Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Book of Daniel Taught from a Reformed Dispensational Premillennial Perspective

Posted by Christine Pack

Many Christians hesitate to approach the subject of eschatology, for various reasons. Some have grown up in churches that "majored" on prophecy/apocalyptic passages, to the detriment of other passages. And after years of sitting through prophecy conferences that terrified the wits out of them, in which prophecy teachers held them captive to frenzied sessions involving massive charts, and maps and pointers, they had had enough. Other Christians have been told dogmatically that they *must* accept a certain end times view, if they hold to certain other views. For instance, when I was theologically working through the Reformed view, which is eventually where I landed, I was told very emphatically by some of my Reformed friends that *if* I were Reformed, then I had to hold to an Amillennial* eschatology, as if it were some kind of package deal. And yet, I didn't. I was Reformed, but I wasn't Amillennial. And neither are John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Steve Lawson, Dan Phillips, Bob DeWaay and other pastors of note, none of whom can be dismissed as being unbalanced in their approach to scripture. And finally, some Christians shy away from end-times passages as being simply too confusing to understand. As one pastor friend, who self identifies as a "Panmillennialist," said to me, "After all, it all 'pans' out in the end, right?"

*Note that Amillennialists are Christians who reject the idea of Christ having a literal, thousand year reign upon the earth, and allegorize such passages to mean "a long time" as opposed to a thousand years. Amillennialists also believe that most of the prophetic passages having to do with the Antichrist were fulfilled by the year 70 A.D., at the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans. The Roman emperor Nero is believed to have been the Antichrist.

But I'm out of the closet now, I suppose, as both Reformed and Dispensational. And since landing on this peculiar position of Reformed Dispensational Premillennialism (after lots and lots of Bible study, discussion, prayer and thought), I have wanted to study the book of Daniel under a solid, balanced teacher from the Reformed Premill perspective. I found it at my mother's church, Faith Community Church in Woodstock, GA. Teaching elder David Kemp is working his way through the book of Daniel from the Reformed Dispensational position. No overwrought sessions with charts and pointers: just a calm, measured, biblical walk through Daniel with a consistent, grammatical-historical hermeneutic. In fact, with David's background in engineering, visuals for the class have been kept to a bare bones minimum.

 More About Faith Community Church and the Expositor's Seminary 

The church where David Kemp is an elder, Faith Community Church, is located in a northwest suburb of Atlanta, GA. Faith Community Church is also where the Georgia campus of the Expositors Seminary is located. Expositors is an extension of The Masters Seminary (TMS), which is located in Sun Valley, CA, and where John MacArthur serves as the seminary's president. The founders of Masters Seminary, having come to the realization that there was a strong need for expository Bible teaching in the greater Christian community, put in motion the steps that eventually led to multiple campus locations in the U.S. where young men can be solidly training in expository Bible teaching. There is also an "alumni tracker" link on the main TMS website, whereby Christians all over the world can type in their locations, and find out if there are any TMS alumni in their area. You can access the TMS alumni tracker here.

Besides the campus in Woodstock, GA, Expositors Seminary campuses are also located in:
Houston, TX 
Huntsville, AL 
Jacksonville, FL 
Jupiter, FL 
Kansas City, KS 
Lynchburg, VA
You can read about Expositors' history here. Because of Faith Community Church's strong affiliation with Masters Seminary as well as their on-site seminary, the media archives at Faith are just loaded with many years' worth of excellent, expository teaching. I highly recommend Faith Community Church as a resource for anyone looking for a solid resource for expository Bible teaching.

 The Book of Daniel 

While teaching through the book of Daniel, Faith elder David Kemp has pointed out a number of times that Christians can, and will, differ on non-essential issues (the primary ones that come to mind being mode of baptism and eschatology). However, he also points out that Christians should study these areas and be able to explain why they hold the views they do, and should also be able to explain, from the scriptures, why they hold their position (graciously of course). He also has emphasized that all scripture (even apocalyptic passages) is given for the purpose of steadying our walks and edifying us. End times views can, understandably, be tricky to navigate, given that these passages are sometimes not as straightforward, as other areas of scripture (for instance, the doctrinal epistles or historical passages). And lest we forget, apocalyptic passages deal with events that have to do with the complete and utter destruction of this world, and God's coming judgement. Sobering stuff. Nonetheless, we know that ALL Scripture is God-breathed, and thus profitable for understanding and for training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16-17). This means that the purpose of scripture is to edify, to encourage, to train, to build up: in short, scripture is given to strengthen our walks, not in order to confuse us, discourage us or frighten us. In fact, the book of Revelation, which is also an apocalyptic book (and which should be studied in tandem with Daniel), is the only book in the entire Bible that promises blessing to those who study it. So yes, apocalyptic Bible passages are about the complete destruction of the world as we know it. But in the end, God will have accomplished all of his sovereign, redemptive purposes. Justice will be meted out. God himself will wipe the tears from our eyes. And God will rule and reign in glory forever and ever with his people on a New Earth, where there will no longer be any sin or death or sadness or crying or pain (Rev 21:4). How glorious is that?

If you would also like to listen to the series, which I will be updating until the series is completed, you may access them below in the order they were given. Be blessed.

Week #1 - Introduction to Daniel, Pt 1
Week #2 - Introduction to Daniel, Pt 2
Week #3 - Daniel's Determination to Obey God (Daniel 1:1-16)
Week #4 - Nebuchednezzar's Dream (Daniel 1:17-2:12)
Week #5 - God Shows Daniel Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (Daniel 2:13-23)
Week #6 - Daniel Tells Nebuchadnezzar His Dream (Daniel 2:24-35)
Week #7 - Daniel Begins to Interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream (Daniel 2:36-43)
Week #8 - Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, Pt. 2 (Daniel 2:44)
Week #9 - Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar's Dream, Pt. 3 (Daniel 2:44-45)
Week #10 - Results of Daniel Interpreting the Dream (Daniel 2:46-3:6)
Week #11 - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Trouble with Neb (Daniel 3:6-18)
Week #12 - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego Protected (Daniel 3:19-30)
Week #13 - The Liberal's view of Daniel (Daniel 4:1-2)
Week #14 - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of a Great Tree (Daniel 4:3-18)
Week #15 - Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar's 2nd Dream (Daniel 4:19-27)
Week #16 - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream is Fulfilled (Daniel 4:28-37)
Week #17 - The Writing on the Wall (Daniel 5:1-12)
Week #18 - Daniel interprets the Writing on the Wall (Daniel 5:13-30)
Week #19 - Identifying Darius the Mede (Daniel 5:31)
Week #20 - The Commissioners and Officials Lay A Trap for Daniel (Daniel 6:1-11)
Week #21 - Daniel In the Lion's Den (Daniel 6:12-28)
Week #22 - Daniel's First Vision, Pt 1 (Daniel 7:1-5)
Week #23 - Daniel's First Vision, Pt 2 (Daniel 7:6-8)
Week #24 - Daniel's First Vision, Pt 3 (Daniel 7:9-10)
Week #25 - Daniel's First Vision, Pt 4 (Daniel 7:11-14)
Week #26 - A Brief Review of Daniel Chapters 1-7
Week #27 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 1 (Daniel 7:15-20)
Week #28 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 2 (Daniel 7:21-23)
Week #29 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 3 (Daniel 7:24-25)
Week #30 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 4 (Daniel 7:25)
Week #31 - The Interpretation of Daniel's Vision, Pt 5 (Daniel 7:26-28)
Week #32 - Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 1 (Daniel 8:1-10)
Week #33 - Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 2 (Daniel 8:11-12)
Week #34 - Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 3 (Daniel 8.13-14)
Week #35 - Gabriel's Explanation of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 1 (Daniel 8:15-22)
Week #36 - Gabriel's Explanation of the Ram and the Goat, Pt 2 (Daniel 8:23-27)
Week #37 - Daniel's Prayer of Repentance, Pt 1 (Daniel 9:1-3)
Week #38 - Daniel's Prayer of Repentance, Pt 2 (Daniel 9:4-11)
Week #39 - Daniel's Prayer of Repentance, Pt 3 (Daniel 9:12-19)
Week #40 - Lesson not recorded (Daniel 9:20-23)
Week #41 - 70 Weeks Have Been Decreed (Daniel 9:24)
Week #42 - Six Future Results of the 70 Weeks (Daniel 9:24)
Week #43 - From a Decree To A Messiah, Pt 1 (Daniel 9:25)
Week #44 - From a Decree To A Messiah, Pt 2 (Daniel 9:25)
Week #45 - From a Decree To A Messiah, Pt 3 (Daniel 9:25)
Week #46 - After 69 Weeks (Daniel 9:26)
Week #47 - The People of the Prince Who Is To Come, Pt 1 (Daniel 9:26)
Week #48 - The People of the Prince Who Is To Come, Pt 2 (Daniel 9:26)
Week #49 - Daniel's 70th Week, Pt 1 (Daniel 9:27)
Week #50 - Daniel's 70th Week, Pt 2 (Daniel 9:27)
Week #51 - The Circumstances of Daniel's Fourth Vision (Daniel 10:1-9)
Week #52 - The Angel is Delayed in Coming to Daniel (Daniel 10:10-13)
Week #53 - Daniel Strengthened by the Angel, Gains Understanding (Daniel 10:14-21)
Week #54 - From Cyrus to Alexander the Great (Daniel 11:1-4)
Week #55 - From Seleucus I/Ptolemy I to Antiochus II/Ptolemy II (Daniel 11:5-6)
Week #56 - From Ptolemy II and Seleucus II thru Ptolemy V and Antiochus III (Daniel 11:7-10)
Week #57 - Antiochus IV from Inauguration thru Rome Stopping Him in Egypt (Daniel 11:11-30)
Week #58 -  Antiochus IV Desecrates the Temple in Jerusalem (Daniel 11:30-35)
Week #59 -  Fast Forward to the End Time (Daniel 11:35-37)
Week #60 - The King and His Military (Daniel 11:38-39)
Week #61 - The King Continues in War but Ultimately Comes to His End (Daniel 11:40-45)
Week #62 - Michael in the Time of Distress Followed by Resurrection (Daniel 12:1-2)
Week #63 - Resurrections From the Dead (Daniel 12:2)
Week #64 - Conceal the Words and Seal the Book (Daniel 12:3-6)
Week #65 - Time, Times, and Half a Times (Daniel 12:7)
Week #66 - Final Words To Daniel (Daniel 12:8-13)


Faith Community Church (Woodstock, GA)

Expositor's Seminary (Woodstock, GA)

The Master's Seminary (Sun Valley, CA)

The Master's Seminary - Online Resources

Masters Alumni Tracker

Israel Exists Purely By The Supernatural Hand of God

25 Wrong Reasons For Dissing Dispensationalism (Dan Phillips)

What Dispensationalists Believe (Fred Butler)


Why Every Calvinist Should Be A Premillennialist (John MacArthur)

Eschatology: Certain or Uncertain? (Bob DeWaay)

Faith Community Church - Media

Grace To You (Sun Valley, CA) - Audio and Video

Masters Seminary Lectures

Pastoring 101

photo credit: wolf4max via photopin cc
Here's what should happen when seminary students show up for their first day of class: they are handed two live sheep. The professor then tells them this: Your assignment is to look after these sheep for the next semester. You are to feed them, care for them, tend them, comb their fur, and protect them from wolves. If at the end of the semester you return both of these sheep to me, alive and in good condition (i.e, they are not frightened, malnourished, missing any limbs or half drowned because you left them alone and they fell into the river), then next semester you will have earned the right to graduate to the next step: learning how to minister to actual people.
1 Timothy 3:1-13 - Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons 
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.  
In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.  
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.  
A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Titus 1:5-10 - Qualifications for Elders 
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.



What Is Spiritual Abuse? (Got Questions?)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Israel Exists Purely By The Supernatural Hand of God

Posted by Christine Pack

I am not xenophobic or racist. But when I know that the kind of hatred evidenced by the video posted below exists in the world, I cannot help but be disturbed by it. Christians, as a whole, and taking into consideration how their biblical worldview shapes their thoughts, do not make videos like this, demanding and celebrating the death of those outside their faith. (And incidentally, neither do Jews, Taoists, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians, Unitarians, Mormons, etc., etc., etc.) Islamic hatred is in a category all its own.
Oh martyrdom seeker,
Make them cry,
Make the fire engulf them.
Turn them into body parts, roast them,
Bringing joy to the hearts of the steadfast people. 
Oh martyrdom seeker,
It is our duty to defend our people.
You are the voice of honor within us.
With your explosive belt,
We will defend our free women. 
We want the dead to fill the streets,
And the blood to intensify the pain.
Make the Zionist withdraw
From the wrath of my avenging people.  
Oh bearer of good tidings,
Wrap the explosive belt around your waist.
The story of the Intifada will only be told
When the roof of a bus goes flying.  
Oh bearer of good tidings,
Wrap the explosive belt around your waist.
The story of the Intifada will only be told
When the roof of a bus goes flying. 
(Video courtesy The Israel Project)

 Israel Preserved By God 

Islam's most hated enemy, Israel, exists purely by the hand of God. Do you doubt this? Then consider this fact: since the beginning of recorded history, people groups whose homelands have been destroyed, and whose survivors have been disseminated into other nations, have ceased to exist within three generations. In 70 A.D., almost two thousand years ago, Israel's homeland was destroyed and her people were dispersed throughout the world. It wasn't until 1948, three years after the end of World War II, with pro-Israel sentiment at an all-time high in the world because of the atrocities committed against Israel at the hands of Hitler, that Israel's homeland was re-established through a United Nations resolution. And yet, between 70 A.D. and 1948 (again, almost two thousand years), Israel continued to exist, with her cultural heritage, beliefs and language still intact. This is an undisputed truth, and a truth that undergirds my Reformed Dispensational view (a view held by only a tiny sliver of Christians within the Christian community). God is not finished with Israel, and from a plain reading of scripture, I do not see the Church replacing national Israel.

Israel will continue to exist, as evidence of God's great kindness toward sinners. One day, God will open the eyes of the Jews, and will cause them to understand that Jesus Christ was their Messiah.
"And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son." (Zechariah 12:10)
As John MacArthur teaches in his series on being a Reformed Dispensational (Why Every Calvinist Should Be Premillennial), Reformed Christians, more than any other, should surely understand the sovereign hand of God in terms of salvation. Yes, Israel rejected their Messiah. But do we not all know lost loved ones who have rejected their Messiah? Are we not told to continue to pray for them? Never does God say to stop praying for anyone. It is never for us to decide who God can and cannot save. And...... Romans 11, where the Apostle Paul draws a clear distinction between the church and historic Israel ("I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew......" Romans 11:1)
I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. 
What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; just as it is written, 
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
Down to this very day.” 
And David says, 
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.
“Let their eyes be darkened to see not,
And bend their backs forever.” 
I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. 
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? 
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, 
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
“This is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.” 
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. 
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

 Additional Resources 

 Why Every Calvinist Should Be Premillennial (John MacArthur, Grace To You)

The Book of Daniel Taught from a Reformed Dispensational Premillennial Perspective (Faith Community Church, Woodstock GA)