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The Preacher and His Slaves

A question arose from a passage in The Problem of Slavery in Christian America regarding a mention of the famous evangelist George Whitefield. It says,

“Even the famous George Whitefield was originally against slavery. He changed his mind, however, when he moved to Savannah: after tending his own garden in the Georgia heat, he quickly agreed with the typical southern argument that blacks were more suited for such work in such climate. He purchased a black slave for himself, and later bought a plan­tation and several slaves in South Carolina to finance his orphanage.1

Slavery at Bethesda: Et tu, Whitefield? by Joel McDurmon

You can fear God and pick your own crops.

You can fear God and pay a free man to pick your crops.

Or, you can just say beautiful pious words, and buy some slaves to pick your crops, on penalty of lashes or death.

Guess what the greatest American evangelist of the 1740s is going to do.

Whitefield’s prophetic fire did arise, even in the wake of slave rebellions. So, after the great Stono Rebellion in South Carolina in 1739,5 Whitefield wrote, “And tho’ I heartily pray God they may never be permitted to get the upper hand; yet should such a Thing be permitted by Providence, all good Men must acknowledge the Judgment would be just.”6

This was a very risky stance to take at the time, as it would have been seen as justifying and encouraging further rebellions. It would have been met with the same resistance as the rebellions themselves. (A century later, Whitefield would have been risking his life in saying such things, and many abolitionists and sympathizers were either attacked or threatened and run out of the slave states for saying such things.)

But this stance had appeared only about a year after he first moved to Savannah, Georgia. In a few years, it was gone and a whole new approach appeared: capitulation and compromise.

Slavery at Bethesda: Et tu, Whitefield? by Joel McDurmon

Once upon a time, Georgia was a free state.

There’s a decent chance that if Whitefield stuck with his guns, Georgia would have stayed a free state, reshaping the future of the United States for the better.

But why stick with what is right and suffer, when you can dump the substance of Scripture, keep the pious pose, and enjoy ease, wealth, and the better sort of company?

It is amazing how low even the best and most prophetic of ministers may fall when their economic interest is at stake. We can even justify our compromises from the Bible, then make ourselves slave masters and call ourselves their benefactors in the process.

But slavery was necessary for Whitefield, see, because he had so far done so poorly using “white hands.”

But I am preaching. I am content to let the facts speak for themselves. People asked me for the sources. Here are a few. I am sure there are more, but these suffice to show that whatever else we may say of the man, in regard to the issue of slavery, George Whitefield’s hands are no longer white.

Slavery at Bethesda: Et tu, Whitefield? by Joel McDurmon

Beautiful, fine, flawlessly crafted faces.

Deeply religious visages, of the palest and most purest material.

Care to discover what’s behind the mask?

Attack the Useful Strawman, not the Real Enemy

A snippet from Mises’ fine article, Stones into Bread: The Keynesian Miracle

—<Quote begins>—

Although Keynes looked upon “the strange, unduly neglected prophet Silvio Gesell” as a forerunner, his own teachings differ considerably from those of Gesell. What Keynes borrowed from Gesell as well as from the host of other pro-inflation propagandists was not the content of their doctrine, but their practical conclusions and the tactics they applied to undermine their opponents’ prestige. These stratagems are:

  1. All adversaries, that is, all those who do not consider credit expansion as the panacea, are lumped together and called orthodox. It is implied that there are no differences between them.
  2. It is assumed that the evolution of economic science culminated in Alfred Marshall and ended with him. The findings of modern subjective economics are disregarded.
  3. All that economists from David Hume on down to our time have done to clarify the results of changes in the quantity of money and money-substitutes is simply ignored. Keynes never embarked upon the hopeless task of refuting these teachings by ratiocination.

In all these respects the contributors to the symposium adopt their master’s technique. Their critique aims at a body of doctrine created by their own illusions, which has no resemblance to the theories expounded by serious economists. They pass over in silence all that economists have said about the inevitable outcome of credit expansion. It seems as if they have never heard anything about the monetary theory of the trade cycle.

—<Quote ends>—

When Christians speak, they can be attacked by all sorts of deceptive and faulty arguments, including ad hominen attacks against their character, designed to gain the applause of the masses… but typically, nothing of substance, nothing that follow and challenges the chain of logic. “A lot of noise… and no meat.”

There are, upon occasion, real challenges to Christian arguments. These substantial and reasonable arguments must be treated with respect, and investigated. Errors in these arguments must be addressed… and strengths in these challenges must be acknowledged. “Metal sharpens metal; and steel, steel.

A good example of this I posted about comes from the sciences, where substantial rebuttals (not mere heckling form the atheistically ignorant) to Intelligent Design arguments are themselves carefully responded to.

Within Christian circles, there isn’t a lot of arguments from non-theonomists I can use nowadays, as Christians who don’t actually believe in the authority of God to lay down the law – to punish the wicked today, and reward the righteous today – prefer to pretend that their challengers don’t exist, instead of dealing with the arguments.

…there will be no successful attempt by scholarly leaders of the various pessimillennial camps to respond to Chilton. There is a reason for this: They cannot effectively respond. As we say in Tyler, they just don’t have the horses. If I am incorrect about their theological inability, then we will see lengthy, detailed articles showing why Chilton’s book is utterly wrong. If we don’t see them, you can safely conclude that our opponents are in deep trouble. To cover their naked flanks, they will be tempted to offer the familiar refrain: “We will not dignify such preposterous arguments with a public response.”

That is to say, they will run up the intellectual white flag.

Gary North, in his introduction to David Chilton’s Days of Vengeance

And once again, first-rate atheistic scholars prove to be better – and have more integrity! – than fourth-rate Christian ones.

(With Mises himself – a Kantian atheist – being a solid demonstration of this fact.)

Revelations: How Else Can It Be Said?

Or, in the book Revelation, John was actually writing to particular churches in his day… and NOT to an unseen audience thousands of years later.

And he was writing about events “that would come to pass shortly”: certainly within a few decades, and much more likely within one decade… even within a few years. And NOT about events thousands of years later.

Original Audience

When interpreting any book of the Bible, it is important to understand the audience to which it was originally directed. The concern of the evangelical interpreter is to understand the grammar of a passage in light of its historic context, not despite that context. There are at least three factors in Revelation that emphasize the original audience and their circumstances. These are strongly supportive of a preterist position. When these are combined with the matter of the expectation of Revelation, the preterist approach becomes justified on the basis of sound hermeneutical principle.

First, in Revelation John was writing to particular, historic, individual churches that existed in his day. Revelation 1:4 provides a common epistolary opening: ‘John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come.” In verse 11, he specifically names the seven churches to whom he writes: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. We know these cities as historical cities containing actual churches.

In Revelation 2 and 3, these seven churches are addressed with individual exhortations and warnings. Interestingly, a number of the historical, geographical, and political allusions contained in the letters show that John did, in fact, have in view the specific churches addressed.[1]

Second, we learn that John wrote to those churches in order to be understood. The first sentence of John’s work has become the title of the work. And from that title we know John fully intended that his work be a “revelation.” The Greek word for “revelation” is apokalupsis, which means an “opening up, uncovering.” John intended his book to be an opening up of divine truth for his original audience.

Furthermore, in Revelation 1:3 we read: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” The members of the churches to whom Revelation was addressed are expected to read, understand, and keep the directives in Revelation. Revelation calls upon each church to give careful, spiritual attention to its words.[2]

Third, in Revelation John notes that he and the seven churches have already entered “the tribulation,” which is a major prophetic expectation of the book (cf. Rev. 7:14): “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in the tribulation” (Rev. 1:9a). In Revelation 2 and 3, there are allusions to greater problems brewing on the world scene.[3]

John is clearly writing to particular historical churches about their current grave circumstances. The original audience factor cannot be overlooked; the message of Revelation must be relevant to them.

Contemporary Expectation

As mentioned in Chapter 8, one of the most obvious, yet most overlooked features of Revelation is John’s expectancy. The expectation of the occurrence of the events of Revelation is urgent and impending. The “time is at hand”; the events “must shortly come to pass.” This temporal expectation is strategically placed: it appears three times in the opening, introductory chapter (Rev. 1:1, 3, 19) and four times in the final, concluding chapter (Rev. 22:6, 7, 12, 20). Its appearance in both of these chapters is significant because these bracket the highly wrought symbolism of the prophetic body of the book which is contained in the section from Revelation 4:1 through 22:6. These portions of Revelation in which the time indicators are embedded are generally of a more historical than prophetic character.

With the particularity of the audience emphasized in conjunction with his message of the imminent expectation of occurrence of the events, I do not see how a preterism of some sort can be escaped. Nevertheless, there are those who do attempt to escape such logic.

Some commentators, such as John Walvoord, understand these terms as indicating that whenever the events do start coming to pass, they will occur with great speed, following one upon the other with great rapidity. Others, such as Robert Mounce, view them as indicating that such events as John prophesied are always imminent. That is, the events are always ready to occur, though they may not actually occur until thousands of years later. Still others, such as Leon Morris, see John’s references as a measure of God’s time, not man’s. That is, John is saying that these events will come to pass “shortly” from God’s perspective. But, then, we must remember that “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years” (2 Pet. 3:8).[4]

But are these attempts capable of overthrowing our evidence? We must remember that John was writing to historical churches existing in his own day. He and they had already entered the earliest stages of “the tribulation” (Rev. 1:9a). It would be a cruel mockery of their circumstances for John to tell them that when help comes, it will come with swiftness – even though it may not come until two or three thousand years later. Or tell them that the events are always imminent – even though the readers of his letter may never experience them. Or that God will send help soon – according to the way the Eternal God measures time: just a few days, or perhaps millennia.

In addition, each of these approaches is destroyed by the very fact that John repeats and varies his terms as if to dispel any confusion. Think of it: If these words in these verses do not indicate that John expected the events to occur soon, what words could John have used to express such? How could he have said it more plainly?

[1] See: William Ramsey, The Letters to the Seven Churches (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1904] 1963); Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation (New International Commentary)

[2] Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22.

[3] Rev. 2:10, 22-23, 25; 3:9-11.

[4] John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966), p. 35. Mounce, Revelation, pp. 64-65. Leon Morris, The Revelation of St. John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), p. 45.

From He Shall Have Dominion, by Kenenth L. Gentry, pages 395-398.

Christians must accept and live under the rules of academic honesty in their own lives and work, first.

(Regardless of the potential book sales in flexing… twisting… or just murdering the truth.)

After we have accepted the Rule of Truth and Integrity in our own lives and work, then we can heal and rebuild, restore, and reconstruct our dying cultures and nations.

Destroyed by the Breath of Christ

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

II Thessalonians 2:8, English Standard Version

From Wikipedia, Nero

—<Quote begins>—

Revolt of Vindex and Galba and Nero’s death

In March 68, Gaius Julius Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, rebelled against Nero’s tax policies.[69][70] Lucius Verginius Rufus, the governor of Germania Superior, was ordered to put down Vindex’s rebellion.[71] In an attempt to gain support from outside his own province, Vindex called upon Servius Sulpicius Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, to join the rebellion and further, to declare himself emperor in opposition to Nero.[72]

At the Battle of Vesontio in May 68, Verginius’ forces easily defeated those of Vindex and the latter committed suicide.[71] However, after putting down this one rebel, Verginius’ legions attempted to proclaim their own commander as Emperor. Verginius refused to act against Nero, but the discontent of the legions of Germany and the continued opposition of Galba in Spain did not bode well for him.

While Nero had retained some control of the situation, support for Galba increased despite his being officially declared a public enemy (“hostis publicus”[73]). The prefect of the Praetorian Guard, Gaius Nymphidius Sabinus, also abandoned his allegiance to the Emperor and came out in support of Galba.

In response, Nero fled Rome with the intention of going to the port of Ostia and, from there, to take a fleet to one of the still-loyal eastern provinces. According to Suetonius, Nero abandoned the idea when some army officers openly refused to obey his commands, responding with a line from Virgil‘s Aeneid: “Is it so dreadful a thing then to die?” Nero then toyed with the idea of fleeing to Parthia, throwing himself upon the mercy of Galba, or appealing to the people and begging them to pardon him for his past offences “and if he could not soften their hearts, to entreat them at least to allow him the prefecture of Egypt“. Suetonius reports that the text of this speech was later found in Nero’s writing desk, but that he dared not give it from fear of being torn to pieces before he could reach the Forum.[74]

Nero returned to Rome and spent the evening in the palace. After sleeping, he awoke at about midnight to find the palace guard had left. Dispatching messages to his friends’ palace chambers for them to come, he received no answers. Upon going to their chambers personally, he found them all abandoned. When he called for a gladiator or anyone else adept with a sword to kill him, no one appeared. He cried, “Have I neither friend nor foe?” and ran out as if to throw himself into the Tiber.[74]

Returning, Nero sought a place where he could hide and collect his thoughts. An imperial freedman, Phaon, offered his villa, located 4 mi (6.4 km) outside the city. Travelling in disguise, Nero and four loyal freedmen, Epaphroditos, Phaon, Neophytus, and Sporus, reached the villa, where Nero ordered them to dig a grave for him.

At this time, a courier arrived with a report that the Senate had declared Nero a public enemy, that it was their intention to execute him by beating him to death, and that armed men had been sent to apprehend him for the act to take place in the Roman Forum. The Senate actually was still reluctant and deliberating on the right course of action, as Nero was the last member of the Julio-Claudian Family. Indeed, most of the senators had served the imperial family all their lives and felt a sense of loyalty to the deified bloodline, if not to Nero himself. The men actually had the goal of returning Nero back to the Senate, where the Senate hoped to work out a compromise with the rebelling governors that would preserve Nero’s life, so that at least a future heir to the dynasty could be produced.[75]

Nero, however, did not know this, and at the news brought by the courier, he prepared himself for suicide, pacing up and down muttering Qualis artifex pereo (“What an artist dies in me”).[76] Losing his nerve, he begged one of his companions to set an example by killing himself first. At last, the sound of approaching horsemen drove Nero to face the end. However, he still could not bring himself to take his own life but instead he forced his private secretary, Epaphroditos, to perform the task.[77]

An 1815 illustration of the alleged tomb of Nero; actually tomb of proconsul Caius Vibius Marianus.

When one of the horsemen entered and saw that Nero was dying, he attempted to stop the bleeding, but efforts to save Nero’s life were unsuccessful. Nero’s final words were “Too late! This is fidelity!”[78] He died on 9 June 68, the anniversary of the death of Octavia, and was buried in the Mausoleum of the Domitii Ahenobarbi, in what is now the Villa Borghese (Pincian Hill) area of Rome.[78]

According to Sulpicius Severus, it is unclear whether Nero took his own life.[79]

With his death, the Julio-Claudian dynasty ended.[80]:19 When news of his death reached Rome, the Senate posthumously declared Nero a public enemy to appease the coming Galba (as the Senate had initially declared Galba as a public enemy) and proclaimed Galba as the new emperor. Chaos would ensue in the year of the Four Emperors.[81]

—<Quote ends>—

It should be noted that Nero died while the Jewish War was still being prosecuted, with Vespasian at Corea and Jericho. It would take another two years for Jerusalem and her temple to fall, and four more years after that for Masada to go down.

Lesson Learned

Men of Lawlessness, freed of restraint, may well rule for a while… then are blown away, as so much dust.

And dust they remain.

For more, see Gentry, He Shall Have Dominion, pages 383-390.

Increasing Indifference

…simply not being a racist or not being a kinist is not enough. Neutrality was never a real option, and it still isn’t. When the moment to take a stand comes (and that moment has come again and again) we can’t just claim innocence while being a bystander. We, as Christians, cannot claim that a fight for justice is not our fight but we’re “good” because we don’t actively participate in the sin. This is true of injustice in general, but specifically, it is true of the Christian duty to war against hateful racial partiality. It’s time to come to terms with the importance of being an anti-racist or an abolitionist of injustice, as opposed to just “well, I’m not racist.” It has never been enough and the call to work against injustice isn’t a “woke” or “Marxist” paradigm, but the simple insistence on the positive aspect of God’s Law. God’s Law calls on us to not only forsake evil, but to answer evil within society.

An excerpt from answer 145 of the Westminster Larger Catechism on bearing false witness shows that the positive duty of Christians extends beyond simply not telling lies. 

“concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others”

The Westminster Divines saw “undue silence in a just cause” as sin. Not only caring about our own personal sins, but also speaking out for just causes is a duty of the individual Christian. This means that Christians do not only have a negative command to not give false witness, but they also have a positive command to speak and act on behalf of a just cause.

Indifference & Racism: Why just being “not racist” isn’t enough by John Reasnor

I have a grim suspicion.

I have a suspicion that, as the economy rots and the culture degrades, there will be more and more indifference, especially among the well-off, but even deep into the middle class. Everyone is going to focus on their own survival.

And sadly, many among the poor will grow quite indifferent as well to the injustice suffered by others, just so long as it doesn’t impact themselves personally.

When does it end?

In repentance. Or in death.

Indifference towards injustice is not neutrality, it’s sin. 

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ― Elie Wiesel

Indifference & Racism: Why just being “not racist” isn’t enough by John Reasnor

I understand where Wiesel is coming from: but there is no indifference in death.

If we are highly blessed, younger men, both black and white (and yes, it will probably have to be men) will lead the push back against indifference of our impersonal/mechanical society. Justice must be secured against rampant racial evil – in the past, and today – and some form of compensation/restitution gained.

I am unsure how it can be done on a personal level: the first group of pastors who figure it out and put it into successful action that can be duplicated widely will be worthy of great respect. They will be real leaders, compared to (say) grumpy bloggers.

It is much easier to get it done on the Federal level: the paper trail of Federal-enforced segregation is clear, the monetary calculations are not so difficult. And even assuming there is no money in the budget (maybe not true now, but true enough within ten years), there are ample ways to gain non-monetary/indirectly monetary compensation.

And the successful expansion of justice in one area, would tend to lead to the expansion of justice in others: from men who unjustly lose out in divorce courts, to women victimized by their pastors; from the victims of police slander in the court to the victims of corporate-legal miscarriages of justice.

Or, we can just let it all fester and simmer, until the modern equivalent of the Day of the Lord arrives, and it all gets paid for in some horrific rolling disaster. All the way from the murdered unborn, the enslaved blacks and the slaughtered American Indians to the endless stream of political & cultural lies, the wealth stolen from the poor and young and shipped to the rich and old, and even to the smashed shops and stolen goods the rioters left behind.

Everything gets paid for. No partiality.”

No rock, no hiding place.

Economics for Beginners

Economics for Beginners is a series of videos designed to show that economics is not a complicated subject fit only for people with college degrees. But that economics affects everyone on a daily basis in both big and little ways and is a normal aspect of our day-to-day life. Using short animated videos basic and fundamental economic topics come to life. Perfect for someone looking for a simplified introduction to elementary economics or parents looking to supplement their child’s economics education, the series includes discussion questions and additional readings that will ensure that viewers are not fooled by myths, lies, and distortions and ensure that students are not fooled by the road to serfdom.

Introductory page here.

Also see:

Video: Six Purposes for America’s Government Schools (Harvard, 1917)

To better understand the invisible chains Our Betters have planned for us — and is already clamped on far too many minds — this post (no paywall) from Gary North is a great place to start.

Attached to the post is this video, in case you are too lazy to find out what your Masters have planned for you… and especially for your children.

These are the six purposes or functions as he calls them. The first he calls the Adjustive Function. Schools are to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority: that’s their main purpose, habits of reaction to authority.

That’s why school authorities don’t tear their hair out when somebody exposes that, uh, that the atomic bomb wasn’t dropped on Korea — as a history book in 1990s printed by Scott Forsman distributed — and why each of these books has hundreds of substantive errors. Learning isn’t the reason the texts are distributed.

So, first is the adjustive function: fixed habits.

Now, here comes the wonderful insight that being able to, to analyze the detail will give you.

How can you establish whether someone has successfully developed this automatic reaction? Because people have a proclivity when they’re given sensible orders to follow it. That’s not what they want to reach! The only way you can measure this, is to give stupid orders and people automatically follow those. Now you’ve achieved function one.

Have you ever wondered why some of the foolish things schools do are allowed to continue?

And Christians wander about, open-mouthed, wondering why they always lose. No doubt, right after they dropped their kids off at the nearest mind-reduction, obedience-building centre.

Generation after generation.

“But it’s free child care! FREE CHILD CARE!

See: Pavlovian Dogs.

The Long Haul and 2 Peter 3

From He Shall Have Dominion, by Kenneth L Gentry, pages 310-305

—<Quote begins>—

2 Peter 3

The key passage for the consummate new heavens and new earth is found in 2 Peter 3. Unfortunately, this passage has been the source of a good deal of confusion. Some dispensationalists hold that it refers to the earthly millennium, while others argue that it speaks of the consummate new creation.[1] Some postmillennialists hold that it refers to the present era introduced by the destruction of Jerusalem,[2] others apply it to the consummate new heavens and new earth.[3] Many amillennialists refer the new creation concept in all of Scripture solely to the final consummate order, using this passage as determinative of the others.[4]

A part of the problem with 2 Peter 3 lies in the fact that the passage employs terminology that is sometimes used to designate the spiritual new creation and at other times is used in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. This pas- sage, however, does not speak either of the spiritual new creation (Isa. 65:17) or the conflagration of Jerusalem (Heb. 12:25-29). It points instead to the consummate order to follow the resurrection and final judgment, as is evident from the following considerations.

First, the thrust of the book seems to promote a spiritual perseverance in anticipation of the historical long run – a long run that ends up in the eternal new creation. Peter urges the perseverance of his readers (1 Pet. 1:6) and warns against short-sightedness (1:9). It is only through long-term perseverance that we may expect access to the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ (1:11). Peter himself expects to die soon (1:13-14; as did Paul, 2 Tim. 4:6-8). Consequently, he urges his readers to recall these things after he is gone (1:15), apparently not expecting a rapture of the Church in A.D. 70 (as per radical preterists[5]). Peter gives Noah and Lot as examples of those who persevered through hard times, like those facing the looming destruction of Jerusalem. They came out on the other end still upon the earth (2:5-9). The rescue of believers from the oncoming temptation (2:9a) associated with A.D. 70 (by preserving them in trial, Luke 21:18-22) is set in contrast to the reserving of the fallen angels and the ungodly until the (later) Judgment Day (2:4, 9b). While contemplating the judgment cleansing of the earth, we are urged to “holy livings” and “pieties” (Greek plurals of these words occur only here, 3:11), suggesting many acts of righteousness for the long term. The book ends with a call to perseverance, as well (3:15, 17).

Second, the mockers scoff at the promised second advent of Christ due to the long wait associated with it (2 Pet. 3:3-4, 9). Despite the trials to come soon (2:9), Peter even suggests it may be thousands of years before Christ’s return, in that the delay is based on God’s time rather than man’s: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (3:8). This fits well with Christ’s “now/not yet” teaching elsewhere, where He contrasts the short time until the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 23:36; 24:34) with that of the long wait for the second advent to end history (Matt. 25:5, 14).[6]

Third, the longsuffering of the Lord is due to a process that is necessarily age-long: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9 NKJV). “Account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” (2 Pet. 3:15a). The process of calling the “all” to “repentance” unto salvation is one that spans the entire inter-advental era and is still continuing today. This “slowness” (bradutes, v. 9) of Christ’s second advent is so that the postmillennial kingdom victory might continue to grow unto full fruition.[7]

In verse 12a, Peter urges Christians to: “hasten (speudo, “speed up”) the coming of the day of God” (3:12). Vincent comments: “I am inclined to adopt, with Alford, Huther, Salmond, and Trench, the transitive meaning, hastening on; i.e., ‘causing the day of the Lord to come more quickly by helping to fulfil those conditions without which it cannot come; that day being no day inexorably fixed, but one the arrival of which it is free to the church to hasten on by faith and by prayer.’ “[8] This is in keeping with “the cumulative evidence from Scripture, inter-testamental literature, and Jewish sources” regarding the term speudo.[9]The way that we “hasten the coming of the day of God” (3:12) is by evangelistic endeavor. Hence, the earnest prayer “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6: 10; cf. Acts 3: 19ft).

Fourth, the reference to the unraveling and conflagration of the heavens and the earth is expressly tied to the material creation. Hence, it seems clearly to refer to the consummation, and not to A.D. 70, despite certain similarities. Peter expressly refers to the material creation order: “from the beginning of creation” (3:4; cf. Gen. 1:1[10]); “by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water” (3:5; cf. Gen. 1:2, 9[11]); “the heavens and the earth which now exist” (2 Pet. 3:7). He seems clearly to be defining the “heavens and earth” to which he is referring. He is not contemplating the destruction of the old Jewish order, but the material heavens and the earth.

Fifth, the strong detailed language of the destruction of the heavens and the earth seems to go beyond apocalyptic imagery, referring to the actual consummation: “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). “The heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (3:12). In the apocalyptic-symbolic passages thought to parallel 2 Peter 3, we find time frame factors[12] and cultural limitations.[13] Neither does this destruction terminology appear in Isaiah 65:17ff, where the phrase “new heavens and new earth” first appears.

In conjunction with “the promise” of His coming (3:4, 9), we are to await the ultimate “new heavens and new earth” (3:13). Peter obviously employs the terminology of Isaiah 65:17 (which speaks of a spiritual event, see Chapter 15). Yet as an inspired apostle he expands on that truth, looking to the ultimate out- come of the spiritual new heavens and earth in the eternal new creation.

The new creation, then, of 2 Peter 3 is the renovated material world that will succeed the present temporal order. It will be purified by fire and refashioned by the hand of God. It is on this new earth that the saints will dwell forever.

[1] See the brief discussion in Walvoord, Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, pp. 510- 513, 633.

[2] Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant (Tyler, TX: Geneva Divinity School Press, [1954] 1981), ch. 13. See also the amillennialist and preterist Cornelius Vanderwaal, Search the Scriptures (St. Catherines, Ontario: Paideia, 1979), pp. 52-53.

[3] See: John Calvin, Hebrews and I and II Peter (1549), Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance, eds. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963), pp. 363-366. Dabney, Systematic Theology, pp. 850-852. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:665.

[4] See for example: Hoekema, Bible and the Future, ch. 20. Adams, Time Is at Hand, pp. 13ff. Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, Interpreting Prophecy (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976), pp. 131-135. G. C. Berkouwer, The Return of Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), ch. 7. Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962), p. 274.

[5] Russell, Parousia, Preface, and pp. 126, 137, 165, 168, 199, 445, 525.

[6] See Chapter 14, below.

[7] For a discussion on the gradualistic principle of the kingdom, see pp. 249-252, above.

[8] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, 4 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, [1887] 1985), 1:707.

[9] Simon Kistemaker, Peter and Jude (New Testament Commentary) (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987), p. 338. Cf. A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols. (Nashville: Broadman, 1933), 6:177.

[10] The Petrine phraseology (apo arches ktiseos) reflects that of the Lord’s when He spoke of the creation of the material universe. See: Mark 10:6 and 13:9.

[11] The phraseology is reminiscent of Psalm 33:6-7 [Psa. 32:6-7 in Hebrew], which speaks of the creative act of God in making the world.

[12] For example, see: Matt. 24:29, cr. v. 34; Rev. 6:13-14, cf. Rev. 1:1, 3; 6:10.

[13] For example, see: Isa. 13:10, cf. 1,14-21.

—<Quote ends>—

From this passage, you can understand

First: Why we are expected to persevere in our faith in Christ, through good times and tough times. As opposed to the premil claim of a soon-to-come (almost here… almost here… you can just taste it… any moment now…) rapture from reality.

We are not going to escape reality. We are actually going to die, as we are nowhere near meeting the conditions needed for the second coming to occur.

To meet the conditions when death ends, we had better get to work.

Second: the mockers scoff because it takes a long time to prepare the earth for His second coming. We Christians have to keep at it, expanding our faith, training new believers, our families, and society in general (including the State) in obedience to God. This is not going to happen in a snap of the fingers.

Third: The process takes a long time because God is reluctant to condemn billions and billions into hellfire. Christ is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”.

But perish is exactly what they will do, until we get off our duffs and start propagating – and teaching – and living – the Gospel.

We are to speed up the day of His Appearing. From the human perspective, it is not a fixed day, but a day we can hasten by godly living & godly teaching.

Fourth & Fifth: Peter is actually speaking of the end of the material creation, as opposed to the old covenantal order, the “heavens and the earth” symbolized by the Temple that was destroyed in AD 70.

Similarly, the New Creation will be an actual New Heavens and New Earth. A new Creation Event, from the ground up, where the saints of God will dwell forever…

…and from which the wicked will be excluded. Forever.

Dealing With The Homeless

From Bojidar Marinov

“But wouldn’t that actually double the amount of homeless?”

But — ignoring the grammatical fail for a moment — the attitude on displace is exactly the problem. The ‘Homeless” is seen as just some mass abstract bunch of people who are just some kind of problem for the bureaucrats to deal with.

Now, there are some ways the State can help with the problem, from freeing up the restrictions they face, to ‘set-asides’ similar to the Biblical gleaning laws.

The real step is to deal with them face to face, as humans with specific strengths and specific problems. That takes people acting as people, not as bureaucrats filling in forms.

There will come a time, not so far away, when the Welfare State will fail. It is necessary that the church — Christian as Christians, not necessarily affiliated to some temple-bound mystery cult — work to build up the people God has His eyes on. “Has not Christ commanded it?”

Wouldn’t be good if Christians actually did what God told us to do?

I have discussed the dispossessed before. We will have to do better than cut them in half, as God strongly identifies with them as “His kind of people”. And it is Christians as a people who are to heal and bless the world: the State is the Sword, and you can’t heal anyone with swords and knives (and taxation policy).

Regardless of the semi-worshipful “Thank the NHS” attitude that is officially promoted today. Best not to place your faith in idols with rotting feet…

…but will Christians in Britain – however few their number – get ready now, to help the homeless now (and gear up for the coming flood , when the checks stop coming?)