||2014-07-30 10:34:03, 조회 : 2,197, 추천 : 341
| Hello to another wonderful day to study more about the Covenant of God! Today we will continue by going over chapter 11, The Consummation of the Covenant. As per usual, the author starts us off with verses coming from 2 Peter 3:11-12. |
“Since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which the righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3: 11-12)
In our day, we are witnessing many different, as well as new, views of speculative eschatological thinking. Not only among Christians but also on the part of others. Secular thinkers, proponents of Islam, Spiritualists of the New Age group, Eastern religions, and many others, all have their own views on the afterlife. Even Postmodern people, the people we were speaking of in the last chapter, also have some type of view for their death, even if their eschatological ways are only wishful thinking. Unless these people, and anyone like them, become members of the covenant community, they will have no firm ground to take their stand against the course of history and to prepare for the end of all things.
However, those who came to know God have been pleased to know about our course of history and the afterlife by God. We in the covenant community must attentive to learn as much as we can about the end of history, the outworking of God’s kingdom and the consummation of His covenant. So in this chapter we will be outlining a biblical view of the course of history and the consummation of God’s covenant.
Almost everyone gets their view from Revelations 12. It is revealed here the pattern of history, the framework for all the events occurring in time. Three main elements of the drama of history are shown in Revelation 12, which comes with a fourth depiction from Revelation 20.
The first element is the setting for history. In verses 7-9, warfare breaks out in heaven. The dragon and his angels wage war against the ruling power of heaven. This dragon is identified as the same serpent of the garden of Eden, the devil himself. He is then defeated and cast out of heaven to the earth, taking a third of the heavenly host with him in his downfall. While he is on earth, he devotes himself to deceiving the nations and attempting to prevent any worship to the one true God. In order to forward his own cause, he places himself before the woman who gives birth to a Son that will rule all the nations on the side of God. Yet the child is born and taken to rule with God in heaven.
Frustrated that he has failed, he then turns his wrath against the woman gave birth to Him, and all her offspring. Her offspring are the ones who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. She is also represented as the covenant people of God, those who in all times are to be identified as His people because of their being the object of His love. She is hated by the devil and is desired to be overwhelmed and ruined. So now we can see the great drama of the unfolding of God’s covenant.
There are a couple points we should consider. First, we know that God’s rule and His holy will cannot be prevented. What He has determined will ultimately prevail.
Second, we who have entered into covenant relationship with God through the blood of His Son know that we can expect opposition in our efforts to live for Him during he course of history. We must not expect our life in God’s covenant to not be without trials, suffering, and even occasional despair. In this word God’s covenant people can expect misfortunes. We are in an ongoing warfare that is animated and sustained by powerful forces of evil. But what we must keep in mind is that our King is on His throne, and at the end of it all we have the greater advantage. Suffering is something that we will be prepared for.
The second element that is revealed in Revelations 12 is what we may describe as the crises of history. The crises of history, or the turning point, is when God intervenes in history in the Person of His Son, who comes to establish the rule of God over all the nations. And what we can know from this is that God’s kingdom is at work in our midst and that we who have entered into His covenant are the people around whom the powerful unfolding of this kingdom has its outworking. Therefore, we should expect to be at once the beneficiaries of God’s power and the focus of devil’s enemy as we carry out the role of the covenant in the course of history. If we resist the devil’s attack on us, we can hope to prevail against his tricks, overcome his allures, and so we can carry on our kingdom work with success.
The last element of the drama of history is the flow of history. Three features of the flow of history stand out for us. First, is the coming of God’s salvation, power, and kingdom. During the flow of history, the kingdom of God will grow, spreading out by the grace and power of God to bring the saving blessings of His covenant to he nations of the world through the church. This is the work that we called upon in the covenant community. Filled with the blessing given by God, we are told to be the blessing of nations in our turn. This must be our focus, our mission during our moment in history.
Second, the course of history features the opposition of the devil. Although the progress of the kingdom and the growth of the church are certain, they will not go unopposed. Satan can take the form of one our closest people to try to frustrate the plan of God. Therefore, we must be more vigilant towards him.
Finally, the last feature is the certainty of God’s victory. He will prevail. His kingdom and His promises cannot fail. His church will continue to grow and His grace will reach to increasing amount of people. But this will not come without a cost. As His covenant community attends to our missions, we will be the subject of persecution. Many will be mocked, thrown out from their homes, and even put to death. But we must not love our lives more than our testimony. Kingdom progress and rejoicing comes from perseverance in our trials and looking unto God in our difficulties.
So we can see the very framework, crises, and flow of the pattern of history. We know what would come and what to expect. And although the specific details are overshadowed, we still have the general outlines of the things which can clearly be seen. More importantly, we know as well as guaranteed that a great and glorious end of history is about to unfold, in that we will now look upon.
When we view the final chapters of Revelation, we get a clear picture of how history comes to end. We see the return of Christ, followed by the final judgment. And we know that eternal life in a realm of glory awaits us beyond such history.
The return of Christ is shown in Revelation 19:11-21. Jesus Christ will come again, leaving His throne for a moment and leading His loyal hosts in a final battle against all who oppose Him. But, what we do not know is WHEN He will return and we should definitely NOT try to set our own dates of when He will come. He tells us that He will come when we least expect it, like a thief in the night. All we can do is hope, even long for the day Christ returns for then we know that our faith will be vindicated and every obstacle to full realization of our covenant with the Lord be removed.
As for the final judgment, we know that it will occur immediately upon Christ’s return. The righteous will be purged of every remaining weight of sin and transformed into glorious new bodies. At the same time, the wicked shall be casted away from the presence of God to a place of everlasting torment. Then the earth and heaven will be consumed by a fervent heat in preparation for the final work of God’s majestic covenant plan.
This is the creation of the new heavens and new earth. God will create a new heavens and a new earth, a wondrous fusion of all creation into one new glorious reality, where He will dwell together with His covenant people forever. The church will continue to develop as well as developing the new heavens and new earth to ever greater stages of beauty and glory. And the members of the covenant community will worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness and praise His Name in unending and glorious songs.
As we can see, God has shown us the beginning and the end of history and its course as well as the final work of His covenant plan. We know what is to come. We know what we needed to know and it is enough to give us hope and guide us as we consider how we must live in God’s covenant during our own moment of history.
When we read 2 Peter 3:10-14 and 17-18, Apostle Peter tells us clearly how we in the covenant community must occupy ourselves during this time while we await the outworking of all that God has planned. We are to busy at work for the progress of the kingdom, trusting in the promises of God’s covenant as we labor to grow in grace, build God’s church, and watch His power unfold in our midst. This requires us to comply with a couple things.
First, we need to keep the end of history in our sights. We must never forget that this time in which we live is given to us as preparation for an eternal life of glory with the Lord. A new heaven and a new earth will be coming, in which the righteous will live. We will NOT be carrying anything from this world to the next, so we must keep looking forward to what lies ahead, and not to be distracted from the temporal things of this world.
Furthermore, we must remember that Christ is coming, judgment will happen, and the sheep will be separated from the goats. We must use the knowledge of these certainties to guide the very way we move. Therefore, since He is coming, let us keep this constantly in mind, longing and praying for it, and letting its certainty inform our conduct and manner of relation to others in the here and now.
Peter also tells us that we need to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. This is not as simple as one may think it is to be. This is hard work, we must devote ourselves to the discipline of grace and to faithfulness in our walk with the Lord. We can see results of growth in grace when we see growth in love. Growth in love for God, and love for our neighbors as ourselves. As we grow to love in God more, we will take more delight in Him, seek Him more passionately, and worship and serve Him more completely. But to grow in grace we must apply ourselves to the disciplines of grace, giving sufficient time, attention, and reflection to these disciplines and faithfully seeking to live out what God shows us in them wholeheartedly.
We are also told by Peter to devote ourselves to the preservation and advancement of God’s truth. We are told to protect His Word from false testimonies as well as promote His Word worldwide. The word of God holds out the promises of His covenant, it shows us the way to walk, exalt Jesus as the hope of glory, and guides us through the course of our life in the world. Thus, we are told to turn our lives upside down for Christ, and be increasingly devoted to the Word of God.
Finally, Peter tells us that we must be constantly diligent to prepare for the coming of the Lord. We must study to promote peace within the body of Christ, working hard to maintain the unity we have in the Spirit by strengthening the bonds of love that unite us. We must develop the practice of godliness, laying aside the sinful tendency, and being clothed each day with the mind and life of Christ. We are truly preparing to meet the Lord when peace and unity, holiness, and the progress of salvation are the driving forces in all we do. However, with us alone this is impossible to achieve. But with God all things are possible and He has told us many times in Scripture that He will provide for all our needs and we shall be able to do all that He sets before us each day.
The only thing that will prevent all things being achieved, as we have spoken from Peter, is the sin of unbelief. Due to our unbelief in God, we will allow for the world to become our priority as well as our distraction. We will NOT believe in God and the promises of His Word; rather, we will believe only what our eyes or selfish lusts tells us. The sin of unbelief is the bottom line of all our sins. We choose to believe the lust of the world rather than the promises of God. We believe it is more profitable for us to indulge ourselves, rather than progress in the community.
Let us be aware of the hazards of unbelief and all the many ways it gets into our lives. Let us, rather, cling on to the promises of God’s covenant and remember that the coming of Christ is really coming. And the most beautiful thing we should expect is when God says to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the kingdom prepared for you from before the foundation of the world.”
So to conclude, I hope that you have been able to understand as well as to benefit from these concepts we have learned today. I also hope that you will progress in your life of faith, keeping in mind the end and the coming of Christ. Thank you!
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