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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources

 

Living in Light of Two Ages

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Sunday
Oct222017

This Week's White Horse Inn

Christianity and Evangelicalism

Though evangelicals and liberals are often at each other’s throats in the culture wars, this division is best understood as a kind of sibling rivalry. Whereas liberals focus on creating our best society now, evangelicals focus on having your best life now. But either way, the focus is on us, here and now, rather than on God and his story of redemption which culminated in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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Thursday
Oct192017

Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- Basic Cateogies (Part One)

Here's the audio from Wednesday's lecture:  "The Basic Categories -- World Views"  Click Here

Wednesday
Oct182017

"To the Lord Our God Belong Mercy and Forgiveness" -- Daniel 9:1-17

The Sixteenth in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Daniel

The ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel contains one of the most debated and difficult passages in all the Bible–the famous vision of the seventy weeks found in verses 24-27.  This vision, given to Daniel through the Angel Gabriel, is often taken to be a prophetic revelation focusing exclusively on the end times.  While the vision does extend to the time of the end, the focus is explaining how is it–if, as Israel’s prophets have foretold, the seventy years of exile in Babylon are about to come to an end–that God will extend this time of exile for seventy more weeks.  The news of an extension of Israel’s exile (a form of covenant curse) takes a surprising turn, as Gabriel now reveals to Daniel.  As promised, God’s people will return to Jerusalem and rebuild both the city and the temple.  How then can the people still be said to be in exile?  In Daniel 9, the root cause of this extended time of exile is revealed to be human sinfulness.  Because God is holy, human sin must be dealt with once and for all before the time of exile finally and ultimately comes to an end.  As Gabriel now reveals to Daniel, this is the work of the coming Messiah, who will truly restore Jerusalem, the temple, and the sacrifices, but will also put an end to sin, atone for wickedness and bring in an everlasting righteousness.  Although many take the prophecy of the seventy weeks to predict specific events at the time of the end, rather, Daniel 9 is better understood as one of the most important messianic prophecies in all the Bible.  It foretells of a coming Messiah, who will overcome all his enemies and ours, and who will once and for all put an end to the guilt and the power of human sin.  It is this covenant-making Messiah–not a future Antichrist–who is the key figure of the seventy weeks.

If such an understanding of Daniel 9 is correct, why do so many believe the passage to be a map to the end times?  The very nature of this passage–with its mysterious numbers of weeks, the important themes it addresses, and the historical and doctrinal questions it raises–has provided fertile soil for all kinds of bizarre interpretations and problematic doctrines.  What are the “weeks” and how long do they last?  When do the seventy-weeks begin and when do they end?  How do we calculate such things?  Because of such factors this is admittedly a difficult passage to interpret.  Much of the difficulty goes away, however, if we interpret the passage in the light of Daniel’s previous visions (especially those in chapters 2 and 7), and in light of Israel’s own history and covenantal dealings with YHWH.                  

For some of us, it will be hard to unlearn what we’ve been taught as orthodoxy.  Many of us are very well familiar with widely-held view in American evangelicalism that this passage teaches us to expect a future seven-year tribulation period and an end-times Antichrist, who makes a peace treaty with Israel before suddenly turning on God’s people, setting the stage for the final battle of Armageddon.  Sadly, this interpretation is based upon a serious misreading and misunderstanding of Gabriel’s message relayed through Daniel the prophet.  As I hope will become clear, this amazing prophecy is best interpreted in light of Daniel’s prayer (the first 19 verses of the chapter, our text this morning) as well as in the light of the two previous visionary dreams; Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a metallic statue Daniel 2, and Daniel’s vision of four mysterious beasts (chapter 7).  Both of these visions foretell of the rise of four great empires (Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome), and, as we will see, these visions define the time and the nature of the seventy sevens of exile decreed for God’s people, now revealed by Gabriel to Daniel.Once we realize that Gabriel is not speaking exclusively of events at the end of time–although the vision of the seventy weeks does extend to the end times, even to eternity–it quickly becomes clear that Gabriel’s revelation to Daniel is best understood as a messianic prophecy which predicts a glorious messianic age yet to come, an age which centers around the coming Messiah (especially his person and his work), who is also the same figure who was lead into the presence of the Ancient of Days in the vision recounted in Daniel 7.  In effect, the prophecy is given in response to Daniel’s prayer of repentance which opens the chapter and which will serve as our text.  The ninth chapter of Daniel is unique in that it opens with Daniel taking the initiative in offering a heart-felt prayer of repentance to YHWH on behalf of Israel (vv. 1-19).  This prayer, in turn, leads to one of the most important prophetic revelations in all the Bible (certainly in all the Old Testament)–a vision of “seventy weeks” decreed for the people of God (vv. 20-27).

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Monday
Oct162017

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (October 16-22)

Sunday Morning, October 22:  We continue our study of the Book of Amos (as part of our series on the Minor prophets).  This Lord's Day we will address the oracles of warning and doom in Amos 3-4.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Note:  Our on-going new member's class meets at 9:00 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We take up Lord's Day 41 (Q & A 108-109) in our on-going study of the Heidelberg Catechism.  We will consider the seventh commandment and Christian Chastity.  Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (October 18 @ 7:30 p.m.):  We are continuing our series, "Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age."  This week's lecture is "Basic World Views."

The Academy (Friday October 20 @ 7:30 p.m.):   We resume our lecture/discussion series based upon Allen Guelzo's Teaching Company Course, The American Mind.  Our topic this week, "Romanticism." 

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Church), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).

**  In light of our upcoming 22nd anniversary as a church, the picture is of our original location in Placentia 

Sunday
Oct152017

"Transgressions of Israel" -- Amos 1:3-2:16

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon, the second in our series on the Minor Prophets from the Book of Amos.   Click Here

Sunday
Oct152017

This Week's White Horse Inn

Christianity and Liberalism

On this program, the hosts continue their discussion begun last week on the influence of the Radical Reformation. How did the theology of the Anabaptist and Pietist movements end up influencing so many forms of Protestantism, both here in America and around the world? And more specifically, how did these views shape the founders of the Enlightenment and help create what we know today as Protestant Liberalism?

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Saturday
Oct142017

Dr. Irons on "The Righteousness of God and the New Perspective on Paul"

Here's the audio from Dr. Charles Lee Irons Author's Forum Lecture on his book/dissertation, The Righteousness of God:  A Lexical Examination of the Covenant-Faithfulness Interpretation.

The Righteousness of God

 

Thursday
Oct122017

Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) Introduction -- Part 4

Here's the audio from Wednesday's lecture -- "Introduction to Apologetics -- The Proclamation-Defense Model" (Part 4)

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Wednesday
Oct112017

"A Little Horn" -- Daniel 8:1-27

The Fifteenth in a Series of Sermons on the Book of Daniel

Who is Antiochus IV Epiphanes and why should we care?  If we were Jews we would know the answer to this question immediately–Antiochus Epiphanes and the Macabbean Wars are the historical background of the Jewish holiday “Hanukkah” (which means “dedication,” or more specifically, “re-dedication”).  The reason why we as Christians should care about Antiochus is because the prophet Daniel had a vision (a second, which is recounted in chapter 8), this time of a ram and a goat.  But the “little horn” also reappears and his role is central in this vision, pointing us ahead to a future Antichrist.  In this visionary dream, YHWH gives Daniel a prediction of yet another terrible time for the people of God then exiled in Babylon.  This vision informs them that at some point before the dawn of the messianic age, yet after the exiles have indeed returned from Babylon to Judah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and YHWH’s temple, the rebuilt temple will be desecrated by a “Little Horn,” who, in this vision, is none other than Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  The temple will be cleansed and the altar rebuilt by Judas Maccabaeus, the famed Jewish rebel leader who recaptured Jerusalem from Antiochus’ forces and then restored the temple.  This event, celebrated by Jews ever since (“Hanukkuh”), was foretold with uncanny accuracy by Daniel, and recounted for us in the 27 verses of the eighth chapter of the Book of Daniel.

This vision is important to us for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the accuracy of Daniel’s prediction of yet another terrible desecration of YHWH’s temple in Jerusalem.  This desolation will occur long after the Jewish exiles then held in Babylon (at the time Daniel is given this vision), have, in the future, returned to Judah and are once again established in the land of promise.  Daniel’s vision predicts the coming of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (some 350 years yet future to Daniel), but it also depicts him as a type (or a foreshadowing) of series of antichrist figures yet to come.  As we saw in the vision recorded in Daniel 7, this series of antichrists includes the self-deifying emperors of Rome (the “Little Horn” of the fourth beast of the visions in Daniel 2 and 7), and which culminates in a final end times Antichrist foretold by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2, our New Testament lesson.  

As I have mentioned throughout our time in Daniel, critical scholars will simply not accept miraculous predictive prophecy, so they argue, a unnamed Jew living in Judah, writing as the “prophet” Daniel composed this book and at some point shortly after the Maccabean Wars (after 167 BC), because, critical scholars say, Daniel’s prophecy is far too accurate to have been given three and a half centuries prior to the events foretold.  Yet Jesus, John, and Paul see Daniel’s visions as predictive prophecy with Jesus applying to himself the title “Son of Man” in the Olivet Discourse, John seeing Daniel’s fourth beast and its “Little Horn” as the Roman empire (Nero in particular), while Paul sees the “Little Horn” as a foreshadowing of an end-times Antichrist (the “man of sin”) and a final apostasy.    

In order to fully appreciate the significance of Daniel’s vision in chapter 8, we begin with the historical events which Daniel predicted, before we take up the details of the prophecy.  We do this to better understand the accuracy of the events foretold in Daniel’s vision.  We begin with a brief history of Jewish temple from Daniel’s time until the days of the Maccabees.  Then we will consider the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the Maccabean wars of 168-160 BC, before turning to Daniel’s vision (vv. 1-27 of chapter 8), which, as we will see, predicts these events in remarkable detail and accuracy.

As for the Jerusalem temple, as we saw throughout our study of Ezra-Nehemiah, the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC.  Many of the Jewish inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem were taken into exile in Babylon.  Daniel had been take captive in 605 BC, so he was present when these exiles arrived in Babylon.  No doubt, he heard first hand accounts of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.  Daniel also knew the prophecy of Jeremiah (specifically Jer. 25:11-12) in which the prophet foretold that the Jews would remain in exile in Babylon for 70 years.  We have seen in the first half of Daniel’s prophecy (chapters 1-6), that Daniel lived until the Jews were released to return home by Cyrus (Darius the Mede) in 538 BC.  We also know from Ezra and Nehemiah that work on rebuilding the temple begun under Zerubbabel and was finally completed in 516 BC–the so-called “second” temple.  During the days of Nehemiah, Jerusalem’s walls were rebuilt and dedicated to YHWH in 444 BC.

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here

Monday
Oct092017

This Week at Christ Reformed Church (October 9-15)

Sunday Morning, October 15:  We will continue our study of the Book of Amos.  We will be discussing the "transgressions of Israel," as revealed by the prophet (Amos 1:3-2:16).  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Note:  Our on-going new member's class meets at 9:00 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  We are working our way through the "gratitude section" of the Heidelberg Catechism.  We will address Lord's Day 40 and questions 105-107, and the prohibition against murder. Our catechism service begins @ 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday Night Bible Study (October 11 @ 7:30 p.m.):  We will continue with our series, "Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age."  This week's lecture is "The Proclamation -- Defense" model of apologetics.

Author's Forum (Friday October 13 @ 7:30 p.m.):   Our special guest author will be Dr. Charles Lee Irons.  Dr. Irons will be introducing us to his book, The Righteousness of God: A Lexical Examination of the Covenant-Faithfulness Interpretation, which is a critigue of the "New Perspective" on Paul.

Dr. Irons is a ruling elder at New Life Burbank (PCA). As an undergraduate he studied classical Greek at UCLA. He subsequently earned degrees at Westminster Seminary California (M.Div.) and Fuller Theological Seminary (Ph.D.). He is an adjunct professor at California Graduate School of Theology in Garden Grove. He has published numerous books and academic articles on the New Testament, especially Greek and Pauline theology. He maintains a website of theological writings at www.upper-register.com.

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here (Christ Reformed Info), or on Facebook (Christ Reformed on Facebook).