Author: Chris Engelsma

2. What are “the last things”?

“The last things” sometimes describe the period between Christ’s first and second comings but usually refer to the end of life, the end of the world, and the unending eternity.

 

The last things sometimes describe the period between Christ’s first and second comings…

Acts 2:16-17 teaches that the last days/things began with Pentecost. Other verses also teach that the kingdom has already come with the coming of Christ (Lk, 1:32-33; Mat. 3:2; Mk. 1:15; Matt. 11:12; Lk. 16:16; Mat. 12:28; Lk. 11:20; 17:20-21; 22:29). In other words, eschatology has already begun. We begin to enjoy the end of all things already in this age.

However, the Bible also teaches that the kingdom is yet to come in its fullness (Mat. 6:10; Mat. 7:21-23; Mat. 8:11-12; 19:28; 25:31; 26:29).

 

…but usually refers to the end of life…

In addition to cosmic (or universal) eschatology, there is individual eschatology. We will look at why we have to die and what happens at death.

 

… the end of the world,…

We shall look at the end of the world and whether there will be a new world.

 

…and the unending eternity.

We will study the two eternal destinies, heaven and hell, and who will be where.

1. What is eschatology?
Eschatology is the Biblical teaching of the Old and New Testaments about how the last things will occur so as to fulfill God’s purpose.

Eschatology is the biblical teaching…

Eschatology is made up of two Greek words, eschatos (last) and logos (thing or word), which together mean “last things.” There are many eschatologies. Every philosophical system and religion has a view of the last times. It may be pessimistic, or optimistic, cyclical or evolutionary, political or economic, etc. But the Bible has the supreme authority to teach us about the last times. It refers to the last days (Isa. 2:2, Mic 4:1), the last time (1 Pet. 1:20), and the last hour (1 Jn. 2:18).

…of the Old and New Testaments…

Although there are not so many references to the last times in In the Old Testament, Israel hoped for a future worldwide extension of the Kingdom of God (Ps. 145:11, 13; Isa. 11:9; 35:2, 7, 15) by a visitation of God to bring judgment on the heathen and deliverance to the faithful (Obad. 15-16, Joel 2: 1-17; Isa 13; Amos 5:18-20, Mal. 4:5) at the end of time. Old Testament saints also expected the resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous followed by a judgment (Job 19:25-27; Ps. 73:24-25; Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2; Ps. 50:4-6; Eccles. 12:14; Mal. 3:2-5).

The New Testament is full of references to the last time, as we shall see in our study (Matt 24-25; 1 Cor 15; 2 Cor 5; 1 Thess 1:10; 2 Thess 2; 2 Tim 3&4; Revelation)

…about how the last things will occur…

We shall look at what will happen and when it will happen. However, the “when” is more about order than timing.

…so as to fulfill God’s purpose.

The “end” is not the end. We are not heading towards a brick wall, but rather the climactic goal of all things. Christ is that goal and He is directing everything towards Himself, in fulfillment of the promise of Genesis 3:15.

Opinions differ as to the precise date of Jesus’ birth.

There is no adequate reason for questioning the historical accuracy of this date [Dec. 25 as the birth of Jesus]. The objections generally made rest on grounds, which seem to me historically untenable. The subject has been fully discussed in an article by Cassel in Herzog’s Real. Ency. 17. pp. 588–594. But a curious piece of evidence comes to us from a Jewish source. In the addition to the Megillath Taanith (ed. Warsh. p. 20 a), the 9th Tebheth is marked as a fast day, and it is added, that the reason for this is not stated. Now, Jewish chronologists have fixed on that day as that of Christ’s birth, and it is remarkable that, between the years 500 and 816 A.D. the 25th of December fell no less than twelve times on the 9th Tebheth. If the 9th Tebheth, or 25th December, was regarded as the birthday of Christ, we can understand the concealment about it. Comp. Zunz, Ritus d. Synag. Gottesd. p. 126.   Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1896), 1:187.

“But while the statement of Luke cannot disprove the tradition of the Nativity, it can as little prove it. This tradition is itself of late origin and of no critical value. The celebration of Christmas was not introduced in the church till after the middle of the fourth century. It originated in Rome, and was probably a Christian transformation or regeneration of a series of kindred heathen festivals, the Saturnalia, Sigillaria, Juvenalia, and Brumalia, which were celebrated in the month of December in commemoration of the golden age of universal freedom and equality, and in honor of the unconquered sun, and which were great holidays, especially for slaves and children. In the primitive Church there was no agreement as to the time of Christ’s birth. In the East the 6th of January was observed as the day of His baptism and birth. In the third century, as Clement of Alexandria relates, some regarded the twentieth of May, others the twentieth of April, as the birth-day of our Savior. Among modern chronologists and biographers of Jesus there is still greater difference of opinion, and every month, even June and July (when the fields are parched from want of rain), have been named as the time when the great event took place. Lightfoot assigns the Nativity to September, Lardner and New-come to October, Wieseler to February, Paulus to March, Greswell and Alford to the 5th of April, just after the spring rains, when there is an abundance of pasture, Lichtenstein places it in July or December, Strong in August, Robinson in autumn, Clinton in spring, Andrews between the middle of December, 749, to the middle of January, 750 A. U. On the other hand, Roman Catholic historians and biographers of Jesus, as Sepp, Friedlieb, Bucher, Patritius, also some Protestant writers, defend the popular tradition, or the 25th of December. Wordsworth gives up the problem, and thinks that the Holy Spirit has concealed the knowledge of the year and day of Christ’s birth and the duration of His ministry from the wise and prudent to teach them humility.

The precise date of the Nativity can certainly be no matter of vital importance, else it would have been revealed to us. It is enough for us to know that the Savior was born in the fullness of time, just when He was most needed, and when the Jewish and Gentile world was fully prepared for this central fact and turning point in history. For internal reasons the 25th of December, when the longest night gives way to the returning sun on his triumphant march, is eminently suited as the birthday of Him who appeared in the darkest night of sin and error as the true Light of the world. But it may have been instinctively selected for this poetic and symbolical fitness rather than on historic grounds.” (Lange’s Comm.)

XIV. Sanctification in Puritan Theology

A. The idea of sanctification

1. Sanctification is rooted in the essence of God

2. Sanctification involves both status and condition

3. Sanctification is work of renewal that is comprehensive and moral

4. Sanctification must be expressed in repentance and righteousness

B. The agent of sanctification

1. The Triune, covenant God

2. The special domain of the Holy Spirit

C. The object of sanctification

1. The believer as a human individual

2. The believer as fallen and disordered

3. The believer as redeemed and justified

D. The activity of sanctification

1. Mortification

2. Vivification

E. The measure of sanctification

1. The third use of the law

2. The Christian’s relationships

F. The method of sanctification

1. From God’s side

a. The Word and the Spirit

b. The intercession of Christ

2. From man’s side

a. Faith and repentance

b. Using the means of grace

i. Private disciplines

aa. Read, search, and sing the Scriptures

bb. Meditate on the Scriptures

cc. Pray and work

dd. Reading sound literature

ee. Listening to sermons

ff. Journaling (diary-keeping)

ii. Family disciplines

aa. Family worship

bb. Family fellowship

cc. Family hospitality/evangelism

iii. Corporate disciplines

aa. Diligently use the preached Word

bb. Diligently use the sacraments

cc. Seek fellowship in the church

dd. Sanctify the Lord’s Day

iv. Neighborly disciplines

aa. Evangelize and serve others

bb. Flee worldliness

cc. Exercise stewardship

v. Conclusion: Develop formula for godly living

G. The benefits of and motives for sanctification

1. Helps us to glorify God and for our good

2. Increases our personal assurance of election and of faith

3. Assists in heightening our standard of behavior

4. Improves our graces

5. Provides stability in hours of temptation

6. Promotes an understanding of the brevity of life

7. Makes us resemble God and preserves our integrity

8. Undergirds our effective service for God

9. Fits us for heaven

H. The joys of sanctification

1. The supreme joy: fellowship with God

2. The ongoing joy: abiding assurance

3. The anticipated joy: Eternal, gracious reward

I. Concluding advice

1. Let us seek the twin graces of self-examination and watchfulness

2. Let us seek to be godly men of balance in every sphere of our lives

3. Let us seek to be motivated by a childlike fear of God

4. Let us seek to mortify pride and cultivate humility

5. Let us seek to extol Christ

6. Let us seek to end in Christ with all our afflictions and discouragement

7. Let us seek to persevere pursuing sanctified hearts from Christ’s strength

 

 

VIII. The Puritans on the Covenant of Works           video   |   audio

A. Introduction

B. Defining covenant

C. God’s image and the moral law

D. Created in or for a covenant?

E. The probationary command

F. Creation dues

1. Adam’s faith

2. Adam’s reward

G. Grace and merit

H. The fall

I. Adam’s federal headship

J. Conclusion