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The Staunch Calvinist

"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

...h 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 a 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 not only of the immortality of the soul, but of the body. If the Fall had not taken place and the time of probation was passed, then man would have been immortal in body and soul. Yet as it is, man did fa...

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

...Matt. 10:28). In Mark 9:43, Hell is identified as “the unquenchable fire” (cf. 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” (2 Thess. 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. Forms of Annihilationism have existed from the post-Reformation period. Basically, the wicked will not suffer conscious torment for all eternity as historic Christianity has taught, but they will cease to exist either after death or after the Final Judgment. Does Scripture support such an idea? Does Scripture teach that the suffering of the unrighteous will be momentary and not everlasting? We must look at passages that speak about the duration of the torments of Hell. The following is an attempt to show that the Bible teaches the unending punishment of the wicked. I do not intend it to be a refutation of Annihilationism, but more a positive case for the unending nature of hell-torments.

Matthew 25:41, 46

Matthew 25:46 is a clear passage that is often brought up against Annihilationism or any doctrine which denies the unending punishment of the unrighteous in Hell. The passage reads:

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

In this passage, we see the fate of the wicked and the fate of the righteous. Both are said to be eternal, but their conditions are totally opposite. One is said to be of life, the other of punishment. Those who disagree with t...

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

...ed to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, Rev 19:18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” Rev 19:19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. Rev 19:20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the Lake Of Fire that burns with sulfur. Rev 19:21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

This is no doubt the clearest picture of the Second Coming of our Lord in the Revelation. This is not the battle prior to the Millennium. This is the final battle. This is the Last Battle between Christ and Satan.

The birds are to feed upon the flesh of all (reprobate) men (Rev 19:19), the beast and false prophet are thrown in to the Lake Of Fire (Rev 19:20), if anyone escaped he would be slain by the sword of Christ’s mouth and eaten by the birds (Rev 19:21). This is the total destruction of the wicked, there are no surviving wicked here.

The Interpretation of Revelation 20

If we are right about the structure of Revelation and the cycles, then this would have to be our final cycle. I will not go into great exegesis and stuff here, it is all provided in the book, go check it out, but I will lay a very basic case.

Before we start lets recognize the parallels that are with Rev 20:1-6 and Rev 12:9-11; 2Thess 2:1-12.

What the text says

People will find you crazy if you say that Satan is bound now, because they assume that it means the cessation of all evil. They are wrong. There is nothing in Revelation 20 which suggests that sin will stop, or most people will convert, indeed there is a great rebellion at the end of the Millennium, you wonder from whence did they come if most people in the Millennium were Christians.

The text specifically tells us in what aspect Satan is bound, lets no go beyond what the text says:

Rev 20:3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

The text says that he will not deceive the nations, not individual people, but the nations of the wicked world as a whole. It does not say that lawlessness will go away, it does not say the majority of people will repent, it does not say anything whatsoever about a restored kingdom to Israel. Satan is bound in one aspect specifically. I think it is best seen in what aspect he is bound when we see what happens after he is loosed.

Rev 20:7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison Rev 20:8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.

When Satan is released, he will gather all nations against the people of God, the Church. This is what Satan now cannot do. He certainly is allowed by the sovereign hand of God to afflict the saints, but He is not allowe...

Limited Atonement, Definite Redemption - Scripture List & Case

...he foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Rev 20:9-10 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the Lake Of Fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Rev 20:15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the Lake Of Fire.

Repentance and faith are necessary for salvation

Mk 1:14-15 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Lk 13:3,5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Jn 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Jn 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Acts 3:19-21 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

Acts 11:18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Acts 20:18-21 And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19 serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,  21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Reasons for the Cross other than the atonement

Col 2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Rom 14:9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, ...

John 3:16, 'God so loved the world'

...trong> Bible-believing Christians believe that those who have repented toward God and have put their faith in Christ are saved. All the believing will definitely not perish, but those who do not believe are already condemned (verse 18)!

The interesting thing is that Jn 3:16 does support “Limited Atonement” since it says that “whoever believes in him will not perish,” and we see in verse 18 that whoever doesn’t believe is already condemned! Thus Christ couldn’t have paid their ransom and they still had to pay for their sins in Hell. It would be unjust for God to punish Christ for their sins and then punish them again in the eternal Lake Of Fire.

Now let’s consider some commentaries.

The ESV Study Bible explains:[2]

Here is the most famous summary of the gospel in the entire Bible. For connects to v. 15 and explains what happened to make it possible that someone can “have eternal life” (v. 15), that is, through believing in Christ. God so loved the world was an astounding statement in that context because the OT and other Jewish writings had spoken only of God’s love for his people Israel. God’s love for “the world” made it possible for “whoever” (v. 15) believes in Christ, not Jews alone, to have eternal life. God’s love for the world was not mere sentiment but led to a specific action: he gave his only Son, which John elsewhere explains as sending him to earth as a man (v. 17) to suffer and die and thereby to bear the penalty for sins (see note on 1 John 2:2; cf. Rom. 3:25). On “only Son,” see note on John 1:14, which contains the same Greek phrase. The purpose of giving his Son was to make God’s great gift of eternal life available to anyone—to whoever believes in him, that is, whoever personally trusts in him (see note on 11:25). Not perish means not perish in eternal judgment, in contrast to having eternal life, the life of abundant joy and immeasurable blessing in the presence of God forever. Those who “believe in” Christ have that “eternal life” and already experience its blessings in this present time, not yet fully, but in some significant measure.

John Gill said about John 3:16: [3]

For God so loved the world,....The Persic version reads "men": but not every man in the world is here meant, or all the individuals of human nature; for all are not the objects of God's special love, which is here designed, as appears from the instance and evidence of it, the gift of his Son: nor is Christ God's gift to every one; for to whomsoever he gives his Son, he gives all things freely with him; which is not the case of every man. Nor is human nature here intended, in opposition to, and distinction from, the angelic nature; for though God has showed a regard to fallen men, and not to fallen angels, and has provided a Saviour for the one, and not for the other; and Christ has assumed the nature of men, and not angels; yet not for the sake of all men, but the spiritual seed of Abraham; and besides, it will not be easily proved, that human nature is ever called the world: nor is the whole body of the chosen ones, as consisting of Jews and Gentiles, here designed; for though these are called the world, Joh 6:33; and are the objects of God's special love, and to them Christ is given, and they a


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

...hrough one man. When Adam sinned, all mankind sinned in his loins (Rom. 5:18; cf. Heb 7:7-10). Since his sin transformed his inner nature and brought spiritual death and depravity, that sinful nature would be passed on seminally to his posterity as well (Ps. 51:5). death. Adam was not originally subject to death, but through his sin it became a grim certainty for him and his posterity. Death has three distinct manifestations: 1) spiritual death or separation from God (cf. Eph 2:1-2; 4:18); 2) physical death (Heb. 9:27); and 3) eternal death (also called the second death), which includes not only eternal separation from God, but eternal torment in the Lake Of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15). because all sinned. Because all humanity existed in the loins of Adam, and have through procreation inherited his fallenness and depravity, it can be said that all sinned in him. Therefore, humans are not sinners they sin, but rather they sin because they are sinners.[3]

John Gill comments, saying, “all men were naturally and seminally in him; as he was the common parent of mankind, he had all human nature in him, and was also the covenant head, and representative of all his posterity; so that they were in him both naturally and federally, and so “sinned in him“; and fell with him by his first transgression into condemnation and death.”[4] Philip Schaff likewise notes:

All sinned, not, ‘have sinned.’ A single historical act is meant, namely, the past event of Adam’s fall, which was at the same time virtually the fall of the human race as represented by him and germinally contained in him. (For the views of this connection between Adam and his posterity see Excursus at the close of the section.) As regards the interpretation of the words, it may be insisted that ‘sinned’ is not equivalent to ‘became sinful.’ There remain two views: (1.) As a historical fact, when Adam sinned all sinned, because of the vital connection between him and his posterity. (2.) When Adam sinned, all were declared sinners, he being the representative of the race. The objection to this is, that ‘sinned’ is not equivalent to ‘were regarded as sinners,’ It makes the parallel between Adam and Christ more close than the passage, thus far, appears to warrant.[5]

The children of Adam, we, are already born under God’s judgment because of what Adam did in the Garden on our behalf. Some may be offended by this doctrine of Adam’s Federal Headship, but there is no questioning the justice of God, it is what the Scriptures teach. We must deal with it! Let us not forget how we are saved and made righteous. We are saved also by way of Federal Headship–that of Christ, and not of Adam. It is not because of our works that we are saved, but because of Christ’s works that we are saved (Rom. 5:18-19). Somebody else represented us before God and did for us that which we could not do. So, before we dismiss Adam’s Federal Headship, let us not forget about Christ’s Federal Headship. If we dismiss that, we also dismiss the only way of salvation and justification. See for more on justification and imputed righteousness, chapter 11.

§4 Total Inability

  1. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, 1 do proceed all actual transgressions. 2
    1. Matt. 7:17-18; 12:33-35; Luke 6:43-45; John 3:3, 5; 6:37, 39-40, 44-45, 65; Rom. 3:10-12; 5:6; 7:18; 8:7-8; 1 Cor. 2:14
    2. Matt. 7:17-20; 12:33-35; 15:18-20; James 1:1...

Extensive review of Jonathan Menn's Biblical Eschatology

...gents, perhaps because the whole narrative of Rev 20 began with him as its subject. Then the closing scene which follows places its emphasis upon God as the judge, who presents his final judgment at this time.” (p. 314) The description of earth and sky flying away in Revelation 20:11 is a recapitulation of earlier descriptions of the final judgment in Revelation 6:14; 11:13; 16:20). The description of the final judgment occurs at the second coming which sweetly corresponds to Paul’s statement that death is destroyed at Christ’s coming and the bodily resurrection of the saints in 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54. Revelation 20:14 says that “Death and Hades were thrown into the Lake Of Fire.” He cites Sydney Page who comments that “The symbolic description of the destruction of Death and Hades [at the eschatological judgment] corresponds to Paul’s statement in 1 Cor 15:26. . . . For both John and Paul the last scene in the drama of redemption before the inauguration of the eternal state is the elimination of death.” (p. 315, both ellipses and brackets are Menn’s).

In connection with the last judgment, he notes that dispensationalists see three distinct judgments instead of one final judgment: ‘the judgment of the “nations” to see who will enter the millennial kingdom (Matt 25:31–46); a separate judgment of believers before the “judgment seat of Christ” to receive their rewards (2 Cor 5:10); and the “great white throne” judgment of Rev 20:11–15 which they think applies only to unbelievers. Others see Rev 20:11–15 as the general judgment of all people, believers and unbelievers alike.’ (p. 315) There may be an emphasis on unbelievers in these particular passages, but “since, as previously discussed, the Bible indicates that there is only one general judgment of all people.” (p. 315) Revelation 20:11-15 is an expansion of the previous statement concerning the final judgment of all the dead in Revelation 11:18: “The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” Menn further notes:

The wording of Rev 20:11–15 (i.e., “the great and the small”), when compared with the limitations or qualifications of that phrase when it is used elsewhere in Revelation, leads to the conclusion that all people, believers and unbelievers, are being judged. Thus, in Rev 11:18 and 19:5 “the small and the great” refers to all believers, and in Rev 13:16 and 19:18 “the small and the great” refers to all unbelievers. On the other hand, as David Brown points out, “in the passage before us, the only party to whom ‘the small and great’ belong—as far as appears—is ‘the dead.’ Are we not irresistibly led, then, to conclude that the meaning intended is, the dead—universally, or at least indiscriminately?” (p. 316)

In the rest of the chapter, he discusses the rest of Revelation (pp. 317-327).

The Rest of the Book

The last chapter is chapter 12, “The Importance of Eschatology.” Funnily, this was the least important chapter for me. In this chapter, he researches the effect of eschatological thought to our actions.