The Staunch Calvinist

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

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

...rspective.
  • Douglas Van Dorn - Covenant Theology: A Reformed Baptist Primer.
  • Brandon Adams and his 1689 Federalism website.
  • Samuel & Micah Renihan.
  • Jeffrey D. Johnson - The Fatal Flaw (see my review) and the Kingdom of God.
  • I don't pretend to have an answer to every question or have all the details worked out, but Lord willing, I will change this post if I become persuaded of some things that I think are necessary to mention. It is a subject that has fascinated me and it's a subject I want to learn more about. In this chapter, I will try to lay out all the major covenants of the Bible and see how they are fulfilled or still await fulfillment in Christ and His people. Covenant theology is Christocentric. The covenants that I would like to deal with are the following:

    1. The Covenant of Redemption [§2] [go]
    2. The Covenant of Grace [§3] [go]
    3. The Covenant of Works [§1] [go]
    4. The Covenant with Noah (Noahic Covenant) [§3] [go]
    5. The Covenant with Abraham (Abrahamic Covenant) [§3] [go]
    6. The Covenant with Israel through Moses (Mosaic Covenant) [§3] [go]
    7. The Covenant with David (Davidic Covenant) [§3] [go]
    8. The Covenant with the Church (New Covenant) [§3] [go]

    What Is A Covenant?

    Before going into the covenants, let us define what a covenant actually is. A covenant may simply be defined as: A commitment with divine sanctions. To add more input, it may be said this way:

    In the general sense, a covenant is simply a binding agreement or compact between two or more parties; in legal terms, it is a formal sealed agreement or contract.[3]

    Simply said, a covenant is the way that God communicates with man. It must be noted that the covenants made by God are made up by God - what I mean is, God doesn't ask people's opinion about what they think of the covenant, blessings, and curses. It is something imposed by God. It is a sovereign covenantal arrangement. This is seen in Nehemiah Coxe's definition of Covenant, which is...

    “A declaration of his sovereign pleasure concerning the benefits he will bestow on them, the communion they will have with him, and the way and means by which this will be enjoyed by them.”[4]

    Walter Chantry defines a covenant as “a sovereignly given arrangement by which man may be blessed.”[5] A. W. Pink defines it as:

    Briefly stated, any covenant is a mutual agreement entered into by two or more parties, whereby they stand solemnly bound to each other to perform the conditions contracted for.[6]

    From these definitions we observe that a covenant seeks to bring man to a better state of existence or being. It doesn't seek to leave man in the place he was prior to the covenant. Dr. Richard Barcellos observes:

    Think of the Noahic covenant. Prior to its revelation as found in Genesis 6-9, the earth was potentially subject to a universal flood due to the justice of God being executed on the earth against the wickedness of man. We know this for certain because that is exactly what happened. The Noahic covenant, which includes man (Noah and his descendants), also involves every living creature (Genesis 9:9-10, 15, 16). It embraces and benefits the earth as well (Genesis 8:22...Genesis 9:13...Jeremiah 33:20, 50...). That divine covenants are revealed to man for "the advancing and bettering of his state" [Nehemiah Coxe] can also be said of all other divine covenants with man throughout the Bible. Abraham (along with his carnal and spiritual seed) was better off for the covenant revealed to him. The Israelite...


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

    ... style="color: #00ff00;"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.

    Finally, aside from Heaven and Hell, Scripture knows of no other place. Therefore, Purgatory does not exist and is unbiblical. 


    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 ...


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

    ...urpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus
    1. It pleased God, 1 in His eternal purpose, 2 to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only begotten Son, according to the covenant made between them both, 3 to be the mediator between God and man; the prophetpriest, and King; head and saviour of the church, the heir of all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did from all eternity give a people to be his seed and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified. 5
      1. Isa. 42:1; John 3:16[1]
      2. 1Pet. 1:19-20
      3. Ps. 110:4; Heb. 7:21-22; Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 2:4-6
      4. 1 Tim. 2:5; Acts 3:22; Heb. 5:5-6; Ps. 2:6; Luke 1:33; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23; Heb. 1:2; Acts 17:31
      5. Rom. 8:30; John 17:6; Isa. 53:10; Ps. 22:30; 1 Tim. 2:6; Isa. 55:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:30

    The only begotten Son was from all eternity chosen and ordained (Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 1:19-20) to be the mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5). This means that having Christ to be the Savior of sinners and the Incarnation were not afterthoughts in God. God did not plan them after the Fall of man, but set them in motion after the Fall. This choosing and ordaining of Christ as mediator was according to the covenant made between them both, i.e., the Covenant of Redemption (see chapter 7:2). Even before sin and before the world was, the Lord Jesus was to be the Savior of His people. The Confession goes on to name the threefold offices of Christ as prophet, priest, and King. He is also the head and savior of the church (Col. 1:18; Acts 5:31). The heir of all things (Heb. 1:2), Who will inherit everything and believers are co-heirs with Him (Rom. 8:16-17). He is also the One Who will judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2Tim. 4:1). All these offices and functions were agreed upon by the Persons of the Trinity even before the foundation of the world. God from all eternity gave a people to be His seed and to be by Him in time redeemed (John 17:2, 6; Isa. 53:10) and given all the blessings of redemption. All these considerations make the Fall a necessity within God's decree. For if there is no Fall, then it means that there is no sin and therefore, no need of a savior. But if Christ is said to be ordained as Savior even before the creation of the world, then this means that there will be sinners who will be saved by Him, which makes the Fall an important part of God's plan.


    Christ the Elect

    Our Confession states that the Lord Jesus was chosen, called and ordained by God to the office of the mediator. He was chosen by God for this office according to the Covenant of Redemption between them (see chapter 7 on the Covenant of Redemption). We said in chapter 7 that the Covenant of Redemption was the eternal covenant between the Persons of the Trinity, which laid out their roles in the self-glorification of God and the redemption of God’s elect. The Father was to elect a people and give them to the Son. The Son was to redeem the people whom the Father gave to Him. The Spirit was to apply the benefits of Son on their behalf to them and indwell them.

    Christ was chosen by the Father from before the foundation of the earth to be the Savior of God’s people. God’s plans had Him as the center. In Ephesians 1:3-6 we read that before the foundation of the world we were chosen and predestined in Christ for salvation, meaning that Christ was already then chosen to be the Savior of God’s elect. He is the only One who can save us. We also read about the Servant Messiah in Isa...


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

    ...data-footnote-id="441c5" data-widget="footnotemarker"[2] He is the independent and the self-sufficient God. We are dependent upon the Independent One and we are not sufficient in and of ourselves, unlike Him. We are in everything dependent upon Him. We are dependent on Him even for our daily bread, as we ought to pray (Matt. 6:11).

    Heb. 1:3 “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After maKing purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

    Our beloved Lord is not only God and man, but He is also the One who directs everything in the universe. He is the One Who upholds everything by His power. You are not dead because the Lord Jesus is upholding you right now and giving you life. The earth is not destroyed because Jesus reigns as Sovereign over all things. The Universe is not turned into chaos because Jesus reigns as Supreme. The word “upholds” in the Greek is the word φέρω (phero, G5342), which has the basic meaning of to carry, bear, move, bring forward and uphold.[3] So, He is the One Who is moving everything, bringing everything forward in the universe to its proper, predetermined and designed end. He brings it to the end that He has determined. He brings it to the place that He is willing to have everything. This is something that the Lord Jesus does from Heaven as the One reigning at the right hand of the Father. John MacArthur observes the following about “upholds”:

    The universe and everything in it is constantly sustained by the Son’s powerfully effective word (Col. 1:17). The term also conveys the concept of movement or progress – the Son of God directs all things toward the consummation of all things according to God’s sovereign purpose. He who spoke all things into existence also sustains his creation and consummates his purpose by his word.[4]

    Matthew Poole comments on this phrase saying, "the whole work of Providence is set out by upholding; ferwn imports sustaining, feeding, preserving, governing, throwing down, raising up, comforting, and punishing, &c. All would have fallen in pieces on man’s sin, had not he interposed, and stopped the world when it was reeling back into nothing, Col 1:17; and to this instant he preserveth and ruleth all, Isa. 9:6; Joh 5:22."[5] The same Word Who created the world out of nothing (John 1:1-3), sustains and upholds the world in existence by the word of His power.

    In Ephesians 1, we read of God's absolute sovereignty in these words:

    Eph. 1:11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will

    This is the God of the Bible. He is not the God Who lets people frustrate His purposes because He must respect their “libertarian free will" (not that free will, biblically defined, is contrary to divine sovereignty), but He is the God Who works above, under and through the free wills of men (Phil. 2:12-13). Surely in “all things” is included all actions of men, angels and everything else. He works as He wills and according to His decretive counsel in Heaven and also on the earth (Dan. 4:35). He is the God of the big things and small things. Indeed, as Dr. R.C. Sproul has observed: “There are no maverick molecules in the Universe.” God doesn't need our advise, nor is He dependent upon us, rather, He works all things according to the counsel of His will. On...


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

    ... whose subsistence is in and of himself, infinite in being and perfection; 2 whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but himself; 3 a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; 4 who is immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, every way infinite, most holy, most wise, most free, most absolute; 5 worKing all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty. 9
    1. Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10; 1 Cor. 8:4,6; 1 Thess. 1:9[1]
    2. Job 11:7-9; 26:14; Isa. 48:12; Acts 17:24-25
    3. Ex. 3:14; Job 11:7-8; 26:14; Ps. 145:3; Rom. 11:33-34; 1 Cor. 2:11
    4. John 4:24; 1 Tim. 1:17; Deut. 4:15-16; Luke 24:39; Acts 14:11, 15; James 5:17
    5. Mal. 3:6; James 1:17; 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23-24; Ps. 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Gen. 17:1; Rev. 4:8; Isa. 6:3; Rom. 16:27; Ps. 115:3; Ex. 3:14
    6. Eph. 1:11; Isa. 46:10; Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36
    7. 1 John 4:8, 16; Ex. 34:6-7
    8. Heb. 11:6; Gen. 15:1; Matt. 5:12; 10:41-42; Luke 6:35
    9. Neh 9:32-33; Ps. 5:5-6; 11:5; Nahum 1:2-3; Ex. 34:7

    There is but one only living and true God (Deut. 6:4; Ps. 96:5; Jer. 10:10; 1Cor 8:4, 6 ). His subsistence is in and of himself, that is, the three Persons of the Trinity, which will be spoken of in paragraph 3. This great God is infinite in being and perfection. He is infinite and perfect in all of His ways and attributes. Furthermore, no one can truly and fully comprehend this great God but Himself (Rom. 11:33-34). He is a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions (1Tim. 1:17), meaning that He is free of the limitation of physical existence and emotions like humans (passions).

    He possesses immortality by a necessity of His nature (1Tim. 1:17; 6:16). Our immortality is delegated and derived from God, but His immorality is by necessity and thanks to His nature as God. God cannot but be immortal. He is not only immortal, but He is also immutable, i.e., unchanging (Mal 3:6; Jas. 1:17; Num. 23:19). He is immense, which means that He is without limits and immeasurable (1Kgs. 8:27). He is eternal, meaning that He neither has a beginning or will He have an end (Ps. 90:2). He is almighty, which means that He can do and accomplish anything He pleases (Gen. 17:1; 18:14; Jer. 32:27). He is infinite, great, without limits and perfect in all His ways and attributes. He is most holy, meaning perfect, unique and separate from the rest (Isa. 6:3). He is most wise, in fact, He is the fountain of all knowledge and wisdom (e.g. Col. 2:3). He is most free, meaning that He is not limited or hindered by anything to accomplish His desires (Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Dan. 4:34-35). He is most absolute, meaning that He is the ground of all reality and the First Cause of all things. This Great God is absolutely sovereign and works all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will with the goal being his own glory (Eph. 1:11). His will is not arbitrary or without reason. No. It is called an immutable, meaning unchanging and righteous will. We may not understand His plans, but that does not mean that God's will in directing things is not righteous....


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

    ...ion starts with the Bible rather than with God. But that is the case because the presentation of God in the Confession is drawn from the Scriptures and that’s why it was necessary for the Confession to declare what it believes about the Bible before it dives into topics whose belief is based upon Scripture above all. According to the Confession, the Scripture is sufficient, certain and infallible. It is all that we need in this life for godliness and to know the will of God. We don’t need extra revelations when we have His pure and sufficient Word in our hands.

    General Revelation And The Necessity Of Scripture

    LooKing at Creation, we perceive that there must be a powerful Creator Who has created all these things and brought them into being. LooKing in our hearts, we see that our conscience condemns us and that there is a law which dictates what is right and what is wrong. LooKing at the beauty of the world, it is most reasonable for us to conclude that there must be an Amazing Designer of this world. This is what we call general revelation. This is the revelation of God which is available to everyone. This revelation, says the Confession, “manifest[s] the goodness, wisdom, and power of God”, but it is not perfect. The purpose of general revelation is to condemn and leave men inexcusable for their rebellion against the God Whom they know. The Apostle Paul makes it very clear in Romans 1:18ff that all people know the true God, yet they hold down the truth, suppressing it and choosing rather to believe the lie. He says that the created world testifies to the fact that there is a Creator Who has revealed Himself to them. God reveals Himself in Creation. But since we live in a fallen world, this revelation of God is distorted, hence the necessity of verbal and special revelation. By looKing at the beauty of the world and the awesome things in nature we cannot deduce that God is a Triune Being existing as Father, Son, and Spirit. Nor can we deduce that we have to believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved from God’s wrath. Nor can we have an idea of His special love for His people. For these things, general revelation falls short. It is able to condemn men and leave them without an excuse (Rom. 1:20), but it is not able to point them to the way of salvation. That’s why it pleased God to reveal Himself in words besides His general revelation in nature.

    God’s revelation of Himself came in words after the Fall to Adam and Eve, and it continued with Noah, Abraham and the other saints of old. Certainly, people knew the true God in these times, just think of Melchizedek who was a high priest of the Most High God coming to Abraham. Therefore, there must have been some kind of special revelation from God. When we speak of special revelation, we mean God’s revelation in words and visions to His people, as in the Bible. Special revelation is necessary for salvation, but the Bible is not necessary for salvation. Let me clarify. Nobody has been saved through general revelation alone for that power it does not have. General revelation has the ability to condemn, but not save. On the other hand, every soul (beyond the age of childhood or disability, see chapter 10) that has been saved, has been saved because of God’s special revelation. The message of the Gospel came to them, even if they had not read the Bible. In the Bible, we have the full special revelation of God, which God wanted His people to possess. But knowledge or possession of that co...


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

    ... that they sinned without the written revelation of God. They knew by virtue of the moral law written upon their hearts that they should not sin, but they did. They did not have a written and therefore unmistakable revelation of God concerning his will. They sinned without the written law and revelation of God, and therefore they will perish and be judged not based upon the written revelation and law of God. This does not mean that they will not be punished on the basis of the moral law, that is certainly the case, but it means that they will be judged according to the measure of light that they had. In contrast to this the Apostle points to those who have sinned under the law, speaKing of the Jews here sinned while knowing the written revelation and law of God which is unmistakable. Unlike the Gentiles, the Lord had chosen the people of Israel to be His old covenant people and He has revealed Himself to them especially, unlike anything He had done and unlike any light of knowledge that He had shed upon any other nation. Israel knew who God was. They knew that obedience pleased Him and He greatly abhorred sin, it was clear to them from Holy Scripture. They who sinned while living under the written law, will perish and be judged on the basis on 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...


    1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 24: Of the Civil Magistrate - Commentary

    ... all things, including politics and His people should influence those in high positions. Also, “To restrict Christianity to the ‘spiritual’ realm is, ultimately, to destroy it.”[1]

    In this chapter, we will concern ourselves with the civil government as ordained by God, its purpose, and power. What does Romans 13 teach? Must we obey the government in all things? May Christians work in the government?


    §1 God Hath Ordained Civil Magistrates To Be Under Him, Over The People

    1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, 1 for his own glory and the public good; 2 and to this end hath armed them with the power of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers. 3
      1. Ps. 82:1; Luke 12:48; Rom. 13:1-6; 1 Peter 2:13-14[2]
      2. Gen. 6:11-13 with 9:5-6; Ps. 58:1-2; 72:14; 82:1-4; Prov. 21:15; 24:11-12; 29:14,26; 31:5; Ezek. 7:23; 45:9; Dan. 4:27; Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:3-4; 1 Tim. 2:2; 1 Peter 2:14
      3. Gen. 9:6; Prov. 16:14; 19:12; 20:2; 21:15; 28:17; Acts 25:11; Rom. 13:4; 1 Peter 2:14

    God as the supreme Lord and King of all the world has ordained civil magistrates or the government to be under Him (Rom. 13:1-6). The government is subject to God and derives its authority to control from God. The civil magistrates are over the people. They have authority over the people because they receive that from God. This way of governing, God has chosen for his own glory and the public good. God’s glory is the proper end of everything that He does so likewise in ordaining civil magistrates. What is the purpose of the civil magistrates? ... for defence and encouragement of them that do good (1 Peter 2:14). A good government should defend those who are doing good and protect them. Furthermore, a good government should encourage the doing of good for the betterment of society and the glory of God. But civil magistrates is also armed...with the power of the sword...for the punishment of evil doers (Rom. 13:4; 1 Peter 2:14). A good government should defend itself and defend those who do good, in necessary by using the God-given power of the sword. Likewise, in punishing the evil doers, the power of the sword may be used when it is necessary. God has given it to the government to be used justly.


    Subject To God

    There are two things which are first of all asserted: 1) God is the supreme Lord, and 2) civil governments are to be subject to Him. That God is the supreme over all we need not need to mention here. But we may say a few things about the civil government being under the authority and headship of God. The civil government should subject itself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Any government which does not acknowledge Jesus Christ is in rebellion against God. This is the description of all, if not most of, governments in our world. The civil government should acknowledge that they're a tool in the hand of God for the good of its citizens. God has put them in the positions that they are in. It is God who ordained them according to their roles as a president, governor and so on.

    The government should rule under the authority of God over the people. The government and those who work there have a higher responsibility and position in the world. They are to reign over the people for the people's good. They are to protect them and provide for them and promote peace and righteousness. It does not take us any...


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

    ...trong the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. 2
    1. Jer. 10:7; Mark 12:33[1]
    2. Gen. 4:1-5; Exod. 20:4-6; Matt. 15:3, 8-9; 2 Kings 16:10-18; Lev. 10:1-3; Deut. 17:3; 4:2; 12:29-32; Josh. 1:7; 23:6-8; Matt. 15:13; Col. 2:20-23; 2 Tim. 3:15-17

    The light of nature or natural revelation as we call it shows that there is a God, Who hath lordship and sovereignty over all (Rom. 1:19-23). That there is a God, no one will be able to deny when they stand before God. Both creation and the Creator testify to God. This is basic Romans 1. Furthermore, this God is just, good and doth good unto all (Ps. 145:9) as evidenced by the things which we have and receive. Therefore, He is to be worshiped and served with the whole of our being. Yet He is not to be worshiped as we like. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by Himself (Ex. 20:4-6; Deut. 4:2; 12:29-32). It is God Who determines how He is to be worshiped. This acceptable way is limited by His revealed will, i.e., Holy Scripture. The unacceptable way of worshipping God as according to the imagination and devices of men (Acts 17:29; Col. 2:23), the suggestions of Satanvisible representations (Ex. 20:4-6) and any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures (Lev. 10:1-3) is abominable to God and He is not pleased with it. God is not to be worshiped as we think He would like to be worship. Why should we think of ways of worshipping Him when He has revealed how He desires to be worshiped? Neither is He to be worshiped through or by any visible representations. This excludes all images and statues of the persons of the Godhead as well as the saints who according to Roman Catholic theology can act as intercessors between us and God/Jesus. The most important aspect of what is called the Regulative Principle of Worship is expressed in the last clause: any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. Not only is He to be worshiped according to His revealed will, but He is not to be worshiped through that which He has not revealed. If it is not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures, it should not be an element of His worship. If it is prescribed in the Holy Scriptures, it should.


    There Is A God

    Creation testifies to everyone without question that there is God. General Revelation is sufficient to reveal God to the world and to hold them accountable (see chapter 20). Everyone knows that there is a God. But not only that there is a God, but also that this is a God that must be worshiped. This explains the countless religions that have existed and still exist. It is all because of the Fall that we have a multitude of religions rather than only one. Romans 1 speaks about those who suppress the truth about God through idolatry. All religions in one way or another try to appease the god(s) and serve them. That is the sense that they get from General Revelation. There is a God to Whom they owe their existence and blessings, therefore they are to serve and love Him. But the Confession is quick to add the way in which the true God wants to be worshiped is instituted by Himself alone. To that now we turn our attention.

    What Is The Regulative Principle?

    In the words of Derek Thomas, “...


    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 ...