Category Archives: Eschatology

There is a Day by Phatfish

My wife posted about this song today. Please watch the video (link below) and be encouraged as you look to the day that all things will be made new and death will be defeated and sin will be no more!

Maranatha! Maranatha!

The New Heaven and the New Earth

Rev. 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (ESV)

My wife said:

I came across this video on this blog and thought I would share it. What hope we have in Christ! The song is “There is a day” by the UK band Phatfish.

Is Sarah Palin sinning b/c she’s running for VP?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Please leave your comments below.

But for starters, watch this ABC video broadcast where reporters came to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky and interviewed students about their views on Palin as VP and women in the pastorate.

I personally do not believe that there is a problem with Sarah Palin running for VP. There’s a fundamental difference between the role of government and the role of the church. The government, as it exists today, is a function of the old creation order of sin and judgment on sin (Romans 13). The church is the government of the new creation order, which consists of life, redemption, and renewal (Romans 8). As we participate in these two spheres which exist in the overlap of the ages (the already and not yet), we must remember that they are distinct from one another and never to be confused. In the new creation, or regeneration, God is calling His people, the church, to once again fulfill the created order and the rolls for man and woman in the worship and glory of God. Given this reality, the church has a higher calling to be a witness in the world to the way Christ and his bride, the church, function together in union and communion. Simply put, the government is not the church and the church is not the government.

What are you thoughts? Leave them below in the comments section.

Building Demolition and it’s Theological Imagery

As a full time Structural Engineer, I get to design buildings every day. But given this demolition video of an existing building in Japan, I cannot help but post about this awesome new technique! 🙂

Theological Analysis:

God is de-constructing the old, sinful world through the preaching of the Gospel and the redemption of all the nations, by means of His Church empowered by His Spirit. The only insufficiency of the video is that demolition is not all that is occurring. God is building a new world in Jesus Christ and all who take part in this new world, here and now, will one day inherit a consummated new world where Heaven and Earth are finally one (seen in Revelations 21 when Heaven (the new city Jerusalem) comes down to the Earth causing John to say, in verse 1, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” ESV). So, this type of demolition (in the video above) helps us to see the slow and progressive work of God in de-constructing the old world through the preaching of the Gospel and the work of His Church. The Church, empowered by God’s Spirit, is like the construction company doing the demo work in the video, gradually and surely taking out all the foundations and supports of the old world in anticipation of the new world that Jesus is preparing for all who love Him and trust Him! That is why Paul said, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (ESV, 2 Cor. 10:3-5)


The Doctrine of Glorification

My former Hebrew professor’s teaching assistant has posted a good sermon online at Sermon Exchange on the topic of Glorification and the various passages of Scripture that expound upon it. I encourage everyone to read it and be encouraged! Below is an excerpt…


Glorification – Various Texts

by Ike Huges

House, MASH, St. Elsewhere, ER, Doogie Houser, General Hospital, Scrubs, Trapper John, MD, Dr. Kildare, Becker, Ben Casey, Chicago Hope, Gray’s Anatomy, Medical Investigations, Grosse Anatomy. What do all of these have common?

These are all shows about doctors. Some are dramas. Some are comedies. Some are soap operas, or stories as my grandmother used to call them. When you have shows about doctors, what else do you have?

Sick people.

Hollywood has made a very lucrative industry out of shows about sick people.

Then there are books. I went into our bookcase, well one of our book cases, to look for a medical dictionary so that I could regale you with big medical terms and I looked at some of the books that Michelle kept from her time in nursing school and I about fell over.

She has a stack of 4 or 5 books that equal close to an entire semester’s worth of reading for me. And those were a small token of what she had to buy and read during nursing school. I’m sure that Becky and Celia have similar books in their libraries.

Then there are friends of mine who are doctors. I checked out a website that told me it could take up to nine years to become a doctor.

9 years of your life in school and as an intern and as a resident. If you want to specialize in a certain field, it would take another 3 years of study.

Nurses and Doctors spend a great amount of time and effort to gain the information that they have to take care of …sick people.

There are health programs and diet programs and all sorts of programs where you, in the comfort of your own home, can help to prevent some of the illnesses that we deal with in life.

We as a nation invest thousands of dollars into research to prevent many of the illnesses. We take medicines; we exercise; we use anti-bacterial soap all in a effort to keep ourselves from getting sick.

America has made a huge, expensive industry out of health care.

But this fixation on health comes from a deeper drive. This drive to keep from getting sick is pushed on by our drive to stay alive. In many of the shows that I listed above, the people get better.

Usually someone only dies on a show when the actor is ready to move on. And then we know that they will show up on another show or in a movie at some point.

But it’s not the same with you and me. We know that many of the sicknesses that we face end in death. Cancer; Leukemia; Lou Gehrig’s disease; Muscular Dystrophy; Cerebral Palsy, just to name a few.

Funeral homes today are nationwide chains. I worked for a very short period of time with one of the chains that owned 6 funeral homes in Tampa and many more around the country. And I never set foot in a funeral home. I worked in a sales office selling arrangements. My job was to sell you your arrangements prior to your death.

Death is a huge industry in our lives.

No matter where we look, no matter what we do, no matter where we go, sickness and pain and suffering and death are all around us. Some of us today are sick; some of us today are in pain; some of us today are suffering.

Today we are going to look at what hope the Christian can take in the midst of all this pain and sickness suffering and death. We are going to look at a concept called Glorification and what it means for the Christian in light of the fact that we are surrounded by pain, suffering, sickness and death.

(continue reading…)

Bishop bucks views of heaven: NT Wright Interview at

N.T. Wright’s recent visit to Nashville, TN, included an interview with the Tennessean. It includes some very interesting comments regarding hell and the final state of those who reject God’s Glory and Gospel. While I do not share his views on hell in full, I would say that his heart to see the world renewed is a blessed hope and central teaching of the Bible that we should all think about regularly and share with our family and friends. Below I have reproduced the article found here:


Bishop bucks views of heaven

Long-held notions not biblical, he says

Staff Writer

Heaven is not retirement on steroids, where people sit around doing whatever they like, with nothing but time on their hands.

Instead it’s more like going on vacation. You rest, relax, stop and smell the roses, and then get back to work. At least, that’s what the Bible says.

“The book of Revelation talks about God making us kings and priests,” said N.T. Wright, bishop of Durham, England, and author of Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. “It isn’t just salvation and now you can sit back and relax. It’s that we are saved to be God’s agents and stewards in this new creation.”

Wright who was in Nashville on Tuesday speaking at West End United Methodist Church, believes the notion of going to heaven after death isn’t found in the Bible. Instead, he says, God brings heaven to earth.

“It’s like this world with all the beauty and the grandeur and the power,” he said, “but unfettered by death and decay.”

The Church of England bishop says that he isn’t trying to come up with a new or inventive view of heaven and resurrection. Instead, he is trying to point people to the Bible.

“The odd thing is that I don’t think I am saying anything remotely unorthodox,” he said. “I am trying to give people back some bits of the Bible they have forgotten about … Resurrection may be crazy, but it is what Christians are supposed to believe.”

That’s a notion that appeals to Scotty Smith, founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin. Smith is currently preaching a series on heaven based on the book of Revelation.

He says that evangelical Christians, in particular, have replaced a biblical view of heaven with a romanticized view.

“It (heaven) is going to look a little more like this world than a place filled with cherubs sitting around and singing Bill Gaither songs,” Smith said. “The story the Bible tells is one of redemption, not replacement.”

Resurrection is the focus

Wright, appointed bishop of Durham, a diocese south of Scotland, in 2003, says the Bible and the Christian creeds speak more about resurrection than about going to heaven.

“Without resurrection you are left with a theology which says that the present world of space, time and matter is just junk, and God is going to throw it in the trash,” he said. “If you say this world is basically junk and trash, you can exploit it, you can exploit people. You can abuse the world, and you can abuse people and it really doesn’t matter.”

This focus on resurrection and not just getting to heaven also appeals to Gavin Richardson, director of youth ministries at Faith United Methodist Church in Hendersonville.

“It’s not just ‘get Jesus and you are good to go’,” he said.

In all his talk of heaven, Wright still believes in the reality of hell. He says that, in the end, people are free to choose to be separated from God.

“The Bible doesn’t talk about heaven and hell side by side. The Bible talks about God bringing all things on heaven and earth together. Heaven and earth will be joined. That is the great renewal and God’s victory over evil and suffering and death,” he said. “At the same time, the Bible talks about the certainty of final loss for those who choose not to worship the God in whose image they were made. And it seems to me that the New Testament doesn’t leave us with the option of saying all will be saved. I often wish it did, but it doesn’t.”

American Idol Loves You and Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life

—–Last nights American Idol was almost as surprising as the night before. They started the show by singing “Shout to the Lord”, but this time they did not take Jesus’ name out. All the time I was thinking, “Does this mean I jumped the gun?” (I already had one person tell me I was crazy about my analysis of the previous night.) I do not think I did, but some of my comments deserve some clarification.

—–But first, what is the significance of Jesus making the cut last night. I think it reveals that a whole heap load of Christians watch American Idol. Fox thought, “Christians like God. We can get there money by invoking Him?” Last night was probably a product of the Evangelical Hate Mail and Boycott Ministry. You know, the EHMBM. You gave an offering to them last Groundhogs day. They are the wing of the church that keeps the Teletubbies in jail and the Dixie Chicks off the radio.
—–Depending on when the second show was taped, either everyone started writing emails, a focus group responded negatively, or someone told Fox that the EHMBM would be on their tale. Not wanting to loose all those fat Evangelical bucks, the show complied, in a very surprising way. The encouraging things is that Christians are not so easily duped, although there were certainly a few who thought Wednesday was a sure sign that Ryan Seacrest had asked Jesus to come into his heart.

—–Back to my previous comments. Yesterday I said, “It was super cheesy, super cocky in its American materialism, and, as I commented several times, super messianic.” I also said that “TV is growing in its arrogance to take the place of the church and of Christ.”
—–But someone might say, “Lighten up. What is wrong with American Idol trying to help people.” Nothing at all. In fact, it is really refreshing that a TV show is focusing a lot of its attention on Africa and people who can be helped in practical ways. How often do we see starving African kids on TV. We need to be reminded that there is more to life than our petty concerns. (Just do not send Idol money, because some of their money goes to fund abortion and, as bad as it can be, the church is the entity we should work through.)
—–Let me explain my assertions.

Super Cheesy
—–Hopefully no one needs help with this one. They pulled all the cheap tricks to get you emotionally worked up. There were the slow motion pans of poor Appalachian children’s faces. There were the African children singing in unison a song of hope. And there were the constant reminders that YOU, you amazing people, can come together to fix the world.

Super Cocky in its American Materialism
—–(This one goes along with television’s messiah complex, so I will save some of my explanation for the next section.) During one of the segments, a movie star made the comment, “These people are so amazing. They have such a will to live.” What could that possibly mean? Since when do we admire people for not wanting to die? We admire them for not wanting to die, when we say to ourselves, “If I had to live in this dump I would shoot myself. They are dirty. They have no TV. They have no microwave.” In other words, my comfort and possession are all that matter in life. So what is our answer to the world’s problems? Stuff.
—–One of my friends made the comment, “I bet if all the celebrities on the show gave a 1/10 of their salary, world hunger might end all together. Anyway, I felt like the show was money hungry and could care less about the poor. They used tears of hurting people to get people to call in.” I thought it was telling last night when Ryan Seacrest made the comment along the lines that one of the best ways to donate was to download their songs from itunes. Dig deep, but do not give so much that you cannot afford to download the performances of your favorite idol. This is charity that feels good, but it does not call on anyone to lay down his life for his neighbor. It is all about image. That is what most of those celebrities were doing on there, just being a part of something big.

Super Messianic / Trying to Replace Christ and the Church
—–This is probably where I lost some of you. What do I mean when I say Idol and TV is messianic? Well, Christ is the savior of the world; therefore, anything that claims to be the source for solving the world’s problems is trying to be messianic. Also, Christ is the ONE who is meant to unite ALL things in Himself (Ephesians 1:10). He is the unifier. Anything that attempts to be the one source of common ground for all peoples is also trying to replace the true messiah. Do not take this to mean that I think they are consciously trying to subvert the church. Of course not. They are just trying to push their agenda to be your all in all.
—–First, I think we should all be leery of anyone that makes the claim that all the world’s problems can be solved if you join with him. Here is a Ryan Seacrest quote from last night, “[Idol gives back] is about changing the world and securing a future.” Wow! Beat your swords into pruning hooks and turn your missile silos into ice cream stands! Finally, the golden age is here, no evangelism or martyrdom required, only TV antennas and a credit card.
—–Second, Idol and other shows promise to solve our problems through stuff. For example, I am glad Tye Pennington does what he does. It makes for a cool show about destroying and building things. It also gives people, usually pretty good people, some cool possessions. And it gives some chances for major construction companies to get publicity while making lots of sweet cash for the producers (I am still a capitalist, I just do not think they should claim they are being selfless).
—–Do not be fooled, however, into accepting wealth as a savior. For Extreme Home Makeover, the answer to the blind, crippled, bereaved, or over burdened is not the Resurrection or the help of the church, it is a ridiculously big house and everything you have ever coveted. That show is not about helping people out. If it was, they could help 50 people in one show with all that money, but they wouldn’t be able to keep you captivated. The show is about recompensing a person for the bad hand they have been given by giving them complete opulence. When in truth, the Ressurrection is your vindication, not a 70 inch TV. (Still I am glad that some of these hard-working people get helped out.)
—–Third, Idol and other shows promise to solve our problems through programs. Those dirty-faced, mountain children get an afterschool program. That’s the ticket. Now, through team building games, internet access, and books all their problems will be solved. Which I think that translates into, “They can make much more money when they grow up.” Perhaps, these people have issues going on that programs cannot solve. We see no Father and a house where there is no attempt toward stewardship of what they have been given, and, yet again, money is the answer. Sure.
—–Fourth, there are the mesquito nets, which prevent the spread of malaria during sleep. I actually like this one, but let us not think that we can save the Africans by sending them more stuff. Those who have worked first-hand with them know that this is the common error Americans make. Still, this one has a good chance of going to good use.

—–Everyone who American Idol ministers to, needs the gospel. They need the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to break into their lives and change who they are and to build their lives around Christ. We can do lots of helpful things, but real change never comes through feel-good, profit mongering. It comes through a once dead man who now reigns with the Father, as He puts all his enemies under his feet.

—–So, do not think I am saying not to watch American idol. Just keep the Messiah as your hope and have no idols before Him.

Resurrection! That is our hope!

Well, since I wasn’t able to post on Easter Sunday, I figured I would at least post about the resurrection sometime this week. So here goes!

This article is from Christianity Today. I encourage you to read more than just the excerpt. 🙂 Enjoy!


The bodily resurrection is the good news of the gospel—and thus our social and political mandate.
by N. T. Wright – posted 3/24/2008

There is no agreement in the church today about what happens to people when they die. Yet the New Testament is crystal clear on the matter: In a classic passage, Paul speaks of “the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). There is no room for doubt as to what he means: God’s people are promised a new type of bodily existence, the fulfillment and redemption of our present bodily life. The rest of the early Christian writings, where they address the subject, are completely in tune with this.

The traditional picture of people going to either heaven or hell as a one-stage, postmortem journey represents a serious distortion and diminution of the Christian hope. Bodily resurrection is not just one odd bit of that hope. It is the element that gives shape and meaning to the rest of the story of God’s ultimate purposes. If we squeeze it to the margins, as many have done by implication, or indeed, if we leave it out altogether, as some have done quite explicitly, we don’t just lose an extra feature, like buying a car that happens not to have electrically operated mirrors. We lose the central engine, which drives it and gives every other component its reason for working.

When we talk with biblical precision about the resurrection, we discover an excellent foundation for lively and creative Christian work in the present world—not, as some suppose, for an escapist or quietist piety.
Bodily Resurrection

While both Greco-Roman paganism and Second Temple Judaism held a wide variety of beliefs about life beyond death, the early Christians, beginning with Paul, were remarkably unanimous on the topic.

When Paul speaks in Philippians 3 of being “citizens of heaven,” he doesn’t mean that we shall retire there when we have finished our work here. He says in the next line that Jesus will come from heaven in order to transform the present humble body into a glorious body like his own. Jesus will do this by the power through which he makes all things subject to himself. This little statement contains in a nutshell more or less all Paul’s thought on the subject. The risen Jesus is both the model for the Christian’s future body and the means by which it comes.

Similarly, in Colossians 3:1–4, Paul says that when the Messiah (the one “who is your life”) appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. Paul does not say “one day you will go to be with him.” No, you already possess life in him. This new life, which the Christian possesses secretly, invisible to the world, will burst forth into full bodily reality and visibility.

The clearest and strongest passage is Romans 8:9–11. If the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus the Messiah, dwells in you, says Paul, then the one who raised the Messiah from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies as well, through his Spirit who dwells in you. God will give life, not to a disembodied spirit, not to what many people have thought of as a spiritual body in the sense of a nonphysical one, but “to your mortal bodies also.”

Other New Testament writers support this view. The first letter of John declares that when Jesus appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. The resurrection body of Jesus, which at the moment is almost unimaginable to us in its glory and power, will be the model for our own. And of course within John’s gospel, despite the puzzlement of those who want to read the book in a very different way, we have some of the clearest statements of future bodily resurrection. Jesus reaffirms the widespread Jewish expectation of resurrection in the last day, and announces that the hour for this has already arrived. It is quite explicit: “The hour is coming,” he says, “indeed, it is already here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of Man, and those who hear will live; when all in the graves will come out, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”

(more… )

Holy Saturday: Anticipating the Resurrection

In honor of Holy Saturday, here is a good interview with N.T. Wright regarding the resurrection of Jesus.

Below is an excerpt…


At the National Pastors Conference in San Diego,’s Brian Lowery got to interview N. T. Wright about his latest book—Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church—and how it relates to preaching. Since we are all in the midst of the Easter journey, his words are timely, challenging, and above all else, hopeful.

Preaching Today: In your book Surprised by Hope, you talk about a deeper understanding of hope “that provides a coherent and energizing basis for work in today’s world.” How has that deeper understanding influenced your preaching through the years?

Bishop N. T. Wright: [Studying] the Resurrection for an earlier book, Resurrection of the Son of God … ended up rubbing my nose in the New Testament theology of new creation, and the fact that the new creation has begun with Easter. I discovered that when we do new creation—when we encourage one another in the church to be active in projects of new creation, of healing, of hope for communities—we are standing on the ground that Jesus has won in his resurrection.

New creation is not just “whistling in the dark.” It’s not a kind of social Pelagianism, where we try to improve things by pulling ourselves up from our own bootstraps. Because Jesus is raised from the dead, God’s new world has begun. We are not only the beneficiaries of new creation; we are the agents of it. I just can’t stop preaching about that, because that is where we’re going with Easter.

For me, therefore, there’s no disjunction between preaching about the salvation which is ours in God’s new age—the new heavens and new earth—and preaching about what that means for the present. The two go very closely together. If you have an eschatology that is nonmaterial, why bother with this present world? But if God intends to renew the world, then what we do in the present matters. That’s 1 Corinthians 15:58! This understanding has made my preaching more challenging to me, and hopefully to my hearers, to actually get off our backsides and do something in the local community—things that are signs of new creation. (more…)

The Significance of Jesus’ Resurrection for Saul of Tarsus

The significance of Jesus’ resurrection, for Saul of Tarsus as he lay blinded and perhaps bruised on the road to Damascus, was this. The one true God had done for Jesus of Nazareth, in the middle of time, what Saul had thought he was going to do for Israel at the end of time. Saul had imagined that YHWH would vindicate Israel after her suffering at the hand of the pagans. Instead, he had vindicated Jesus after his suffering at the hand of the pagans. Saul had imagined that the great reversal, the great apocalyptic event, would take place all at once, inaugurating the kingdom of God with a flourish of trumpets, setting all wrongs to right, defeating evil once and for all, and ushering in the age to come. Instead, the great reversal, the great resurrection, had happened to one man, all by himself. What could this possibly mean?
Quite simply, it meant this: Jesus of Nazareth, whose followers had regarded him as the Messiah, the one who would bear the destiny of Israel, had seemed to Saul rather to be an anti-Messiah, someone who had failed to defeat the pagans, and had succeeded only in generating a group of people who were sitting loose to the Torah and critical of the Temple, two of the great symbols of Jewish Identity. But the resurrection demonstrated that Jesus’ followers were right. In his greatest letter, Paul put it like this: Jesus the Messiah was descended from the seed of David according to the flesh, and marked out as the Son of God (i.e. Messiah) by the Spirit of holiness through the resurrection of the dead (Romans 1:4). The resurrection demarcated Jesus as the true Messiah, the true bearer of Israel’s God-sent destiny.
But if Jesus really was the Messiah, and if his death and resurrection really were the decisive heaven-sent defeat of sin and vindication of the people of YHWH, then this means that the Age to Come had already begun, had already been inaugurated, even though the Present Age, the time of sin, rebellion and wickedness, was still proceeding apace. Saul therefore realized that his whole perspective on the way in which YHWH was going to act to unveil his plan of salvation had to be drastically rethought. He, Saul, had been ignorant of the righteousness of God, ignorant of what YHWH had been planning all along in apocalyptic fulfillment of the covenant. The death and resurrection of Jesus were themselves the great eschatological event, revealing God’s covenant faithfulness, his way of putting the world to rights: the word for ‘reveal’ is apokalypso, from which of course we get “apocalypse”. Saul was already living in the time of the end, even though the previous dimension of time was still carrying on all around him. The Present Age and the Age to Come overlapped, and he was caught in the middle, or rather, liberated in the middle, liberated to serve the same God in a new way, with a new knowledge to which he had before been blind. If the Age to Come had arrived, if the resurrection had already begun to take place, then this was the time when the Gentiles were to come in.
Saul’s vision on the road to Damascus thus equipped him with an entirely new perspective, though one which kept its roots firm and deep within his previous covenantal theology. Israel’s destiny had been summed up and achieved in Jesus the Messiah. The Age to Come had been inaugurated. Saul himself was summoned to be its agent. He was to declare to the pagan world that YHWH, the God of Israel, was the one true God of the whole world, and that in Jesus of Nazareth he had overcome evil and was creating a new world in which justice and peace would reign supreme.
Saul of Tarsus, in other words, had found a new vocation. It would demand all the energy, all the zeal, that he had devoted to his former way of life. He was now to be a herald of the king.

– N. T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said, pgs. 36-37: Eerdmans Publishing 1997