This post is mainly in response to Damion’s question in a comment on my previous post. Damion asked about how judgment fits in the equation. Brett commented that this is a no-brainer, and all I can say is that when you look at typical surveys of Biblical Theology in resources such as the Anchor Bible Dictionary or the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia or the relevant article in the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, you won’t find a the glory of God mentioned as a possible center of Biblical Theology.
For fuller discussion of these issues, please see the paper I presented, a revised version of which will be in the next issue of Tyndale Bulletin.
Briefly, here’s how I see the “salvation through judgment” part working:
- Salvation shows God to be “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exod 34:6b–7a).
- Judgment shows God to be the one “who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation” (Exod 34:7b).
- Thus, salvation and judgment balance one another. The reality of judgment should keep us from thinking of God in purely sentimental terms as though he were a grandfatherly buddy who just lets things go. The reality of salvation should likewise keep us from thinking of God as a terrifying vengeful judge. Those who flee to him will be saved, but those who do not fear him will be judged.
- Salvation always comes through judgment in various ways.
- Salvation for the nation of Israel at the Exodus came through the judgment of Egypt, and this pattern is repeated throughout the OT. When God saves Israel, he delivers the nation by bringing judgment on the nation’s enemies.
- Salvation for all believers of all ages is made possible by the judgment that falls on Jesus at the cross. The cross allows God to be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Rom 3:24–26). Even though members of the remnant live before Jesus, saving faith is explicit trust in the promises of God. I believe the promises of God begin in Genesis 3:15, and I think that many of these promises concern an anointed redeemer whom God will raise up to accomplish the salvation of his people—Messiah. So even though OT saints don’t know that the Messiah will be named Jesus, grow up in Nazareth etc., they have heard God promise to raise up a man who will save them and they trust God to keep his word. So they are saved by faith in God’s promised Messiah.
- Everyone who gets saved gets saved through judgment. All who flee to Christ and confess that he is Lord and that God raised him from the dead do so because they realize their need for a Savior. They realize their need for a Savior because they have become convinced that God is holy, they are sinful, and they know God will judge. In a sense, they feel the force of condemnation and justice, the wrath that remains upon them, and they recognize that Jesus is their only hope.
- Thus, historically (in Christ on the cross) and existentially (in their own experience of the wrath of God that makes them feel their need for Christ) believers are saved through judgment.
All of this reveals God as righteous and merciful, loving and just, holy and forgiving, for his glory forever. And his glory is what is best for all concerned. . . This is not my philosophy. Those who raise issues of omni-benevolence need to wrestle with what the texts say. The texts are the controlling elements in the discussion. The texts lead me to these conclusions. Soli Deo Gloria.
Wow … thanks for the very detailed response. A few things in the write up have shed light where I was unclear. Thank you for taking the time to post this.
You hit the nail on the head when you say that it is the texts that lead to this conclusion. The reason I told my story of discovering it at 18 was not by any means to arrogantly say I was so smart to figure it out as much as to say that the glory of God as the center was the ONLY explanation I could find from any text. I had never taken a New Testament or Theology or Hermeneutics class or anything, I was just armed with a Bible and a concordance and came to that conclusion.
Why on earth those resources you mentioned don’t mention God’s glory as the center I have no idea. Perhaps I am too much of a simpleton, but it is nice to know that a PhD in NT who does understand the issues has confirmed what my naive 18 year old Bible study yielded.
“There will be no peace on Earth until My Son’s Kingdom. I will crush every kingdom now standing and rock the earth off it’s foundation. I Yahweh will destroy every enemy to My throne, and who can stop Me? Who can turn back My anger? No one.”
Christ Jesus said at Matthew 10:34 “Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
While Satan works to maintain “peace on earth” and halt prophecy, mankind is alienated from God. What was prophesied long ago is currently taking place and will continue to until the battle of Armageddon.
Ezekiel 29:8 “Therefore this is what the Lord GOD says: I am going to bring a sword against you and wipe out man and animal from you.”
Yes, that means God is angry.
Revelation 16:21 “Enormous hailstones, each weighing about 100 pounds, fell from heaven on the people, and they blasphemed God for the plague of hail because that plague was extremely severe.”
We are currently in the Tribulation and the severity is about to become much worse. If you think things are bad now, you can’t imagine how bad they will become.
Satan is not the cause of what is occurring in the world via natural disasters, plagues, pestilence, financial crisis and all the rest. It is Yahweh’s will and it comes directly from Him. He is the One in control, and the One whom is nature.
Psalm 83:18 “May they know that You alone – whose name is Yahweh – are the Most High over all the earth.”
Calamity will come upon mankind and it will be via Yahweh’s hand. Satan is powerless to stop Him and mankind is powerless to stop Him.
Ezekiel 28:23 “I will send a plague against her and bloodshed in her streets; the slain will fall within her, while the sword is against her on every side. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
Yahweh is about to bring full rebellion to Satan’s empire. As hard as he works to try and keep peace, he will not be able to halt the people from rebelling against the governments. There is a reason the job failures and the staggering economy, and the lost homes. They are all designed to culminate against each government of every nation affected by this curse from God.
Malachi 1:4 “Though Edom says: “We have been devastated, but we will rebuild the ruins,” the LORD of Hosts says this: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called a wicked country and the people the LORD has cursed forever.”
Satan will bring the nations back up from ruin for a short while, but they will not hold together. During that period of destruction, the people will curse God and seek their true benefactor that is opposed to Christ and Yahweh – Satan. The Antichrist will then make his appearance. The people will be awed by Satan’s regained powers and his strength to bring peace to this world of people. But it will not last. Yahweh will see to that.
Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!”
All of mankind is cursed except for the remnant. Think. How many people survived the Great Flood? Sodom and Gomorrah? It will not be any different. Those events were precursors to what will occur in these End Times.
Mark 11:12 “[ The Barren Fig Tree Is Cursed ] The next day when they came out from Bethany, He was hungry.”
Mark 11:21 “Then Peter remembered and said to Him, ” Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed is withered.”
Satan’s family tree is barren and was cursed long ago. Mankind is withering under our Creator’s curse.
Jeremiah 17:5 “[ Curse and Blessing ] This is what the LORD says: Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind, who makes [human] flesh his strength and turns his heart from the LORD.”
Mankind is under a curse and belongs to Satan. It requires effort – action on the part of anyone hearing this wake up call to get out of Satan’s empire. Those that have remained are to receive the plagues just ahead. Everything else has just been foreplay. The worst is just ahead, and it’s all from Yahweh.
When Satan’s empire totally crumbles out from under him and them as their Antichrist, this is what will happen:
Ezekiel 33:27 “Tell them this: This is what the Lord GOD says: As surely as I live, those who are in the ruins will fall by the sword, those in the open field I have given to wild animals to be devoured, and those in the strongholds and caves will die by plague.”
Ezekiel 38:22 “I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed. I will pour out torrential rain, hailstones, fire, and brimstone on him, as well as his troops and the many peoples who are with him.”
Habakkuk 3:5 “Plague goes before Him, and pestilence follows in His steps.”
That is the path Yahweh will lead Satan’s followers down.
Deuteronomy 28:16 “You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country.”
There will be nowhere to hide.
For the so-called Christian churches that claim to reveal Yahweh’s Word in truth:
Revelation 2:23 “I will kill her children with the plague. Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”
They are cursed especially for their lying conduct in reference to Yahweh and Christ. Remember when Yahweh killed the first born males of ancient Egypt? Now He will kill the children of Satan that make up the false churches.
1 Chronicles 21:27 “Then the LORD spoke to the angel, and he put his sword back into its sheath.”
The only way this will happen is if they repent and accept Yahweh for who He really is – in Truth.
Otherwise, those churches professing to be true Christians will go the way of the rest of cursed mankind.
Revelation 2:11 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. The victor will never be harmed by the second death.”
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