PMW 2020-102 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
I am writing this article as a brief tribute to Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen (Sept. 17 1948–Dec. 11, 1995) regarding his influence on Revelation studies, especially as the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death is approaching. He certainly is gone, but not forgotten.
Dr. Bahnsen’s formal training and primary ministry focus were in the field of philosophy, including Christian apologetics and biblical ethics. Nevertheless, deep interest, wide learning, careful analysis, and perceptive insights touched on many and varied fields of study. Among his leading interests was eschatology and the Book of Revelation. And though he never released a commentary on this majestic prophecy, he did produce sixty-three hours of taped expositional lectures, which have been very popular and quite influential in reformed circles. Continue reading
PMW 2020-084 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In this eighth entry in an 8-part series I am concluding my argument that the Jewish Temple in the first-century effectively functioned as tool of emperor worship, in that it was under the control of Roman-controlled priests. I recommend reading the previous articles first, and in order.
We must recall that Jesus called first century Israel under its unbelieving authorities an “adulterous generation” (Mt 12:39//; 16:4//). That charge harkens back to OT Israel’s unfaithfulness through idolatry. Thus, the first century temple system about which John is writing, is controlled by a corrupt, Messiah-denying high priesthood and has now become an idol linked with and likened to emperor worship. For this reason, Christ begins moving his people away from the temple because with his coming it no longer serves any God-approved purpose. As Wright (Jesus and the Victory of God, 182) observes: Jesus “prophesies that God will destroy the temple . . , not only because it was becoming obsolete but because of its flawed use and Israel’s rejection of Jesus.” Continue reading
PMW 2020-083 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In this seventh entry in an 8-part series I am arguing that the Jewish Temple in the first-century effectively functioned as tool of emperor worship, being run by a corrupt priesthood in collusion with the Roman authorities. I recommend reading the previous articles first, and in order.
Wiens (62) argues regarding Stephen’s sermon that “idolatry is not so much an initial phase [of Israel’s national experience beginning with Moses] as a continuing reality, and that one of Stephen’s main points here is to contrast false and true worship at every stage of Israel’s cult.” Stephen speaks of the golden calf (Ac 7:39-41), Moloch worship (v 43), and finally mentions the Jewish temple which was “made with hands” (v 48). Wiens points out that Israel apparently believed that when they made an idol, they made the god itself, for they requested that Aaron “make for us gods” (v 40; Ex 32:1), whereupon we read that “they made a calf” and “were rejoicing in the works of their hands” (v 41). Thus, “that is what the authors of Exodus and Acts apparently wanted their readers to understand. People create their own gods if they do not worship the God who created the heavens and ‘all these things’” (Wiens 62). Continue reading
PMW 2020-082 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In this sixth entry in an 8-part series I am arguing that the Jewish Temple in the first-century effectively functioned as tool of emperor worship because of its corrupt high-priestly aristocracy. I recommend reading the previous articles first, and in order.
Gaston (75-76) argues for “a definite anti-cultic polemic in the tradition behind the gospel according to Mark.” Thus, in Mk 14:58 the Lord himself alludes to the temple as an idol for Israel. There we read witnesses against him declaring: “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands [cheirpoiēton] and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” We see cheirpoiēton frequently used of idols in the LXX in the place of eidōlon or tupos. In the LXX the term “almost always” (TDNT 9:436) refers to pagan idols: Lev 26:1; Dt 4:28; 2Ki 19:18; 2Ch 32:19; 27:15; Psa 115:4; 135:15; Isa 2:8; 10:11; 16:12; 19:1; 21:9; 31:7; 46:6; Hab 2:18. Beale states that it “always” refers to idols (Beale, Temple 224n). Simon (133) notes that “chiropoiēton is the technical term, so to say, by which the Septuagint and the Greek-speaking Jews describe the idols.” We also find it in Philo (Vit. Mos. 1:303; 2:51, 88, 165, 168) and the Sibylline Oracles (3:650ff; 4:8-12). Consequently, Evans notes that “made with hands” is a “hint at [the temple’s] idolatrous status”; Lightfoot agrees. Therefore, Walker (10) calls this phrase “potentially incendiary.” Continue reading
PMW 2020-081 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In this fifth entry in an 8-part series I am arguing that the Jewish Temple in the first-century effectively functioned as tool of emperor worship, when understood spiritually. I recommend reading the previous articles first, and in order.
Jewish Temple as Pagan Idol
In the final analysis, the Temple system has become for Israel an idol substituting for a right relationship with God. Formalism has replaced vitalism in worship, externalism has pushed out spirituality. The Lord rebukes the scribes and Pharisees for their empty traditionalism which “invalidated the word of God” (Mt 15:1-6), making them “hypocrites” (15:7), and showing that “this people honors Me with their lips, / But their heart is far away from me, / But in vain do they worship Me, / Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (15:8-9). He chastises Peter for not understanding the hypocrisy involved in Pharisaic hand washing rituals (15:15-20), for “not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man” 15:11). Continue reading
PMW 2020-076 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In my previous article I began a two-part study on the binding of Satan as an important feature of the postmillennial hope. This article concludes the thoughts begun there.
The dramatic imagery that John employs in Revelation 20:1–3 teaches that Satan has been “bound” so that he “should not deceive the nations any longer.” This allows all those who are spiritually resurrected believers to “reign with him” in his kingdom. Despite popular misunderstanding of this passage, this vision speaks of realities already established in Christ’s first coming, as we can tell from several reasons. Continue reading
PMW 2020-075 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The Christian worldview recognizes the reality of the spirit world. We certainly believe in God “who is a spirit” (John 4:24) and in the Third Person of the Trinity, the “Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). Even we ourselves are compounds of spirit and body (Gen. 2:7; James 2:26), so that when we die “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7; cp. Matt. 10:28).
We also know of angels who are spirit-beings created by God to do his will: “Of the angels he saith, Who makes his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire” (Heb. 1:7). Some of these angels are holy, elect angels always serving God in righteousness (Luke 9:26; 1 Tim. 5:21). Others are fallen angels who resist God, determining to do evil against us (Luke 8:2; 1 Tim. 4:1). They have as their ruler, Satan the chief of the fallen angels (Matt. 25:41; Mark 2:22). Continue reading