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

... 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 Jesus Christ.

The souls of the wicked on the other hand are cast into hell where they are in torment and utter darkness and await the judgment of the great day (Luke 16:23; 2 Peter 2:9 ). The word “hell” in this context is not really accurate as Hell describes the place of torment after the resurrection, where the wicked are cast in body and soul. What would be more accurate here is to say that the souls of the wicked are cast into Hades as the rich man was (Luke 16:23). The wicked are reserved for a greater judgment in both body and soul on that great day in Hell, which is the second death.

Final...


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

...ll our good works have been washed away by the blood of Christ and rewarded by grace. But there will be some who will lose rewards because of their works. The wicked will be condemned by their works because they demonstrate their nature as fallen and wicked.


The Day of Judgment is not the day which will determine the destinies of men; their destinies were fixed at the time they died (Heb 9:27; see here). We deny the doctrine of soul-sleep, the righteous pass from this life into the Intermediate State in bliss, while the wicked go into misery upon their deaths. But what is then the difference between what the wicked and righteous experience now in the Intermediate State and what they will experience after the Day of Judgment? Well for one, they were already judged at death and their judgment was private (Heb 9:27), but the Day of Judgment is public in which the secrets of men will be disclosed. Second, the joy and also the misery of men in the Intermediate State is bodiless. Their bodies lie rotting in the grave, while their souls are in places of peace or anguish. At the Day of Judgment, all the dead will be resurrected, their souls uniting with their bodies, and then come to appear before the throne of God. The difference then is that their everlasting punishment or their everlasting bliss is in body and soul, while in the Intermediate State it is in the soul alone. Moreover, the wicked will then be publicly condemned before the world, and the righteous publicly rewarded before the world, and all heaven will bless and praise God for His righteousness.

The Day Of Judgment

There is a Day of Judgment, fixed by God's decree that it should come to pass, in which all people that have ever lived will come and stand before Him to give an account of their words, thoughts, and deeds. This is a day which should rightly awaken fear and awe. For some it will be terrible, for others it will be joyous and victorious. The Confession here borrows much from biblical passages to form its statement in paragraph 1. The first passage which it alludes to is Acts 17:31. We read:

Acts 17:30-31 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Christ The Judge

There was a time when God let the nations go their way, but now that the Christ has come and suffered for all kinds of men, the people of God are no longer confined to a single nation (cf. Rev. 5:9). In accordance with the Savior's words, the Gospel is to be preached to all nations (Matt 28:18-19; Acts 1:8). Therefore, as the Gospel goes out to these nations, they are to respond to it positively, otherwise, they have no way of peace with God. God's command to everyone is “to repent”, i.e., turn back from sin and turn toward Him (see here). The motivation given for people to repent is because there is a Day of Judgment coming. This Day is “fixed” and the One who fixed it is God Himself who will expose the works of the wicked on the last day and give each man according to their works. Although God is said to be the judge, yet this judgment is by the “man whom he has appointed”, the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 5:22-23 we read, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoe...


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

...ll the disciples expected our Lord to return soon. 1000 is a huge number.

The First Resurrection

There are two possible explanations for this. It is either regeneration or the entrance of the saints to heaven (Dean’s view). I favor the regeneration view because it has direct statements from Scripture and especially from John to confirm this, but I still have some questions which the “entrance to heaven” view answers. I’m challenged by Dean’s view, it seems indeed to fit. [Edit: as of 25-04-2015 I have changed my view of the first resurrection to Dean’s. I believe the first resurrection refers to the believers’ entrance into the Intermediate State.]

Dean’s view say that the first resurrection is not a physical resurrection, indeed the consistent teaching of the NT is that of one general resurrection at the Parousia. The first resurrection refers to the believers’ entrance to heaven and reigning there with Christ.

There are two groups who are reigning with Christ:

  1. The martyrs
    1. the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God
  2. Born again believers
    1. those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands

The regeneration view sees support in John 5.

John 5:25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

Here regeneration is seen as a resurrection from the dead. Resurrection from deadness in sin.

This is further confirmed in the many ways that Paul refers to our old self and regeneration:

Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Here is it of special importance because in a certain and real (because the Bible affirms it) sense we are already seated in heaven (on thrones?) and are reining. In what way? Reining in life (Rom 5:17) and against sin.

The new life is connected with resurrection in Ephesians 5 also:

Eph 5:13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, Eph 5:14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

I think both views have good support and there remains questions to be asked about each (and more research and re-checking for me).

This is indeed not meant to be an exhaustive exposition of Revelation 20 and answering objection, but that’s exactly the reason why you should get the book and study it for yourself. [In re-reading on the subject of the First Resurrection from Sam Storms[3], Anthony Hoekema[4]Meredith G. Kline, I now believe that it refers to the entrance of believers into Intermediate State rather than regeneration.)

The Consummation

As seen in the chart above the Amillennial view of the End is pretty simple:

  1. One visible and glorious coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. One general resurrection of all humanity.
  3. One final judgment and reward of the righteous and the wicked.

Or, better said by Dean Davis. We expect:

  1. Th...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 9: Of Free Will - Commentary

... Adam's, but even better.  For  Adam was unstable in his will, but our wills will be stable and fixed to righteousness alone.


From the description of the state of glory especially in Revelation 21-22, there seems to be no possibility to sin. That is really no problem or hindrance to our freedom, as some imagine, but that is, in fact, perfection and complete glorification. Why would we desire to sin and do that which is contrary to God when all evil and sin has been removed far from us? In the State of Glory, we will be made perfect. The State of Glory which is spoken of is both the Intermediate State, where the believers now go to when they die and also the New Heavens and the New Earth in which righteousness dwells (1Pet. 3:13). It is there when our glorification and sanctification will be complete and we would perfectly reflect the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29-30). It is there when we will finally be freed from our remaining corruptions and be sinless like our Lord. We will no longer have the ability to sin because our desires will be wholly holy and righteous, just like that of our Lord. In heaven, we will have the non posse peccare—we will no longer have the possibility to sin and our wills will be fixed to the good, just like the Lord Jesus’ and God’s. For those who think this means that we are made robots, they need to consider the Lord Jesus Who never sinned (whether there was actually an ability to sin or not is beside the point) and God Who cannot sin (has an inability to sin) and explain how They are “free.” Freedom consists in doing that which is according to one’s nature. As God’s nature is good and holy, He only desires to do that. As our nature and our redemption will be complete and we will be made “perfect” (Heb. 12:23), so likewise we will only desire that which accords with our nature, the good and holy.

Glory be to God who will give us victory over sin and Satan and answer the prayer of Paul in Romans 7:24-25. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for redeeming us by Your precious blood from the dominion of sin. Thank You, Father, for choosing us and sending Your beloved Son to die in our place so that we will be Your slaves and not the slaves of sin. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for applying the perfect work of Christ to us, regenerating us, causing us to desire that which is pleasing to God, working in us God’s pleasure and making us more like Christ every day. Glory be to the Triune God alone for His perfect work! We long to the day when our wills will be made “perfectly and immutably free to good alone.”

 

...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure

(Philippians 2:12-13)

 


Footnotes

  1. ^ Many Scriptural references have been supplied by Samuel Waldron's Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which was apparently supplied by the Westminster Confession of Faith 1646.
  2. ^ Jonathan Edwards. Freedom Of The Will. (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications. Originally, 1754. 2012). pp. 1-2. A digital version can be found in CCEL.
  3. ^ Ibid. p. 4.
  4. ^ Ibid. p. 3.
  5. ^ Ibid. p. 5.
  6. ^ Ibid. pp. 5-6.
  7. a, b Ibid. p. 6.
  8. a, b Ibid. p. 7.
  9. ^ Ibid. pp. 9-10. Edwards classifies the first on under “the apparent nature and circumstance of the object” (p. 8). The other two he classifies under two one point with two sub-points which he calls “the manner of view” (pp. 8-9). Point 2 (here) is called the degree of assent,...

1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

...by reason of his remaining corruptions, he doth not perfectly, nor only will, that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil. 2
  1. Col 1:13; John 8:36; Phil 2:13
  2. Rom 7:14-25; Gal 5:17
  1. This will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only. 1
    1. Eph 4:13; Heb 12:23

In the Intermediate State and the new heavens and earth we will be endowed with the non posse peccare (no ability to sin). We will be truly free. We will truly only desire and do that which is pleasing to God. No more sorrow, no more sin, but endlessly glorifying God.


Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling [Return] [Commentary]

  1. Those whom God 1 hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, 3 effectually to call, 4 by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; 10 yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace. 11
    1. Rom. 8:28-29
    2. Rom. 8:29-30; 9:22-24; 1 Cor. 1:26-28; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:9
    3. John 3:8; Eph. 1:11
    4. Matt. 22:14; 1 Cor. 1:23-24; Rom. 1:6; 8:28; Jude 1; Ps. 29; John 5:25; Rom. 4:17
    5. 2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Peter 1:23-25; James 1:17-25; 1 John 5:1-5; Rom. 1:16-17; 10:14; Heb. 4:12
    6. John 3:3, 5-6, 8; 2 Cor. 3:3, 6 Rom. 8:2; 1 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 2:1-6; 2 Tim. 1:9-10
    7. Acts 26:18; 1 Cor. 2:10, 12; Eph. 1:17-18
    8. Ezek. 36:26
    9. Deut. 30:6; Ezek. 36:27; John 6:44-45; Eph. 1:19; Phil. 2:13
    10. Ps. 110: 3; John 6:37; Rom. 6:16-18
  1. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead. 3
    1. 2 Tim. 1:9, Titus 3:4-5; Eph. 2:4-5,8-9; Rom. 9:11
    2. 1 Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:7; Eph. 2:5
    3. John 6:37; Ezek. 36:27; John 5:25; Eph 1:19-20
  1. Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; 1 so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
    1. John 3:3, 5, 6, 8 
  1. Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; 2 be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess. 3
    1. Matt. 7:22; 13:20-21; 22:14; Heb 6:4-5
    2. John 6:44-45, 64-66; 8:24; 1 John 2:24, 25
    3. Acts 4:12; John 4:22; 17:3

Chapter 11: Of Justification [Return] [Commentary]

  1. Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteo...

Welcome To The Staunch Calvinist

...fession-Chapter-28:-Of-Baptism-And-The-Lords-Supper-Commentary/" target="_blank">Of Baptism And The Lord's Supper
  • Of Baptism
  • Of The Lord's Supper
  • 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)
  • Of The Last Judgment (Endless punishment in Hell contra Annihilationism)
  • ...

    Review of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology

    ...ne God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 

    The Application of Redemption

    Part 5 is entitled The Doctrine of The Application of Redemption. Therein Dr. Grudem handles among other things:

    1. Common Grace
    2. Election and Reprobation
    3. The Gospel Call and Effective Calling 
    4. Regeneration
    5. Conversion (Faith and Repentance)
    6. Justification (Right Legal Standing Before God)
    7. Adoption (Membership in God’s Family)
    8. Sanctification (Growth in Likeness to Christ)
    9. Death and the Intermediate State
    10. Glorification (Receiving a Resurrection Body)
    11. Union with Christ

    These chapters are excellent like the rest and if you didn't know, Dr Wayne Grudem is a full-fetched Calvinist and in these chapters, what is called “Calvinism” is argued and shown to be the system of the Bible itself. He follows Romans 8:29-30 in laying out these doctrine sin this way:

    Rom 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 

    The Doctrine of the Church

    Part 6 of this treatment deals with Ecclesiology. I've learned a ton in this part, because it wasn't something that I've read about before.

    Being a baptist, he argues for a congregational and independent type of church and makes the case for the consistent plurality of elders in NT congregations.

    What I also liked was the distinction that he made with with more and less pure churches. He admits that in the present time there will not be a church which is perfect in doctrine, but there will be churches which are more or less pure churches. There are no perfect churches.

    Being a Reformed Baptist myself, I loved his treatment of Baptism (chapter 49) and his interaction with Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology on Protestant Infant Baptism. I though that his case for Credobaptism was strong and he was gracious toward our Padeobaptist brethren.

    An important doctrine which he got me more thinking about was the Gifts of the Spirit. He being a continuationist and I...kinda undecided, but was practically a cessationist, but couldn't make up my mind from the Scriptures because according to my judgment I didn't see any where in the NT the idea that the spritual gifts would stop.

    A few things should be said, Dr. Grudem is an excellent theologian, so he is not like the prosperity preachers and the Benny Hinns. He does not believe that “NT congregational prophecy” is the speaking of the very words of God, but he defines prophecy as “telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.”[3] He does not believe that NT congregation prophecy is predicting the future. Further, he believes that in the OT the prophets spoke the very words of God and to disobey a prophet was the same as to disobey God. But this is not the case in the NT. In the NT, the prophets are replaced with the Apostles (which is an office limited to the first century he believes) which are given the authority to write the God-breathed word of God. It is the Apostles, not the prophets in the NT which write and speak the very words of God. At first I found this rather strange and I was committed that the prophets were God's mouthpiece as that is the case in the OT, but Dr Grudem argues that the Apostles replace the prophets in the NT.

    As fo...