The Second Coming of Christ

A Sermon

But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)

I am here to speak to you today on the solemn subject of the second coming of Jesus Christ; referred to in these words of holy Scripture: “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” That this is the personal return of Jesus Christ is clear from the words of the text. The apostle Paul, writing in this epistle to first-century Jewish Christians has just stated that Jesus appeared the first time to die in the place of sinners in order that their sins might be put away. The word, “appeared” is a way of referring to the incarnation of the eternal Word of God, as Paul elsewhere says, using the same Greek verb, “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). It was not merely a phantom or ghostly vision that was seen by men; but a real man, born of a woman, with a human body as well as a human soul. As this first appearance of Christ was personal and visible; so will the second be.

In the words of the text, “…now once in the end of the world hath he appeared”. “The end of the world” should be understood as “the end of the age”. It was in the last days of the Jewish nation and of the Mosaic economy that Jesus Christ appeared. This fact was very significant to the Jews who were living in those last days of their national existence. All that they had ever known – the Temple and its worship, the Sanhedrin which governed them, was about to come to an end. The age of Jewish privilege and exclusivity was ending. A new age, the Kingdom of God, was dawning, into which the Gentile nations would be brought, on the same footing as the Jews.

At His first appearing, He “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself”. The word means “to make void, to abolish, to do away with”. Jesus did not come to make the forgiveness of sins a mere possibility, but to effect it, to make it happen. Those for whom He died have had their sins put away. Not all sin has been put away, for many die in their sins, and suffer the just punishment for them in Hell; but the sins of those for whom He died. He bore the sins of many, of those given to Him by the Father, of those who were chosen unto salvation through belief of the truth. Their sins He put away from them, as far as the east is from the west. Though their sins were as scarlet, He made them whiter than snow. The rest of mankind, those who believe not, shall die in their sins, and the wrath of God will be poured out upon them in Hell. The fact that Christ died for sinners will do them no good!

An analogy is then stated, the point of which is to emphasize the uniqueness and the finality of the redemptive work of Christ. The first part is ”as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”. Men die but once. Yet that is not the end of their existence. Afterward, though their bodies have lain in the ground and decayed, they must one day be raised again to stand before God at the last judgment. Just so, the Lord Jesus died once; yet that is not the end! He shall come again at the appointed time to complete the salvation He has begun in us who trust in Him, who “look for Him” – that is, who eagerly await His coming, when He shall raise our bodies unto glory and immortality.

Jesus is coming again! He will appear the second time! This is the great fact of which our text treats! But what does it mean to you? What does the Bible teach about this momentous event that you need to know and understand and act on? My friends, why am I here? I have come for one reason: to seek your conversion and your salvation from the wrath to come. It is the most serious business that a man can undertake. I hope that you will give me a few moments of your attention while I show you from the Bible what it is that God would have you all to know.

The first part of my task is to debunk some popular myths about the second coming.

It will do you no good to merely tell you the truth, if you have already been taught something different. There is a popular view on this subject taught by many that is very far removed from the truth taught in the Bible – a complicated scenario invented in the nineteenth century that perverts the truth always held and taught by God’s church. This view has been widely propagated in sermons and books and even novels and movies; so that many people think that this is what all real Christians believe. It is impossible to teach on this subject without contrasting the truth with what is generally believed today. I will address five of the most important of these myths.

Myth number one: The Second Coming does not mark the end of history.

Many teach that a whole series of historical events follows upon the so-called “rapture of the church”: the tribulation, the rise and career of the Antichrist, Armageddon, the “coming in glory”, a general judgment of the nations, then the millennium, followed by a general apostasy, then another resurrection and final judgment. One text is sufficient to refute this claim:

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:20-28)

When we want to discover the teaching of Scripture on any question, it is necessary that we go first to those places in Scripture that speak to the question we are asking. Chapter 15 of First Corinthians is a defense of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. It is chock full of words and phrases that indicate the order and timing of the final events of history. I know of no place like it in the whole Bible. Note the following words and expressions:

firstfruits

in his own order

afterward

at his coming

then

the end

when he shall have

till

the last

when

then

These are all terms that reveal sequence and timing. This paragraph, from verse 20 to verse 28, is designed to show us the order of the great events that occur at the close of human history, and where the resurrection of the just fits into the plan of God. It cannot be denied that it is a reasonable place to look for the answer to many questions about eschatology.

It begins “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” Then it goes on to explain the meaning and implications of the fact that Christ is the “firstfruits” of those that sleep in Jesus. As death came by a particular man, Adam, so the resurrection came by a man, Jesus Christ. Christ is the firstfruits – a reference to the first ripened fruit of the harvest, with the rest to follow after. The resurrection is an accomplished fact as it concerns Christ Himself, but it is not yet time to see the rest of the harvest. “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” The resurrection of the saints will occur at the coming of Jesus Christ.

The next point is somewhat obscured by the translation, which supplies the unexpressed verb as “cometh”. Albert Barnes comments:

Then cometh the end – Then is the end; or then “is” the consummation. It does not mean that the end, or consummation is to “follow” that event; but that this “will” be the ending, the winding up, the consummation of the affairs under the mediatorial reign of Christ. The word “end” [Greek, telos] denotes properly a limit, termination, completion of anything. The proper and obvious meaning of the word here is, that then shall be the end or completion of the work of redemption. That shall have been done which was intended to be done by the incarnation and the work of the atonement; the race shall be redeemed; the friends of God shall be completely recovered; and the administration of the affairs of the universe shall be conducted as they were before the incarnation of the Redeemer.

Verse 25 says, “ …He must reign , till he hath put all enemies under His feet.” This is a reference to Psalm 110, which says that Christ will reign over earth (in the midst of His enemies) from heaven (at God’s right hand) until His victory is complete (until God makes Christ’s enemies Christ’s footstool”):

The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.”(Psalms 110:1-2)

When he says, “the last enemy that shall be destroyed [better, “defeated”] is death”, he is referring to the resurrection of the righteous. For them, death is defeated when they rise from the dead in immortal glory. Now, according to verse 23, this takes place “at His coming”. But if the last enemy of Christ is destroyed, then history is at an end! Finally, verses 27-28 describe the transition to the eternal state, when the mediatorial reign of Christ is at an end, and the administration of the universal kingdom is returned to God the Father.

Notice that there is no such “two-stage” coming of Christ as is widely taught. There is no rapture/return distinction. Whereas it is commonly taught that the resurrection of church saints occurs seven years before the visible return of Christ; Paul teaches that the resurrection occurs at the visible appearing of Christ at the end of history. The more this passage is studied, the more clear it will become that the resurrection of the righteous at the second coming of Jesus Christ marks the end of history, and the beginning of the eternal state.

Myth number two: Jesus is coming at any moment.

It is true that Jesus may come for me personally at any moment, for I may die at any time, without warning; and if I am His I am assured that He will come and receive me into His father’s house. But this is not the bodily return of which we speak. It is beyond argument that the second coming can only occur after all the unfulfilled prophecies of the Bible (except the second coming itself) have been accomplished, and this may require many generations yet to complete. The chief of these is that implied in Psalm 110, and stated by the apostle Paul, “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet” (1Corinthians 15:25). There must be a worldwide victory of Christ over all the powers of the world that oppose Him: Judaism, Islam, Popery, Hinduism, Buddhism, Atheism must all fall before the power of Christ, reigning from God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1-2). The Jews must be converted, along with “the fulness of the Gentiles” (Romans 11). The rulers of the nations must all bow to Christ, as predicted by all the prophets – not after His coming, but before! Only when that has happened will Christ leave that throne of glory (or rather bring it with him) to come to earth in person and claim His prize (Acts 3:21).

But if this is true, some will say, what do we care about it? We’ll all be dead before it happens. Quite right, I say! We will probably be dead. But what does that matter? We will all – every one of us – certainly be there in that day, and the events of that day concern us in the greatest way and to the greatest extent possible! It is the day of our doom or of our vindication, of our ruin or of our triumph, of eternal death or eternal life. What could be more important, or more worthy of our thoughts? God has revealed this truth to strengthen our faith and to magnify our fear of Him. This will be its effect, if we receive it in faith, regardless of when it is to occur. He has revealed it to terrify those who oppose Him, that they might take warning and amend their sinful ways! This effect does not depend on when it will actually happen.

Myth number three: Jesus is coming to take His people to heaven.

The Bible teaches that Jesus is coming to earth to dwell with His people here forever, in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2-3; 22-23); not to snatch away His people and go away. They rise to meet Him in the air, as the people of the Hebrews once went out to meet Him at the triumphal entry, to conduct Him onward into the city of Jerusalem with due honors. They will not go back to heaven with Him, for that is not where He is going. The eternal destiny of God’s people is not in heaven! That is the doctrine of Medieval Catholicism with its Platonic exaltation of the spirit over the body and its “beatific vision”. It is not in the Bible! The saints who sleep in Jesus are with the Lord now in heaven, but that is a temporary arrangement until the resurrection, when they return with Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4:14) to rejoin the saints then on earth in the resurrection of the just.

Myth number four: After the Christians are removed, the world goes through seven years of great tribulation.

The great tribulation mentioned in the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) was another name for “the days of vengeance” spoken of by Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 61:1-2 compared with Luke 21:22). After the Jews crucified Christ, they were punished with a series of severe national judgments that culminated in the war with Rome in which the city and temple were destroyed, more than a million Jews killed, and the rest scattered among the nations. Christ predicted this, and represented to the Jewish authorities (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69) that He would soon be “seen” sitting on the right hand of God, and would “come on the clouds of heaven” to execute these judgments upon them. This time of great tribulation had reference to the generation then living (Matthew 23:29-36; 24:34). There is no such thing in the Bible as a future great tribulation after Jesus comes again. It has already occurred, long ago!

Myth number five: Jesus is coming yet again at the end of the tribulation to set up His millennial kingdom, which had to be postponed because the Jews rejected Him.

Jesus has already set up His kingdom, and it is an eternal kingdom (Isaiah 9:7; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 11:15) – not one that only lasts thousand years. When He came the first time, He announced that the time was fulfilled and His kingdom was at hand, and it was! Just three and a half years later, after His crucifixion and resurrection, He ascended to the right hand of God, to the throne of all power in heaven and in earth. He was crowned Lord and Christ. There is no higher name in earth or heaven! The kingdom of God is here, and He reigns over the nations to bring them into subjection even now. Scripture lends no support to the view that the kingdom was postponed, as some claim. God does not change His plans because some men don’t consent to them.

We have seen what the Bible does not teach about the second coming of Christ. What then does the Bible really teach about the second coming?

First, Jesus is coming to bring an end to human history with all its ungodliness, false religions, injustices, vices, disappointments and suffering. There is a great divide coming, when “this present time” will end and “the world to come” will begin.

Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. (Luke 18:28-30)

There is time and there is eternity, and there must be a defining event that intervenes between them. This event is uniformly represented as the day of judgment.

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Act 17:29-31)

A time is coming when all the business of this life, the labor and the strivings of men will cease. This is true for each of us personally for “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”. But a time is coming when the whole world will come to a sudden halt, and every work of man will be brought into judgment.

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:7)

The end of this age will be with perfect finality: all that now is, being corrupted and polluted by sin, must burn to make room for a new world of immaculate purity.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up… Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2Peter 3:10,13)

The day of judgment commences with the appearance of the Judge. “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22) God will judge the world in righteousness by that man He hath ordained. But where is He today? He is at the right hand of God, waiting for the time appointed when He shall return to earth for the final judgment of all men.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Act 3:19-21)

Jesus is coming to bring an end to human history.

Second, Jesus is coming to raise the dead. John the Apostle said,

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)

All men, from the most obscure, unknown peasant whose memory has been lost in the depths of time, to the greatest kings and lords of history must appear at the judgment seat of Christ. Every knee must bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. So they must all be summoned, body and soul, to that dreadful place and time when their destinies will be forever sealed and declared before all. The souls of the dead are already in places of punishment or reward, while their bodies lie rotting in the ground. But now, says the sovereign Lord Christ, “all that are in the graves shall hear [my] 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.” (John 5:28-29) Jesus is coming to raise the dead.

Third, Jesus is coming to judge the world. We have already touched on this in the Scriptures we have cited so far. This is the last judgment, at the consummation of the mediatorial kingdom of Christ. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords: there is no higher authority in earth or heaven, and He claims it as His right to pass eternal sentence on His subjects. The Father, who has exalted Jesus to such a height, is well-pleased to see Him exercise the royal prerogative:

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Hebrews 1:8-9)

As the ancient creed says, “He shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead.” In the words of Christ himself,

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world …Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. (Mat 25:31-41) Jesus is coming to judge the world.

Fourth, Jesus is coming to bring eternal righteousness and peace on earth.

Some there are who claim that Jesus comes to bring peace on earth for only a thousand years; but this is not so. If that were true, this would not be the last judgment – judgment day would have to be postponed ’til this millennium had run its course. No, they are mistaken to think Jesus comes to commence His kingdom! He comes to consummate it, to bring all things to a conclusion, and to surrender His commission to His Father once this is done, as taught in 1 Corinthians 15:21-28.

Peter tells us that the elements will melt at His coming, and the earth and all its works will be burned up. The promise of “a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness” will then be fulfilled. “The meek shall” finally and forever “inherit the earth”. We were not made to live forever as disembodied spirits in heaven! We would not be whole if our physical being were not restored, if our souls were forever separated from our bodies. We belong to the earth, since we were made from the dust at the beginning. We are the image of God, and to be such we must be visible.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Rev 21:1-5)

Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new!” Paul said in his Roman epistle that

the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Rom 8:18-23)

The glory that awaits the sons of God will not be confined to their persons: the whole new creation will be delivered from suffering and death for our sakes, as it was once ruined by our sin. This restoration of the original Eden, this replanting of the garden of God will be grander and greater than at the first, for it will be eternally secure because of what Christ has done to secure this perfection beyond any possibility of its marring.

On the other hand, that wicked one who once plunged the new-made world into misery will be no longer at large. The old serpent will be; and yet be as if he were not. His everlasting pains will be the too-real proof of his own existence to him, but no one else will pity him, or even notice him, far away at the bottom of the abyss, enclosed in darkness beyond the piercing of the sharpest eye. With him, in unutterable woe, will be all those who followed him – all who obeyed him – all who were willingly enslaved to him for the sake of the pleasures of sin – all who would not serve Jesus Christ while they lived. Jesus said that this place was “made for the Devil and his angels”; not exclusively, but especially. It was made to be a prison that he could never escape, a torment that even he could not bear.

A Word Picture of the Second Coming

My friends, let me draw you a picture of the Second Coming, the Day of Judgment, and the End of the World. The following picture is to some extent imaginary, and may not be correct in all its details, but it is meant to present the main facts of Biblical eschatology in a realistic and dramatic fashion. Its main features are such as the church of Jesus Christ has always believed and taught.

It begins as a day like any other. Alarm clocks go off, the sun comes up and people get out of bed. They drink their coffee, eat their breakfast and pursue their daily routines. It is a day like any day until… Suddenly – an unusual sound is heard. It is the sound of a great trumpet, but like no trumpet ever heard before! The note is pure and powerful, rising above the televisions and radios that are playing in the homes, above all the noise of the streets, even the great machines of the powerhouses and factories; and, most remarkably, people all over the world hear it at once! It is a solemn, dreadful, moving sound, and it does not go away. It continues and grows until it is the only sound heard and the only thought in men’s minds! There is something unearthly about it. In their hearts, a fear grows with it, the fear of guilty conscience, the memory of past sins. People unaccountably start to remember the shameful deeds they have committed in darkness, and dared to tell no one. They are seized with the desire to run and hide, but there is nowhere to hide from that sound, or from the torment within.

Then there is a great outcry, “Look! Look at the sky!” Something is coming! It looks like a brilliant cloud, but it is moving too fast. It begins to resemble a vast flock of white birds. “No, it’s not birds” says one. “No! It can’t be! It can’t be that!” men are heard to say. But it is that, the unspeakable, the unthinkable – Jesus Christ is coming, at the head of an army of millions and millions of angels.

Now the sky is filled with them, mighty winged warriors with dreadful dauntless faces, terrible to behold. On the earth, stark, paralyzing terror takes hold.

The trumpet suddenly ceases, but this brings no relief. For then a great voice cries out from heaven, clear and deep and resonant, human, but somehow just as terrible as the trumpet. “All ye saints, come up hither. Thy King cometh!”

As the King’s entourage draws near, the earth begins to tremble – slightly at first, then more violently. It rumbles and groans, as its foundations begin to crumble. All the graves break open, and a most wonderful sight is seen: men, women and children flying upward in beautiful white raiment, with joyful countenances, rising to meet their King and Savior. Others come – not from the graves, but – living men transformed all of a sudden into holy, rapturous beings unlike anything men have seen! They can be seen now gathering about Him, like another great cloud, and the angels recede from Him somewhat to give the greater place and honor to His redeemed ones.

But now a great wailing begins on earth, as people finally realize that this is really the end of the world, and they all unprepared! They gnaw their tongues and blaspheme. There is weeping and gnashing of teeth. And then they begin to notice something else. Slowly, as if dragged against their will, men – or what once were men – are crawling out of the graves. These are not like the others. They are bent over as if under a great weight. They look like corpses still, and in their eyes is the look of terror and dread. They stink of death, and in their faces is the malignity of devils. Woe unto them! Their souls have lain in prison, tormented but unrepentant, some for years, some for ages, and have only been raised from the dead now that they might suffer for all time in the same bodies in which they sinned!

Now their eyes fasten upon the sky, where they see many of the great white figures with shining faces break off from the rest and bend their wing towards earth. They are coming to bind the damned and bring them to judgment. What cursing and execrations! What pitiful moans and wails arise! But all in vain! There is no escape. The swift angels arrest their prey with ease and bind them hand and foot. And not only them, for many of the living will share the same fate.

Soon all humanity has been divided into two groups, the miserable prisoners and the free sons of God. They are brought into court before the greatest of Kings, who sits on a throne set in the heavens, with all the world in attendance before Him, the Sons of God on His right hand, and the prisoners on His left.

When all are in their places, and silence has been imposed, the Judge rises from His seat. He looks about at the multitude, then at the earth which hangs in the air beneath them. “Behold!” He cries. And as He does so, the earth swings upward in an arc around the heavenly assembly, so that instead of being under them, it is before them. “The place where all the crimes of your race were committed! The world once glorious, now corrupted beyond remedy. This is the end! Be no more!” He raises His hand, and the earth bursts into flame. All the immeasurable wealth, all the hopes and dreams, all the proudest achievements of vain man are overwhelmed in the Divine inferno and swiftly reduced to ashes.

He speaks again, “Ye sons of Adam, I, your lawful King, have been appointed by my Father to judge the world in righteousness. Long have I desired this day; for I delight to do the will of my Father. And it is His will that all evil should come to an end today. I have triumphed over the wicked one, and it is given to me to execute judgment upon him and his, and all their works. It is also His will, that His faithful servants should this day receive their full reward. By the authority vested in me as Mediator and Judge of all men, I declare that this tribunal of the Most High God is now in session!”

Then the Judge is seated, and the trial begins. The books are opened. The secrets of men’s hearts are now to be discovered, their true characters revealed. The Divine-human Judge knows all, sees all. His austere expression, His face at once lovely and full of awful grandeur, hushes all to silence.

The first book is opened, the Book of Life. And all the names are read, one by one. And with the reading of each name there is joy for some and grief for others – joy for those whose names are read, and for those who loved them while they lived; and grief to those who were their persecutors. Finally, the last name is read, and the Book of Life is closed. The Judge says to all of them, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”

Then His eyes, which are as a flame of fire, turn toward those on His left hand. The other books are now opened, containing all their names, and the records of each man’s works. Everyone knows now that no excuse will suffice. It’s all been written down. In their hearts they know that lies are of no use here. Every mouth is stopped, and all the sinners in the world become guilty before God. The charges are brought, but there is no defense! Then the wicked hear their dread sentence,”Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels!” and with the terrible sound of their wailing, mixed with bitter cries of futile rage, are driven away into outer darkness forever. Silence reigns in the wake of the righteous judgment of God Almighty. The Redeemed are still creatures, and the awe upon their souls leaves them amazed and quiet for a season.

Suddenly, the saints hear a new sound, like the voice of many waters. They turn to the source of the sound. It is coming from their former abode! Instead of the blackness of ash and smoking ruin, the air is clear again. The oceans and continents are plainly visible. Green patches can be seen on the land, growing rapidly. Blue ribbons – streams? and – can it be? – pools of water appear! Hills rise to mountainous height and sink into basins as the whole is shaped by an invisible hand. The work is brought swiftly to completion, for God does not need six days to re-create the world. Birds once more are heard and seen to fly in the blue heaven, and living creatures of all kinds fill the earth and sea. The LORD, now finished with His work of judgment, gives a great laugh of profound joy, and cries ”Behold, I make all things new!” Suddenly, the saints find themselves descending in the company of their Lord and all His angels to a beautiful paradise, where they shall live forever in holy peace and blessedness. Thus the world ends; and yet begins again!

What Must we Do?

Dear friends, If you are not a Bible Christian, a true disciple of Jesus Christ, it is not yet too late. There is time to make peace with the God you have offended so many times by your sins. You need not be among the lost in that day. Indeed, you must not let that terrible day find you unprepared! Now is the time when you must begin to put your house in order. From this day forward, you must make the chief business of your life the salvation of your soul. You must stop pretending that religion is a matter for others – not for you. You must stop shunning good men, and break off your friendships with the foolish, the wicked, and careless sinners. You must begin to fear God and walk in all His ways as He gives you light from His word.

But more important than these outward things; you must from the heart repent and believe the gospel of salvation. Then you can be one of those glorious and joyful beings who live forever with Jesus; and you can look forward to the day of judgment without fear. Believe that Christ died in the place of sinners, bearing their sins so that they might be freed forever from all the guilt and the pollution and the power and the presence of sin, and so from the wrath of almighty God. Believe that the gospel is addressed to you and that God is in earnest when He calls you to receive the salvation that is in His Son. Turn from the works of darkness and shame that have not profited you, except to bring you into bondage to the devil and your own lusts! God will receive you, and give you a place among His sons and daughters! Only trust Him!

Do it now, before the impression this sermon has made upon you fades. Do not think you can go away and think about it for a while without sin. The Lord will not be “played”. It is the devil who says, “Later, later – at a more convenient time.” Jesus demands that you bow the knee to Him, acknowledge His rightful claims on your life, and render Him the allegiance and service that you owe – now! There is no reason to delay! Give Him your heart; for it is His by right. If you refuse, you only add fresh rebellion, and you will have no right to expect anything but judgment from Him in that Great Day. Heed the words of Scripture, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalms 2:12) Amen!

A Great Hymn on the Second Coming of Christ

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.

Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.

Every island, sea, and mountain,
Heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
All who hate Him must, confounded,
Hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
Come to judgment! Come away!

Now redemption, long expected,
See in solemn pomp appear;
All His saints, by man rejected,
Now shall meet Him in the air:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
See the day of God appear!

Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee,
High on Thine eternal throne;
Savior, take the power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for Thine own;
O come quickly! O come quickly!
Everlasting God, come down!

By John Cennick

How Deadly is the Covid19 Virus?

There is much talk of the fatality rate of the COVID19 disease. But what is a fatality rate, and what does the number really tell us? Most of us never consider the fact that the term may mean more than one thing – or, put another way, that there are more than one thing that it can mean. In this paper, I will distinguish three kinds of fatality rates.

First kind of fatality rate:

By fatality rate is usually meant the number of fatalities compared to the number of the whole population. It is said that, in the case of COVID19, it is much lower than what was expected. This is a useful number, in that it tells me what the risk of dying from the disease is, simply considered: whether I should test positive for the disease or not, whether I am exposed to the virus or not, and whether I develop an asymptomatic case or not.

And it is subject to this limitation: its accuracy is compromised by the fact that the true way to calculate the overall death rate is to divide the final number of fatalities by the final number of symptomatic cases — that is, those who get sick from the coronavirus. Obviously, we cannot do that yet because we do not have the data. Any number we get is therefore provisional at best. If we use the numbers we have now, this method yields a ratio of .017 or 1.7 % for the US and 6.2% for the world (as of March 28).

Nevertheless, it has some value because it gives us a rough idea of how contagious the disease is, in combination with its lethality. But no matter what disease we are considering, it is always a low number, a small percentage; and so can mislead us into thinking that the disease caused by the virus is not particularly dangerous. I suspect that this is the fatality rate that is presented to the public for that very reason – to avoid or mitigate the panic that might be caused if another kind of fatality rate were to be used.

Second kind of fatality rate:

We might also want to know what our chances of dying are if we test positive for the virus, and are considered an “active case”. People who have tested positive will want to know what they can expect. To find this number, the best we can do is to compare the number of coronavirus-caused fatalities to the number of active cases. This will be a much larger percentage than the death rate for the general population; as the number of active cases is always a small proportion of the whole population.

But the number of “active cases” is a very imprecise number, with a very wide margin for error: first, because to test positive for the virus is not the same thing as it is to contract the disease; second, because there are many false positives and false negatives, and there are many “asymptomatic” cases among those tested; and third, because so few people have even been tested. It is therefore almost a meaningless number – a mere guess.

Third kind of fatality rate:

When we consider the question, “How deadly is the COVID19 disease?”, and not “What are my chances, considered as a member of the whole population, of dying from it?” or “What are my chances if I test positive for the virus?” we will need a different mode of calculation which tells us what our chances of dying are if we get the disease. Since we want to put a number on it, we have to work from the data that we have. Fortunately, we have more reliable numbers for this than for the other two kinds of fatality rates. Admittedly, they are not final numbers, so that, as in the other two kinds, we will only able to get a provisional number. However, both of the figures being compared are actual and definitive numbers; since deaths and recoveries are objective and measurable, and the amounts are free from speculation and wide margins of error.

The first question is how many people die from the virus, as compared to the number who get sick, but recover. Many of the well-known charts online, though not all, give both numbers. Here is a real-world example, according to the Bing tracker website:

As of March 28, in the US, 2,465 people who have had the disease have recovered; while there are 1,706 who have died from it. That’s 1.44 recoveries for each death. Put another way, for every 100 people who have recovered, 69 have died. A sobering statistic, don’t you think?

The ratio for the global cases is better – 132,440 recovered versus 26,909 fatalities. That works out to 4.92 recoveries for each fatality or 20 deaths for each 100 recoveries. But since China is suspected of under-reporting deaths and inflating the number of recoveries by as much as 40 times! these numbers may be significantly inaccurate. China claims to have had 74,971 recoveries versus 3,295 deaths. That’s 2,280 recoveries for each death, or only 4.4 deaths for each 100 who recover. A bad enough figure; but I for one don’t believe it. For this reason, the true global ratio is probably nearer to that of the US.

To get the percentage of deaths for the number of people who have contracted the disease, we must first know how many cases of sick people have already been resolved; either by the patient’s recovery or his death. So we simply add together the fatalities and the recoveries. Using the same actual figures, we get: 2,465 recoveries plus 1,706 deaths. That gives us a total of resolved cases – 4,171. 1706 divided by 4171 = .409, which is 41%. 41% of the people in the U.S. who have contracted the disease have died.

That indicates an extremely high lethality.

Conclusion

This approach to determining the deadliness of the disease is not perfect.  It is an  estimate, and as I said, it is provisional. Improved care will doubtless lower the numbers. It also fails to take into account the variable risks of the various groups. This could be worked out in detail; but that is outside the scope of this essay. But it is accurate enough, I submit to you, to give us a fuller picture than the one propagated by the media.

So, is the COVID19 disease deadly? Cherish no illusions. Don’t trust the propagandists, or the governmental bodies that want to avoid causing a panic. Judge for yourself. YOU DO NOT WANT TO GET THIS DISEASE.

Howard Douglas King

March 28, Year of our Lord 2020

Albert Barnes, Various Comments on Psalm 25

On Affliction and the Remembrance of Our Sins

On Psalm 25:7- Remember not the sins of my youth – In strong contrast with God, the psalmist brings forward his own conduct and life. He could ask of God (Psalm 25:6) to remember His own acts – what “He himself” had done; but could not ask him to remember His conduct – His past life. He could only pray that this might be forgotten. He did not wish it to come into remembrance before God; he could not ask that God would deal with him according to that. He prays, therefore, that he might not be visited as he advanced in life with the fruits of his conduct in early years, but that all the offences of that period of his life might be forgiven and forgotten.

Who is there that cannot with deep feeling join in this prayer? Who is there that has reached the period of middle or advanced life, who would be willing to have the follies of his youth, the plans, and thoughts, and wishes of his early years brought again to remembrance? Who would be willing to have recalled to his own mind, or made known to his friends, to society around him, or to assembled worlds, the thoughts, the purposes, the wishes, the “imaginings” of his youthful days? Who would dare to pray that he might be treated in advancing years as he treated God in his own early life? Nay, who would venture to pray that God would treat him in the day of judgment as he had treated the friends of his childhood, even the father who begat him, or the mother who bore him? Our hope in regard to the favor of God is that he will “not” summon up the thoughts and the purposes of our early years; that he will “not” treat us as if he remembered them; but that he will treat us as if they were forgotten.

On Psalm 25:17- O bring thou me out of my distresses – Alike from my sins, and from the dangers which surround me. These two things, external trouble and the inward consciousness of guilt, are not infrequently combined. Outward trouble has a tendency to bring up the remembrance of past transgressions, and to suggest the inquiry whether the affliction is not a divine visitation for sin. Any one source of sorrow may draw along numerous others in its train. The laws of association are such that when the mind rests on one source of joy, and is made cheerful by that, numerous other blessings will be suggested to increase the joy; and when one great sorrow has taken possession of the soul, all the lesser sorrows of the past life cluster around it, so that we seem to ourselves to be wholly abandoned by God and by man.

On Psalm 25:18- And forgive all my sins – The mind, as above remarked, connects trouble and sin together. When we are afflicted, we naturally inquire whether the affliction is not on account of some particular transgressions of which we have been guilty; and even when we cannot trace any direct connection with sin, affliction suggests the general fact that we are sinners, and that all our troubles are originated by that fact. One of the benefits of affliction, therefore, is to call to our remembrance our sins, and to keep before the mind the fact that we are violators of the law of God. This connection between suffering and sin, in the sense that the one naturally suggests the other, was more than once illustrated in the miracles performed by the Saviour. (See Matt 9:2)

Some Thoughts on Masculinity and Femininity

When we get beyond the many obvious physical differences between the sexes, and consider what is different about them internally, we know instinctively that there is something called “femininity” in women and “masculinity” in men. We may be tempted to think of these as two traits that explain the fundamental differences in male and female personalities. We may express these differences by saying, for example, “men are more rational and women are more emotional” or “Man is strength, and woman is beauty”. There is some truth in both of these maxims; but the whole truth is more complicated.

Neither are masculinity and femininity single traits, or even patterns of behavior. They involve perceptions, attitudes, inclinations, emotions, reactions that are partly products of their physical differences, and partly qualities that fit them for their respective callings. Rather, it is the whole personality type that differs between the sexes. A boy naturally develops a male personality type because he was born a male; and because he admires his father, and wants to be like him. This begins when he starts copying his father’s actions and words. He is not just playing when he uses a toy workbench and tools that his father gave him; he is becoming a man. The same is true of the female.

Because so much of the upbringing of children depends upon the behavior that they observe every day in the home; it is essential that both parents accept and act out the sex roles that God has assigned to each. It is also important that girls spend most of their time with their mothers and other women, in the home, learning the duties of a wife, mother and homemaker.  Boys should ideally (as they do in agricultural communities) spend most of their time with their fathers and other men, learning how men act and think and interact with each other, and also being trained to do the work their fathers do.

There must be different emphases in the training of boys and girls. For this reason (and others) schools should be segregated by sex. Girls must learn serenity, modesty, unselfishness and humility. These qualities are indispensable in a woman. They are the various facets of inner beauty. Boys must learn to be responsible, honest, courageous and diligent. These together form an inner strength. Children with these qualities (which can be developed early on) grow up to be persons of worth, capable of fulfilling their God given roles. They will also be attractive mates to the opposite sex, irrespective of their outward appearances.

But the differences between the sexes are not the only things that must be taken into account in the rearing of children. The Bible does not usually differentiate when it teaches the Christian virtues and way of life; because men and women are more alike than they are different.

If there is a single word that is descriptive of masculinity, it is this: men are workers. They are goal-oriented; and they are frustrated if they cannot see progress in their work. They are willing to work hard and make sacrifices if they can only achieve their goals. They tend to be easily bored with repetitive tasks that give them no sense of accomplishment.

Women, on the other hand, are nurturers. They care about needs, rather than goals. The endless round of unexciting tasks involved in being a homemaker, especially the care of young children, may wear her out; but they do not drive her crazy, as they would a man. She nurtures a vegetable garden, or a flower bed, or a tree just as truly as she does a child or an animal. A man would rather till and fence a garden plot, which gives him a sense of achievement; and then leave the daily care (other than the heavy work) to her.  This is not selfishness on his part, or a weak slavishness on hers: it is just the way we were made to be; complementary members of a family.  Each is made according to a master plan, by which he or she provides the strengths that the other lacks, so that each finds completeness in the other.

This is not to say that men are incapable of nurture, or that women never work with a goal in mind; only that there are these opposite tendencies which develop their personalities – naturally and predictably – in different directions.

The man who is conspicuously masculine and the woman who manifests a natural femininity will not only be appealing to others of both sexes; but they will be well able to fulfill their biblical, traditional sex roles, and find fulfillment in them.

Howard Douglas King

March 5, 2019

The Blunders of Kings

 

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The two parts of the book of the Kings document the fall of Israel from its highest point to the very depths. It opens with the ascent of Solomon, the son of David, to the throne of all Israel, and describes in detail the main events of his reign; during which the kingdom of Israel reached its highest development, its greatest territorial extent, and the pinnacle of riches, power, and national glory in the ancient world.

Solomon built the temple that his father had envisioned, planned and provisioned – an extraordinary edifice that would become known as one of the seven wonders of the world. His own palace, also described in these pages, was likewise famous. Solomon had everything, and did everything. He was a wise and just judge, an architect and builder, a natural scientist, a political strategist, a philosopher, a poet, a prophet, a master of agriculture and animal husbandry. God blessed him with an immeasurable abundance of talent and wealth.

Yet for all this, he was a man, a sinner. He succumbed to the temptations of his position, indulging himself with an enormous harem, among whom were many infidel women and idolaters – in direct disobedience to the law of God. These evil women seduced him to the building of Pagan temples in Jerusalem and the public worship of false gods; and brought on him the destruction of his kingdom. No one, no matter how favored by God, is immune to his discipline.

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.

And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen. (1 Kings 11:1-13)

The Lord also sent a prophet named Ahijah to a man called Jeroboam.

And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel:) Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.

And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.” (1 Kings 11:29-38)

Solomon’s son and heir, Rehoboam, ascended the throne when Solomon died. But he immediately shot himself in the foot, and lost the kingdom committed to him. This is explained as the fulfillment of the predicted judgment on his father. In fact, his father was responsible for alienating the man who would take the ten tribes away from him as well. Jeroboam rose suddenly to the kingship of Israel, leaving only Judah, and the diminished tribe of Benjamin to David’s dynasty.

And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee.

…And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him; And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the LORD, that he might perform his saying, which the LORD spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. But as for the children of Israel which dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the tribute; and all Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. Therefore king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.” (1 Kings 12:1-4, 13-19)

But what did Jeroboam do? Did he learn from the mistakes of these two kings? Not much, it seems! Immediately, he corrupts the worship of God by building unauthorized altars and two golden calves to worship, thinking thereby to protect his new kingdom from the risk of eventual reunification with Judah! God has given him this kingdom, yet he immediately insults God and breaks the most fundamental law – the very law that Solomon broke to the loss of the kingdom – in the vain hope of preserving his place. This in spite of the fact that the same God who gave him the kingdom promised to sustain him in it if he would be obedient!

And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee.”(I Kings 11:37-38). Thus he earned the name of infamy that recurs in the Scriptural record: ”Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin”.

And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.

And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.” (1 Kings 12:26-33)

The judgment on Jeroboam was not long delayed. He died just 22 years after rising to the throne, and his son was murdered two years later, along with all his house.

And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.” (1Ki 14:20)

And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.

And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon. Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead. And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite: Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.” (1 Kings 15:25-30)

David declares that nations and kings are not above the law of God, and that the Messiah will be their king. Here is his solemn warning:

Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” (Psalms 2:10-12)

NOTES:

1) The fact that the tribe of Benjamin was treated as one tribe with Judah may be accounted for by revisiting its history. The tribe of Benjamin was once fairly large and powerful, and boasted many great warriors. But after the division of the land under Joshua, during the time of the Judges, Benjamin committed an egregious error in the matter of the Levite’s concubine, by taking the part of the wicked sodomites that dwelt in their city of Gibeah, who were her murderers, and refusing to surrender them to justice. The other tribes of Israel united and defeated Benjamin in battle, and nearly destroyed the tribe altogether. Only six hundred Benjamite warriors were left. This is documented in the book of Judges, chapters 19-21.

2) The division of Israel into two kingdoms also had its roots in history. Saul was king over all Israel, but when he died, only Judah recognized David as the true king of Israel. Saul was a Benjamite, after all; and the ten tribes supported Saul’s house in a seven-year civil war that led to the eventual triumph of David and Judah, with the unification of the nation, and the establishment of a capital city in Jerusalem. Naturally, Benjamin, which was not a large tribe in the first place, suffered much loss in that war. With the kingship passing to David, Benjamin lost most of its influence with its defeat. But the ten tribes had fought against the house of David, and now, less than a century later, the old grudge was revived, so they were ready to say to Rehoboam, “What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David.” (1 Kings 12:16)

3) When Ahijah tore the garment into 12 pieces, and gave 10 to Jeroboam, two pieces were left. These represented Judah and Benjamin. But Levi, one of the ten, was insulted and cut off from their calling and livelihood by Jeroboam. So they also became concentrated in the southern kingdom. And many others deserted Jeroboam because of his corruption of the religion of Israel:

And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah. He built even Bethlehem, and Etam, and Tekoa, And Bethzur, and Shoco, and Adullam, And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph, And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah, And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities. And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine. And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.

And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts. For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD: And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the LORD God of their fathers.” (2 Chronicles 11:5-16)

4) Israel was carried away by the Assyrians a century before Judah was taken captive to Babylon. Few of them returned to the land of Israel when Cyrus’ decree of release was published; so the “Israel” that was in the land after that was mainly composed of Judeans, Benjamites and Levites who returned to their own capital city and the surrounding country. They came to be called “Jews” at this time.

Howard Douglas King, February 15, 2020

 

Essential Elements Of A Consistently Christian World-view

For any worldview to be considered Christian at all, it must be grounded on the written Word of God, and the revelation of the glorious person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. But a Christian’s worldview may be inconsistent — that is, it may contain elements that are inconsistent with each other. Most of us have ideas that we have acquired during our up-bringing, that cannot be reconciled with the Bible or with Christian doctrine.

The following are some elements of biblical teaching and the teaching of historic Christianity that have often been excluded from the thinking of modern Christians because of foreign ideas that are already deeply implanted before conversion, or because they are the unspoken axioms of contemporary society. These concepts must be rooted out, and replaced by biblical concepts.

The Necessity of Authority and Subordination

The master/servant relationship is inescapable, for it is essential to cooperation and coordination of effort in any task. In the very first relationship – that of man to God, this relation necessarily obtains. The second relationship – that of man to wife – is one of authority and subordination. In the third basic relationship – that of parent to child – the inequality is even more conspicuous and necessary. The fourth basic relationship – that of master and servant – is just an extension of the authority of the father beyond the natural family to another dependent person. All other relationships in a Christian society are based on and patterned on these family relationships.

Involuntary servitude has not really been abolished – except in the household, where alone its harshest features can be ameliorated by caring, durable personal relationships. It is just limited now to impersonal secular institutions; such as prisons, armies, schools, and to a lesser extent, the workplace. Only the authority of the husband, father, and householder has been destroyed.

The Theocratic Principle

Every man and every human institution is and ought to be under the rule of God, period. He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God, who is the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords.

Secularity is Not Normal

We have come to regard secular institutions and enterprises as normal; but God regards every one as insubordinate to Him, as little rebellions, as outposts of the Devil. Every institution ought to acknowledge God and serve Him.

You have the Wrong Universe

Every non-biblical worldview is not only dangerous to the souls of its adherents; but is out of touch with the most fundamental and vital realities. Christianity is not an ideology – it is the truth. If we refuse to accept the truth, it will not prevent our having to deal with it eventually. The man who jumps off a building because he believes he can fly will hit the ground hard.

Damnable Ignorance

The typical American not only does not know what he is doing; but he knows not whence he came, nor why he was made, nor what he ought to do, or where he is going. He ought to know these things. There is no barrier to his knowing these things. So, while it sounds harsh, his ignorance is damnable sin.

Unity, Diversity, and Commonality

Unity of purpose and cooperation in common action are consistent with diversity; so long as that purpose arises from ideals that are sincerely held in common by all. One King – one Law – one people.

 

Howard Douglas King

August 5, 2015

Revised April 1, 2017

The Limits of Literal Interpretation

The general principle of the literal interpretation of Scripture, which we (with all Protestants) heartily endorse, chiefly applies to historical narrative. The prophetic passages of Scripture, as well as the poetic book of psalms, often contain figurative language. This is a native feature of poetry, and a common one in prophecy. This fact has been the occasion of many differences of opinion on the interpretation of prophecy.

The general rule of literal interpretation, therefore, does not require us to interpret every word of Scripture in a literal sense. Indeed, to attempt to do so would often result in nonsense; and many times it would bring Scripture into conflict with Scripture. The correct method is to follow the Scripture’s own indications as to when it speaks in strict literalness, and when not. This is an aspect of the vital principle that Scripture interprets itself, which is equally as fundamental as that of literal interpretation.

The gospels are literal historical records of the words and deeds of Jesus. But within this is the literal record of Jesus’ sayings, in which there are very many times that He either uses figurative language, or interprets the Scriptures in a non-literal manner. This is the reason that His disciples so often did not understand Him.

As a case in point, here is a prophecy from the Old Testament:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)

And here is the non-literal New Testament fulfillment, according to the angel Gabriel:

And many of the children of Israel shall he [John the Baptist] turn to the Lord their God. And he [John] shall go before him [Jesus] in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16-17)

And according to Jesus Christ:

Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elijah, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:11-15)

And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elijah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.“ (Matthew 17:10-13)

And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elijah must first come? And he answered and told them, Elijah verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at naught. But I say unto you, That Elijah is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.” (Mark 9:11-13)

It is probable that most Israelites prior to the coming of John the Baptist interpreted the prophecy of Elijah’s coming literally, and we cannot condemn them for doing so. But this is a plain instance of literal interpretation leading to an erroneous conclusion. The scribes, observing that Elijah the Tishbite had not yet appeared on the scene, thought they had an unanswerable argument against Jesus’ claim to Messiahship!

It would be wrong to demand an additional, literal fulfillment of this prophecy in the future (as some nevertheless do) on the mistaken premise that because a literal fulfillment is possible, anything less would be inadequate and contrary to the truthfulness of God. Jesus makes it plain that John is the complete fulfillment of the prophecy when he says, “this is Elijah, which was for to come”.

Besides, the prophecy was for Elijah to come before Messiah appeared. Since Jesus has already come, there is now no opportunity for a completely literal fulfillment. On the other hand, John the Baptist fulfilled the actual terms of the prophecy by his ministry, restoring true religion in Israel in preparation for the coming of the Messiah.

Finally, John was not inferior to Elijah, nor was he a less significant figure in the history of Israel. This second Elijah did no miracle, but he turned back the hearts of the children of Israel to the Lord, as the first one did (1 Kings 8:37-39); and also announced the long-awaited coming of Israel’s redeemer-king! Therefore, in sending John, God did not do less than He would have done, if He had sent the literal Elijah.

But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:26-28)

By parity of reasoning, when the New Testament declares that the Kingship of Christ is to be exercised from His throne at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:30-36) rather than from an earthly throne in Jerusalem, how can this be viewed as an inadequate fulfillment of the promise to David concerning his seed, when the power and authority of that throne in heaven includes any that David had, and is infinitely greater than that of any earthly throne? It’s as if someone promised his son a hundred dollars upon his graduation from school, and gave him a car worth ten thousand dollars instead! Who would be so mad as to complain that the promise was not fulfilled because it was not fulfilled to the letter?

The Jewish expectation of a literal, visible, earthly kingdom was not only false, but it was a main cause of their rejection of Jesus, for they were only interested in a Messiah who would come and liberate them from the Romans. They did not realize that their greater bondage was to sin and death; and that for this cause they needed most of all a spiritual redeemer. The Bible tells us that they did what they did to Christ because they did not understand the prophets; and yet Dispensationalists today follow the same wrong path!

Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.” (Acts 13:26-27)

This error was so ingrained, that even His disciples didn’t “get it” for a long time.

But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done… Then he [Jesus] said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:21-27)

Dispensationalists claim that prophecy is “history written beforehand”, and claim to follow the rule, “literal unless impossible”. The tendency of the Dispensational brand of excessive literalism is to expect a future, literal fulfillment of prophecies that have already been spiritually fulfilled. The result is a complex and bizarre futuristic scenario unlike anything the historic Christian church has ever seen before.

Howard Douglas King