What is the kingdom of God? Part 8: the gospel as a message of triumph
Whereas the apostles front-load the gospel with Jesus’ resurrection for worldwide kingship, evangelicals front-load it with his death for sin. Thus, whereas the New Testament’s gospel is a message about all-encompassing cosmic restoration through Jesus’ resurrection and enthronement, today’s gospel is a message about individual moral restoration through Jesus’ death and atonement.
Baptism as a pledge of allegiance
Baptism is (among other things) a public renouncement of one’s former enslavement to Satan and the other spiritual rulers of this present darkness, and a vow of fealty to the enthroned king, Jesus.
Who is the serpent in Genesis, and is it an actual snake?
Several different strands of evidence point to the serpent being not an animal, but a shining, serpentine angelic being.
Thorny problems with the serpent being a talking snake
This surprisingly common YEC interpretation of Genesis 3 is problematic for at least seven reasons.
Angels and ghosts
The common assumption that Matthew 18 and Acts 12 give us glimpses of guardian angels is probably mistaken. Rather, the term angel in these passages is referring to human spirits.
The gospel is inherently political
The fact that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world does not imply that it is not on this world.
Presupposing freewill theism is the opposite of the Naked Bible method
Modern ideas about libertarian free will, conditioned by our culture and theological history, are completely foreign to the assumptions that ancient readers would have brought to the Bible.
Is lack of healing a failing of the church to exercise authority for their king?
In response to a reader’s question, I suggest a moderate path between taking kingdom theology to humanistic extremes that presume upon God’s authority, and swinging so far the other way that we refuse to represent his authority at all.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 7: where we are now, and what we can look forward to
God’s end-game is a human kingdom that is not just restored, but glorified, with believers taking their place as new sons of God, ruling with Jesus forever.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 6: how God is retaking Adam’s kingdom from Satan
God used the collapse of his kingdom Israel, and the death of his king Jesus on a cross, to overcome sin and make the human nature itself sacred space. He thereby disarmed Satan’s claim over humanity by crowning a perfect human king in his place—and started inexorably transforming Adam’s ruined kingdom into Jesus’ restored one by dwelling in human hearts instead of in a land.
Demonization and mental illness
Despite popular assumptions, ancient peoples could usually tell the difference—just like we usually can.
Advice for women on International Women’s Day
This is directed especially to Christian women, since it is based on Scripture—but any woman, and indeed any man, will benefit from it.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 5: when God began retaking Adam’s kingdom from Satan
Before we can understand how God is retaking Adam’s kingdom, we must first establish when he began to do it. Daniel 7 was fulfilled after Pentecost when Jesus went into heaven on a cloud and received kingship to place his enemies under his feet.
Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #4: predestination and foreknowledge
In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm—in this instance, his comments in chapter 9 on how God foreknows without predestining.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 4: a tale of two seeds
The fallout of the curse was a bitter war between the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman, within the one kingdom God had established. This culminated at Babel, where Yahweh disinherited mankind and divided them among the sons of God—taking Israel as his kingdom and giving the rest to Satan.
If Adam thought Satan was a good guy, was his transgression justified?
A response to Steve Hays, in which I challenge the assumption to begin with, and then doubt the conclusion for two other reasons anyway.
Why think the rulers of 1 Corinthians 2:8 are gods?
In which I outline two significant reasons based on the language used, and what Paul is actually talking about.
Is it right to ask God to forgive you again and again, when he has already forgiven you on the cross?
Short answer: yes, we should continually ask God for forgiveness.
Evangelical complementarian leaders mostly just teaching feminism
The Gospel Coalition tries to teach complementarianism by rebranding feminism, and I demur.
Are cherubs just palace guardians?
Steve Hays argues that my view of Eden as the divine council meeting-place trades on ignoring the role of cherubs as defensive rather than administrative beings. I reply with a three-pronged rebuttal.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 3: what happened in Eden
Adam was created as the first human member of the divine council. The serpent was a shining, serpentine being who didn’t like Adam being given dominion of the earth instead of someone higher up…like him.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 2: the divine council
Israel, like all ancient Near Eastern peoples, conceived of the world as being governed by a cosmic bureaucracy—a bureaucracy the Bible calls the divine council. Prophets were brought into this council when they were commissioned.
What is the kingdom of God? Part 1: representation and rulership
The kingdom of God and the kingdom of man started out as the same thing, and Adam’s representation of God is mimicked in the physical world’s representation of spiritual realities.
Abortion as sacrament: why religious language is still used in a secular culture
A brief analysis of abortion in terms of Satan’s attack on the image and kingdom of God.
Vicarious atonement and gift-giving
Western intuitions about vicarious atonement are overly selective given other vicarious mechanisms we take for granted.
Christianity, confidence, and certainty
We can have complete certainty in the existence of God, and a high degree of confidence in the truth of Christianity specifically. This is justified not only by philosophical, prophetical and historical arguments, but especially by the direct knowledge imparted by the Spirit of God.
Excerpts from credible witnesses to supernatural events
Not every account of supernatural events should be believed, but some have the ring of truth.
What should we make of supernatural events in other religions?
We should welcome them as potential proof of Christianity.
How to better profit from personal Bible reading
Some thoughts and questions to ponder when seeking to apply the Bible to your own life in your personal devotions.
Calvinism, masculinity and niceness
In some ways, this isn’t really about Calvinism. That’s just how the conversation started. It’s about Christianity abandoning masculinity, and thus replacing love with niceness.
Prelapsarian predation, part 4: the curse
Were animals bitey before the Fall? Or did they only start munching on each other afterwards? In the fourth part of this series I assess what we can infer about death and predation from the curse.
The role of elders according to Scripture
What are they supposed to do, and what kind of people should they be?
Word studies are not exegesis
Or, don’t bother learning the original languages if you don’t yet know how communication works in even your native tongue.
What is going on with Legion and the pigs?
Why does Legion beg to go into the pigs? Why does Jesus let them? Why do the pigs then rush into the sea?
Are most women less perceptive than 6 year old children?
A question for Douglas Wilson, who seems to think the majority of women who procure abortions are hoodwinked, and have no real idea of what they’re doing.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 7: the early church
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I demonstrate how they must cite cherry-picked evidence from the most absurdly unqualified sources to make the case that eternal punishment wasn’t part of early church doctrine.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 6: argument from statistics
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I briefly demolish their “statistical argument” that if hell were in the Bible, it would appear more often.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 5: exegetical fumbles
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I show the blunders and gymnastics required to so comprehensively misunderstand the obvious “hell passages”.
Why are some not drawn?
A cautious response to a difficult question.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 4: is hell eternal or age-long?
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I show that if you believe hell’s duration should be translated as “age-long” rather than “eternal”, you not only mangle basic language, but eviscerate the gospel and spiral into heresy on the nature of God himself.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 3: Gehenna
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I correct their hasty assertions about how “Gehenna” is mistranslated, by examining its use in Second Temple sources.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 2: the nature of hell
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I illustrate their fundamental misunderstanding of the traditional doctrine of hell.
What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 1: hell and the gospel
A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I question how their view of hell can square with a gospel that preaches eternal life.
Overt Christology in the Old Testament, part 3: the face of Yahweh
Let me show you Jesus, hiding in plain sight…
Overt Christology in the Old Testament, part 2: the angel of Yahweh
Let me show you Jesus, hiding in plain sight…
Overt Christology in the Old Testament, part 1: the word of Yahweh
Let me show you Jesus, hiding in plain sight…
A simple argument that John 6 is not referring to the Eucharist
I mean, of course it’s not—but try convincing a Catholic of that.
Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #3: perfection and freedom
In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm—in this instance, his comments in chapter 8 on the nature of perfection, and genuine freedom.
Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #2: who is ha’satan?
In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm—in this instance, his comments in chapter 8 on Satan.