Beholding God’s Glory

Thanks Marco Barone.

This quote is as long as beautiful.

“None sees God the Father immediately, who is ‘the King eternal, immortal, invisible;’ Christ is the ‘image of that invisible God,’ by which he is seen by all elect creatures. ‘The only begotten Son that is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him,’ and manifested him. None has ever immediately seen the Father, but the Son; and none else sees the Father any other way than by ‘the Son’s revealing him.’ And in heaven, the spirits of just men made perfect do see him as he is. They behold his glory. They see the glory of his divine nature, consisting in all the glory of the Godhead, the beauty of all his perfections; his great majesty, almighty power, his infinite wisdom, holiness, and grace, and they see the beauty of his glorified human nature, and the glory which the Father hath given him, as God-man and Mediator. For this end, Christ desired that his saints might ‘be with him, that they might behold his glory’ (John 17:24). And when the souls of the saints leave their bodies, to go to be with Christ, they behold the marvellous glory of that great work of his, the work of redemption, and of the glorious way of salvation by him; desire to look into. They have a most clear view of the unfathomable depths of the manifold wisdom and knowledge of God; and the most bright displays of the infinite purity and holiness of God, that do appear in that way and work; and see in a much clearer manner than the saints do here, what is the breadth and length, and depth and height of the grace and love of Christ, appearing in his redemption. And as they see the unspeakable riches and glory of the attribute of God’s grace, so they most clearly behold and understand Christ’s eternal and unmeasurable dying love to them in particular. And in short, they see everything in Christ that tends to kindle and inflame love, and everything that tends to gratify love, and everything that tends to satisfy them: and that in the most clear and glorious manner, without any darkness or delusion, without any impediment or interruption. Now the saints, while in the body, see something of Christ’s glory and love; as we, in the dawning of the morning, see something of the reflected light of the sun mingled with darkness; but when separated from the body, they see their glorious and loving Redeemer, as we see the sun when risen, and showing his whole disk above the horizon, by his direct beams, in a clear hemisphere, and with perfect day.” ~ Jonathan Edwards, True Saints are Present with the Lord, sermon preached on October 12, 1747, at David Brainerd’s funeral.

[Art by Full of Eyes]

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Response to the Plague

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Bacteria that causes Bubonic Plague

Thomas Brookes the Puritan, while others fled to the country, stayed to minsiter to his flock in North London during and after the summer of 1665 when thousands were dying of Bubonoc Plague (100,000 died by August). Here were his “Divine maxims” that he shared widely in a work called “A Heavenly Cordial.”

1. Outward circumstances do not necessarily indicate God’s pleasure or displeasure with us.  Jesus gave His disciples a crucial lesson regarding this point. “As [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:1-3)

Oh, this is so important! Bad circumstances don’t always mean God is upset with a person. Sometimes the “worst” of men escape the plague, and the “best” of men are taken away by it. So, we must not assume that God is angry with us if we catch a disease, just as we must not assume God’s pleasure if we escape it! God’s ultimate approval or disapproval is based on one thing only: A person’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

2. Plagues do not change God’s affections toward His people.
Do not listen to the voice of the evil one which may whisper to you, “If God really loved you, you wouldn’t be suffering like this.” That is simply not true. Many saints throughout the ages have suffered horrible illnesses, but nevertheless the Apostle Paul’s words still stand.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35,37)

3. Pestilence and plagues can only reach the outward man. They cannot reach our souls.
The very worst that any disease can do is kill our bodies, but if we have a relationship with Jesus Christ our souls are safe and cannot be touched by any virus! Therefore we must not fear that which can kill the body and do no more, rather, the plague should cause us to turn our eyes toward God.

[Fear Him] who has the power to throw both body and soul into hell. (Matthew 10:28)

4. No Godly person dies from any calamity until God’s work in them and through them is finished.
God knows the days of our lives.

In your books were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16)

He prepares good works in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), and no Christian ever dies until the things that God has for us in this world are complete.

5. If a Christian dies by disease, they receive no loss but only gain!
That is what the Apostle Paul is talking about when he says,

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)

All that pestilence and disease can do to the believer is bring them to glory. And though the godly man may not be delivered from the plague, he shall certainly be delivered by the plague! Brooks writes, “The death of the body destroys the body of death…death cures all diseases [for the believer] at once!” And if a Christian dies from the plague, “the chair of pestilence shall be to him a chair of State, by which he shall be brought into the presence of the King of kings.”

It is only with such a view of the devastating plague, that a man like Thomas Brooks could find the courage to boldly remain in London and minister to others. Brooks was a great example for us, especially now while we are dealing with our own pandemic. He concluded his short treatise with these words, “If a godly man dies of the pestilence, he shall never be haunted, tempted, and buffeted by Satan anymore; he shall never see a cloud, a frown, or a wrinkle in the face of God anymore…it shall free him from all his sins, sorrows, tears, temptations, oppressions, oppositions, and persecutions.” Oh, what a comfort that should be to all of us right now! If we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ we have nothing to fear.

Amen!

Birth of Christ in Revelation.

Revelation 12 has to be one of the most amazing chapters in all the Bible. In a nutshell it follows the history of the world, explaining how Satan tried to prevent the birth of Christ from his old testament church (the woman), was thrown out of heaven and now persecutes the church (seed of the woman) till the end of the world and his conqueror Jesus Christ returns.

“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born*. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne**. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days***.” (verses 4-6). Key verse for us Christians is verse 11, how we overcome Satan: namely by trusting in Christ’s once-for-all atonement for us and by believing and using the word of God.

  • *Herod!
  • **Christ’s ascension.
  • *** The New Testament age in which we now live.

Best commentary to understand the book of Revelation:

Available here: CPRC Bookshop

The Last Trump

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
John 5:28,29  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. 
It ought to be apparent that the last trumpet ends the history of this present age of earth. The gospel has brought in the last elect, the cup of suffering of the church is filled up and the cup of iniquity culminating in Antichrist is also filled up. John is given a little book , the final part of God’s decree revealed by Christ, which details the consummation of all things including Antichrist, the great tribulation, the destruction of Antichrist and Babylon and the ushering in of the new heavens and earth. The key event for the church is the gathering of it; those who have died being resurrected and taken up to Christ, to be joined by all those still living who are translated like Elijah and Enoch. This is the end of the world NOT the beginning of any earthly “millennium”.

And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. Revelation 10:8-11.

He is to eat these truths, make them a part of himself, love them and teach them. The contents are bitter because of the struggle and persecution they contain but also sweet in that they are full of hope and the ultimate victory of Christ’s kingdom. This message he is to share is the rest of the book of Revelation. Only good and glory await the Christian!

Sermon on the rapture.

The Final Judgment

mastheadRevelation 20:11-15

FOUR REASONS WE CHRISTIANS SHOULD LONG FOR THE FINAL JUDGMENT:

  • Resurrection of our bodies, made perfect like Christ’s.
  • Being freed from sin we enter Christ’s presence (the covenant perfected).
  • Perfect justice accomplished (God is vindicated).
  • Christ reigns supreme in glory and all God’s purposes fulfilled.
  • Listen here

The Coming of Christ

Zechariah 12:3 “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

Ron Hanko in his book on the last three Old Testament prophets reiterates the Reformed teaching that the day of the Lord (“that day”) and his coming is the whole New Testament period viewed from the perspective of the Old Testament. Hanko likens the vista to a range of mountains seen in the distance which actually consists many hills and valleys. His coming includes everything from the incarnation to the end of the world. He is always coming and especially today by his word and Holy Spirit in and through the church. He comes for his people too when he calls them home at death. Excellent insights into what are to many, obscure minor prophets.

zionsredeemer

Book available here

The Great Falling Away

One of the signs of the end is apostasy in the church-individuals and whole churches departing from the truth, leaving their first love, tolerating false teachers and with no exercise of church discipline. Such denominations include all ordained women, none of whom who are  called by God-JK

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Our current radio pastor is the Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church

Listen to the message (this week’s April 2nd 2016) here: http://www.reformedwitnesshour.org/

THE SECOND COMING IS THE END OF THE WORLD

Matthew 24:30: “… and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

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The most glorious and awe-inspiring day of history is future. It will be the last day, the culmination of all things, the bringing to an end of the purpose of God with this present creation. It will be the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Belgic Confession speaks of Christ coming “with great glory and majesty to declare Himself Judge.” Many passages of Scripture describe that Day, both as a warning for the wicked and as a comfort for the godly. Let us examine some of the aspects of that Day.

First, Christ Himself shall come personally. Christ comes in other senses in Scripture—He comes to the believer at death to take him to Himself; He came at Pentecost in the outpouring of the Spirit—but the Second Coming will be a personal coming. I Thessalonians 4:16 says “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven.” The Belgic Confession uses the word “corporally” which means bodily. Second, Christ’s coming will be visible—not an invisible “rapture,” not a mystical, spiritual coming, but a coming which all men shall see. “They [that is, all the tribes of the earth] shall see the Son of man coming” (Matt. 24:30). “Every eye shall see Him” (Rev. 1:7). This means that the Lord Jesus Christ—who presently is at God’s Right Hand in heaven and whom no mortal eye can see—will suddenly be revealed for who He is. Heaven will be opened and He shall come forth, and everything which veils Him from our view shall be removed. Christ describes His coming in terms of lightning flashing across the sky. None will be able to miss it or to ignore it. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:27).  Third, Christ’s coming will be audible. He will not come sneaking on tiptoe into this world, but with “a shout” (I Thess. 4:16) and “with a great sound of a trumpet” (Matt. 24:31). The Belgic Confession speaks of all men, women and children “being summoned by the voice of the archangel and by the sound of the trumpet of God.” A trumpet makes a long, sharp, loud blast which no one can miss. The trumpet was God’s instrument for gathering His people to attention—Christ’s trumpet will arrest the attention of all mankind. This is the final call of God to all men: stand to attention, my Son is here. Look up, church, and see your salvation; look up, wicked, and behold your doom! Fourth, Christ will come with great glory and with the trappings of deity. “They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30). Clouds are not fluffy, white clouds on a cool summer’s day. Clouds are thick, dark, awesome, billowing thunderclouds. In the Bible, Jehovah rides on the clouds (Ps. 104:3)—so does Christ!

That awesome day will be the end of the world. “The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light …” (Matt. 24:29). “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall also melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Pet. 3:10).

But we who believe in Jesus Christ and who watch for His coming will rejoice in that day. For us it will be the beginning of something unutterably wonderful.

Rev. Martyn McGeown, Missionary Pastor, Limerick Reformed Fellowship.