THE MILLENNIAL REIGN AND ITS END

PMW 2021-010 by Milton S. Terry (Biblical Apocalyptics)

Gentry note: In this article I continue presenting some helpful postmillennial material from Milton S. Terry (1840–1914) as presented in his book, Biblical Apocalyptics. Below I will be directly citing his material, except that I will break it into smaller paragraphs (as I noted was necessary in my last article).

So here is a direct citation of Biblical Apocalyptics, pp. 453–54:

The five scenes of the millennial period thus far presented form a closely connected series and are to be thought of, not as chronologically successive, but rather as simultaneous and supplementary in their logical relations. Thus, the moving forth of the great Conqueror (19:11–16) results in the great slaughter of the numerous enemies of God (19:17,18); this involves at the same time the destruction of the beast and the false prophet (19:19–21) and the binding of Satan (20:1–3). These are different aspects of a world-wide conquest, for the Messianic King of Old Testament prophecy is to “have dominion from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8). Continue reading

THE CONQUERING CHRIST AND THE MILLENNIUM

PMW 2021-009 by Milton S. Terry

Milton Terry (1840–1914) has many valuable insights into the Book of Revelation, some of which highlight his postmillennialism. In this and the next few articles, I will be highlighting some of these. Interestingly, though he rightly notes Revelation’s focus on first-century events, he also recognizes a few brief glances into the distant future (as do I!).

I will be citing the Revelation commentary section of his Biblical Apocalyptics as providing interesting and important insights for postmillennialists. Once it is introduced, all of the following material will be a direct citation from his book, although I have broken it into smaller paragraphs. Older writers (from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) apparently saw no need for a paragraph ever to end! And writers even older than Terry, such as John Gill (1697–1771), saw no need for a sentence to end — especially since they enjoyed the use of the semi-colon. Fortunately, they did not follow first century practice of not even having spacing between words so that a word itself would never end! Continue reading

THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB

PMW 2021-008 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. (with Milton S. Terry)

The New Testament has many images of the glory of Christ’s kingdom and our joyous salvation in it. One of the most glorious images is that of a joyful marriage supper. Though this image appears directly in several New Testament passages (e.g., Matt. 22:2ff; 25:2ff) and indirectly in others, one of the most impressive presentations is in the Book of Revelation. Continue reading

THE VALUE OF CREEDS

PMW 2021-007 Guest article by W. Robert Godfrey (Westminster Theological Seminary, California)

Imagine a Christian gathering in Alexandria on the night before Easter, 173. A young man who has heard the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is ready to be baptized. He has received some instruction in the faith and has brought his life into conformity with Christian ethics. He stands clothed in white with others near the water for baptism. The bishop and presbyters approach and ask him what he believes. He recites a brief summary of the faith that he has memorized. Others about to be baptized recite the same summary. This summary used by those about to be baptized was written by the bishop himself some years earlier to help prepare new believers for baptism. Continue reading

THE SEEDS OF CREEDS

PMW 2021-006 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.

Though they are not on a par with Scripture itself, the ecumenical creeds are important instruments for securing, promoting, and defending the Christian faith. They are designed to secure the faith by outlining the broad doctrinal borders of true Christianity by defining the basics of what historic Christianity believes. They promote the faith by succinctly summarizing it so that the whole Bible does not have to be read and explained in order to present the gospel of salvation to unbelievers. They defend the Christian faith by exposing corruption entering into some of its basic biblical doctrines by means of confusion or heresy.

On a smaller scale, church confessions (such as the Westminster Confession of Faith) secure, promote, and defend the basics of Presbyterianism. Church confessions outline the distinctives of a particular body of Christians, whereas the ecumencial creeds outline the distinctives of the Christian faith as a particular worldview among men. Continue reading

FIGURES OF SPEECH IN SCRIPTURE

PMW 2021-005 by Ardel B. Caneday

“The Importance of Recognizing Figures of Speech in Scripture”

I had intended to post an article that would flow out from the one last week. However, my rather lengthy response to a friend’s question addresses an issue from which I believe others will benefit. The query raised was generated out of the inquisitor’s hearing my four lectures a few weeks ago at the Common Slaves Fall Conference where my theme was “Let Us Run the Race with Perseverance and Assurance.”

I think that I understand your concern. As I read your correspondence, the following statement leaps out to me: “In any case, I feel funny about it because it seems I’ve been trained to view the cross as the only thing in life or death worth really focusing on, or as the old line goes, beat a path to the cross since everything flows that direction.” I think that the issue that nags at you is the same one that I observed many years ago while listening to a sermon by a preacher whose fame was on the rise. I distinctly remember that while I sat and listened to that sermon I was frustrated with what struck me as needless obscuring of what should have been clear to anyone who occupies the pulpit and which the preacher should have made clear with relative ease if he had given sufficient attention to how the Apostle Paul expresses his thoughts. Some preachers, however, seem to have an uncanny knack for rendering biblical texts unduly complex and complicated.

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The preacher was preaching on Galatians 6:14—“May it never be that I would boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” What troubled the preacher is the exclusivity of the cross as the only thing in which the Apostle Paul would boast, yet elsewhere the Apostle seems to be boasting in other things. He was troubled by other texts where Paul uses the same word for “boast” or “exult” to speak of boasting or exulting in other things. He cited the following passages as sources of his disquiet.

We exult in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2).
We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that they produce patience and approvedness and hope (Romans 5:3).
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

Thus, the preacher wondered, “So, if the Apostle can boast and exult in all these things, what does he mean when he claims that his exclusive boast is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ? Does Paul engage in double-talk? Is he contradicting himself by saying that he is exulting only in one thing but also exulting in other things?”

As I reflect on that sermon, it took many needless minutes for the preacher to reach some resolution of the tension, and yet, his resolution was neither sufficient nor satisfying as he presented it. Yes, he eventually did make the point that all our boasting or exulting should be exultation in the cross of Christ by affirming that exulting in the hope of God’s glory, exulting in tribulations, exulting in weaknesses, etc. should be an exulting in the cross. Why was it not sufficient or satisfying? The answer troubled me immensely as I listened to the sermon and it still troubles me because I heard him preach the same sermon on another occasion. That subsequent sermon showed that the preacher still did not understand the point that I am about to make. While I sat there in the pew listening intently to the sermon, I thought, “How is it that a highly educated preacher does not seem to grasp the literary nature of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians? How is it that a seminary educated preacher fails to apprehend the figure of speech that the Apostle Paul is using in Galatians 6:14? How simply and how clearly the preacher could have answered his own puzzlement and question and resolved the tension if he had simply assisted the pew people to understand that Paul is using a figure of speech in the passage, that Paul uses synecdoche when he mentions the cross of Jesus Christ just as he does elsewhere. How simple and clear it would be if only he would show the people that Paul uses ‘the cross’ as a principal aspect of the gospel by way of synecdoche for the gospel.”


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Galatians 6:14 is not the only place where Paul uses “the cross” as an aspect of the gospel by way of synecdoche for the whole gospel (synecdoche—a part used to represent the whole). Even more vividly Paul synecdoche in 1 Corinthians 1:17-18—“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Here, it is obvious that Paul substitutes “the gospel” with “the cross of Christ,” by way of synecdoche, when he mentions the cross again, he expands it to “the message of the cross.”

Without any doubt, the preacher eventually got it right in his sermon concerning why our boast must be in the cross of Christ. The reason is that everything, whether good or bad (for in God’s purposes all things work together for our good for all who are in Christ Jesus) was secured by the cross of Christ Jesus. Without his crucifixion, every one of us would receive nothing but divine punishment. Without the cross, ours would be only condemnation. Consequently, everything that we enjoy in Christ is due to the cross. Apart from the cross, there is no blessing at all.

Therefore, I am arguing that the conflict you are experiencing, as expressed in the statement I cite above, is no real conflict at all. Your own comment captures this well when you query, “Maybe it’s best thought of as a mental shift from cruci-centricity to a more fully-orbed Christocentricity?” My response to your query is this: To be cruci-centric is to be Christo-centric. Why? Because any proper featuring of the cross is not essentially a crucifix, the cross with Christ Jesus still on it. Rather, any proper featuring of the cross necessarily entails synecdoche, as the Apostle Paul conceives of the gospel, by featuring a principal aspect of Christ’s work, namely his sacrificial death on the cross, for the whole of Christ’s work. It is to feature an aspect of the gospel as a representative of the whole gospel. Any proper mention of the cross of Christ necessarily points to God’s Last Day verdict brought forward into the midst of history by Christ Jesus who brought forward both the verdict of God’s judgment and the vindicating life of resurrection from the Last Day. Thus, when Christ Jesus was crucified, he endured the wrath of God’s Last Day judgment on behalf of everyone who is in him. Likewise, when he was raised from the dead, his resurrection assured that all who are in him will most certainly rise from the dead unto eternal life on the Last Day, the Day Resurrection.

Thus, our prospective gaze upon Christ Jesus that we might lay hold of (Philippians 3:12-14) does not in the slightest diminish our cruci-centric affirmation. Rather . . . .
To finish reading the article, go to Ardel B. Caneday’s blogsite

TOWARD A BIBLICAL OPTIMISM

PMW 2021-005 by Timothy M. Kucij

At the time of our marriage, many years ago, my wife and I made some promises to ourselves, each other, and to God. One of these promises was that we would read the Scriptures daily in a devotional setting. As we focused on the general tenure of Scripture it became evident that here was an optimistic book. Christ is pictured throughout as the conquering Savior with a promise of the ultimate triumph of His people and His kingdom on earth in this age.

Most of the outstanding characters of the Bible reflected this optimism, even in the darkest of times. In Noah’s day the earth was filled with violence and wickedness. Noah was commissioned by God to build an ark to save the human race and certain animals from impending disaster. It must be remembered that he was surrounded by a mass of godless unbelievers who would come and see his work, attracted by curiosity, and no doubt remain to scoff at him. Still his faith remained. He preached a positive message of victory from disaster. Continue reading