decalogue before Moses, a brief exposition of the Decalogue, ceremonial and civil laws, the abiding moral law under the New Covenant in the OT prophecy and the NT, Threefold Uses of the Law, The Law and the Gospel)
  20. Of The Gospel, And Of The Extent Of The Grace Thereof
  21. Of Christian Liberty And Liberty of Conscience
  22. Of Religious Worship And the Sabbath Day (A case for the Regulative Principle of Worship and the Christian Sabbath)
  23. Of Lawful Oaths And Vows
  24. Of The Civil Magistrate
  25. Of Marriage
  26. Of The Church
  27. Of the Communion of Saints
  28. Of Baptism And The Lord's Supper
  29. Of Baptism
  30. Of The Lord's Supper
  31. Of The State Of Man After Death And Of The Resurrection Of The Dead (Intermediate State Hades, Sheol, Heaven; A Case for Amillennial Eschatology; critique of Premillennialism)
  32. Of The Last Judgment (Endless punishment in Hell contra Annihilationism)
...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures - Commentary

...Therefore, our interpretation of the Bible should likewise not contradiction the Bible. I cannot tell you how many believers are not aware of this principle, and how essential and beneficial it is. When speaking with believers about eschatology, for example, how many of them do not first of all jump into the Apocalypse and difficult Old Testament prophecies and try to interpret those? We believe the proper manner of approaching Eschatology, and for that matter—any subject is first to go to the plain teaching and then to the difficult (see Chapter 31 for an illustration of this principle on Eschatology). The assertion of this doctrine and of this paragraph simply is: the Bible is the best interpreter of the Bible. We should let the Bible interpret itself. The Holy Spirit who spoke in the Old Testament interprets the Old Testament in the New Testament. How many times do we have the Apostles in the New interpret prophecies and texts in the Old, which do not seem clear to us when only reading the Old Testament text. That is our fault. The proper interpretation of those passages is the Apostolic interpretation given through the same Spirit. This is called the Analogy of Faith, or the Analogia Fidei in Latin. Theopedia explains why it is called such:

In Romans 12:6 Paul says that each one was to exercise his gift of prophecy, i.e., of teaching, "according to the proportion of faith." The Greek word for proportion here is analogia, and hence the phrase analogy of faith. The meaning is, that the utterances of the "prophet" were not to fluctuate according to his own impulses or independent thoughts, but were to be in accordance with the truth revealed to him as a believer. Following the Reformation, this phrase was used to mean that all Scripture was to be interpreted with reference to all other Scripture. In other words, no single text or expression of Scripture was to be isolated or interpreted in a way contrary to its general teaching.[54]

How many times have we heard Dispensationalists say that the promises to Israel about the descendants or the land have not been fulfilled? I say this from experience. God promised to Abraham: “I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore” (Gen. 22:17). We may get the impression that this means that his descendants will be limitless or something. Yet, if we keep reading the Old Testament we see that such language is applied to the Israelites even before the coming of Christ. For example, we read in 1 Kings 4:20-21:

Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy. 21 Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.

Not only does this fulfill the descendants' promise, but also the Land promise (Gen. 15:18-21). In Deuteronomy 10:22, we read Moses saying to the present generation that “now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.” Hebrews 11:12 says of Abraham, “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.” We see that our first impression of what numerous as the sand of the sea and stars of heaven means is not the same as the biblical authors’. All the promises of God to the Fathers are said to have been fulfilled by th...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, And of the Punishment Thereof - Commentary

...ldquo;unfair” (Deut. 32:4; Gen. 18:25; Job 34:10). None of us would have done otherwise if we were in their shoes, being tempted by the deceiver. Because of Adam and Eve's transgression of God's Law, the guilt of sin is imputed (attributed) to all their posterity and also the punishment, therefore, hence why children die (that's the punishment of disobedience). This is not to imply that all children go to Hell anymore than to say that the reason that Christians die is that God is punishing them (See Chapter 31 for more on this subject). The corrupted nature was carried over, transmitted, transported and imparted to all his descendants coming by “ordinary generation” (excluding the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was the seed of the woman, not man and conceived by the Holy Spirit).

This doctrine of Original Sin or the Federal Headship of Adam is best seen in Romans 5:12-21. Let's take a look at Romans 5:12:

Rom. 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 

Here we see the entrance of sin into the world through Adam and by the breaking of God's law, came the punishment upon sin–death (Gen. 2:16-17). Because of that disobedience and having Adam as the representative, all sinned. This is not referring to people actually committing sin, but this refers to all who were in Adam or had Adam as their covenant head who were represented by him. In the mind of God, when he sinned, they sinned. This is confirmed by the fact that people die not (necessarily, or always) because of their personal sin, but because of Adam's sin (Rom. 5:15). Death was the penalty for Adam's transgression and thus it is imputed and transferred to all his descendants. This is seen in the tragic death of many infants who have not yet sinned themselves, but are born sinful in Adam and receive his punishment – death. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), why would "sinless” babies die? Some may want to say that death is just natural in the world, no, it's not. From a secular view it obviously is, but not from a biblical view. Death came through man. It was not there when God created a "very good” creation (Rom. 5:12, 15, 17; Gen. 1:31). The verse is best understood to refer to the fact that when Adam sinned we sinned in him. Wayne Grudem notes the following:

The aorist indicative verb hēmarton in the historical narrative indicates a completed past action. Here Paul is saying that something happened and was completed in the past, namely, that “all men sinned.” But it was not true that all men had actually committed sinful actions at the time that Paul was writing, because some had not even been born yet, and many others had died in infancy before committing any conscious acts of sin. So Paul must be meaning that when Adam sinned, God considered it true that all men sinned in Adam.[2]

John MacArthur says the following on Romans 5:12 –

5:12 just as sin came. Not a particular sin, but the inherent propensity to sin entered the human realm; men became sinners by nature. Adam passed to all his descendants the inherent sinful nature he possessed because of his first disobedience. That nature is present from the moment of conception (Ps. 51:5), making it impossible for man to live in a way that pleases God. Satan, the father of sin (1 John 3:8), first brought temptation to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:1-7). through one man. When Adam sinned, all mankind sinned in his loins...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity - Commentary

...these things as merely baby-talk—God communicating to us in ways which we could understand, and not describing the reality of what He truly is. In the last verse, Paul says that God is immortal. In 1 Timothy 6:16, Paul says that God “alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.” Immortality is the quality of being unable to die. God has this by virtue of His nature, on the other hand, humans have immortality by virtue of God granting them that. See Chapter 31 for a little bit more on this. God alone, by virtue of being God, has no possibility of either not existing or ceasing to exist. God, by virtue of His being and nature, must exist and He cannot not exist.

Divine Impassibility is defined by Samuel Renihan as "God does not experience emotional changes either from within or affected by His creation." Webster defines it as “Incapable of pain, passion or suffering; that cannot be affected with pain or uneasiness. Whatever is destitute of sensation is impassible.”[22] This is a subject which I still have to read on, but the idea is basically that just like God uses physical and human things to describe Himself, so likewise He uses human emotions and feelings to describe Himself to us. In many ways, we humans, are controlled by our passions and feelings, but God is not like us. His “emotions” or “feelings” are nothing like ours, but since God wants to communicate with us, He uses the vocabulary of feelings and emotions which we are familiar with, just like He does that when speaking of His hand, eyes, mouth, feet, wings, Him being a husband, a father, etc. God is incapable of suffering since He is all-sufficient and all-glorious. This should not be confused, as it is often done, with the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God and man. Since the Son became man in Jesus Christ, He also shared in “flesh and blood” (Heb. 2:14) and partook of our nature, including our feelings, passions, and emotions, not to mention other things which are excluded from God including hunger, tiredness, sleep, physical form, pain, blood, etc. There are some good resources on impassibility that have recently come from Samuel Renihan which I have not studied.

The Infinity of God

The infinity of God is asserted in the words “who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute”. The attributes of God are to their utter perfection with God. Although we are holy, He is most holy; although we are wise, He is most wise; although we are free, he is most free; although we are finite, He is infinite and so on.

To say that God is immense is to declare that He fills heaven and earth as the Scriptures say (Jer. 23:24). There is not an inch in the Universe that the Lord of heaven and earth does not fill. He is immeasurable and unlimited not only in His being but also in His perfections. Solomon after building the Temple of the LORD in Jerusalem admits that even “heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built” (2Chron. 6:18). His greatness is immeasurable and unlimited. To say that God is immense is also to say that He is Omnipresent. Louis Berkhof defines the immensity of God as “that perfection of the Divine Being by which He transcends all spatial limitations, and yet is present in every point of space with His whole Being.”[23] Since He fills heaven and earth, this means that He is everywhere at onc...


A Review of O. Palmer Robertson's The Israel of God

The Israel of God:

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

By O. Palmer Robertson

O. Palmer Robertson. The Israel of God: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Pub. 2000)

For those who have come out of Dispensationalism or want to know what covenant theologians believe about Israel, this is the book. This is a book which deals with the place and identity of Israel in the plan of God. In six chapters Dr. Robertson discusses different topics regarding Israel from its identity to its future.

Overall, I found this to be a very helpful and edifying book. The Bible and the truths of the New Covenant were the interpreting lens for everything. We do not look to outside events and force those within the Bible.

The Occasion for the Book

In the Introduction Dr. Robertson begins with a quotation from Bill Clinton when he was the president of the USA, about Israel:

“'If you abandon Israel, God will never forgive you' ... it is God's will that Israel, the biblical home of the people of Israel, continue for ever and ever.” So spoke the President of the United States in a speech delivered before the Israeli Knesset assembled in Jerusalem. He was recalling with apparent approval the words of his desperately ill pastor. He concluded the speech by saying, “Your journey is our journey, and America will stand with you now and always.” (p. 1)

It seems that this and such mindset was the driving force behind writing this book. The book is not polemic, but rather, it simply presents what the Bible as a whole teaches on some topics related to the Israel of God. It is obviously against Dispensationalism by its adherence to Covenant Theology, but it does not attack Dispensationalism directly. Its purpose is to set a positive case on what the Bible says without really engaging with the other side.

Its Land

The first chapter is dedicated to the Land of Israel. This is a hot issue nowadays. I will be the first to tell you that I hate politics and I don’t want to do anything with it and there is a lot of politics involved with Israel in the Middle East. I am not interested in political discussions. I am a theology nerd. I am interested in the theological claim of the land and God’s plan with the Jews.

Dr. Robertson argues that the “concept of a land that belongs to God’s people originated in Paradise” (p. 4). Adam was told to work the land and multiply. That was the original ideal plan if the Fall had not taken place. Then the whole earth would have been God’s land and God’s temple. The land being a sanctuary is another aspect. This is why the Lord God tells Israel that “I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people” (Lev 26:11-12). God places His sanctuary among His people like He did with the Tabernacle and Temple. This concept of the sanctuary of God among His people had its fulfillment in Jesus Christ of Whom it is written that He “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14). But it will also have its ultimate fulfillment on the New Heavens and New Earth (Rev 21:1-5).

An important aspect which Dr. Robertson highlights is the fact that the land actually belongs to the Lord. As Leviticus 25:23 puts it, “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me.” The land is the Lord’s and the people of Israel are merely strangers and sojourners in the land with Yahweh. He gives...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgment - Commentary

...erson to suffer unceasingly in Hell, but we simply cannot. The doctrine is very hard and terrifying, but the reason that it has received the prominence it has in all strands of Christianity throughout history is because it was a doctrine often taught by our Lord. It has been commonly observed that the Lord Jesus spoke more about Hell than about Heaven, and therefore, it is important to listen to His words. Indeed, no other person is capable of explaining Hell than the One who made it, and who really knows its nature. As we noted in Chapter 31, the wicked at the present time go into Hades, which is Hell without the body, but after the Resurrection and the Judgment, the wicked will be sent to Hell in body and spirit. Therefore, technically speaking, Hell does not yet exist, but it will come after the Resurrection and Judgment (see Rev. 20:14). That being noted, we now move to consider what Scripture teaches us about Hell.

The Nature of Hell

Something that is directly connected with Hell is fire. Hell is described as a place in which fire burns the wicked (Matt. 5:22, 29-30; 18:9); a place in which the wicked are present both in body and soul (Matt. 10:28). In Mark 9:43, Hell is identified as “the unquenchable fire” (C.f. Luke 3:17; Matt. 3:12). In other places, Hell is described although the name is not mentioned. John the Baptist said that Christ will burn the chaff “with unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:12). It is said to be “the eternal fire” (Matt. 18:8; 25:41). Matthew 13:40 says that the “the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.” The judgment of the wicked in Hell will take place at the end of the age and it will be by fire. Hell is described as “the fiery furnace” (Matt. 13:42, 50). In Revelation 20:15, Hell is called “the lake of fire.” It is described as a place in which the worm does not die (Mark 9:48). It is called “the outer darkness” (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30) and “the gloom of utter darkness” (Jude 1:13). The wicked are said to be “tormented with fire and sulfur” (Rev. 14:10; 19:20); weeping and gnashing their teeth (Matt. 8:12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28); and they “suffer the punishment of eternal destruction” (2Thess. 1:9). Basically, it is a place of torment where the wicked will be in (e.g. Rev. 21:8).

Some think that the way in which Scripture speaks of Hell, as fire and outer darkness, is meant to be taken in a metaphorical way. I’m not sure, it may be so, but there are basically two groups who do this. One is the group which believes that saying that fire is metaphorical does not imply that Hell will be better than the traditional picture of Hell, rather, the reality is much stronger than the image. In other words, Hell is more terrible than you can imagine. Even if the worst thing that you can imagine is being tormented in fire forever, well, Hell is worse! The other camp tries to remove the idea of eternal suffering in body and soul. It may well be that the pictures of fire are meant to be taken in a metaphorical way, but this will not make Hell “less” endurable, but it will only make it more terrifying.

Endless Punishment

Now the question before us is simply, “How long will the suffering in Hell go on?” Historic Christianity has answered that question with “forever” until recent times when attempts have been made to teach that the wicked will not suffer eternal torment, but will be annihilated. Basically, the wicked will not suffer conscious...