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Covenant Reformed News - March 2019

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Covenant Reformed News


March 2019 • Volume XVII, Issue 11



Zechariah’s Day of the Lord (5)

The earthquake and mountain movement in Zechariah 14:4-5 point to something far greater, as the book of Revelation teaches: “the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places” (6:14). “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great ... And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found” (16:18, 20).

The explanation lies in the fact that Judah, indeed the whole of Canaan, is a picture of the world or cosmos in biblical typology. For Abraham was not promised merely a strip of land on the east of the Mediterranean Sea (Gen. 12-25); he was an “heir of the world” (Greek: kosmos), as Romans 4:13 teaches!

It is not only a mountain in Judah or even all the mountains of the world but the cosmos itself and even the very heavens that will be shaken! “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel” (Joel 3:16). “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations” (Hag. 2:6-7). Haggai 2 is quoted and explained in Hebrews 12:26-27: Jehovah “hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

It is not only in Zechariah 14:4-5 but also in verses 10-11 that we read of mountain movements. “All the land [of Judah] shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem” (10). From Geba, Judah’s northern border (II Kings 23:8), to Rimmon, its southern border (Josh. 15:32), all will be levelled to a plain.

Also something happens to Jerusalem. It will be elevated: “it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses” (Zech. 14:10). 

In other words, before the fulfilment of this prophecy, Judah is hilly and uneven, while Jerusalem is higher than most parts of Judah, though lower than some of the surrounding mountains. But Zechariah 14:10-11 pictures Judah as one large plain, with Jerusalem elevated above it.

The premillennialists wax lyrical about how wonderful it will be when Jerusalem in the Middle East is raised above a level Judah. Our response is: “Your Jerusalem is too low; it is too earthly!”

The biblical and Reformed position is, first, that even now we have a far more elevated city, the “Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26). Second, we look for the future coming of the new Jerusalem from heaven, as in the vision of the beloved apostle: “I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2).

Our hope is Christ’s coming to usher in the new heavens and the new earth with “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (22:1-2).

Let us return to the imagery of Zechariah 14:10-11. First, these verses state that Jerusalem will be “inhabited” by people dwelling there. Compare this with the far more excellent “holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband ... Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:2, 3).

Second, “Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited” (Zech. 14:11), for “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

Third, Zechariah 14:10 speaks of the gates of Jerusalem’s walls but the coming reality will be much more wonderful: “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels” (Rev. 21:10-12).

Fourth, “there shall be no more utter destruction [or curse]” for Jerusalem (Zech. 14:11) in the new world, for “there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him” (Rev. 22:3)! Rev. Stewart

 

Two Questions on Creation

Question 1: “What kind of light did God create on the first day? On the fourth day, He made the sun, moon and stars. They are light-giving bodies.”

We must not forget that the whole work of creation is a miracle. As with all miracles, we cannot explain creation completely for we cannot comprehend God’s mighty works. Our confession is always, “How great and marvellous are Thy works, O Lord!”

Nevertheless, I can suggest one possible answer to your question. It arises from the fact that the creation of the stars, the sun and the moon was the creation of light-bearing bodies. That is, they have no light in themselves but were created to carry the light created on the first day. On the fourth day, God gathered the light He had created on to the heavenly bodies.

There are many things to learn from the creation of light and it is well that we mention a few. One is that before the creation of light, all that the Almighty had created was one mass “without form, and void” (Gen 1:2). It is impossible for us to imagine it. It was not just a huge hunk of clay or anything resembling it. It was lifeless, unformed, neither hot nor cold, without any kind of movement. But from it came the entire creation, not only the earth but the entire solar system.

For the creation to be formed, light had to be created. Light is the source of life. With it we have heat and cold, light and darkness, and movement. No creation would have been possible without light.

Yet, even though light is the fundamental creation of God that gave form to it all and even though it was created first, man still does not know with certainty what light is. Some say it is packets of energy. Others say that light is waves. Yet others say that light is both under different circumstances.

No one understands what light is, even though it is God’s first creation, yet evolutionists in their folly claim to understand how all things came into existence.

Further, light is closely associated with what was once called the “ether theory.” That theory claims that the whole of space is filled with some sort of invisible substance called ether through which light can travel.

This controversy brings to mind an interesting discussion that was held in my Reformed Dogmatics class in the days of my seminary training. My professor, Herman Hoeksema, was lecturing on creation and defended the ether theory. One student, braver than I, contradicted him by saying that the ether theory had been disproved. His only response was, “We shall see.” Lately, I have been reading that the ether theory is returning in scientific discussions.

However all that may be, astronomers reckon that there are billions of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Yea, there are billions of galaxies in outer space, each with innumerable stars. They all give light, some so much light that, if even one were as near to us as our sun, the earth would be burned to a crisp.

The Bible often speaks of holiness as light. God’s holiness is His light. All the light in the universe is only a revelation of the light of God’s holiness. All the light of trillions of heavenly bodies is only a flickering and sputtering flame in comparison with God’s infinite holiness. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers ... What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Ps. 8:3, 4).

Even before the creation of light-bearing bodies, the diffused light was divided into light and darkness, for “the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:5). Darkness is the absence of light, and darkness in Scripture is used to describe sin and evil.

The dawn of a new day speaks of the defeat of darkness by the light. It will be perfectly and forever light, when Christ comes again to destroy evil and make all things new. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5); we shall be like Him!

Question 2: “If God’s creation took six days, how can we explain the seventh day?”

I am happy to answer this question because it gives me an opportunity to say some things that I have long wanted to say but lacked the occasion.

First of all, God rested on the seventh day and, regarding His creation, we read, “behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). Did God mean by that only that the creation was free from all moral defects? No. Nor did God cease working when He finished His work of creation, for He continues to uphold and govern every creature by the word of His power. We call this providence.

God means by this that He entered into the enjoyment of His own work, for it was perfectly suited as a stage on which He would enact the great drama of the fall and sin, the salvation of His elect church in Christ, the revelation of His justice in punishing the wicked in hell, and the revelation of His grace in Jesus Christ in the everlasting new heavens and new earth. God rested in the sure confidence that His creation was perfect to serve His purpose.

In the old dispensation, the seventh day was at the end of the week because man had to work six days to enjoy God’s sabbath, that is, the enjoyment with God of His works. But because of sin, the day of rest, the seventh day, was completely out of reach for man, for he could not labour one second of an entire week so as to earn the sabbath.

But Christ arose on the first day of the week and thus began a new sabbath. Christ is God’s perfect work, for He kept God’s law and through His obedience earned rest for His people. When we enjoy a sabbath, we do so by faith in Christ which enables us to serve God faithfully the rest of the week. Christ has done for us what we could never do.

As Hebrews 4 is at great pains to inform us, we enter into God’s rest to rest in fellowship with Him only by faith in Jesus. That is, not by our own works do we enter rest. Such nonsense brings us into wicked legalism. But by faith in Christ, in union with Him, we enjoy God’s perfect work by entering into the rest that He graciously gives us through Christ’s atoning sacrifice and victorious resurrection.

We must lay aside all our works for they are nothing but “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6). Christ’s obedience, not ours, secures our rest. Christ’s work, not ours, gives us the true rest. By faith in Christ, we enter into God’s work and rest in His everlasting covenant of grace. Prof. Hanko


Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live.html
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 25 April
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Martyn McGeown


Subject:
The Development of God’s Covenant (5): Jacob

Having traced the development of God’s covenant with Adam, Abel, the saints before the flood (especially Enoch), Noah, Abraham and Isaac, we will now consider God’s covenant with Jacob. Jacob struggled for the covenant for his whole life, yet he had to learn, through much divine chastisement, that the covenant is not gained by man’s trickery or efforts, but through God’s grace alone and by faith in His promises! 

Venue: Margam Community Centre
Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

Book Table (including DVDs,
CDs & pamphlets) 
Coffee & tea provided afterward

www.cprc.co.uk
www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm

www.limerickreformed.com


Gospel Living
(vol. II)


8 sermons on Romans 12:13-21 on CD or DVD in an attractive box set 

What is the Christian life which flows out of the gospel of sovereign grace (God’s unconditional election, Christ’s particular atonement, justification by faith alone and sanctification by the Spirit)? Romans 12:13-21 explains by dealing with hospitality, like-mindedness, humility and (extensively) revenge!

(1) Christian Hospitality
(Rom. 12:13)
(2) The Christian’s Reactions (Rom. 12:14-15)
(3) Being Like-Minded Towards One Another (Rom. 12:16)
(4) No Retaliation! (Rom. 12:17)
(5) Be at Peace With All Men! (Rom. 12:18)
(6) Vengeance! (Rom. 12:19)
(7) Heaping Coals of Fire on Your Enemy’s Head (Rom. 12:20)
(8) Overcoming or Being Overcome? (Rom. 12:21)

£8/box set (inc. P&P)


Listen free on-line or
Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

The Original
Five Points of Calvinism


400th Anniversary of the Synod of Dordt

Mini-Conference

Saturday, 13 April
1) The Onset of the Great War: Ecclesiastical and Doctrinal - 11 AM
(lunch served between
the two lectures)
2) The Confession of the Gospel (of Grace): The “Five Points of Calvinism” (as the Content of the Canons of Dordt) - 1 PM

Wednesday, 17 April
7:30 PM
 
The Defence of the Gospel: The Rejection of Errors

Wednesday, 1 May 
7:30 PM
 
The Other Decisions of the Dordt Synod and Their Importance for the Reformed Churches Today

Speaker
 Prof. David J. Engelsma 
emeritus Professor of Dogmatics at the Protestant Reformed Seminary, USA

Venue
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence St., Ballymena,
N. Ireland BT43 5DR

Prof. Engelsma is also to preach, DV, at some of the CPRC worship services (11 AM & 6 PM) on Lord’s Days 14, 21 & 28 April and 5 May

www.cprf.co.uk/dordtconference.html or for more details contact us at (028) 25 891851
video live-stream available at www.cprf.co.uk/live.html 
Last modified on 05 April 2019

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