fault lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe

fault lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe

A Review by Jack Kettlerfault linesBy Voddie T. Baucham Jr.
Salem Books (2021)

Voddie Baucham Bio:

Dr. Baucham holds degrees from Houston Baptist University (BA in Christianity/BA in Sociology), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.), an honorary degree from Southern California Seminary (D.D.), and additional post-graduate study at the University of Oxford, England (Regent’s Park College).

A Review:

Unfortunately, many Christians have been asleep and are just now waking up to the subject matter in this book and the gravity of the coming “earthquake” to use the author’s words what the author documents in this book will come as a shock to many. Becoming an ostrich or using a rip van winkle approach will be of no avail.    

Abbreviations and important words encountered in the book:
Antiracism (AR)Critical Social Justice (CSJ)Critical Race Theory (CRT)
Intersectionality (I)
Ethnic Gnosticism (EG)

Important chapters documenting and exposing the antichristian religion and worldview promoted by (AR), (CSJ), (CRT), and (I):

Chapter Four – A New Religion

Chapter Five – A New Priesthood

Chapter Six – A New Canon 

“That same passion has driven me to explore, analyze, and warn against yet another cult: the cult of antiracism.” (66)

“This new cult has created a new lexicon that has served as scaffolding to support what has become an entire body of divinity. In the same manner, this new body of divinity comes complete with its own cosmology (CT/CRT/I); original sin (racism); law (antiracism); gospel (racial reconciliation); martyrs (Saints Trayvon, Mike, George, Breonna, etc.); priests (oppressed minorities); means of atonement (reparations); new birth (wokeness); liturgy (lament); canon (CSJ social science); theologians (DiAngelo, Kendi, Brown, Crenshaw, MacIntosh, etc.); and catechism (“say their names”).” (67)

The author coined the term “Ethnic Gnosticism” and should be considered:
“Ethnic Gnosticism has three basic manifestations. First, it assumes there is a black perspective all black people share (unless they are broken). Of course, no one will admit this since it is obviously racist. However, this is exactly what Ethnic Gnosticism advocates. Second, it argues that white people’s only access to this perspective comes from elevating and heeding black voices. Finally, it essentially argues that narrative is an alternative, and ultimately superior, truth.” (93-94)

 The cult of antiracism and Christ’s forgiveness cannot be harmonized:    “As we saw earlier, the term “antiracist” is loaded. It has a very specific meaning—part of which includes the idea of works-based righteousness. White people are not called to look to God for forgiveness. They are not told that Christ’s blood is sufficient. No, they are told that they must do the unending work of antiracism. And this work must be done regardless of their own actions since the issue at hand is a matter of communal, generational guilt based on ethnicity.” (129)

 Similar to this is obtaining forgiveness in the environmental religion by sorting trash.

 Baucham exposes the dangers of a “new canon” by the cult of antiracism and its extrabiblical literature and the attack on the sufficiency of Scripture.   “The idea that we need a new canon to be able to decipher what the Bible says, or more specifically, what it means regarding race, is quite troubling. This attack on the sufficiency of Scripture should serve as a call to arms.” (130)

 The religion of antiracism is essentially the same as other cults. The Bible cannot be understood without the help of extrabiblical literature and interpreted by a new priesthood or special enlightened leaders.  “James Lindsay, one of the leading academic critics of the Critical Social Justice movement, offers a warning that the Church should heed is noted by the author:

For the foreseeable future, online outrage mobs are going to happen, and they will… eventually target your organization. Your only chance of resisting them is to maintain a positive, anti-fragile, team-oriented internal culture that acts as a counterbalance that gets you through the storm (think about it like boarding up your windows against a rhetorical hurricane). That requires making use of organizational leadership to cultivate the right internal values—broadly liberal and anti-victimhood—and to treat them like a condition of employment or participation in your organization. Then, you can stand against this obnoxious pressure and keep fulfilling your organization’s missions and purposes, as a team.” (204-205)

 The author makes clear; there is nowhere to hide from the catastrophe that has been unleashed:  “It is important to note that, in the Critical Social Justice view, the hegemonic power in the United States of America must include, but not be limited to, all of the following: white, male, heterosexual,9 cisgendered,10 able-bodied,11 native-born, and Christian. That’s right: Christianity is part of the oppressive hegemony!12 And according to some, it is the most pernicious aspect of it; it has and maintains “privilege,” and contributes to oppression.”  (207)

 In conclusion:

 (CSJ), (CRT) and (I) have made inroads into many churches and seminaries under the guise of increasing racial sensitivity, awareness of past societal sins. If this was all that is happening, few could argue with it. However, as Dr. Baucham thoroughly documents, antiracism has all the hallmarks of a religious worldview. If seen in this light, the fundamental assumptions or presuppositions of the movement can be evaluated Biblically in terms of a Christian worldview apologetic. If this approach is taken, the trap of trying to escape the charge of being insensitive racially can be avoided.      

 Dr. Voddie Baucham is one of the contributors and signers of the Dallas Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel. This statement can be found online.

 Dr. Baucham’s book is the gold standard on (CSJ), (CRT), (I) and should be widely read by Christians and politicians everywhere.

 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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The Coming One of Isaiah

The Coming One of Isaiah                                                                        by Jack Kettler                                     

Isaiah means the “Salvation of Yahweh.” There are over twenty messianic prophecies in Isaiah. In this brief survey, only a handful will be considered along with an entry from the Strong’s lexicon or a commentary exposition. Concluding this survey, there will be a biographical sketch of Isaiah.

A Psalm of David:

“Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Lift up your heads, O gates! And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory! Selah” (Psalm 24:8-10) (Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are from the ESV)

The reader is encouraged as they work through this survey to ponder the question; do David and Isaiah speak of the same person?

What exactly did Isaiah say in this regard?

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)

Everlasting Father – אֲבִיעַ֖ד (5703 Strong’s) ’ă-ḇî-‘aḏ. See the New Testament explanation on why Isaiah’s coming one is called the “Everlasting Father.” “…Behold, I and the children God has given me.” (Hebrew’s 2:13) Isaiah’s coming one is not the Trinitarian Father, nevertheless, He is a father unto the children God gave him.

“Of the increase of his government and of peace, there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.” (Isaiah 9:7)

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

“(7) Of the increase . . .—Better, “For the increase of the government, and for peace with no end . . . The “throne of David,” though in harmony with the whole body of prophetic tradition as to the Messiah, may be noted as the first appearance of that tradition in Isaiah.

Henceforth even for ever.—The words admit, as in the parallels of Psalm 21:4; Psalm 61:6-7; 2Samuel 7:12-16, of being interpreted of the perpetuity of the dynasty of which the anointed king is to be the founder; but the “Everlasting Father “of the context, and the parallels of Psalm 45:6; Psalm 110:4, are in favour of its referring to a personal immortality of sovereignty.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform . . .—As in Greek so in Hebrew, we have the same root-word and root-idea for “zeal” and “jealousy,” and here, perhaps, the latter thought is dominant. It is because Jehovah loves the daughter of Zion with an absorbing love that He purposes such great things for her future, and that what He purposes will be assuredly performed. (Comp. Ezekiel 5:13.)” (1)

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” (Isaiah 11:1 KJV)

Isaiah’s coming one is called a branch – וְנֵ֖צֶר (5342 Strong’s) wə-nê-ṣer

“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” (Isaiah 11:2 ESV)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary:

“The Spirit of the Lord; the Holy Ghost, wherewith he was anointed, Acts 10:38, and by whom his mother was overshadowed, Luke 1:35.

Shall rest upon him; not only come upon him at certain times, as he did upon the prophets now and then at his pleasure, but shall have its constant and settled abode in him; although the same phrase be sometimes used of other prophets in an inferior sense, as Numbers 11:17 2 Kings 2:15.

The Spirit of wisdom and understanding; which hath these perfections in itself, and confers them upon him. It is neither easy, nor at all necessary, exactly to distinguish these two gifts; it is sufficient that they are necessary qualifications for a governor, and for a teacher, both which offices were to meet in the Messiah; and it is evident that they signify a practical and perfect knowledge of all things necessary for the discharge of his trust, and for his own and people’s good, and a sound judgment, to distinguish between things that differ.

Of counsel and might; of prudence, to give good counsel; and of might and courage, to execute it; which are two necessary qualifications of a ruler.

Of knowledge; of the perfect knowledge of the whole will and counsel of God, especially that which concerns the salvation of men, the prosecution whereof was his great work, as also of all secret and hidden things, yea, of the hearts of men, the knowledge whereof is ascribed to Christ. Matthew 9:4 Revelation 2:23.

Of the fear of the Lord; not a fear of diffidence or horror, but of reverence; a care to please him, and loathness to offend him, which well became the Messiah towards his God and Father.” (2)

“Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” (Isaiah 11:5)

Pulpit Commentary:

“Verse 5. – Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, etc.; i.e. ‘righteousness shall be ever with him, ever ready for active use, ever (as it were) bracing him for action.’ Assuredly, he was ‘righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works’ (Psalm 145:17). Faithfulness (comp. Ephesians 6:14, ‘Having your loins girt about with truth’”). (3)

“Then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness.” (Isaiah 16:5) See (Luke 1:33)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

“5. If Judah shelters the suppliant Moab, allowing him to remain in Idumea, a blessing will redound to Judah itself and its “throne.”

truth … judgment … righteousness—language so divinely framed as to apply to ‘the latter days’ under King Messiah, when ‘the Lord shall bring again the captivity of Moab’ (Ps 72:2; 96:13; 98:9; Jer. 48:47; Ro 11:12).

hasting—‘prompt in executing.’” (4)

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16 KJV) See (Psalm 118:22) See (Mark 12:10)

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:

“16. There is but one true ground of confidence—Jehovah’s revealed purpose with regard to Zion.

Behold, I lay strictly: Behold, I am he that hath laid (for the Hebr. construction cf. chapter Isaiah 29:14, Isaiah 38:5). The figure of the verse requires little explanation; it is illustrated by the massive and “costly” stones which formed the foundations of Solomon’s temple (1Kings 5:17). And the general idea is that Jehovah’s relation to Israel is the stable and permanent, though invisible, foundation of all God’s work in the world. Beyond this, it is hardly necessary to go in seeking an answer to the question, of what is the stone an emblem? It is not Jehovah Himself, since it is Jehovah who lays it; it is not the Temple, nor Mount Zion, nor the Davidic dynasty, for these are at most but visible symbols of a spiritual fact disclosed to the prophet’s faith. The foundation stone represents the one element in human history, which is indestructible, viz., the purpose of God, and that purpose as historically realised in the relation, which He has established between Himself and the people of Israel.

a sure foundation Transl. with R.V. of sure foundation.

he that believeth shall not make haste The LXX. reads “shall not be ashamed” (yçbôsh for yâḥîsh). Cheyne and others propose a slight emendation (yâmûsh) which gives the sense “shall not give way.” This is the second great passage in which Isaiah emphasises faith as the primary condition of salvation (Ch. Isaiah 7:9).

The image of the verse recurs in Psalm 118:22; and is applied to the Messiah in Romans 9:33; Romans 10:11; 1 Peter 2:6-8 (following the LXX. text).” (5)

“Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice.” (Isaiah 32:1) See (Psalm 72:1) See (Jeremiah 33:15) See (Ezekiel 37:24)

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:

“32:1-8 Christ our righteous King, and his true disciples, are evidently here intended. The consolations and graces of his Spirit are as rivers of water in this dry land; and as the overhanging rock affords refreshing shade and shelter to the weary traveller in the desert, so his power, truth, and love, yield the believer the only real protection and refreshment in the weary land through which he journeys to heaven. Christ bore the storm himself, to keep it off from us. To him let the trembling sinner flee for refuge; for he alone can protect and refresh us in every trial. See what pains sinners take in sin; they labour at it, their hearts are intent upon it, and with art, they work iniquity; but this is our comfort, that they can do no more mischief than God permits. Let us seek to have our hearts more freed from selfishness. The liberal soul devises liberal things concerning God, and desires that He will grant wisdom and prudence, the comforts of his presence, the influence of his Spirit, and in due time the enjoyment of his glory.” (6)

“And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:5)

Glory of the Lord – כְּב֣וֹד (3519 Strong’s) kə-ḇō-wḏיְהוָ֑ה (3068 Strong’s) Yah-weh

“Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.” (Isaiah 55:4)

Leader and Commander – נָגִ֥יד (5057 Strong’s) nā-ḡîḏוּמְצַוֵּ֖ה (6680 Strong’s) ū-mə-ṣaw-wêh

“He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.” (Isaiah 59:17)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary:

He put on righteousness as a breastplate; God, resolving to appear as a man of war against Babylon, that did now oppress his people, puts on his arms, Heb. wrapped himself, and particularly his

breastplate, which he calls righteousness, to show the justness of his cause, as also his faithfulness in making good his promises to his people.

An helmet: as the breastplate is to defend the heart and vital parts, whereby God doth signify the innocency and justness of his cause, as well as his faithfulness; so the

helmet is to defend the brain, the fountain of the animal spirits, and therefore by this piece of armour would have us know that he is invincible: as by the other, that he defends a just cause in his truth and faithfulness; so by this, that he cannot be disappointed in it by reason of his power and invincibleness.

The garments of vengeance or garments made of vengeance; as God is said to put on the former for their sakes whom he would preserve, so he puts on these for their sakes whom he will destroy, viz. his people’s enemies, the Chaldeans, and other enemies of the Jews.

Was clad with zeal; either,

1. Zeal to his own honour, which had been given to idols; or,

2. Zeal for his own people, who were now in distress; or,

3. Zeal and indignation against the Babylonians, who were such great oppressors of his people, which are the materials that his garment of vengeance and his cloak of zeal is made of. It may be trifling to follow the metaphor of garments too close: see of the phrase Judges 6:34, margin. The sum of all these expressions is this, to describe both the cause and effect together; the cause was righteousness and zeal in God, the effect salvation to his people, and vengeance on his enemies, as is evident from the next verse.” (7)

“You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 60:16)

Mighty One – אֲבִ֥יר (46 Strong’s) ’ă-ḇîr

“Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength? ‘It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel.” (Isaiah 63:1-3) See (Revelation 19:13)

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:


Isa 63:1-19. Messiah Coming as the Avenger, in Answer to His People’s Prayers.

Messiah, approaching Jerusalem after having avenged His people on His and their enemies, is represented under imagery taken from the destruction of ‘Edom,’ the type of the last and most bitter foes of God and His people (see Isa 34:5, &c.).

1. Who—the question of the prophet in prophetic vision.

dyed—scarlet with blood (Isa 63:2, 3; Re 19:13).

Bozrah—(See on [868] Isa 34:6).

travelling—rather, stately; literally, ‘throwing back the head’ [Gesenius].

speak in righteousness—answer of Messiah. I, who have in faithfulness given a promise of deliverance, am now about to fulfil it. Rather, speak of righteousness (Isa 45:19; 46:13); salvation being meant as the result of His ‘righteousness’ [Maurer].

save—The same Messiah that destroys the unbeliever saves the believer. Christ’s victory over his enemies, Isaiah 63:1-6, and mercy towards his church; in judgment remembering mercy, Isaiah 63:7-14. The church’s prayer and complaint in faith, Isaiah 63:15-19.

In these two verses either the prophet, as in some vision or ecstasy, is put probably upon inquiry by God himself, rather than by Christ, or Michael, or Judas Maccabeeus, as some have thought; and the rather, because this place doth thus suit best with Isaiah 59:16,17. Or the church makes inquiry, and that with admiration, who it is that appears in such a habit or posture, Isaiah 63:1, and why, Isaiah 63:2.

Edom; that is, the country of Idumea, where Esau dwelt, and Esau himself was sometimes called by this name, Genesis 25:30; and it is put synecdochically for all the enemies of the church, as Moab is, Isaiah 25:10: See Poole “Isaiah 25:10”.

With dyed garments; or, stained: thus, Christ is described, Revelation 19:13, and so also Isaiah 63:3: LXX, the redness of garments.

Bozrah; the capital city of Idumea; see further Isaiah 34:6, a parallel text; and Edom and Bozrah here are mentioned, either,

1. Not as relating to the places so called, but by way of allusion to the garments of this conqueror, Edom signifying red, and Bozrah a vintage; the one relating to his treading the winepress, and the other to the blood sprinkled upon his garments, Isaiah 63:3: the like manner of speaking you have Psalm 120:5. Or rather,

2. Put synecdochically for all the enemies of the church, among whom, though antichrist be not particularly designed, yet may be reckoned, being one of the chief of them; thus typifying Christ’s victories over all the enemies of the church, Revelation 19:19-21; and this is usual. Babylon is put for any detestable city, and Moab for all that are vile and abominable, Isaiah 25:10, so Edom here for all God’s enemies. And he mentions these Idumeans rather than the Chaldeans, who were the Jews’ chief and particular enemies,

2. Partly to set forth the greatness of the enmity, being of old standing, and an inbred malignity, Genesis 25:22,23, and irreconcilable, and perpetual, Amos 1:11, and particularly put forth when the Babylonians took Jerusalem, Psalm 137:72. Partly to comfort the Jews, both because God would take particular revenge upon Edom, as he had threatened, and prophesied by Obadiah, which is the substance of that whole prophecy; and also these being their near neighbours, God doth give them security, that they shall not only be delivered frons the Chaldeans, those remoter enemies, but from the Idumeans also, whose vicinity and neighbourhood might have been troublesome to them.

Glorious in his apparel, such as generals are wont to march before their armies in, or great conquerors, that walk in state and gallantry from their conquests.

In the greatness of his strength; in or according to the majesty of his gait, being an indication of the greatness of his strength, and intimating that he hath thoroughly done his work, and fears no pursuing enemy, as the lion that keepeth his majestic gait without the fear of any other beast, Proverbs 30:30: this notes the invincibleness of his power, and that it is his own strength, he needeth not the help of armies or other instruments, and thus he will travel through all the countries of his enemies.

I that speak in righteousness: here the Lord Christ gives an answer, wherein he both asserts his fidelity, that he will faithfully perform what he hath promised, and that he will truly execute justice, Revelation 19:11; and hereby also he distinguisheth himself from all idol gods, Isaiah 45:19, 20.

Mighty to save; I have power to accomplish salvation as powerful as faithful, Isaiah 19:20.” (8)

A summary of the characteristics of Isaiah’s coming one:

·         The increase of his government and of peace there will be no end… 9:7

·         The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him… 11:2

·         Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist… 11:5

·         In the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice… 16:5

·         A foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation… 28:16

·         Behold, a king will reign in righteousness… 32:1

·         He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head… 59:17

·         Who is this who comes from Edom… 63:1

In conclusion:

Yes, David and Isaiah both spoke of Christ in Old Testament Messianic terminology. 

“Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.” (John 12:41)

Easton’s Bible Dictionary – Isaiah:

(Heb. Yesh’yahu, i.e., “the salvation of Jehovah”).

The son of Amoz (Isaiah 1:1; 2:1), who was apparently a man of humble rank. His wife was called “the prophetess” (8:3), either because she was endowed with the prophetic gift, like Deborah (Judg. 4:4) and Huldah (2Kings 22:14-20), or simply because she was the wife of “the prophet” (Isaiah 38:1). He had two sons, who bore symbolical names.

He exercised the functions of his office during the reigns of Uzziah (or Azariah), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (1:1). Uzziah reigned fifty-two years (B.C. 810-759), and Isaiah must have begun his career a few years before Uzziah’s death, probably B.C. 762. He lived till the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, and in all likelihood outlived that monarch (who died B.C. 698), and may have been contemporary for some years with Manasseh. Thus, Isaiah may have prophesied for the long period of at least sixty-four years.

His first call to the prophetical office is not recorded. A second call came to him “in the year that King Uzziah died” (Isaiah 6:1). He exercised his ministry in a spirit of uncompromising firmness and boldness in regard to all that bore on the interests of religion. He conceals nothing and keeps nothing back from fear of man. He was also noted for his spirituality and for his deep-toned reverence toward “the holy One of Israel.”

In early youth Isaiah must have been moved by the invasion of Israel by the Assyrian monarch Pul (q.v.), 2 Kings 15:19 ; and again, twenty years later, when he had already entered on his office, by the invasion of Tiglath-pileser and his career of conquest. Ahaz, king of Judah, at this crisis refused to co-operate with the kings of Israel and Syria in opposition to the Assyrians, and was on that account attacked and defeated by Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of Samaria ( 2 Kings 16:5 ; 2 Chr. 2 Kings 28:5 2 Kings 28:6 ). Ahaz, thus humbled, sided with Assyria, and sought the aid of Tiglath-pileser against Israel and Syria. The consequence was that Rezin and Pekah were conquered and many of the people carried captive to Assyria (2Kings 15:29; 16:9; 1Chronicles 5:26). Soon after this Shalmaneser determined wholly to subdue the kingdom of Israel. Samaria was taken and destroyed (B.C. 722). So long as Ahaz reigned, the kingdom of Judah was unmolested by the Assyrian power; but on his accession to the throne, Hezekiah (B.C. 726), who “rebelled against the king of Assyria” (2 Kings 18:7), in which he was encouraged by Isaiah, who exhorted the people to place all their dependence on Jehovah (Isaiah 10:24; 37:6), entered into an alliance with the king of Egypt (Isaiah 30:2-4). This led the king of Assyria to threaten the king of Judah, and at length to invade the land. Sennacherib (B.C. 701) led a powerful army into Palestine. Hezekiah was reduced to despair, and submitted to the Assyrians (2Kings 18:14-16). But after a brief interval war broke out again, and again Sennacherib (q.v.) led an army into Palestine, one detachment of which threatened Jerusalem (Isaiah 36:2-22; 37:8). Isaiah on that occasion encouraged Hezekiah to resist the Assyrians (37:1-7), whereupon Sennacherib sent a threatening letter to Hezekiah, which he “spread before the Lord” (37:14). The judgement of God now fell on the Assyrian host. “Like Xerxes in Greece, Sennacherib never recovered from the shock of the disaster in Judah. He made no more expeditions against either Southern Palestine or Egypt.” The remaining years of Hezekiah’s reign were peaceful (2Chronicles 32:23 2 Chronicles 32:27-29). Isaiah probably lived to its close, and possibly into the reign of Manasseh, but the time and manner of his death are unknown. There is a tradition that he suffered martyrdom in the heathen reaction in the time of Manasseh (q.v.).

One of the heads of the singers in the time of David (1Chronicles 25:3 1Chronicles 25:15, “Jeshaiah”).

A Levite (1Chronicles 26:25).

Ezra 8:7.

Nehemiah 11:7.” (9)

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)


 1.       Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Isaiah, Vol. 4, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 446.

2.       Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Isaiah, Vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 355.

3.       H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Isaiah, Vol. 10. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 203.

4.       Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 527.

5.       John Skinner, Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Isaiah, vol. 1, Volume 19 of (Cambridge University Press, 1898), e-Sword version.

6.       Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Isaiah, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 1158.

7.       Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Isaiah, Vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 437.

8.       Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 589.

9.       M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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What are Weights and Measures in Biblical Law?

What are Weights and Measures in Biblical Law?                                          by Jack Kettler                                     

What do the Scriptures say about Weights and Measures?

A contemporary definition:

 Weights and Measures, a Definition from the U.S. Legal Code:

“Weights, measures or weighing or measuring devices are defined to include all weights, scales, beams, measures of every kind, instruments and mechanical devices for weighing, or measuring, and any appliances and accessories connected with any or all such instruments. The federal government has adopted a standard for weights and measures which is adopted on a state-by-state basis. In states which adopt the federal standard, all contracts made within the state for any work to be done or for anything to be sold or delivered must be construed to have been according to the standard, unless the parties stipulate to the contrary.

Weights and measures regulatory professionals set standards and enforce uniform procedures to verify weight, volume, length or count, ensuring that consumers get the quantity that they pay for and that businesses sell the quantity that they advertise. Inspections may be conducted at such places as grocery stores and gas stations. Some of the items affected include home heating oil, fabrics, parking meters, and taxi fares.”

Where did the notion about weights and measures in the U.S. Legal code come from? It did not arise out of thin air. As with many other legal principles and laws in Western legal codes, it is rooted in Scripture.

The Scriptures:

“You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15 ESV) (All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted)

“You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” (Leviticus 19:35-36 ESV)

“You shall not have in your bag two kinds of weights, a large and a small.” (Deuteronomy 25:13)

Comments from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers are apropos:

“Deuteronomy 25:13-16. JUST WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.

So Leviticus 19:35-36. Among the laws of moral holiness comes the law of just weights and measures.

(16) An abomination unto the Lord.—So in Proverbs 11:1, “a false balance is abomination to the Lord.” (See also Amos 8:4-8.) The protection of the poor is the chief practical end in this; rich men can take care of themselves. Poor men are doubly robbed by short weight and measure, because they cannot protect themselves against it. The injustice tends to perpetuate their poverty.” (1)

“A full and fair weight you shall have a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 25:15)

“A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.” (Proverbs 11:1)

The Pulpit Commentary explains this nicely:

“Verse 1. – A false balance; literally, balances of deceit (Proverbs 20:23). The repetition of the injunctions of Deuteronomy 25:13, 14 and Leviticus 19:35, 36 points to fraud consequent on increased commercial dealings, and the necessity of moral and religious considerations to control practices, which the civil authority could not adequately supervise. The standard weights and measures were deposited in the sanctuary (Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; 1 Chronicles 23:29), but cupidity was not to be restrained by law, and the prophets had continually to inveigh against this besetting sin (see Ezekiel 45:10; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:11). Honesty and integrity are at the foundation of social duties, which the author is now teaching. Hence comes the reiteration of these warnings (Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10). A just weight; literally, a perfect stone, stones having been used as weights from early times. So we read (2 Samuel 14:26) that Absalom weighed his hair “by the king’s stone” (eben).” (2)

“A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.” (Proverbs 16:11)

“Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 20:10)

“Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?” (Amos 8:4-6)

“Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. Therefore, I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword.” (Micah 6:10-14)

“Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.” (James 5:4”

Falsified weights and measures has been and is a deceitful technique to obtain an unfair advantage in trade. Therefore, in can be concluded that unfair weights and measures is nothing short of stealing. Im balanced weights and measures is a violation of the seventh commandment.

In conclusion, implications for today:

“Why Paper Money Represents Theft

By Mark R. Rushdoony

June 16, 2005

Every hour of every day the government is stealing your wealth, and, like a good thief, is never suspected. It does it by creating paper (or digital) money and spending it, just like a counterfeiter.

Scripture demands just weights and measures (Lev.19:35–36; Deut. 25:13–15). Obviously, a butcher who holds his finger on the scale when he weighs meat violates this requirement. However, this demand is also a reference to money, which was then also by weight of gold and silver and was counterfeited by adding impurities to it so that its weight was unjust. Tampering with scales or the money that measured wealth in economic transactions was called “unrighteousness” (Lev.19:35) because it was theft. Isaiah condemned Jerusalem for its sin. It had become a city of murderers, thieves, and bribe-takers, and, as Isaiah said, their “silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water” (Isa. 1:22). In other words, Jerusalem was a place where you were going to get clipped.

Melting worthless metals into precious ones, however, is cumbersome. Today’s unjust monetary weights are represented by paper money issued by the government. Increasingly, paper is eliminated and money is created digitally in a computer. Click, and dollars appear because the Federal Reserve System so commands. The government spends these artificial dollars at full value; it is only after they circulate that the increased circulation causes market forces to realize there is more money chasing the same amount of goods. The result is higher prices, reflecting the fact that all money is now worth a little less. Paper inflation is like adding water to wine; the wine becomes less valuable, not more.

Paper money works in the same manner as counterfeiting; only governments allow themselves the exclusive right to inflate the money supply. It still represents a morally lawless money because it is an artificial money, an unjust, unrighteous weight (really no weight at all). Inflation is the government creating spending power by “watering down” the money supply.

Paper money is the greatest single means of government control of wealth. We measure our economy, in fact, in terms of the government’s success in manipulating the flow of money. We watch the Federal Reserve to see if they can maintain a balance between recession and inflation. The health of our economy is increasingly measured in terms of government management, not in terms of productivity, savings, or capital. In reality, an economy that demands government management is already a troubled one.

Critics of hard (gold, silver) money note these are commodities that can fluctuate in value. They can vary in an open market, but paper money always varies and does so in a consistently downward trend. Money represents wealth, and government-inflated paper dollars are a manipulated sliding scale of wealth. How much has our scale slid? It is estimated that if you had held on to a 1934 paper dollar, its spending power today would be the equivalent of five 1934 cents!

We usually realize the tenuous nature of our money’s value. We scramble to avoid holding paper. We put paper money into tangibles we hope will increase in real value faster than paper dollars will decline. Antiques, art, real estate, and stocks all offer us some hope of outpacing the decline in value of our paper money.

Inflation destroys money, the measure of wealth, and is a poison for a capitalistic economy. Inflation means there is no security to acquired wealth, that we must do more than invest, we must speculate on what will outpace inflation.

Our money represents a counterfeiting government’s theft of our wealth. It is an unjust, that is, an unrighteous, weight that produces an artificial economic atmosphere. Like Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day, our counterfeiting government is ripe for judgment. Because it is unjust, the godly ought not to justify it.

Most of God’s judgments are the inevitable consequences of ignoring His laws. If you jump off a cliff, God does not have to do anything to judge you; His gravity will do the job. In our personal finances, we know that theft and debt will lead to our ruin. Our economy is based on the theft of false measurements and debt. One day it will see a severe correction. It will be a hard one, and the hurt will be universal. Avoid both debt and depending on the value of paper money to protect your wealth, however, and you will come out of it better than most.” (3)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)


1.       Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Deuteronomy, Vol. 2, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 68.

2.       H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Proverbs, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 214.

3.       Mark R. Rushdoony, Why Paper Money Represents Theft, (Vallecito, California, Chalcedon), online https ://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/why-paper-money-represents-theft

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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Will animals be in heaven?

Will animals be in heaven?                                                                   By Jack Kettler                                     

What do the Scriptures say about animals in heaven? Related to this, will you see your pet dog or cat in heaven? A word of caution for those having lost a pet. Due to an emotional factor, your emotions can easily affect your interpretation of the Scriptures. Because of emotions, it is easy to read things into Scripture that are not there.

This study is not about eschatological views; nevertheless, it is somewhat unavoidable when seeking an answer to the main question. The astute reader will notice how the timing of the millennium will change how the main question is answered.

Millennial passages:

“And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

“And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox… They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:7, 9)

“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 65:25)

A question of timing:

A premillennialist would place these three passages on this earth during the millennium prior to the second, second coming of Christ. Note: in premillennialism, Christ comes at the beginning of the millennium and again at the end of the millennium prior to heaven. Thus, there are two-second comings in premillennialism, which is problematic.

Isaiah 2:4, in particular, cannot be talking about a future literal millennium. If so, then when Isaiah says, “neither shall they learn war any more” is not true. At the end of the premillennial literal millennium prior to heaven, there will be war again in Satan’s final revolt. If the millennial reign of Christ is prior to the “new heaven” and “new earth,” then the premillennialist can find no support from the Isaiah passages for animals in heaven since they would be prior to heaven.   

In contrast with the premillennial view, the above passages from Isaiah are pictures of the “new heavens” and the “new earth” as understood by non-premillennialists. For example, the amillennial and postmillennial views both place the millennium during the church age and consequently give support for the belief that animals will be in heaven. The following commentary entry provides support that Isaiah’s prediction will find fulfillment in the “new heavens” and “new earth.”

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Isaiah 65:25:

“25. A last feature of the new earth is the peace, which shall reign in the animal world. See on Ch. Isaiah 11:6-9, from which this verse is quoted. The second and fourth lines are cited literally from Isaiah 11:7; Isaiah 11:9, the first is a condensation of Isaiah 11:6-7 a. The only clause not represented in the original passage is the third line: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat an allusion to Genesis 3:14.” (1)

The next two passages from Isaiah tie Isaiah’s thoughts together with 2:4, 11:7, 9, and 65:25, thus finding fulfillment in “the new heavens” and “the new earth” rather than of literal future millennium prior to heaven.

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Isaiah65:17:

“(17) Behold, I create new heavens . . .  The thought reappears in many forms in the New Testament—verbally in 2Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1, substantially in the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21), in the “manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). The “former things,” the sin and sorrow of the past, shall then fade away from the memory of God’s people, absorbed in the abounding and everlasting joy.” (2)

“For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.” (Isaiah 66:22)

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible how Isaiah’s words are permanent and abiding:

“For as the new heavens and the new earth – (See the notes at Isaiah 65:17).

Shall remain before me – They shall not pass away and be succeeded by others. The idea is, that the state of things here described would be permanent and abiding.

So shall your seed and your name remain – (See the notes at Isaiah 65:15)” (3)

The New Testament likewise looks for “new heavens” and a “new earth,” rather than an earthly millennium.

“Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2Peter 3:13)

John, in his revelation, concurs with Peter.

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Revelation 21:1)

God’s concern for animals is seen in the following passages:

“And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living creature that is with you–birds, livestock, and all wildlife of the earth that are with you–all the animals of the earth that came out of the ark.” (Genesis 9:9-10)

“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10)

“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” (Luke 12:6)_

Luke 12:6, in particular, may have relevance to the main question. Consider the Greek:

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

STRONGS NT 1950: ἐπιλανθάνομαι

ἐπιλανθάνομαι; perfect passive ἐπιλελησμαι; 2 aorist middle ἐπελαθόμην; the Sept. often for שָׁכַח; to forget: followed by the infinitive, Matthew 16:5; Mark 8:14; followed by an indirect question. James 1:24; in the sense of neglecting, no longer caring for: with the genitive, Hebrews 6:10; Hebrews 13:2, 16; with the accusative (cf. Winers Grammar, § 30, 10 c.; Matthiae, § 347 Anm. 2, ii., p. 820f), Philippians 3:13 (14); with a passive signification (Isaiah 23:16; Sir. 3:14 Sir. 32:9 (Sir. 35:9); Wis. 2:4, etc. (cf. Buttmann, 52 (46))): ἐπιλελησμένος forgotten, given over to oblivion, i. e. uncared for, ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ before God i. e. by God (Sir. 23:14), Luke 12:6. ((From Homer on.))” (4)


If Thayer is correct on ἐπιλανθάνομαι then God’s care for the sparrows is ongoing, they are not forgotten or uncared for.

If the Scriptures surveyed so far take place in a future literal millennium, it could be concluded that there will be no animals in the “new heaven” and “new earth.” However, if the Scriptures surveyed thus far are a portrayal of heaven, then yes, there is Scripture support for the idea of animals being in heaven. The non-premillennialist position also has to be qualified by asking the question, are the passages in Isaiah literal or figurative. For example, the phrase “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together” is metaphorical, which does not necessarily take away from a literal understanding. However, a number of commentators see some of Isaiah’s phraseology to be figurative, and in which case, the main question still cannot be answered with certainty.

In the next verse from Romans, can the word creature or creation include animals?

“Because the “creature” [many translations use creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21)  

 Calvin’s Comments on Romans 8:21:

“21. Because the creation itself, etc. He shows how the creation has in hope been made subject to vanity; that is, inasmuch as it shall sometime be made free, according to what Isaiah testifies, and what Peter confirms still more clearly. It is then indeed meet for us to consider what a dreadful curse we have deserved, since all created things in themselves blameless, both on earth and in the visible heaven, undergo punishment for our sins; for it has not happened through their own fault, that they are liable to corruption. Thus, the condemnation of mankind is imprinted on the heavens, and on the earth, and on all creatures. It hence also appears to what excelling glory the sons of God shall be exalted; for all creatures shall be renewed in order to amplify it, and to render it illustrious.

But he means not that all creatures shall be partakers of the same glory with the sons of God; but that they, according to their nature, shall be participators of a better condition; for God will restore to a perfect state the world, now fallen, together with mankind. But what that perfection will be, as to beasts as well as plants and metals, it is not meet nor right in us to inquire more curiously; for the chief effect of corruption is decay. Some subtle men, but hardly sober-minded, inquire whether all kinds of animals will be immortal; but if reins be given to speculations where will they at length lead us? Let us then be content with this simple doctrine, — that such will be the constitution and the complete order of things, that nothing will be deformed or fading.” (5)

Does Romans 8:21 and the word “creation” include animals? Humanity sinned by a rational choice, and this rationality is part of God’s image in humankind. Animals do not have rationality, and therefore, cannot sin. If left there, the passage does not support animals in heaven. However, if Paul includes the larger creation as being under the curse because of man’s sin, then yes, when the creation is redeemed, the animal and plant kingdom will experience the removal of corruption, a renewal, and would most certainly include them.  

In closing to look at the question of seeing your pet in heaven:

Pets in Heaven? The Bible Answer Man by Hank Hanegraaff:

“Scripture does not exclusively tell us whether our pets will make it to heaven. However, the Bible does provide us with some significant clues that animals will inhabit the new heaven and the new earth.

First, the Garden of Eden was populated by animals, thus there is a precedent for believing that Eden restored will also be populated by animals.

Furthermore, the Scriptures — from first to last — suggest that animals have souls. Both Moses in Genesis and John in Revelation communicate that the Creator endowed animals with souls (see Gen. 1:20, 24; Rev. 8:9). Throughout the history of the church, the classic understanding of living things has included the doctrine that animals, as well as humans, have souls.

Finally, while we cannot say for certain that the pets we enjoy today will be resurrected in eternity, I am not willing to preclude the possibility. Some of the keenest thinkers — from C.S. Lewis to Peter Kreeft — are not only convinced that animals in general, but that pets in particular, will be restored in the resurrection.

Dr. Kreeft, for example, is convinced that animals will exist throughout eternity. “Are there animals in Heaven? The simplest answer is: Why not? How irrational is the prejudice that would allow plants (green fields and flowers), but not animals into Heaven.” Regarding pets, he writes: “Would the same animals be in Heaven as on earth? ‘Is my dead cat in Heaven?’ Again, why not? God can raise up the very grass; why not cats? Though the blessed have better things to do than play with pets, the better does not exclude the lesser.”

One thing is certain: Scripture provides us with a sufficient precedent for suggesting that animals will continue to exist after the return of our Lord. Isaiah 11:6-9 provides a particularly stirring image.” (6)

Concluding thought:

After the Second coming of Christ, the animal world will experience restoration and will return to their original creative state. Therefore, there will be animals in the new creation. As much as many would like to believe our pets would be there, it would be going beyond what is revealed in Scripture to say definitively yes. However, with God, all things are possible.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)


1.       John Skinner, Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Isaiah, vol. 2, Volume 20 of (Cambridge University Press, 1898), e-Sword version.

2.      Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Isaiah, Vol. 4, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 573.

3.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Isaiah, Vol. 7, p. 1545.

4.      J. H. Thayer, The New Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers), p. 240.

5.      John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Romans, Volume XIX, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), p. 305.

6.      Hank Hanegraaff, The Complete Bible Answer Book, (printed in China, Thomas Nelson), p. 548-549.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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The Second Coming of Christ as seen in the Scriptures

The Second Coming of Christ as seen in the Scriptures                                 by Jack Kettler                                     

The “Second Coming” of Christ as seen in the Old Testament:

The Old Testament Scriptures do not directly mention the “Second Coming” of Christ as such.

Regarding Christ’s “First Coming,” you have prophetic examples like:

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1)


“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” (Malachi 4:5)

The following limited survey of Old Testament texts deals with the final consolation of Israel at the end of redemptive history followed by the eternal peace of God’s rule. These Old Testament Scriptures, while not meaning the “Second Coming,” per se find their fulfillment in the Messianic hope realized at the “Second Coming.”

“That the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.” (Deuteronomy 30:3) (High lightning emphasis mine)

“And King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.” (1Kings 2:45)

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25)

“Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Psalm 2:1-12

“All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.” (Psalm 22:27-28)

“The LORD shall reign forever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 146:10)

“He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction!” (Hosea 13:14)

“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:7)

“And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:8)

“And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” (Zechariah 9:10)

“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place, incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

“But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” (Malachi 3:2)


As seen, the nature of the Old Testament portrayals of the “Second Coming” is somewhat different from the New Testament descriptions. As previously noted, the words “Second” or “First” coming do not appear in the Old Testament. Instead, the Old Testament depicts the “Second Coming” as the final hope of Israel’s restoration with God’s rule being undisputed and continuing forever. In addition, in the above Scriptures, the “First” and “Second” coming of Christ is pictured eschatologically as one event wherein the Messianic hope is inaugurated.

The “Second Coming” of Christ as seen in the New Testament:

The following New Testament Scriptures take for granted the fact of the “First Coming” of Christ. Believers in the New Testament are reminded to be watchful and look forward to the event of the “Second Coming.”

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” (Matthew 16:27)

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24:42)

“And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:33)

“Jesus saith unto him, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.” (John 21:22)

“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)

“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (1Corinthians 15:23)

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1Thessalonians 2:19)

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28)

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” (James 5:7)

“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” (1John 2:28)


Like the Old Testament, the New Testament does not use the exact wording of the “Second Coming” of Christ. The closest wording to that is “he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).

Importantly, Luke notes, in his gospel, chapter 1:33, “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom, there shall be no end,” in which the unification of the Church and believing Israel in Christ happens. See Romans 11:11-31.

Most certainly, Luke in 1:33 is making identification with Jeremiah 23:5:

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” (Jeremiah 23:5)

For additional Old Testament cross references to Luke 1:33, see also; 2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:4; Psalm 89:36; Psalm 89:37; Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 16:5; Daniel 2:44; Daniel 6:26; Daniel 7:14.

As Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains Luke 1:33:  “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob … Not over the Jews, the posterity of Jacob, in a literal sense; but over the whole Israel of God, consisting of Jews and Gentiles. For as his father David reigned over the Idumeans, Syrians, and others, as well as over the house of Judah and Israel, so this his son shall reign over both Jews and Gentiles: his kingdom shall be from one end of the earth to the other, even over all the elect of God; who in successive generations call themselves by the name of Jacob, and surname themselves by the name of Israel, of whatsoever nation they be; and this reign of his shall be

for ever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end; referring to Isaiah 9:7 see also Daniel 2:44 Daniel 7:14 he shall reign in the hearts of his people here unto the end of the world; and with his saints a thousand years in the new heavens and new earth; and with them to all eternity, in the ultimate glory.” (1)

To maintain Biblical Orthodoxy, one must not abandon the physical literal “Second Coming” of Christ. Mockers or those that have abandoned Orthodoxy say:

“And saying, where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2Peter 3:4)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary explains Peter well:
And saying, Where is the promise? Questioning or denying the great truths of the gospel, thereby to encourage themselves in walking after their own lusts.

Of his coming; viz. Christ’s, mentioned 2 Peter 3:2. Possibly these scoffers might drop the name of Christ by way of contempt, not vouchsafing to mention it, as the Jews did, John 9:29; q.d. [from the Latin quasi diat: as if one should say] Where is the promise of his coming whom you expect?

His coming, to judge the world; q.d. His promised coming doth not appear, the promise of it is not fulfilled.

For since the fathers, who died in the faith of Christ’s coming, and had the promise of it,

fell asleep; i.e. died; the usual phrase of Scripture, which these scoffers seem to speak in derision; q.d. It is so long since the fathers fell asleep, (as you call it), that it were more than time for them to be awakened, whereas we see the contrary.

All things continue as they were from the beginning of the

creation; i.e. the world continues to be the same it was, and hath the same parts it had; we see nothing changed, nothing abolished, but still nature keeps its old course. Thus they argue, that because there had been no such great change, therefore there should be none; because Christ was not yet come to judgment, therefore he should not come at all; not considering the power of God, who is as able to destroy the world as to make it, nor the will of God revealed in his word concerning the end of it.” (2)

 What do we find in the confessions and catechisms that are necessary to maintain Biblical Orthodoxy?
Westminster Larger Catechism Question 56:

Q. 56. How is Christ to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world?

A. Christ is to be exalted in his coming again to judge the world, in that he, who was unjustly judged and condemned by wicked men, shall come again at the last day in great power, and in the full manifestation of his own glory, and of his Father’s, with all his holy angels, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, to judge the world in righteousness.

 Belgic Confession Article 37:

“Our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, corporally and visibly, as He ascended, with great glory and majesty.”

 Free Reformed Churches of North America:


“The Bible directs us to expect our Lord Jesus Christ to come again (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). He will come with the clouds of heaven. He will come as the One risen and ascended and exalted in majesty. Jesus’ Second Coming will be in marked contrast to His first coming, which was in humiliation. The majesty of His divinity will no longer be laid aside. We shall see Him as He is, majestic, glorious and adorable.

Christ’s Second Coming is to be followed directly by the final judgment. For many the Day of the Lord will be darkness and not light (Amos 5:18). Only those who by a true faith have become righteous in Christ can and may face the great white throne without terror.

The sacrifice of Christ is the object of our faith. The Second Coming of Christ is the object of our longing. We look back in faith to the crucified Saviour; we look upwards in love to the living Saviour; we look forward in hope to the glorious Redeemer.

This looking forward in hope is not of minor importance. Without this expectation we are not believers. We are saved by hope (Romans 8:24). In looking forward we look not only to the Second Coming itself, but also to the events associated with it – the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment and the acquittal and acknowledgment of the believers. Above all, we look forward to the day when “at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow … and … every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (see Philippians 2:10, 11). “Maranatha” (1 Corinthians 16:22).”

 In closing:

 The Old Testament depicts the “Second Coming” as the final hope of Israel’s restoration with God’s rule being undisputed and continuing forever.

 Two additional Old Testament references pertinent to the “Second Coming:”

 “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well-spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-18)


 “And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. And, Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city.” (Numbers 24:15-19)

 The New Testament because of additional revelation in redemptive history, and with specificity that is more precise looks to Christ’s “Second Coming” as the full inauguration of Messianic rule that was hoped for in the Old Testament. At this time, Israel will “hearken” to the Messiah, and His full “dominion” will be implemented among the nations for eternity.

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)


 1.       John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Luke, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 33.

2.      Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, 2Peter, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985), p. 925-925. Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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He is Risen!!!

He is Risen!!!                                                                                               by Jack Kettler

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.” (Matthew 28:5-7)

What follows is an unconventional resurrection devotional. A list of cross-references will help fill out the Resurrection story. The cross-references will be followed by a commentary exposition, then a historic sermon on the Resurrection, and then an entry by one of Protestantism’s most renowned theologians. Concluding the devotion will be selective quotes regarding Christ’s Resurrection.

Cross References:

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)

“From that time on Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Matthew 16:21)

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’” (Matthew 27:63

“But he said to them, do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they put Him.” (Mark 16:6)

“But God raised Him from the dead, releasing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for Him to be held in its clutches.” (Acts 2:24)

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Resurrection:

“28:1-8 Christ rose the third day after his death; that was the time he had often spoken of. On the first day of the first week God commanded the light to shine out of darkness. On this day did He who is the Light of the world, shine out of the darkness of the grave; and this day is from henceforward often mentioned in the New Testament, as the day which Christians religiously observed in solemn assemblies, to the honour of Christ. Our Lord Jesus could have rolled back the stone by his own power, but he chose to have it done by an angel. The resurrection of Christ, as it is the joy of his friends, so it is the terror and confusion of his enemies. The angel encouraged the women against their fears. Let the sinners in Zion be afraid. Fear not ye, for his resurrection will be your consolation. Our communion with him must be spiritual, by faith in his word. When we are ready to make this world our home, and to say, it is good to be here, then let us remember our Lord Jesus is not here, he is risen; therefore, let our hearts rise, and seek the things that are above. He is risen, as he said. Let us never think that strange which the word of Christ has told us to expect; whether the sufferings of this present time, or the glory that is to be revealed. It may have a good effect upon us, by faith to view the place where the Lord lay. Go quickly. It was good to be there, but the servants of God have other work appointed. Public usefulness must be chosen before the pleasure of secret communion with God. Tell the disciples, that they may be comforted under their present sorrows. Christ knows where his disciples dwell, and will visit them. Even to those at a distance from the plenty of the means of grace, he will graciously manifest himself. The fear and the joy together quickened their pace. The disciples of Christ should be forward to make known to each other their experiences of communion with their Lord; and should tell others what God has done for their souls.” (1)

Death and Resurrection of Christ: a sermon by C. H. Spurgeon:

Matthew 28:6-7

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.…

“Lend me your imaginations for a minute, while I endeavour to picture a scene. Christ had paid the price — the full price: that price was presented before the Father’s judgment-seat. He looked at it, and was content. But as it was a solemn matter, it was not hurried over. Three days were taken, that the ransom-price might be counted out; and its value fully estimated. The angels looked, and admired. The “spirits of the just” came and examined it, and wondered, and were delighted. The very devils in hell could only express their satisfaction by biting their iron bonds, and sullenly keeping silence, because they had not a word to speak against the sacrifice of Christ. The three days passed away, and the atonement was fully accepted. Then the angel came from heaven — swift as the lightning flash — he descended from the spheres of the blessed, into this lower earth, and he came into the prison-house, in which the Saviour’s body slept; for, mark, His body had been kept in the prison till God ratified His atonement and accepted it — He was lying there a hostage for His people. The angel came, and spake to the keeper of the prison, one called Grim Death, and said to him, “Let that captive go free.” Death was sitting on his throne of skulls, with a huge iron key at his girdle of iron: and he laughed, and said, “Aha! thousands and thousands of the race of Adam have passed the portals of this prison-house; but none of them have ever been delivered. That key has been once turned in its wards by destiny; and no mortal power can ever turn it back again, and draw the bolts from their resting places.” Then the angel showed to him Heaven’s own warrant, and Death turned pale. The angel grasped the key — unlocked the prison door, and stepped in. There slept the Royal Captive — the Divine hostage. And the angel cried, “Arise, Thou Sleeper! Put off Thy garments of death. Shake Thyself from the dust, and put on Thy beautiful garments.” The Master arose. He unwound the napkin, and laid it by itself. He took off His graveclothes and laid them by themselves, to show He was in no hurry, that all was done legally, and therefore orderly. He did not dash His prison walls aside to come out; but came out by legal process, just as He had entered in. He seemed to express Himself as Paul did, “No, verily, let them come themselves, and fetch Me out.” So was the Master set at liberty — by heaven’s own officer, who came from heaven to give Him just liberty — God’s proof that He had done all that was necessary. Thou Lamb of God! I see Thee rising from Thy tomb in splendour ineffable, dazzling the eyes of the guards and making them flee away in terror. And when I see Thee risen from the dead, I see myself accepted, and all Thy dying redeemed people fully delivered.” – C. H. Spurgeon (2)

The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Fact by B. B. Warfield:

“It is a somewhat difficult matter to distinguish between Christian doctrines and facts. The doctrines of Christianity are doctrines only because they are facts; and the facts of Christianity become its most indispensable doctrines. The Incarnation of the eternal God is necessarily a dogma: no human eye could witness his stooping to man’s estate, no human tongue could bear witness to it as a fact. And yet, if it be not a fact, our faith is vain, we are yet in our sins. On the other hand, the Resurrection of Christ is a fact, an external occurrence within the cognizance of men to be established by their testimony. And yet, it is the cardinal doctrine of our system: on it all other doctrines hang.

There have been some, indeed, who have refused to admit the essential importance of this fact to our system; and even so considerable a critic as Keim has announced himself as occupying this standpoint. Strauss saw, however, with more unclouded eye, truly declaring the fact of Christ’s resurrection to be “the center of the center, the real heart of Christianity,” on which its truth stands or falls. To this, indeed, an older and deeper thinker than Strauss had long ago abundantly witnessed. The modern skeptic does but echo the words of the apostle Paul. Come what may, therefore, modern skepticism must be rid of the resurrection of Christ. It has recognized the necessity and has bent all its energies to the endeavor.

But the early followers of the Savior also themselves recognized the paramount importance of this fact; and the records of Christianity contain a mass of proof for it, of such cogent variety and convincing power, that Hume’s famous dilemma1 recoils on his own head. It is more impossible that the laws of testimony should be so far set aside, that such witness should be mistaken, than that the laws of nature should be so far set aside that a man should rise from the dead. The opponents of revelation themselves being witnesses, the testimony of the historical books of the New Testament if the testimony of eyewitnesses is amply sufficient to establish this, to them, absolutely crushing fact. It is admitted well-nigh universally that the Gospels contain testimony for the resurrection of Christ, which, if it stand, proves that fact; and that if Christ rose from the dead all motive for, and all possibility of, denial of any supernatural fact of Christianity is forever removed.

Of course, it has become necessary, then, for the deniers of a supernatural origin to Christianity to impeach the credibility of these witnesses. It is admitted that if the Gospel account be truly the testimony of eye-witnesses, then Christ did rise from the dead; but it is immediately added that the Gospels are late compositions which first saw the light in the second century—that they represent, not the testimony of eye-witnesses, but the wild dreams of a mythological fancy or the wilder inventions of unscrupulous forgery; and that, therefore, they are unworthy of credit and valueless as witnesses to fact. Thus, it is proclaimed, this alleged occurrence of the rising of Jesus from the dead, is stripped of all the pretended testimony of eye-witnesses; and all discussion of the question whether it be fact or not is forever set aside—the only question remaining being that which concerns itself with the origin and propagation of this fanatical belief.

It is in this position that we find skepticism entrenched- a strong position assuredly and chosen with consummate skill. It is not, however, impregnable. There are at least two courses open to us in attacking it. We may either directly storm the works, or, turning their flank, bring our weapons to bear on them from the rear. The authenticity of our Gospels is denied We may either prove their authenticity and hence the autoptic character of the testimony they contain; or, we may waive all question of the books attacked, and, using only those which are by the skeptics themselves acknowledged to be genuine, prove from them that the resurrection of Christ actually occurred. 2

The first course, as being the most direct, is the one usually adopted. Here the battle is intense; but the issue is not doubtful. Internally, those books evince themselves as genuine. Not only do they proclaim a teaching absolutely original and patently divine, but they have presented a biography to the world such as no man or body of men could have concocted. No mythologists could have invented a divine-human Personality —assigned the exact proportions in which his divinity and humanity should be exhibited in his life, and then dramatized this character through so long a course of teaching and action without a single contradiction or inconsistency. That simple peasants have succeeded in a task wherein a body of philosophers would have assuredly hopelessly failed, can be accounted for only on the hypothesis that they were simply detailing actual facts.

Again, there are numerous evidently undesigned coincidences in minute points to be observed between the book of Acts and those Epistles of Paul acknowledged to be genuine, which prove beyond a peradventure that book to be authentic history. The authenticity of Acts carries that of the Gospel of Luke with it; and the witness of these two establishes the Resurrection.

But, aside from all internal evidence, the external evidence for the authenticity of the New Testament historical books is irrefragable. The immediate successors of the apostles possessed them all and esteemed them as the authoritative documents of their religion. One of the writers of this age (placed by Hilgenfeld in the first century) quotes Matthew as Scripture: another explicitly places Acts among the “Holy Books,” a collection containing on common terms the Old Testament and at least a large part of the New: all quote these historical books with respect and reverence. There is on external, historical grounds no room left for denying the genuineness of the Gospels and Acts; and hence, no room left for denying the fact of the Resurrection. The result of a half-century’s conflict on this line of attack has resulted in the triumphant vindication of the credibility of the Christian records.

We do not propose, however, to fight this battle over again at this time. The second of the courses above pointed out has been less commonly adopted, but leads to equally satisfactory results. To exhibit this is our present object. The most extreme schools of skepticism admit that the book of Revelation is by St. John; and that Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians are genuine letters of St. Paul.3 Most leaders of anti-Christian thought admit other epistles also; but we wish to confine ourselves to the narrowest ground. Our present task, then, is, waiving all reference to disputed books, to show that the testimony of these confessedly genuine writings of the apostles is enough to establish the fact of the Resurrection. We are even willing to assume narrower ground. The Revelation is admitted to be written by an eye-witness of the death of Christ and the subsequent transactions; and the Book of Revelation testifies to Christ’s resurrection. In it he is described as One who was dead and yet came to life (ii. 8), and as the first-begotten of the dead (i. 5). Here, then, is one admitted to have been an eye-witness testifying of the Resurrection. For the sake of simplifying our argument, however, we will omit the testimony of Revelation and ask only what witness the four acknowledged Epistles of Paul-Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians bear to the fact that Christ rose from the dead.

It is plain on the very first glance into these Epistles that they have a great deal to say about this Resurrection. Our task is to draw out the evidential value of their references.

We would note, then, in the first place, that Paul claims to be himself an eye-witness of a risen Christ. After stating as a fact that Christ rose from the dead and enumerating his various appearances to his followers, he adds: “And last of all, as unto one born out of due time, he appeared to me also” (1 Cor. xv. 8) . And again, he bases his apostleship on this sight, saying (1 Cor. ix. 1), “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?” His “sight” of the Lord Jesus was, therefore of such a kind that it constituted a call to the apostleship. It was not, then, a simple sight of Jesus before his crucifixion: as is also proved from the fact that it was after all the appearances which he vouchsafed after his resurrection to his other followers, that Paul saw him (1 Cor. xv. 8). It remains true, then, that Paul claims to be an eye-witness of the fact that Christ had risen. It will not do to say that Paul claims only to have had a “theophany” as it were-a “sight” of Christ’s spirit living, which would not imply the resurrection of his body. As Beyschlag has long ago pointed out, the whole argument in 1 Cor. xv being meant to prove the bodily resurrection of believers from the resurrection of Christ, necessitates the sense that Paul, like the other witnesses there adduced saw Christ in the body. Nor is it difficult to determine when Paul claims to have seen Christ: it is admitted by all that it was this “sight” that produced his conversion and called him to the apostleship. According to Gal. i. 19 both calls were simultaneous.

Tracing his conversion thus to, and basing his apostleship on, the resurrection of Christ, it is not strange that Paul has not been able to keep his Epistles from bristling with marks of his intense conviction of the fact of the Resurrection. Compare, e.g., Romans i. 4; iv. 24, 25; v. 10; vi. 4, 5, 8, 9 10, 11, 13; vii. 4; viii. 11, 34; x. 7, 9; xiv. 9. We cannot, therefore, without stultification deny that Paul was thoroughly convinced that he had seen the risen Jesus; and the skeptics themselves feel forced to admit this fact.

What, then, shall we do with this claim of Paul to be an eye-witness? Shall we declare his “sight” to have been no true sight, but a deceiving vision? Paul certainly thought it bodily and a sight. But we are told that Paul was given to seeing visions-that he was in fact of that enthusiastic spiritual temperament-like Francis of Assisi for instance-which fails to distinguish between vivid subjective ideas and external facts. But, while it must be admitted that Paul did see visions, all sober criticism must wholly deny that he was a visionary. Waiving the fact that even Paul’s visions were externally communicated to him and not the projections of a diseased imagination, as well as all general discussion of the elements of Paul’s character, this visionary hypothesis is shattered on the simple fact that Paul knew the difference between this “sight” of Jesus and his visions, and draws the distinction sharply between them. This “sight” was, as he himself tells us, the last of all; and the only vision which on our opponents’ principles can be attributed to him, that recorded in 2 Cor. xii is described by Paul in such a manner as to draw the contrast very strongly between his confidence in this “sight” and his uncertainty as to what had happened to him then. Of course, no appeal can be properly made to the “false” history of the Acts; but, if attempted, it is sufficient to say that according to Acts Paul saw Jesus after this sight of 1 Cor. xv; but that this was in a trance (Acts XXii. 18 ff.),.), and in spite of it the sight of 1 Cor. xv was the “last” time Jesus was seen. In other words, Paul once more draws a strict distinction between his “visions” and this “sight.”

It is instructive to note the methods by which it is attempted to make this visionary hypothesis more credible. A graphic picture is drawn by Baur, Strauss, and Renan,, of the physical and psychological condition of St. Paul. He had been touched by the steadfastness of the Christians; he was deeply moved by the grandeur of Stephen’s death; had begun to doubt within himself whether the resurrection of Christ had not really occurred; and, sick in body and distracted in mind, smitten by the sun or the lightning of some sudden storm, was prostrated on his way to Damascus and saw in his delirium his- awful self-imagined vision. It would be easy to show that the important points of this picture are contradicted by Paul himself: he knows nothing of distraction of mind or of opening doubts before the coming of the catastrophe (cf. Gal. i. 13 ff.). It would be easy, again, to show that, brilliant as it is, this picture fails to account for the facts, notably for the immense moral change (recognized by Paul himself) by which he was transformed from the most bloodthirsty of fanatics to the tenderest of saints. But, it will be sufficient for our present purpose to not only that all that renders it plausible is its connection with certain facts recorded only in that “unbelievable” history, the Acts. We find ourselves, then, in this dilemma: if Acts be no true history, then these facts cannot be so used; if Acts be true history, then Paul’s conversion occurred quite otherwise; and again, if Acts be true, then so is Luke’s Gospel; and Acts and Luke are enough to authenticate the resurrection of Christ. In either case, our cause is won.

In regard to this whole visionary scheme we have one further remark to make: it is to be noted that even were it much more plausible than it is, it still would not be worth further consideration. For, Paul believed in the fact of the resurrection of Christ not only because he had seen the Lord, but also on the testimony of others. For, we would note in the second place that Paul introduces us to other eye-witnesses of the resurrection of Christ. He founded his gospel on this fact; and in Gal. ii. 6 ff. he tells us his gospel was the same as was preached by Peter, James, and John. Peter, James, and John, then, believed with the same intensity that Christ rose from the dead. We have already seen that this testimony as to John at least, is supported by what he himself has written in the Apocalypse. In consistency with the inference, again, Paul explicitly declares in 1 Cor. xv. 3 ff., that the risen Christ was seen not only by himself but by Cephas, James, and indeed all the apostles; and that, more than once. Even more: he states that he was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, the most of whom were still living when Paul wrote this letter, and whose witness-bearing he invokes. Here, Paul brings before us a cloud of witnesses.

In respect to them the following facts are worth pointing out. These witnesses were numerous; there were at least five hundred of them. They were not a mere unknown mob: we know somewhat of several of them and know them as practical men. The most of them were still living when Paul wrote, and he could appeal to them to bear testimony to the Corinthians.

The result of all of which is that this notice in 1 Cor. is equivalent to their individual testimony. Paul is admitted to be a sober and trustworthy writer; this Epistle is admitted to be genuinely his; and he here in a contemporary document challenges an appeal to living eye-witnesses. He could not have made this confident appeal had not these men really professed, soberly and earnestly, to have seen the risen Christ. We have, then, not only Paul claiming to be an eye-witness of the Resurrection; but a large number of men, over two hundred and fifty of whom were known to be still living when he wrote. We have to account not for the claim of one man that he had seen Jesus alive after he- had died, but for the same claim put in by a multitude. Will any arguing that Paul sometimes saw visions serve our purpose here? And there is still another point which is worth remarking. The witnesses here appealed to are the original disciples and apostles of our Lord. From this, two facts follow: the one, the original disciples believed they had seen the risen Lord; and the other, they claimed to have seen him on the third day after his burial (1 Cor. xv. 4). This, according to Paul, is certain fact.

Then note once more, in the third place, that this testimony (as already pointed out) was not only absolutely convincing to the Apostle Paul, but it was so also to the whole body of Christians. Not only did Paul base the truth of all Christianity on the truth of this testimony, and found his conversion on it; but so did all Christians. He could count on all his readers being just as firmly persuaded of this fact as he was. To the Corinthians, Galatians, Romans-this is the dogma of Christianity. When Paul wishes to prove his apostleship to the Corinthians or Galatians he is not afraid to base it on the therefore admitted fact of the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. ix. 1; Gal. i. 1): when he wishes to make our justification seem sure to the Romans, he appeals to Christ’s resurrection in its proof (Rom. iv. 24, 25). These are but specimens of his practice. Both purposed and incidental allusions are made to the Resurrection through all four of these Epistles of such character as to prove that it was felt by Paul that he could count on it above all other facts as the starting-point of Christianity in the minds of his readers. Whether he is writing to Corinthians, Galatians, or Romans, this is alike true. Now, consider the force of this. In some of these churches, it is to be remembered, there were dissensions, divisions, parties arrayed in bitter hostility against one another, parties with contumely denying the apostleship, or discarding the leadership of Paul. Yet all these parties believe in the resurrection of Christ: Paul can appeal to all alike to accept a doctrine based on that. It is to his bitterest opponents that he will prove his apostleship by claiming to have seen the risen Lord. It is plain, then, that the resurrection of Christ was in Paul’s day deemed a primordial, universal, and essential doctrine of Christianity.

Again, some of Paul’s readers were far removed from credulous simplicity. There was a party in the Corinthian Church, for instance, who, with all the instincts of modern philosophical criticism, claimed the right to try at the bar of reason the doctrines submitted to their acceptance. They could not accept such an absurdity as the resurrection of the bodies of those who slept in the Lord: “If the dead be raised, With what body do they come?” was but one of their argumentative queries. The same class of difficulties in regard to the resurrection of men, as would in modern times start up in the minds of scientific inquirers, was evidently before their minds. Yet they believed firmly in the resurrection of Christ. When Paul wishes to argue with them in regard to our resurrection, he bases his argument on the therefore common ground of the resurrection of Christ. It is plain, then, that unthinking credulity will not account for the universal acceptance of this doctrine: men able and more than willing to apply critical tests to evidence were firm believers in it.

And still again, one of these letters is addressed to a church with which Paul had no personal connection. It was not founded by him; it had never been visited by him; it had not before been addressed by him. There were those in it who were opposed to his dearest teachings: there were those in it who had been humble followers of Christ while he was still raging against his Church. Yet, they all believed as firmly as he did in the resurrection of Christ. He could prove his doctrines to them best by basing on this common faith. It is plain, then, that this doctrine was not of late growth in the Church; nor had its origin from Paul. It had always been the universal belief in the Church: men did not believe it because Paul preached it only, but they and Paul alike believed it from the convincing character of the evidence. When had a belief, thus universally accepted as a part of aboriginal Christianity in A.D. 58, had an opportunity to mythically grow into being? And, if it grew, what of the testimony of those over two hundred and fifty still living eye-witnesses to the fact?

Here we may fitly pause to gather up results. It seems indisputably evident from these four Epistles of Paul: First, That the resurrection of Christ was universally believed in the Christian Church when these Epistles were written: whatever party lines there were, however near they came, yet did they not cut through this dogma. Second, That the original followers of Christ, including his apostles, claimed to be eye-witnesses of the fact of his resurrection; and, therefore, from the beginning (third day) the whole Church had been convinced of its truth. Over two hundred and fifty of these eye-witnesses were living when Paul wrote. Third, That the Church believed universally that it owed its life, as it certainly owed its continued existence and growth, to its firm belief in this dogma. What has to be accounted for, then, is: 1. Not the belief of one man that he had seen the Lord, but of something over five hundred. 2. Not the conviction of a party, and that after some time, that the Lord had risen, but the universal and immediate belief of the whole Church. 3. The effect of this faith in absolutely changing the characters and filling with enthusiasm its first possessors. And 4. Their power in propagating their faith, in building up on this strange dogma a large and fast-growing communion, all devoted to it as the first and ground element of their faith.

There are only three theories which can be possibly stated to account for these facts. Either, the original disciples of Christ were deceivers and deliberately concocted the story of the Resurrection; or, they were woefully deluded; or the Resurrection was a fact.

I. The first of these theories, old as it is (Matt. xxviii. 11 ff.), is now admitted on all sides to be ridiculous. Strauss and Volkmar, for example, both scorn it as an impossible explanation. We may, therefore, pass it over in few words. The dead body of Christ lying in his grave ready to be produced by the Jews at any moment, of itself destroys this theory. For we must remember that the belief in the Resurrection dates from the third day. Or, if the body no longer lay in the grave, where was it? It must have been either removed by their enemies, in which case it would have been produced in disproof of the Resurrection; or stolen by the disciples themselves. We are shut up to these two hypotheses, for the only possible third one (that the body had never been buried but thrown upon the dunghill) is out of the question, eye-witnesses expressly witnessing, according to Paul, that it was buried ( 1 Cor. xv. 4 f.)..). No one will so stultify himself in this age as to seriously contend that the disciples stole the body. Not only is it certain that they could not possibly have summoned courage to make the attempt; but the very idea of Christianity owing its life to such an act is worse than absurd. Imagine, if one can, this band of disheartened disciples assembled and coolly plotting to conquer the world to themselves by proclaiming what must have been seen to be the absurd promise of everlasting life through One who had himself died-had died and had not risen again. Imagine them not expecting a resurrection nor dreaming of its possibility, determining to steal the body of their dead Lord, pretend that he had risen, and, then, to found on their falsehood a system of the most marvelous truth-on this act of rapine a system of the most perfect morals. Imagine the body stolen and brought into their midst-who can think they could be stirred up to noble endeavor by the sight? “Can a more appalling spectacle be imagined,” exclaims Dr. Nott, “than that of a dead Christ stolen from his sepulcher and surrounded by his hopeless, heaven-deserted followers? And was it here, think you, in this cadaverous chamber . . . in this haunt of sin, of falsehood, of misery, and of putrefaction, that the transcendent and immortal system of Christian faith and morals was adopted? Was this stolen, mangled, lifeless corpse the only rallying point of Christians? Was it the sight of this that . . . fortified,, and filled with the most daring courage, the most deathless hopes, the whole body of the disciples?” Well have our opponents declared this supposition absurd. Christ rose from the dead, or else his disciples were a body of woefully deluded men.

II. Then, will this second theory meet the case? Is the admitted fact that Christ’s earliest followers were all convinced that he rose from the dead, adequately explained by the supposition that they were the victims of a delusion? We must remember that the testimony of eye-witnesses declares that Christ rose on the third day; and that we have thus to account for immediate faith. But, then, there is the dead body of Jesus lying in the grave! How could the whole body of those men be so deceived in so momentous a matter with the means of testing its truth ready at their hand? Hence, it is commonly admitted that the grave was now empty. Strauss alone resorts to the sorry hypothesis that the appearances of the risen Christ were all in Galilee, and that before the forty days which intervened before the disciples returned to Jerusalem had passed, the site of the grave (or dunghill) had been wholly forgotten by friend and foe alike. But, there is that unimpeachable testimony of eye-witnesses that the appearances began on the third day; and the equally assured fact (Rom. vi. 4; 1 Cor. xv. 4), that the body was not thrown on a dunghill but that there was a veritable grave. So that the empty grave stares us still in the face. If Christ did not rise, how came the grave empty? Here is the crowning difficulty which all the ingenuity of the whole . modern critical school has not been able to lay aside. Was it emptied by Christ’s own followers? That would have been imposture, and the skeptics scorn such a resort: moreover, the hypothesis that the apostles were impostors has been laid aside already (in the preceding paragraph). Was it, then, emptied by his enemies? How soon would the body have been produced, then, to confront and confound the so rapidly growing heresy! Or, if this were not possible, how soon would overwhelming proof of the removal of the body have been brought forward! Then, how was that grave emptied? Shall we say that Jesus was not really dead, and reviving from the swoon, himself crept from the tomb? This was the hypothesis of Schleiermacher. But not only is it in direct contradiction with the eye- witness testimony (1 Cor. xv. 3; 2 Cor. v. 15; Rom. xiv. 9, et saepe), which is explicit that Christ died; but it has been felt by all the leaders of skeptical thought to be inadequate as an explanation. Strauss has himself executed justice on it. It not only casts a stigma on the moral character of our Lord; but it is itself laden with absurdity. “It would have been impossible thus to mistake a wounded man, dying from exhaustion, for the Messiah of Jewish expectations, or then to magnify this into a resurrection from the dead.” A dying man in hiding, the center of Christianity’s life! This fill with enthusiasm and death-defying courage the founders of the Church! Besides all which, the hypothesis makes the apostles either knaves or fools, neither of which, as the skeptics admit, is possible truth. Hence, they themselves unite with us in rejecting as wholly absurd this dream of Schleiermacher. Once more, then, how can we account for the empty grave? We hazard nothing in asserting that this one fact is destructive to all the theories of Christ’s resurrection which have been started in the nervous effort to be rid of its reality. That empty grave is alone enough to found all Christianity upon.

But, suppose for a moment, we assume the impossible, and allow to Strauss that the site of the grave was already lost. What then? The disciples were still convinced that Christ had risen. How shall we account for this invincible conviction? The only possible resort is to the worn-out vision- hypothesis. Renan draws a beautiful picture of Mary Magdalene in her love and grief fancying she saw her longed-for Lord; and a not so beautiful one of the abject and idiotic credulity of the disciples who believed her, and then, because they believed her, fancied they had seen him themselves. But will all this fine picturing of what might have been, stand the test of facts? That grave stares us in the face again: if the body was still in it, there was no place left for visions of it as living and out of it; if not in it, how came it out?

But laying aside this final argument as premised, even then the theory cannot stand. 1. There was no expectation of a resurrection, and hence no ground for visions. So far we can go here. Could we appeal to the Gospels we could go farther and show that the disciples had lost all heart and “so far was their imagination from creating the sensible presence of Jesus, that at the first they did not recognize him.” Renan gains all the facts on which he founds his theory from the Gospels: let him be refuted from the same records. How could Mary Magdalene’s own mind have created the vision of Jesus when she did not recognize him as Jesus when he appeared? 2. There was no time for belief in the Resurrection to mythically grow. That well-established third day meets us here. And within forty days the whole Christian community, over five hundred in number, not only firmly believed in the Resurrection, but believed, each man of them, that he had himself seen the Lord. We must account for this. 3. These five hundred are too many visionaries to create. Was all Palestine inhabited by Francises of Assisi? What might be plausibly urged of Paul or Mary loses all plausibility when urged of all their contemporaries. And thus, we cannot but conclude that all attempts to explain the belief of the early followers of Christ in his resurrection as a delusion, utterly fail. If it was not founded on fraud or delusion, then, was it not on fact? There seems no other alternative: eye-witnesses in abundance witness to the fact; if they were neither deceivers nor deceived, then Christ did rise from the dead.

We must not imagine, however, that this is all the proof we have of that great fact. We have been only very inadequately working one single vein. There is another very convincing course of argumentation which might be based on the results of the resurrection of Christ-in transforming those who believed in it-in founding a Church. And, then, there is that other form of argument already pointed out which consists in the not very difficult task of vindicating the authority of our Gospels and Acts, or of the account included in them. Taking all lines of proof together, it is by no means extravagant to assert that no fact in the history of the world is so well authenticated as the fact of Christ’s resurrection. And that established, all Christianity is established too. Its supernatural element is vindicated its supernatural origin evinced. Then, our faith is not in vain, and we are not still in our sins. Then, the world has been redeemed unto our God, and all flesh can see his salvation. Then, the All-Wise is the All-Loving, too, and has vindicated his love forever. Then, the supreme song of heaven may be fitly repeated on earth: “Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Then, we can know that nothing can separate us from his love-that even death has failed in the attempt; and that it is thus given to mortals to utter in triumph the immortal cry, “Death is swallowed up in victory!”


1. Enquiry Concerning Human Understandings, sec. 10 (1894, p. 115f.)..). “No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the face which it endeavors to establish.”

2. Still a third method of procedure would be to waive all questions of the authenticity of the Gospels, and examine into the origin and trustworthiness of the triple or double tradition embodied in the three Synoptists or any two of them. Satisfactory results may be reached thus

3. Such individual extremists as Bruno Bauer, Pierson, and Loman need not be here taken into account.” (3)

 Resurrection Quotes:

 “Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord’s Prayer is about.” – N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

 “If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” – Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism

 “Life [had] replaced logic.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

 “He, the Life of all, our Lord and Saviour, did not arrange the manner of his own death lest He should seem to be afraid of some other kind. No. He accepted and bore upon the cross a death inflicted by others, and those other His special enemies, a death which to them was supremely terrible and by no means to be faced; and He did this in order that, by destroying even this death, He might Himself be believed to be the Life, and the power of death be recognised as finally annulled. A marvellous and mighty paradox has thus occurred, for the death which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonour and disgrace has become the glorious monument to death’s defeat.” – St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

 “I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Everyone was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.” – Charles Colson

 “The victory was sealed at an empty tomb. Therefore, we must remember that the remaining battles are victory concluding, not victory in question.” – Craig D. Lounsbrough

 “And he departed from our sight and we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For He departed, and behold, He is here.” – St Augustine

 “The Resurrection, and its consequences, were the ‘gospel’ or good news which the Christians brought: what we call the ‘gospels’, the narratives of Our Lord’s life and death, were composed later for the benefit of those who had already accepted the gospel. They were in no sense the basis of Christianity: they were written for those already converted. The miracle of the Resurrection, and the theology of that miracle, comes first: the biography comes later as a comment on it. Nothing could be more unhistorical than to pick out selected sayings of Christ from the gospels and to regard those as the datum and the rest of the New Testament as a construction upon it. The first fact in the history of Christendom is a number of people who say they have seen the Resurrection. If they had died without making anyone else believe this ‘gospel’ no gospels would ever have been written.” – C.S. Lewis

 “After death something new begins, over which all powers of the world of death have no more might.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 “The cross of Christ only triumphs in the breast of believers over the devil and the flesh, sin and sinners, when their eyes are directed to the power of His Resurrection.” – John Calvin

 “Christ the Lord is risen today; sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; sing, ye heavens and Earth reply.” – Charles Wesley

 “What happened on that day (of Easter) became, was and remained the centre around which everything else moves. For everything lasts its time, but the love of God – which was at work and was expressed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead – lasts forever. Because this event took place, there is no reason to despair, and even when we read the newspaper with all its confusing and frightening news, there is every reason to hope.” – Karl Barth

 “Belief in the resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith. It is the Christian faith.” – George Carey

 “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

 In closing:

 He is Risen, and God’s people say, He is Risen Indeed!

 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Notes:  1.      Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Matthew, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 1549.

2.      C. H. Spurgeon, Death and Resurrection of Christ: a sermon, The Biblical Illustrator, Electronic Database.

3.      B. B. Warfield, The Resurrection of Christ: A Historical Fact, published in The Journal of Christian Philosophy, vol. III., 1884, pp. 305-318.

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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Test the Spirits

Test the Spirits                                                                                             by Jack Kettler                                     

Scripture commands believers to be on guard against those who pervert the faith. These warnings will be the focus of this study.

Why is this important? We learn the fountainhead of these warnings when God spoke to Moses:

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

The matter is of such importance that the Apostle John leaves the church with this warning:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test – δοκιμάζω) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1John 4:1)

Some translations use the word “try.” “Test” is a better translation of the Greek word δοκιμάζω. An excursion into the Thayer’s Greek Lexicon will be helpful.

From Thayer’s Greek Lexicon on δοκιμάζω:

“STRONGS NT 1381: δοκιμάζω

δοκιμάζω; (future δοκιμάσω); 1 aorist ἐδοκίμασά; passive, (present δοκιμάζομαι); perfect δεδοκίμασμαι; (δόκιμος); the Sept. chiefly for בָּחַן; as in Greek writings from (Herodotus, Thucydides), Xenophon, and Plato onward, to try;

1. to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing be genuine or not), as metals: χρυσίον διά πυρός (Isocrates, p. 240 d. (i. e. Panathen. § 14); ad Demon., p. 7 b. (here Bekker βασανίζομεν); the Sept., Proverbs 8:10; Sir. 2:5; Wis. 3:6; ἄργυρον, Proverbs 17:3 (cf. Zechariah 13:9)), 1 Peter 1:7; other things: Luke 12:56; Luke 14:19; 2 Corinthians 8:8; Galatians 6:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; τά διαφέροντα, Romans 2:18; Philippians 1:10 (others refer these passages to 2; see διαφέρω, 2 b.); men, 1 Timothy 3:10 (in the passive); ἑαυτόν, 1 Corinthians 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5 (cf. ἐξετάζειν ἑαυτόν, Xenophon, mem. 2, 5, 1 and 4); Θεόν, Hebrews 3:9 (R G, from Psalm 94:9 (); on the sense of the phrase see πειράζω, 2 d. β.); τά πνεύματα, followed by εἰ whether etc. 1 John 4:1; followed by indirect discourse, Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 3:13; Ephesians 5:10.

2. to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy: 1 Corinthians 16:3; τινα σπουδαῖον ὄντα, 2 Corinthians 8:22; ἐν ᾧ δοκιμάζει for ἐν τούτῳ, ὁ δοκιμάζει in that which he approves, deems right, Romans 14:22; δεδοκιμάσμεθα ὑπό τοῦ Θεοῦ πιστευθῆναι τό εὐαγγέλιον we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the business of pointing out to men the way of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 2:4; our οὐκ ἐδοκίμασαν τόν Θεόν ἔχειν ἐν ἐπιγνώσει they did not think God worthy to be kept in knowledge, Romans 1:28. (On δοκιμάζω (as compared with πειράζω) see Trench, § lxxiv.; Cremer, under the word πειράζω. Compare: ἀποδοκιμάζω.)” (1)

Nineteenth-Century commentator, Charles Ellicott, is superb in his handling of the passage from 1John 4:1.

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on 1John 4:1:



(a)The difference among spirits (1John 4:1).

(b)The measure (1John 4:2-3).

(c)The encouragement (1John 4:4).

(d)The condemnation (1John 4:5).

(e)Inference and conclusion (1John 4:6).

The mention of faith in 1John 3:23 had reminded St. John of the danger of intellectual, as well as of moral error. The mention of God’s Spirit at the conclusion of the last paragraph gave him a form in which to clothe the discussion of truth and falsehood in its human manifestations. By “spirits” he means those tendencies towards good and evil (here especially with regard to thought and opinion) which may be considered as coming from the supreme power of God, on the one hand, and from the inferior power of the devil, on the other. Into the question what these influences are, whether, like the Holy Spirit, they are personal or not, he does not enter. Where one quality, or opinion, shows itself in different individuals, he identifies it and calls it a spirit. Religious fervour might take a form quite antagonistic to the real will and law of God. For Christians there was but one standard by which to measure all claims on their religious allegiance: confession that the man Christ Jesus was the Word. All that demurred to that plain fact, and the loyalty implied by it, belonged to the spirit of antichrist. His hearers, however, if he understood them rightly, need not fear. By virtue of their adherence to the truth, God was in them. In Him they had conquered the spirits of the world, and had but to claim their victory. The false teachers might be known, and must be condemned by the savour of the world that was in their method and their message, and by their popularity with what was opposed to God. The Apostles and those who taught with them could confidently before God put forward the grand claim that theirs was the spirit that came from Him, because they had held undeviatingly to the truth as manifested in Jesus.

(6 a.) (1) Beloved. — Whenever St. John uses this word, he has a strong and earnest exhortation in hand. (Comp. 1John 3:2-21; 1John 4:7.)

Try the spirits.—Comp. 1Corinthians 10:15; 1Corinthians 11:13; 1Corinthians 12:10; Ephesians 5:10; 1Thessalonians 5:21. It is most important to notice that this examination of truth and error is inculcated on all alike, not merely on an ordained and materially separate class.

Prophets, in the New Testament, preach rather than predict. (Comp. 1Corinthians 14:1-4; 1Corinthians 14:24; Ephesians 4:11.)

Are gone out into the world, either “from us,” or else “have appeared in order to give their message.” (Comp. John 6:14; John 16:28; John 18:37.)

(6 b.) Comp. 1Corinthians 12:3. The real humanity of the Saviour is the truth here specially emphasised.

(2) Jesus Christ is taken to imply all His history. (Comp. 1John 3:23, and 1John 4:6.)

Come is used of Christ in St. John’s language for His mission and manifestation. (Comp. John 5:43; John 6:14; John 7:28-29; John 8:42; John 16:28; John 18:37.)

(3) Every spirit that confesseth not.—There is a curious old reading mentioned by Socrates, the historian, viz., “every spirit that destroyeth” (or, dissolveth) “Jesus Christ.” It is, however, evidently a gloss, written against the Gnostics, which crept into the text. It is clear that this verse presupposes an evangelistic presentation of Christ before refusal to confess His historical person could be made. (Comp. 1John 2:18.)

(6 c.) This consolation is in the same manner as that in 1John 2:12, and is introduced by the same endearing phrase. He is sure they have held to the truth, and have the Sonship. (Comp. 1John 3:1-2; 1John 3:13-14.) God is in them, and therefore the victory is already theirs. Although they may still have to struggle, they have only to claim Christ’s strength, and they have won. In making their choice between light and darkness, love and hate, good and evil, God and the devil, they became of the victorious party.

(4) Them—i.e., the antichrists, the false prophets, the spirits that are not of God. (Comp. 1John 2:13-14.)

He that is in the world—i.e., “the prince of this world,” the devil.

(6 d.) As usual, a contrast. The reason of their success is at once, their distinguishing mark and their condemnation. (Comp. John 8:37; John 8:43; John 8:47; John 18:37.)

(5) Hearing them. — This implies listening with attention and pleasure.

(6 e.) (6) We are of God. — The first side of the antithesis repeated, after St. John’s manner, with a difference, we being substituted for ye, and meaning “the Apostles and those who taught with them.” St. John feels the grave duty, in condemnation of Cerinthus and other opponents, to assert the genuine truth and divine authority of the apostolic gospel. There could be no spiritual pride in this; it was a conscientious obligation. God spoke in them, and their loyalty for bade alike disclaimer and accommodation. (Comp. John 18:37.) When heretics said, “Christ ought to have said this or that,” the Apostles had only to reply, “But He did not say it.”

Hereby know we. — The criterion here is much the same as in 1John 4:2-3, but regarded from a different point of view: attention to false innovators, or faithful adherence to the Jesus Christ of history.” (2)

In essence, a decision must be made as to what spirit is influencing a prophet, apostle or teacher. Is it the Holy Spirit, or a lying spirit?

The next two entries from the book of Deuteronomy provide valuable insight on how this verdict is accomplished: 

“If a prophet or dreamer of dreams arises among you and proclaims a sign or wonder to you, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

Deuteronomy 13 reflects to the First Commandment in Exodus 20:3.

“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

Deuteronomy 18 introduces the test of accuracy in predictive prophecy.

“Then the LORD said unto me, the prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” (Jeremiah 14:14)

Jeremiah’s test is one of truth-telling. The false prophet lies in God’s name as the serpent did to Eve in Genesis 3:4. 

“Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)

Matthew’s warning is not to be deceived by the outward appearance of the false prophets.

For example:

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (2Corinthians 11:14)

In addition, Paul warns the elders in Ephesus that:

“I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” (Acts 20:29)

The apostle Paul agrees with the warning that we see from the apostle John in 1John and exhorts the church in Thessalonica to:

“Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1Thessalonians 5:21)

How is this testing done? The “test” can be called the Berean test.

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

The Scriptures were the standard. A departure from the Scriptures was a departure from the truth.

The danger of being deceived is a burden Paul had in his love for the church. He cites an example of what happened in the churches in Galatia:

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7)

Paul warns the Corinthian Church:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” (2Corinthians 11:13)

In Corinthians, Paul introduces a new category, which is one of “deceitful workers;” or persons whose work is to cheat and mislead, even claiming apostleship.  

The apostle Peter adds false teachers to list of deceivers:

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2Peter 2:1)

John says this to the church at Ephesus:

“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” (Revelation 2:2)

The apostle John adds false apostles to the list of deceivers.

In closing:

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1John 4:2-3)

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on 1John 4:2, 3 will be an appropriate close to this study:

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God … This is a rule by which believers may know whether a man professing to have the Spirit of God, and to be called and sent by him and whether the, doctrine he preaches, is of him or not:

every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,

is of God; or of the Spirit of God; that is, every doctrine which carries this truth in it; or every man that owns, and professes, and publishes this doctrine concerning Christ, is on the side of God and truth; and which contains several articles in it, respecting the person and office of Christ; as that he existed before he came in the flesh, not in the human nature, or as man, or as an angel, but as the Son of God, as a divine person, being truly and properly God; so that this confession takes in his divine sonship, and proper deity, and also his true and real humanity; that the Messiah was incarnate, against the Jews, and was God and man in one person; and that he was really man, and not in appearance only, against the heretics of those times: and it also includes his offices, as that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the Messiah, which the Jews denied, and that he was the anointed prophet, priest, and King; and so is a confession or acknowledgment of all the doctrines of the Gospel, which came by him, as a prophet; and of his satisfaction, sacrifice, and intercession, as a priest; and of all his ordinances and commands as a King; and that he is the only Saviour and Redeemer of men. Now, whoever owns and declares this system of truth, “is of God”; not that everyone that assents unto this, or preaches it, is born of God; a man may believe, and confess all this, as the devils themselves do, and yet be destitute of the grace of God; but the spirit, or doctrine, which contains these things in it, is certainly of God, or comes from him; or whoever brings these truths with him, and preaches them, he is, so far as he does so, on the side of God and truth, and to be regarded.

And every spirit that confesseth not, … The proper deity and sonship of Christ, his true and real humanity, and his Messiahship; or any of his offices, doctrines, and ordinances; or his satisfaction and righteousness; or that peace, pardon, justification, life, and salvation, are by him; all which are meant by what follows,

that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: this clause is left out in the Ethiopic version, and that without hurting the sense, since it is easily supplied from the preceding verse; and the Alexandrian copy, and the Vulgate Latin version, only read “Jesus”: and the latter reads the whole thus, “and every spirit that dissolves Jesus”; that separates the two natures, human and divine, in him, and makes two persons of them; or denies either of them, either that he is truly God, or really man, or denies him to be Jesus, the Saviour; who, as much as in him lies, destroys his person, office, and work, and makes void his obedience, sufferings, and death:

is not of God; neither he nor his doctrine are of God; his doctrine cannot come from God, being contrary to the word of God; and he himself is neither born of God, nor on his side.

And this is that spirit of antichrist: who is against Christ, or opposes himself to him; as he who denies his sonship, his deity, his humanity, his offices, and his grace, manifestly does; every doctrine that is calculated against these truths is the spirit and doctrine of antichrist:

whereof you have heard that it should come, and even now already is it the world; in the false teachers, the forerunners of antichrist; See Gill on 1 John 2:18.” (3)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

1.       J. H. Thayer, The New Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers), p. 154.

2.       Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, 1John, Vol.8, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 487.

3.       John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1John, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 78-79. Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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Inmillennialism: Redefining the Last Days  

Inmillennialism: Redefining the Last Days                                 A Review by Jack Kettler

Inmillennialism: Redefining the Last Days

By Michael A. Rogers

McGahan Publishing House (2020)

Michael A. Rogers Bio:

Rogers holds a BS in electrical engineering from Auburn University and an MS in Telecommunications and Information Systems Management from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN. He worked as an Alabama Power Company engineer and as a Systems Development Manager for Memphis Light, Gas, and Water. He was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1990 by Grace Chapel Primitive Baptist Church in Memphis. He has served as pastor of Caraway (AR) Primitive Baptist Church and Grace Covenant, a Primitive Baptist Church in Gadsden, AL. He and his wife Betty live in Opelika, AL, and are Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church members. His book, “Inmillennialism: Redefining the Last Days,” is a finalist for the Southern Christian Writers Conference 2021 Notable Book Award.

What others are saying:

“This book must take an important place in the literature concerning the kingdom of God, the manner of Christ’s coming at the ‘end of the age,’ and the nature of the blessed hope.” – Tom J. Nettles, Ph.D. Former Professor, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Inmillennialism is superior to the existing prophetic systems because it rests on simple contextual analyses and is more complete.” – Doug Albertson. Executive Director, African Canadian Continuing Education Society

“I came away from reading Inmillennialism with a fresh sense of God’s providence, the power of God’s grace in the Person and work of Jesus Christ, and a deeper understanding that this world is headed toward that time when the Prince of Peace reigns in the hearts of all men and rules over all the nations.” – Wade Burleson. Pastor, Historian, Author

A Review:

Rogers uses an introductory analogy between Copernicus and Ptolemy’s view of the solar system to illustrate his Inmillennialism model in contrast with other eschatological prophetic models, and it will be a helpful distinction for many.

There are many important subjects in the book. One example is, explaining the Greek use of Parousia (presence) and Erchomai (coming) and clears up confusion on the uses of these two words.

Rogers does a remarkable job explaining what is known as “cosmic collapse imagery” in explaining how Jesus answered his disciples’ questions about the end of the world, making it understandable how the apocalyptic imagery is used.

Rogers shows how the idea of eschatological gradualism is essential for understanding the present reign of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:25.

In addition, Rogers convincingly places the accounts of the ten virgins and the separation of the sheep and the goats at the end of the Mosaic age in the 1st Century instead of at the end of time at the Second Coming of Christ. Thus, eliminating the need to separate Matthew’s account into a 1st Century account ending at Matthew 24:34 and then transitioning in Matthew 24:35, leading to the Second Coming account with a new division starting at Matthew 24:36.

In this reviewer’s opinion, the most important part of the book is Rogers’ correction of the errors made by James Stuart Russell in the book on the Parousia. Rogers corrects Russell’s errors yet keeps his basic interpretive model intact. Roger’s work will no doubt be invaluable and prevent many from slipping into a hyper or a full preterism model.   

There are many helpful eschatological charts throughout the book. Maybe Rogers already has. In case not, Rogers should develop a PowerPoint of these eschatological charts. Their illustrative and explanatory power was significant.  

After forty years of studying eschatology, Roger’s book is eye-opening and breaks fresh ground. If the reader of this review is a student of eschatology, this book should be purchased.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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A Look Communion, a brief overview

A Look Communion, a brief overview                                                             by Jack Kettler                                     

What is Communion? In this primer, consider the significant differences on the topic of communion. As a disclosure, this writer is coming from the Reformed/Presbyterian perspective.


In brief, communion takes place in Christian worship, where the bread and wine are consecrated and distributed to the congregants.

Five Differing views:

Undoubtedly, many will disagree with the five groupings and the brief definitions for each group listed. The definitions are from online public sources. For a more detailed definition, the reader should consult the actual Churches themselves for this.

The Roman Catholic View:

“Transubstantiation is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of the whole substance of wine into the substance of his Blood.” – Wikipedia

The Eastern Orthodox View:

“Eucharist (from the Greek εὐχαριστία, or eucharistia, meaning thanksgiving or giving thanks) is a holy mystery (or sacrament) that is celebrated during the Divine Liturgy within the Orthodox Church where the consecrated bread and wine, through the power of the Holy Spirit becomes the Precious Blood and Body of Jesus Christ, that is consumed by prepared Orthodox Christians. Other names for the Eucharist include: the Holy Gifts, Communion, and the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ Orthodox Christians believe that the Real Presence of God (not merely a sign) is present after the consecration of the Gifts.” – OrthodoxWiki

The Lutheran View:

“Lutherans believe that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly and substantially present in, with and under the forms of consecrated bread and wine. The Lutheran doctrine of the Real Presence is also known as the sacramental union. Lutherans use the term ‘in, with, and under the forms of consecrated bread and wine’ and ‘sacramental union.’” – Wikipedia

The Zwinglian Memorial View:

“The Zwinglian view is called the ‘memorial’ view. And as I said, Christ is not present in the elements either literally or spiritually. In the Zwinglian view, the Lord’s Supper communion is a commemoration of the death of Christ. The partaker is simply reminded of the benefits of redemption and salvation brought about in Christ’s death.” – Quora

The Reformed View:

“In Reformed theology, the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist is a sacrament that spiritually nourishes Christians and strengthens their union with Christ. The outward or physical action of the sacrament is eating bread and drinking wine. Reformed confessions, which are official statements of the beliefs of Reformed churches, teach that Christ’s body and blood are really present in the sacrament, but that this presence is communicated in a spiritual manner rather than by his body being physically eaten. The Reformed doctrine of real presence is sometimes called mystical real presence or spiritual real presence.” – Wikipedia

Summary of the five views on communion:

·         Transubstantiation – Roman Catholic (formulated by Thomas Aquinas)

·         Real Presence, celebrated during the Divine Liturgy – Orthodox (some church fathers)

·         Real or Sacramental union – Lutheran Churches (Martin Luther)

·         Real Spiritual Presence – Reformed and Presbyterian Churches (John Calvin)

·         Memorial – Baptist, and Mennonite Churches (Ulrich Zwingli)

The view of John Calvin in more detail:

“The rule which the pious ought always to observe is, whenever they see the symbols instituted by the Lord, to think and feel surely persuaded that the truth of the thing signified is also present. For why does the Lord put the symbol of his body into your hands, but just to assure you that you truly partake of him? If this is true let us feel as much assured that the visible sign is given us in seal of an invisible gift as that his body itself is given to us.” – Institutes

What does the Scripture say? Some of the key texts appealed too in the context of the debate on the body and blood of Christ in communion. 

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’” (Matthew 26:26 ESV)

“And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’” (Mark 14:22 ESV)

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’” (Luke 22:19 ESV)

“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1Corinthians 10:16 ESV)

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1Corinthians 11:23-25 ESV)

Literal or metaphorical? Two problems for the literal or real presence view.

First: Does Christ’s body take on elements of omnipresence, or is His human nature absorbed into the divine nature with the real corporal presence view? If Christ’s body appears all over the world during communion services, surely this would confirm the suspicion of the confusion of Christ’s two natures. In the early church, a heresy promoted an incorrect understanding of Christ’s humanity. It was the heresy of Docetism, which comes from the Greek verb δοκεῖν dokein, “to appear,” or “to seem.” According to Docetism, Jesus only seemed or appeared to have a human body.

The above objection regarding omnipresence and Christ’s human nature becoming divine is similar to the prayers offered to human saints who are in heaven. Do the resurrected saints take on attributes of God, namely, omnipresence? Without becoming omnipresent, how could they hear many prayers from different times and places? Christ, in His two natures, which includes His body, is now “seated at the right hand of God.” See Ephesians 1:20.

Faithful to the Scriptures, the Council of Chalcedon 451A.D. in its creedal statement, in essence, says, Jesus Christ is at the same time fully God and fully man. The real corporal presence view undercuts and confuses the two natures of Christ when communion is practiced. Therefore, it is incorrect.

Another question raised, do we take the passages literally that say, “this is my body,” when Luke seems to add a qualification saying, “Do this in remembrance of me” Luke 22:19. Doing this in remembrance mitigates against a literal view by an appeal to the memorial aspect of communion. Therefore, the “is” must figurative and spiritual. It is no different from when Jesus said, “I am the vine,” (John 15:2) or “I am the door” (John 10:7).   

Second: Is this cannibalism?

In Matthew 26:26 Jesus was with the disciples at the “last supper” in which He said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

Is there another portion of Scripture that will shed light on the literalness of the passage?

While not talking about the Lord’s Supper, Jesus, in John’s gospel, provides an interpretive key and explains what eating His flesh and drinking His blood meant and an error in reasoning among some disciples.

On the surface to some, Jesus’ saying was scandalous. His teaching seemed to imply cannibalism.

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, we learn more about this:

“The Jews therefore strove among themselves … Fell to cavilling and disputing one among another; some understanding Christ, and others not; some being for him, and vindicated what he said; and others being against him, and who were the majority, objected, saying how can this man give us his flesh to eat? Which is to be understood, not physically, but as morally impossible and unlawful; since, with the Jews, it was not lawful to eat the flesh of any creature alive, and much less the flesh of man; for the Jews understood Christ of a corporeal eating of his flesh, being strangers to a figurative or spiritual eating of it by faith, in which sense he meant it.” (1)

John records the words of Christ:

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, how can this man give us his flesh to eat? So Jesus said to them, truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:51-54 ESV)

Some of the disciples took the word of Christ literally, as seen from the next passage:

“When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60 ESV)

At the time of Christ’s teaching, some disciples forsook Him because of their incorrect literal understanding.

Jesus defuses this false idea about literally eating His flesh and blood when He said:
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63 ESV)

In John 6:63, Jesus qualified His seemingly controversial saying by appealing to the spiritual nature of His Words. What is more, if the text on the Lord’s Supper is literal, why was there no protest from the faithful disciples? The words “Take, eat; this is my body” and “…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” must be spiritual.

From Barnes Notes on the Bible, this is borne out:

“The flesh – Your carnal views and desires, and the literal understanding of my doctrine. By this Jesus shows them that he did not intend that his words should be taken literally…

They are spirit – They are spiritual. They are not to be understood literally, as if you were really to eat my flesh, but they are to be understood as denoting the need of that provision for the soul, which God has made, by my coming into the world.” (2)

The Apostle John’s words must undoubtedly influence how we understand the other gospels and a proper understanding of “Take; this is my body.” To ignore John is to ignore the broader context of Scripture. A literal interpretation of the Lord’s Supper is the result of over compartmentalizing the text.

The Roman Catholic view and cannibalism:

Roman Catholics who take a literal interpretation of the passage have had to explain why the Eucharist is not cannibalism. This question is fair and is raised by many non-believers. So much so that the question has been addressed. For one example, see The Eucharist & Cannibalism by Michael Foley

In most cultures, there are long-standing taboos against cannibalism. Therefore, the passage is not literal, but one of Jesus using a figurative metaphor to elucidate the spiritual nature of His body and blood in communion.

Biblical examples that imply cannibalism and by deduction condemn it: 

In the following passages Leviticus 26:29; Deuteronomy 28:53-57; Jeremiah 19:9; Lamentations 2:20; Ezekiel 5:10, the horrors of God’s judgment is seen. The result at times of God’s judgment is witnessed in the eating of human flesh of Israelite children when, for example, a city was under siege.

For example, consider Jeremiah’s rhetorical question: 

“Look, O Lord, and see! With whom have, you dealt thus? Should women eat the fruit of their womb, the children of their tender care…?” (Lamentations 2:20 ESV)

In addition, from a rabbinic commentary on cannibalism:

“With regard to humans: Although [Genesis 2:7] states: “And the man became a beast with a soul,” he is not included in the category of hoofed animals. Therefore, he is not included in the [above] prohibition. Accordingly, one who partakes of meat or fat from a man – whether alive or deceased – is not liable for lashes. It is, however, forbidden [to partake of human meat] because of the positive commandment [mentioned above]. For the Torah [Leviticus 11:2] lists the seven species of kosher wild beasts and says: “These are the beasts of which you may partake.” Implied is that any other than they may not be eaten. And a negative commandment that comes as a result of a positive commandment is considered as a positive commandment.” – Rabbi Eliyahu Touger’s translation of part of Ma’achalot AssurotChapter 2

Old Testament Roots of communion:

The “cup of blessing,” in which thanks are offered during the Passover remembrance in the Seder. The Seder is where each adult diner drinks four cups of wine, representing aspects of the redemption of the Israelites from slavery under the Egyptians by the blood of the Passover lamb.

In Christian communion, the red wine symbolizes the blood of Christ, who was the Passover lamb, and who redeems us from the slavery of sin.

If the comparison of Passover and Communion is all that is said scripturally, then this would lend support for a purely memorial understanding of the Lord’s Supper. While not devoting time to raising questions about the purely memorial view, let it be noted that because of Christ’s divine nature, Christ must be spiritually present in communion because of His omnipresence.   

In closing, selections from the Westminster Standards: 

Westminster Larger Catechism: Questions 168-170:
Q. 168. What is the Lord’s Supper?

A. The Lord’s supper is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is showed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace; have their union and communion with him confirmed; testify and renew their thankfulness, and engagement to God, and their mutual love and fellowship each with other, as members of the same mystical body.

Q. 169. How hath Christ appointed bread and wine to be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?

A. Christ hath appointed the ministers of his word, in the administration of this sacrament of the Lord’s supper, to set apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving, and prayer; to take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the communicants: who are, by the same appointment, to take and eat the bread, and to drink the wine, in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was broken and given, and his blood shed, for them.

Q. 170. How do they that worthily communicate in the Lord’s supper feed upon the body and blood of Christ therein?

A. As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord’s supper, and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses; so they that worthily communicate in the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a corporal and carnal, but in a spiritual manner; yet truly and really, while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death.

 Westminster Confession Chapter XXIX Of the Lord’s Supper: I. Our Lord Jesus, in the night wherein He was betrayed, instituted the sacrament of His body and blood, called the Lord’s Supper, to be observed in His Church, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance of the sacrifice of Himself in His death; the sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers, their spiritual nourishment and growth in Him, their further engagement in and to all duties which they owe unto Him; and, to be a bond and pledge of their communion with Him, and with each other, as members of His mystical body.

II. In this sacrament, Christ is not offered up to His Father; nor any real sacrifice made at all, for remission of sins of the quick or dead; but only a commemoration of that one offering up of Himself, by Himself, upon the cross, once for all: and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God, for the same: so that the popish sacrifice of the mass (as they call it) is most abominably injurious to Christ’s one, only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of His elect.

III. The Lord Jesus has, in this ordinance, appointed His ministers to declare His word of institution to the people, to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to an holy use; and to take and break the bread, to take the cup, and (they communicating also themselves) to give both to the communicants; but to none who are not then present in the congregation.

IV. Private masses, or receiving this sacrament by a priest, or any other alone; as likewise, the denial of the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about, for adoration, and the reserving them for any pretended religious use; are all contrary to the nature of this sacrament, and to the institution of Christ.

V. The outward elements in this sacrament, duly set apart to the uses ordained by Christ, have such relation to Him crucified, as that, truly, yet sacramentally only, they are sometimes called by the name of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ; albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before.

VI. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ’s body and blood (commonly called transubstantiation) by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant, not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense, and reason; overthrows the nature of the sacrament, and has been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions; yes, of gross idolatries.

VII. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements, in this sacrament, do then also, inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally but spiritually, receive and feed upon, Christ crucified, and all benefits of His death: the body and blood of Christ being then, not corporally or carnally, in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses.

VIII. Although ignorant and wicked men receive the outward elements in this sacrament; yet, they receive not the thing signified thereby; but, by their unworthy coming thereunto, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, to their own damnation. Wherefore, all ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Him, so are they unworthy of the Lord’s table; and cannot, without great sin against Christ, while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto.

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)


 1.       John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, John, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 226.

2.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, John, Vol. 1 p.1153.

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more research:

Short Treatise on the Lord’s Supper by John Calvin:


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Does Romans 13 on submission contradict other portions of Scripture?

Does Romans 13 on submission contradict other portions of Scripture?      By Jack Kettler

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he, beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Romans 13:1, 3-4)

The purpose of this study is to provoke thought and debate. Many questions will be asked to accomplish this:

Is the state ruler always the minister of God for good? Also, does the ruler continually execute wrath upon him that does evil?

Some governments like China forcibly make women kill their unborn children through abortions. Other governments, like in America, teach damnable lies to young children about sex, genders, and practices.

Is it a contradiction to say that a government is doing good and opposing evil when it is practicing evil and persecuting good?

What does Isaiah say about this?

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

If Christians willingly submit to wicked lies, is not this a violation of Isaiah’s teaching? The astute reader should see the problem between Isaiah 5:20 and Paul’s understanding in Romans 13:1-4.      

For example, consider a modern-day contemporary understanding of Romans 13:

According to Rev. John E. Warmuth, a Lutheran pastor from Wisconsin, in his online sermon, Romans 13:1-10 OUR ULTIMATE OBEDIENCE IS TO GOD:

“One of the oddities I find in all of this, concerns Adolf Hitler.  He was certainly not a God-fearing man. Yet he had a favorite section of the Bible which happens to be our text, Romans 13:1-10.  It may have been the only part of the Bible he liked.  I think we can understand why, too.  At first these verses appear to give validity to his totalitarian type of governing.  Hitler read those words to mean the people of Germany owed him ultimate allegiance and obedience no matter what, and whatever peoples he conquered would owe him that, too. 

What Hitler did not see in these words, however, is that they point out OUR ULTIMATE OBEDIENCEIS TO GOD.  While it includes submission to governing authorities as well as love for our fellow man, the emphasis in these verses is that OUR ULTIMATE OBEDIENCE IS TO GOD. Notice the repeated phrases “authority. . . God has established,” “authorities. . . have been established by God,” “rebelling against what God has instituted,” and “he is God’s servant,” all of which point to God as the ultimate authority.  All earthly authorities come from God the ruler of all.  And the ultimate Authority says we owe obedience to the earthly authorities he allows to have authority here.  Why?

First, it is simply because God says so.  That should be reason enough.  We want what God wants so we submit to them.  Christians in the Roman Empire were to submit to the ungodly pagan Emperors and yes, the people of Germany were to submit to the authority of Hitler.”

Warmuth’s interpretation is typical of many contemporary interpretations of the subject, yet false. As will be seen, the section of Romans 13 on submission contains clear examples of exceptions to unlimited authority.     

Romans 13:1, 3-4 teaches that believers submit to rulers who punish evil. Hitler was a promoter of evil deeds and persecuted the righteous. How can anyone maintain that Hitler punished evil as a minister of God? When Hitler had Christian pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer arrested and murdered, was he a minister of God for good? Was Hitler a minister of God for good when he had six million Jews murdered? These difficult questions cannot be brushed away.

The danger:

Are believers unwittingly calling rulers who promote evil as good? Is an individual who says Hitler punished evil when he punished good in reality fall under the woe Isaiah 5:20?

Warmuth and others like him are trapped in a contradiction and violating Isaiah’s woe.

Paul says in Romans 13 because the magistrate does good and is a terror towards evil-doers, does one owe them obedience. Hitler did not meet the standards of Romans 3:1, 3-4. To call him a minister of God for good is outrageous. Good for what? Does keeping the trains running on time like his tyrannical Italian partner Mussolini make them good rulers?

The obedience to a magistrate is conditioned upon three things that are inescapable in the text:

·         For [because] rulers are not a terror to good works, but the evil. (verse 1)

·         For [because] he is the minister of God to thee for good. (verse 3)

·         For [because] he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (verse 4)

These three passages have conditions in them that qualify submission. How can a Christian say that Hitler was not a terror to good works or that he executed wrath on him that doeth evil when he murdered Jewish people in contradiction to verse 4? 

As said, those advocating submission to Hitler based upon Romans 13 are caught in a contradiction with other portions of Scripture, namely, Isaiah 5:20.

The Protestant Reformation would never have happened, given the interpretation of submission to wicked rulers advocated like Warmuth. Warmuth did say that the ultimate authority of obedience is to God. God raised Pharaoh up and had Moses and Israel resist him. How can the example of Pharaoh and Moses in the book of Exodus be brought into harmony with Romans 13? 

How does a Hitler-like ruler get into power?

“And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.” (Daniel 2:21)

It is indeed true that it is God who places a Hitler-like ruler in power. God has His reasons, and without knowing the mind of God, man cannot know, see (Deuteronomy 29:29).

A Biblical pattern of resistance to ungodly rulers:  

In the book of Judges, God allowed enemies of Israel to reign over them due to their unfaithfulness. Then God would raise up a judge to deliver His people from having to submit to ungodly rulers like the Philistines.

The question that needs to be asked:

Is the pattern seen in the book of Judges contradictory to modern-day interpretations of Romans 13? Because of Israel’s unfaithfulness, God brought foreign tyrants to oppress His people in order to bring them to repentance. Then God raised up His judges to resist, not submit to the Philistines and others.

Are there contradictions in Scripture? God forbid, absolutely not! Therefore, modern-day interpretations of Romans 13 that call for submission to a Hitler-like figure are false given the pattern in the book of Judges and Pharaoh and Moses’ account. Therefore, it can be said that particular individual magistrates can be resisted if violating the conditional clauses in Romans 13:1, 3-4. 

Moreover, to call a Hitler-like ruler good would be in violation of Isaiah’s woe in 5:20. Paul and Isaiah do not contradict one another? The examples are seen in the book of Judges also do not contradict Paul in Romans 13. That is where the virtually unlimited submission view of Romans 13 ends up contradicting other Scriptures.

Today God raises pastors up instead of the Old Testament judges to call wicked magistrates to repent from political lies and other forms of wickedness.

A contemporary example of Godly resistance: 

In California, John MacArthur, Grace Community Church pastor, refused to submit to government lies about the China virus scam-demic and opened God’s Church from the lockdown mandate.  

Christians are not to submit to political lies any more than theological lies. A lie is a lie and must be resisted and rebuked. 

Hypothetical question with echoes of reality:

A criminal gang seizes the government’s control by taking over the White House and murdering everyone in it. Subsequently, the criminal gang declares themselves to be the government. In this scenario, does a Christian, according to Romans 13, have to submit? If so, would the actual legitimate government have to submit, or could they plan to retake the government? If the legitimate government, after its overthrow, be allowed to resist, why should Christians be forced to submit to a lawless criminal gang that declared themselves to be a government?

As a necessary brief aside: 

Today, Christians in America, the people find themselves at the precipice in light of the wicked gang of globalists that have overthrown the legitimate government. Under the form of government enjoyed in America is a social contract form of government, which involves the consent of governed. The consent of the governed hinges upon free and fair elections. Under the contract theory, if the government cannot guarantee this, no longer is obedience required.

More importantly, the Bill of Rights is understood to mean that “Rights” come from God and are inalienable and cannot be taken or rescinded. Under the Constitution of the United States, sovereignty resides in the people as the ultimate authority. The people contracted with their elected representatives to preserve this agreement. Under this system, rulers who attempt to revoke God-given rights are tyrants and to be resisted.  

Therefore, “…That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness….” Thomas Jefferson

Back to the theological issue at hand, consider John Calvin’s view on rulers:

In a commentary on the Book of Daniel, Calvin observed that contemporary monarchs pretend to reign “by the grace of God,” but the pretense was “a mere cheat” so that they could “reign without control.” He believed that “Earthly princes depose themselves while they rise up against God,” so ‘it behooves us to spit upon their heads than to obey them.’”

Is Calvin, when saying, “…it behooves us to spit upon their heads than to obey them,” in violation of Romans 13? Not at all. Calvin’s view of the separation of powers is also seen in his view of the Church government, which likewise separates Church power from the state.

Does a Christian always have to submit to a church? No, but some conditions must be met before a church membership covenant or civil social contact may be dissolved.   

The Marks of a True Church:

1.      The gospel is preached

2.      The sacraments are administered biblically

3.      Church discipline practiced 

Marks of the God-ordained State:

1.      God’s ministers are ordained and not a terror to good works.

2.      Continual executing wrath against evil-doers.

3.      Because of fear of God’s ministers, evil is deterred.

In God’s plan of redemption, which entity is higher, the church or state?

When the state, like the church, loses the marks of legitimacy, the believer is free from submission and may seek a church that is faithful to Scripture. Likewise, a citizen is free from statist authority when that authority becomes an agent of evil. The state, like a church, can lose its authority.  

Consider Presbyterian founder John Knox and the state:

In Scotland, John Knox challenged the civil authorities’ who were influenced by the corrupt church of his day by holding services on weekdays to counter what the Romanist priests spoke about on Sundays. His rebuke to England in (1554) led to the development in theology known as resistance to tyrants. He defended the common people’s right and duty to resist if State officials ruled contrary to Scripture. Knox even said, “Resistance to tyranny is a duty to God.” It seems that Knox contradicts Romans 13 if an unlimited view of submission to the government is taken. If there are limits on the application to Romans 13, then Knox was justified. If not, then Knox is wrong and must be judged as misinterpreting Scripture. 

Thankfully, Knox saw that obedience in Romans 13 is conditioned. John Knox made this clear in his tirade against tyrants. See, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women. Knox believed in resistance to wicked rulers. Would Knox have worn a mask in worship if Queen Mary had decreed it? It is commonly known that Knox was an opponent and antagonist of the Queen. If John Knox was in violation of Romans 13, should he be excommunicated by the Presbyterians in absentia, a Latin term for absent?    

Would the Protestant Reformation ever have happened given certain interpretations of Romans 13?

Martin Luther opposed the Pope of Rome and the worldly princes who carried out the Pope of Rome’s wishes. Was Luther in violation of Romans 13? If consistent, modern-day interpreters like Warmuth would have condemned to founding father of America and submitted to and backed King George.    

 In conclusion:

Reformation-era Scotsman George Buchanan has a solution to the proper interpretation of Romans 13:

“Paul, then, is not concerned here with those who act as magistrates but with magistracy itself, that is, with the function and duty of those who are set over others; and he is not concerned with any particular type of magistracy, but with the form of every lawful magistracy. His argument is not with those who think that bad magistrates ought to be restrained, but with those who reject the authority of all magistrates….In order to refute their error Paul showed that magistracy is not only good but also sacred, the ordinance of God, indeed, expressly established to hold groups and communities of men together in such a way that would recognise the blessings of God towards them and refrain from injuring one another.” (1)

The idea that Paul is speaking of is how the magistracy should be, not how a magistrate may be. God ordains the magistracy. This does not mean that a wicked ruler like Hitler cannot be resisted.  

Buchanan’s understanding of Romans 13 absolves itself of contradictions with other Scriptures.

Historical examples of civil disobedience by Christians:

1.      William Tyndale, the English translator of the Bible, was condemned as a heretic, tried and executed in 1536.

2.      John Bunyan, a Nonconformist clergyman who was arrested for preaching without a license and failing to attend the Church of England, wrote Pilgrim’s Progress in his jail cell.

In almost every place where the Reformation had success, there was some form of civil disobedience or armed rebellion:

1.      Spanish Netherlands: Battle of Leyden, 1574 [The Dutch led by William the Silent won their independence as the United States of the Netherlands].

2.      Sweden: Gustavus Vasa broke Sweden off from Denmark and established the Lutheran church in 1527.

3.      Denmark: The Protestant party of the nobility overthrew the Catholic dynasty in 1536.

4.      Germany: Martin Luther was protected by the Duke of Saxony against the political and military power of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. The Peace of Augsburg of 1555 established the ruler’s religion in the German states. The Counter-Reformation led to the Thirty Years War. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) ratified the Peace of Augsburg.

5.      Switzerland: Cantons established Protestantism by vote of the community.

6.      Scotland: John Knox openly defied the authorities by holding services on weekdays to refute what the priests preached on Sundays. His Admonition to England (1554) developed a theology of resistance to tyranny. He upheld the right and duty of the common people to resist if state officials ruled contrary to the Bible. [“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God”] (2)

Does the reader agree with or reject these examples?

Romans 13:1-4 properly understood does not command virtually absolute obedience to wicked rulers by contradictorily saying that, for example, in the case of Hitler, he was a minister for good.

Romans 13:1, 3-4, and Isaiah 5:20 are not contradictory. Paul’s argument in Romans 13 is qualified. Paul’s qualification can be understood that a magistrate who does evil and does not execute wrath against evil-doers is doing good would fall under Isaiah’s woe. Hopefully, Christians will rethink erroneous ideas about submission to wicked rulers.  

The common person and Christian pastors can call ungodly rulers to repentance and resist unlawful decrees.

“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:25)

Christ is reigning now. How can Christ’s progressive reign be completed when believers are to remain subjugated to wicked magistrates? The thunder of John Knox is needed! 

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)


1.      George Buchanan, A Dialogue on the Law of Kingship Among the Scots, ed. Roger Mason, p. 113; 121.

2.      Francis Schaeffer: Vol. 5, A Christian Manifesto; Chapter 7: The Limits of Civil Obedience, (Westchester, Illinois, Crossway Books), pp. 467-474. Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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