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"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards

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

...s 13:36; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:22[1]
  • Gen. 2:7; James 2:26; Matt. 10:28; Eccles. 12:7
  • 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
  • Luke 16:22-26; Acts 1:25; 1 Peter 3:19; 2 Peter 2:9
  • The body returns to the dust from whence it came, but the souls are immortal from the time they begin to exist; they cannot just disappear and go out of existence. They will exist without body in Heaven or Hades until Christ comes to end the world and bring in the New Heavens and New Earth. The elect then will receive a glorious body like that of Jesus and enjoy endless fellowship with the God Triune, while the reprobates will receive physical bodies just to be tormented in the lake of fire.

    The Intermediate State describes the time between death and the resurrection of the body, this includes a discussion of the immortality of the soul, Heaven and Hades.

    The Immortality Of The Soul

    While people are buried and their bodies return to the dust from whence they came, their souls do not cease to exist, they are immortal. While the body decomposes and returns to dust, the soul of man lives evermore. It is important to define the usage of the word “immortal” and “immortality” here. This immortality which the souls of men and angels possess is obviously not like the essential immortality of God. In 1 Timothy 6:16 we read that God “alone has immortality”. This speaks about God essentially and by nature having immortality. He ever was and ever will be immortal, i.e., undying. Albert Barnes noted on that passage that God has immortality “by his very nature, and it is in his case underived, and he cannot be deprived of it. It is one of the essential attributes of his being, that he will always exist, and that death cannot reach him”.[2] But this word is often used in reference to men and angels, so what does it mean? It means that the souls of men and angels are undying from the moment that they come to exist. It means that the soul of man does not simply decompose or disappear after death, like the physical body does. Rather, the soul is unable to die, because God designed it to be so. There is no “must-ness” that the souls of man or of angels be immortal except that God had willed them to be so. It is not essential, as it is in the case of God, that our souls be immortal. Rather, this immortality is derived from God and is dependent upon His power. Louis Berkhof writes, ‘the word “immortality” designates, especially in eschatological language, that state of man in which he is impervious to death and cannot possibly become its prey.’[3] The word “immortal”, though it may be controversial to some, is used simply to indicate that the souls of men “neither die nor sleep”, while their bodies sure do until the resurrection.

    While the Bible does not have a statement saying “the soul of man is immortal,” it very much, I believe, assumes and does not question it. For example, had the Fall not taken place, man would have lived forever in body and soul, but the Fall brought physical death to the body, yet it did not destroy the soul of man. The soul of man remained, but now in enmity with God, no longer walking in fellowship and peace with Him. Death is said to have come because of sin (Rom. 5:12; 6:23). Therefore, if sin had not come there would be no death. Notice that we're speaking here no...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator - Commentary

    ...

    It is not my purpose to give an extensive exegesis of these texts here, but we should notice a few things about this Melchizedek. Let's start with Hebrews 7:2-3. This Melchizedek, at least typologically, points to Christ, if it is not the pre-incarnate Christ Himself! The significance is seen in the meaning of his name and function. His name Melchizedek, which means king of righteousness. It is the Lord Jesus in the New Testament who is the King of God's people. He is the righteous Davidic King whom we adore and await to see fully and visibly reining in the New Earth. Even now He is reigning, but will more manifestly reign when He comes back to usher in the New Heavens and New Earth. Furthermore, this king of righteousness reigned in the city of Salem, which under David became Jerusalem. Salem means peace and thus he was the king of peace. Again resembling and pointing to the Lord Jesus who was prophesied to be the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).

    We should likewise not forget that Melchizedek was introduced to us as a priest of the Most High. Not only was He the king of righteousness, king of peace, but he was also a priest of the true God. He was a priestly king, just like the Lord Jesus. This was unheard of under the Mosaic Law and Levitical priesthood. Furthermore, in v. 4 we read of Melchizedek’s lack of genealogy, which was essential to the Levitical priesthood. You had to prove through genealogy that you were a Levite to be able to participate in the priesthood. But concerning the genealogy of Melchizedek, we do not read a single syllable in Genesis or anywhere in the Bible, pointing to our Lord’s divine nature, which is without beginning and without end. 

    Now let us turn to vv. 5-8. Under the Law, the people of Israel were to pay tithes to the priests, but the father of the Israelites, Abraham himself, gave tithes to this Melchizedek. Moreover, Melchizedek blessed the one who had the covenant and the promises. It is obvious, the Author of Hebrews reasons, that this shows the superiority of Melchizedek over Abraham. If Melchizedek was superior to Abraham, then he is superior to Levi and his priesthood. 

    The Necessity of the Melchizedekian Priesthood

    But the Author of Hebrews also gives us the answer as to why Christ was not to be a priest after the order of Levi:

    Heb. 7:11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?

    The Author has just spoken of Melchizedek and of his superiority even over Abraham, but now comes back and deals with the priesthood that his readers are familiar with. The argument is, if the Levitical priesthood was good and through it the people could attain perfection, i.e., righteousness, then why would God speak of the Messiah's priesthood as being according to the order of Melchizedek? Well, the obvious answer is that because the Levitical Priesthood is unable to justify and perfect a sinner (Heb. 7:18-19; 9:9; 10:1). It is because the Levitical priesthood and the covenant under which it was, was faulty (Heb. 8:7-8). It was not meant to justify, but to point to the sinfulness of man and the need of the Savior (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 3:23-24). The necessity of having a priest not after the order of Aaron and Levi demonstrates the faultiness of the Mosaic Covenant under which ...


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

    ...ch a section on all the covenants, answering the question: What does this covenant reveal about the New Covenant/Covenant of Grace and about Christ our Lord?

    God Living With Man

    In this covenant, we learn of the Creator God, Who is also the covenant Lord, committed to having a relationship with His image-bearers. But His image-bearers, after some time, chose to rebel rather than obey Him. This pictures every one of us and what we, even believers, so often do. This harmonious relationship, in which God walked among man (Gen. 3:8) in the Garden, was hindered by the Fall. Still, God was and is committed to living with man and we see the realization of this plan in the New Heavens and New Earth:

    Rev. 21:1-3 Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the first Heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God

    The harmony that existed before the Fall between God and man dwelling together is restored in the New Earth never to be broken again. What man ruined, God has renewed, restored and perfected.

    Federal Headship

    In this covenant, we also learn of Federal Headship, Adam's representations of all his descendants. He stands in the place of all his posterity. His obedience and disobedience affect the whole race, not only himself. In the New Testament, especially in Romans 5:12-21, this subject of the Federal Headship is taken up by Paul. He not only speaks of Adam's headship but also of Christ's. Christ is the Head of the new humanity – the redeemed humanity in Him. We have received grace upon grace because of Him. Because of His obedience, because of His perfect work on our behalf. Because we are in Him, we, therefore share in His blessings. Read and study Romans 5:12-21. It's deep. Read more about Adam's Federal Headship in chapter 6.

    The Seed

    Right after the Fall, God displays awesome grace in not destroying and sending Adam and Eve straight to Hell for their rebellion, but in promising a Seed who would crush the serpent's head. Genesis 3:15 is what is called the proto-Evangelium. It is the first telling of the Gospel. It was promised by God to Adam and Eve. God promised that the Seed will destroy the one who destroyed the relationship that God had with man. Who but our awesome Savior is the Seed? It is He who has destroyed the works of the Devil and who will put him under our feet (1John 3:8; Heb. 2:14; Rom. 16:20).

    This revelation is not obvious at first sight, but progressively the Bible goes on to explain who the Seed is. In Genesis 3:15, it could be anyone coming from the line of Adam. In fact, perhaps Eve expected him to be one of her sons (Gen. 4:1, 25). But then you begin to see from Genesis 12 and the Abrahamic Covenant the limitation placed by God concerning from whose line the Seed will come (Gen. 17:7-8). At the end of Genesis, the Seed is placed in the line of Judah (Gen. 49:10). Centuries later in Israel's history, God reveals that He has particularly chosen the line of David of whom the King, who is also the Offspring/Seed, will come (2Sam. 7). From this and other instances we learn about progressive revelation. We could not have known all these thing...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary

    ...ery early on, the principle of "what is not commanded, is forbidden." Williamson concludes:

    It is no exaggeration at all, then, to say that this was Cain's downfall: he was not willing to limit himself to worship that had God's approval.(5) We therefore see a clear principle: worship which is not sanctioned by God is forbidden.[7]

    The Second Commandment

    Exod. 20:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    First of all, we have dealt with this commandment briefly in chapter 19 on the Law of God (see here for that). What does this commandment concern itself with? In the simple, brief or basic form of the commandment, it says, “You shall not make yourself a carved image” or “You shall not have any idols.” The first commandment says “You shall have no other gods.” What is then the difference between the first and the second commandments? I believe the difference lies in this:

    1. The first commandment teaches us not to have any other god or object of worship other than the LORD God.
    2. While the second commandment teaches us how we are not to worship this one God.

    It is here necessary to dispel the idea that we sometimes may have of the ancients. No one thought that the idol itself (i..e, the image) was the deity they're worshiping. Rather, the idolaters wanted to get to the deity through that dumb idol. Second, we need to reconsider the idolatry of the golden calf. It is often thought that Israel quickly went astray after others gods in that instance. But in actuality, that is not the case. They had clearly seen the power of God working among them. They were not so dumb as to quickly go after others gods. They knew that there is but one God and He had manifested Himself clearly to them. Well, what was their sin then? Their sin was to worship God through the golden calf! Israel tried to worship God in a way which He explicitly forbad in the Second Commandment, which was declared by God in their hearing. Aaron, who made the golden calf, said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD” (Ex. 32:5). That’s the Tetragrammaton! A feast to Yahweh, the true God. As to the “gods” in vv. 1 and 4, the word Elohim is plural even when speaking of the true God, therefore, its translation, among other things, is dependent on the context and the margins mention that it also can be translated “a god” and not “gods.” Support for seeing that it is speaking of a singular god is seen in Aaron’s declaration above. The feast is to be to Yahweh, and not to other false gods. They tried to worship Yahweh in a way which He clearly had forbad in the Second Commandment. They tried to make representations of Him, which He clearly forbad and His wrath was kindled against them. It is generally understood in the Reformed tradition that the Second Commandment has to do with worship. Therefore, the Westminster Larger Catechism says:

    Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

    Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise appr...


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

    ...einrich-critical-and-exegetical-commentary-20-vols/">Critical and Exegetical NT. Taken from the TheWord Bible Software. In loc. Words within square brackets supplied. ...

    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling - Commentary

    ...quo; did originate with the original framers and not later on as is evident, because it is found in the Westminster and Savoy confessions. This merely shows the caution that the framers took in making a statement upon a subject which is generally not that clear. I do not believe that by saying “elect infants” they assumed that all other infants were in damnation. Rather, by “elect” they want to assert that their salvation is solely by grace and not through deserving it or merit, even if they die in infancy. 

    In the following paragraphs, I'm going to argue the case that Pastor MacArthur made in Safe in the Arms of God. I think that he made a pretty good biblical case for infant salvation. I do not mean that he answered every question that could be posed, but I thought it was a good case for what happens to those who die in infancy and those are disabled. I know that some Reformed people disagree with him and usually because of his Dispensationalism, but hear him out. I have also benefited from:

    Infant Salvation

    We are now approaching a very difficult and touching subject, it is very emotional and that is obviously understandable. We do not neglect our emotions, but the Scriptures are the infallible standard of truth. So our search for the answer must begin and finish with Holy Writ. What has God said on this subject?

    Persons

    First, we must begin to answer the question: “Are fetuses human persons?” I believe that the biblical answer is positive. The first go-to-text is Jeremiah 1:5. There the Lord speaks about Jeremiah's ordination and election. Before Jeremiah came out of the womb, the Lord knew Him and talked about Him as a “you” and not an “it.” In Psalm 139:13-16 the writer speaks of God who formed him from the very beginning in the womb until the end. God had determined his days before there was any. The Lord saw the person, He didn't see a fetus who became the writer of the Psalm. But He saw him who once was a little fetus. In Luke 1:41-44 upon Mary coming to Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth, John leaped in her and could express his feelings. Elizabeth does not refer to him a thing or as merely a fetus, but she says the baby leaped in her. He was able, even in the womb, to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15), which is only for persons and was able to express emotions. The Law gave the same protection for unborn children as for adults. In Exodus 21:22-23 we read of the punishment of someone fighting a husband and who hits his pregnant woman. If there was harm the lex talionis was to be followed. Calvin on this says:

    22. If men strive, and hurt a woman. This passage at first sight is ambiguous, for if the word death (39) only applies to the pregnant woman, it would not have been a capital crime to put an end to the foetus, which would be a great absurdity; for the foetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, (homo,) and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of...


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

    ...that written law. This means that they will be judged on the basis of the greater light that they had received. The knowledge of the Jew concerning the true God here is much greater than the Gentile, who Paul does say that He knows God (Rom. 1:21), but obviously he did not have as much knowledge of His will as the Jew did. Therefore, this Jew here will be punished more severely because of the greater revelation which he lived under. The heathen will receive a “light beating”, while those who know God’s will and still rebel against Him will receive a “severe beating” (Luke 12:47-48).

    3. In both cases the Apostle is not assuming that Gentiles will go to Heaven because they did not know the written law of God, or that they would not be judged by the law of God. It is a basic biblical assumption that all people will be judged by the law of God, because the law of God is not something arbitrary that God thought of someday, but it is a reflection of His pure and glorious character. The moral law reflects the Lawgiver. Things are good because they reflect Him and they are evil because they don’t. It is essential to understand that the moral law is a reflection of God’s holy character. He is the standard. There is nothing above God. We will stand before Him and give an account on the Day of Judgment and the standard to be judged by is His perfection, as expressed in the Decalogue/moral law. If you are afraid, you should be, because none of us can live such a perfect life, therefore, flee to Christ the Savior!

    4. What does Paul mean to say in v. 13? He present two groups: 1) the hearers of the law which are the Jews, and 2) the doers of the law which are presumably Jews and Gentiles. Is the Apostle here teaching that people can be justified by works despite what his conclusion in chapter 3 on chapters 1-2 says? I don’t think so. Perhaps he is here speaking about the hypothetical justification by the law, by this I mean, that theoretically, it is possible to be justified by the law, but only if you do all what God commands without any disobedience (Gal. 3:10). Oh, and did I mention, that men are born in and prone to sin from the womb (Ps. 51:4-5; Gen. 6:5; 8:21)? Therefore, this is an impossible task for anyone, but the Lord Christ. I don’t have a firm opinion on this passage and I don’t think that its proper understanding is essential to the points I’m trying to making here about the moral law, therefore, I will move on.

    5. Now the Apostle in v. 14 connects vv. 12-13 together. The Gentiles do not have the written law, but, says the Apostle, they actually do what the law requires! How can this be? Here the Apostle is referring to moral laws like stealing, murder, adultery, which have not been seen as virtues. and from which tons of godless people have abstained. They abstained from these things because they knew the unwritten moral law of God. They do that “by nature.” The Greek word is here φύσις (phusis) and is defined by Mounce as:

    essence, Gal. 4:8; native condition, birth, Rom. 2:27; 11:21, 24; Gal. 2:15; Eph. 2:3; native species, kind, Jas. 3:7; nature, natural frame, 2 Pet. 1:4; nature, native instinct, Rom. 2:14; 1 Cor. 11:14; nature, prescribed course of nature, Rom. 1:26[5]

    They do what the law requires by “nature”, by virtue of what they are, namely creatures in the image of God. They do that by “native instinct.” Albert Barnes observes, “The expression means clearly by the light of conscience and reason, and w...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 3: Of God's Decree - Commentary

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    Chapter 3: Of God's Decree

    What does it mean that God is sovereign? Does God control all things? Does God ordain and is sovereign even over sin? What about election? Does God choose who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell? Did God predestine because He saw what was going to come to pass? Does it matter what we do? Does God ordain the ends as well as the means?


    §1 God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity...whatsoever comes to pass

    1. God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably1 all things, whatsoever comes to pass2 yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; 3 nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather establishedin which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree. 5
      1. Prov. 19:21; Isa 14:24-27; 46:10-11; Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Rom. 9:19; Heb. 6:17[1]
      2. Dan. 4:34-35; Rom. 8:28; 11:36; Eph. 1:11
      3. Gen. 18:25; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5
      4. Gen. 50:20; 2 Sam. 24:1; Isa. 10:5-7; Matt. 17:12; John 19:11; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28
      5. Num. 23:19; Eph. 1:3-5

    Introduction

    There is no truth of Scripture more hated by some and cherished by others than the doctrine of Divine Absolute Sovereignty. The natural man cannot bring himself to accept such a doctrine, yet the child of God who believes this precious doctrine loves it magnifies the Lord through it and finds his rest in it. The Confession is clearly and unashamedly Calvinistic in its view of the absolute, free, irresistible, micro-managing sovereignty of God. Every molecule moves the way it does because God from all eternity has willed that it be so. From eternity past to eternity future nothing will occur to the mind of God which He didn't already know and ordain. He possesses all knowledge, actual and possible (chapter 2:2). The Confession doesn't go into the Hyper-Calvinistic error of disregarding man's will and responsibility, but rather affirms that the liberty of second cause agents (men) are established because of God's decree. The liberty here discussed is obviously not the mythical libertarian free will. There is no such thing as libertarian free will. Libertarian free will says that one can go against all inclination and nature, which is impossible and ridiculous. Jonathan Edwards in his The Freedom of the Will shows the absurdity and impossibility of such a will. Rather, moral agency or free will, biblically defined, would be the freedom to do whatever one desires. The Bible speaks about a limitation upon the desires and inclinations of the natural man; this limitation is our sinful natures from which sinful actions are born. See !--cke_bookmark_600S--!--cke_bookmark_600E--chapter 9 for our discussion of man's free will, moral inability, moral necessity and libertarian free will.

    God orders every event in such a way that He is sovereign over every step, yet at the same time, the second cause agent is not being coerced to do anything against their desire, but out their own desires and freedom carries whatever God has from all eternity decreed. We may not understand how this is done, but I believe that such is the testimony of Scripture. It is not for me to understand how the two work together, rather, it is for me to believe that it is such if I see both in Holy Writ. On a personal lev...


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

    ...s below.

    The Truthfulness, Infallibility, And Inerrancy Of Scripture

    We may know and not doubt the truth of the matter which is affirmed in the Scriptures on the basis of the God of Scripture. We know that the world was created in 6 days because Scripture testifies to this. We know and believe that Adam and Eve existed because the Scripture treats them as historical persons. We know that the Flood and Babel occurred because they are treated as historical fact in the Scripture. We know that Christ died for our sins because the Scriptures say so. We know that He rose because Scripture says so. We know He ascended into Heaven because Scripture says so. We know that He will come back to judge the living and the dead because Scripture promises so. This is circular, we know, and every argument for an ultimate standard is circular. But there is a difference between a narrow circle and a wide circle. A narrow circle says the Bible is true because the Bible says that it is true. The argument is true, but it is a very narrow circle. On the other hand, you could argue that the Bible is true because of its self-authenticating nature, fulfilled prophesy within itself based on the God that it reveals. Isaiah 53 is an incredible example of fulfilled prophecy within the pages of the Bible. One Testament records the prophecy; the other records its fulfillment against all the beliefs and expectations of the Jews at that time. The Bible is the palace of the King, and we may certainly go into the palace to inquire about what this King has said about Himself.

    The truthfulness, infallibility, and inerrancy of Scripture are based on the God of Scripture. Since Scripture is His Word, therefore, it reflects His character. God is described as being “the truth” (John 14:6), “God, who never lies” (Tit. 1:2; cf. Num. 23:19). His Word is said to be “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13), “pure words…purified seven times” (Ps. 12:6), “Every word of God proves true” (Prov. 30:5), “your word is truth” (John 17:17; cf. 2Sam. 7:28; 1Kgs. 17:24; Ps. 119:43, 89–90, 142, 151). The word “infallible” is closely related and sometimes synonymous with “inerrant.” Noah Webster defines infallibleness as “Not fallible; not capable of erring; entirely exempt from liability to mistake; applied to persons. No man is infallible; to be infallible is the prerogative of God only.”[2] He likewise defines inerrability as, “Exemption from error or from the possibility of erring; infallibility.”[3] He sees these two terms as synonymous and meaning the same thing, namely, that thing which is inerrant and infallible, cannot be wrong or contain errors. But there is a certain way in which inerrancy and infallibility differ from each other, and this we get in the Chicago Statement On Biblical Inerrancy:

    Infallible signifies the quality of neither misleading nor being misled and so safeguards in categorical terms the truth that Holy Scripture is a sure, safe, and reliable rule and guide in all matters.

    Similarly, inerrant signifies the quality of being free from all falsehood or mistake and so safeguards the truth that Holy Scripture is entirely true and trustworthy in all its assertions.[4]

    Article XI states that “Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished, but not separated.”[4] Therefore, when we speak of the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture, we are speaking about the complete truthfulness of Scripture, and of the fact that they're...


    Review of Dean Davis' The High King of Heaven on Amillennialism

    ...

    Dean Davis - The High King of Heaven:

    Discovering the Master Key to the Great End Time Debate

    The subtitle indeed is a bold claim, saying that in this book we will discover “the master key” to the End Time debate. I believe we indeed do discover the master key to the End Time debate.

    This book is nothing like the others that I’ve read on Amillennialism (Kingdom Come, The Bible and the Future, The Case for Amillennialism), it dares to go and try to interpret the difficult texts in support of premillennialism. It is anti-premillennial as well as, but in lesser tone against Postmillennialism. This is all done in a tone of brotherly love. I enjoyed that aspect of the interaction.

    Amillennialism

    This book lays out the classic view of Amillennialism which is Dean Davis[1] believes (as others also do) is the classic eschatology of Church History and the Reformation.

    The word amillennialism means no millennium. However, amillennarians do not deny the existence of a millennium, only that it begins after the Parousia and that it will last for a literal thousand years. Instead, they teach that the thousand years of Revelation 20 symbolize the present Era of Proclamation, during which time Christ reigns with (the departed spirits of) his saints in Heaven. Amillennarians are, then, “present-millennarians.” Pages 23-24

    Basically, Amillennialism teaches that the Millennium of Revelation 20 started from the cross and will end at the Second Coming of our Lord, spanning over 2 millennia up till now and is thus to be interpreted symbolically, rather than literally. The Millennium is the Gospel Era, or as Dean likes to call it, the Era of Proclamation.

    This is a simple chart laying out the Amillennial vision of Salvation History.

    The Kingdom of God

    One of the very ups of this book was the extensive study of the Kingdom of God in the New and Old Testaments. My understanding of the Kingdom of God was really expanded.

    A Definition of the Kingdom of God

    Dean Davis defines the Kingdom of God as:

    In essence, the Kingdom of God is the direct reign of God the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit, over his redeemed creatures; creatures who have been rescued from every spiritual and physical enemy, and restored to every spiritual and physical friend that God planned for them in the beginning. Also, the Kingdom is the blessed realm that this redemptive reign creates, and over which it forever rules. Page 65.

    This he does not merely assume, but ably goes to prove it from the Bible, here is a summary of his five points:

    1. The Kingdom is the direct reign of God the Father (Mt 6:10)
    2. The Kingdom is a sphere of wholeness and blessing (Mt 9:35; 10:7-8; 12:28)
    3. The Kingdom is mediated by the Son of God (John 5:19, 30; 6:38;  8:28; 12:49; 14:10)
    4. The Kingdom is effected by the Spirit of God (Mt 12:28; Acts 1:4-8)
    5. The Kingdom is a realm beneath a reign (Mt 13:41-42; Rev 11:15)

    Thereby is indeed the definition that he gives is justified and satisfactory.

    The Two-Staged Kingdom

    Amillennarians see the Kingdom of God coming in two stages, separated by the Parousia of our Lord:

    1. The Kingdom of the Son (already, the present Era of Proclamation)
    2. The Kingdom of the Father (not yet, the future World/Age to Come)

    Now, the terminology used here is not meant to give the idea that the Son has no share in the second stage of the Kingdom or that the Father has no share in the first, but rather ...