Evaluating the case for evolution – Part 1 (Hebrews 11:3)

POST OVERVIEW. The first in a series of posts evaluating the case for evolution from the perspective of a biblical creationist.


In these posts, I will be attempting to objectively explore the fundamental ideas of evolution and then to examine the validity and credibility of these ideas. My purpose for this exercise is to set up the situation where a person like me who holds to a biblical view of creation can examine the case for evolution and see if the evidence for evolution is persuasive. In this exploration, I will also be asking questions of the evolutionist to prompt dialog.

I will begin presenting a small piece of evidence that supports biblical creation. In Hebrews 11:3, the Bible speaks directly to the means by which God created the universe.

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

Here in this verse the Bible states that God created what is seen out of that which is unseen. This means that God created our universe out of nothing, ex nihilo. God used just the power and authority of His word to bring the universe into being.

The teaching of this verse separates those who, by faith, believe the Bible to be the word of God from those who, lacking faith, do not. This verse drives us back to the very start of the Scriptures, to the first words of Genesis when creation is being described and requires us to make a decision. Do we believe that God created the worlds out of that which did not exist or do we think that some form of evolution was responsible for all we see in the creation? The answer to this question reveals whether you have saving faith or you lack it.

Of course, the evolutionist readily admits he does not have faith in God and does not believe the Bible, but we will see that this verse presents a problem for him, nevertheless.


While the proponent of evolution can reject the biblical explanation about God’s creation, he cannot avoid the problem of original material. Why do I say that? I say that because of the very nature of and definition of evolution. Evolution always begins with what already exists and modifies it. Evolution always starts with an existing species and then somehow conceives of an “improvement” in that species to make it more fit to survive. The theory of evolution describes a process whereby existing species improve. Thus evolution requires existing material. For evolution to operate, there must be something already existing that can be evolved. This means that the proponents of evolution must address the issue of origin. What is the source of the original material that was originally subject to “improvement”?

Even if it could be shown that the existence of the breathtaking variety of animals and birds and fish and plants and rocks and mountains and trees on our planet and the spectacular beauty of the uncountable stars in the heavens is the result of an evolutionary process (see below), those who promote evolution must still answer the question of original material. And simply saying, “The big bang,” does not answer the question, but merely throws it into the realm of myth.


As we consider “evolution” more deeply, we see that the nature of evolution itself is mysterious. For example, to make the theory of evolution function, proponents of the theory give to evolution a personality and a will that results in a purpose. It seems that evolution’s one purpose in life is to improve flawed species and make them better able to survive. According to the experts, evolution has been doing this for hundreds of millions or billions of years. To equip evolution for its vital role in our universe, it has also been given the remarkable ability to detect design flaws in any creature in any corner of the earth. And evolution never sleeps. Wherever there is a “design flaw” in any living creature, plant or animal, anywhere on the seven continents, there evolution will be found, working tirelessly over millions of years if necessary to ultimately “create” an improved species. And evolution does all this without any intelligent input from anything outside of itself. What I mean is that evolution appears to do all its remarkable work perpetually and as if by instinct. Evolution just does what it does automatically, spontaneously, perpetually, and independently. This seems like a stretch to me.


Equally curious to me are the “improvements” that evolution makes. According to proponents, evolution is responsible for all the spectacular variety of plant and animal life we see displayed in every corner of the globe. Birds, fish, mammals, insects of all types, trees, plants, grasses, bacteria. Everywhere we see life in all its infinite diversity, there we know that evolution has been at work.

An example of this concept at work requires that at some point in time and for some unknown reason, evolution “decided” that some species of fish was flawed or needed to be improved so that it could become a bird. And so evolution began the process of making incremental changes (“improvements”) over millions of years such that a male and a female of this species of fish would eventually shed their scales and the gills needed for breathing in water, and would abandon the sources of food that they ate as fish, and would emerge from the ocean waves with hollow bones and feather-covered wings with the ability to fly and to make nests and to lay eggs and to breathe air and to eat an entirely new diet of food that just happened to be available right at the place where they emerged from the water.

This seems like a stretch to me. There does not seems to be any evidence to support this sort of evolution ever taking place, nor does this process seem to be possible. But the other question would be, “Why would this ever happen?” In our example, the fish species was functioning and surviving perfectly well before they “evolved.” They had food to survive, they reproduced, they did all they needed to do to live out their days. Why would the fish need to be changed into birds? How would their becoming birds be an improvement? More than that, how would the seismic changes in these fish be sustained over the thousands of generations needed to change a fish to a bird, since at each change, there would need to be a male and a female of the intermediate fish-bird species to keep it going? Again, it seems to be a stretch.

SUMMARY. So far, we have presented three ideas that threaten the credibility of evolution: the origin of matter, evolution’s abilities, and evolution’s improvements. I will continue this examination of evolution in the next post by asking some questions of the evolutionist.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 3/20/2023                   #633

The disciple learns obedience (Hebrews 5:8)

POST OVERVIEW. An article on how we as disciples can learn obedience and thus have victory over persistent sins. These ideas will be included in my future book on discipleship.

Obedience is one of the most fundamental characteristics of the disciple of Jesus. In fact, to profess to follow Jesus as His disciple and to be disobedient to His commands is impossible. The disciple cannot continue in sin (Romans 6:2). Jesus makes it clear that to be His disciple is to be obedient to His commands (John 15:14). And these are just the very tip of the iceberg. It is without question that a disciple of Jesus will be obedient to Jesus.

But regarding obedience we find that Jesus not only demands obedience from His disciples, but Jesus also learned obedience. “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). Yes, the incarnate Son of God learned obedience. Of course, Jesus sinlessly and perfectly learned obedience. He obeyed without ever once uttering a word or having a thought that was not perfectly in accord with His Father’s will. At no moment was there ever the least element of disobedience from the Lord Jesus. But Jesus was called to fulfill His mission by “being obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8), and so He had to learn perfect obedience to atone for our sin.

In this post, I want to show that the disciple of Jesus must likewise learn obedience.


Before the year is out, I hope to write a book on the subject of discipleship and obedience will certainly occupy a prominent place in that work. In discipleship, the goal is growth in Christlikeness, and that involves growth in four areas.

  • KNOWLEDGE. Obedience is only possible after knowledge of God’s commands is obtained, so knowledge is primary. The primary and authoritative source of the disciple’s knowledge is the word of God, the Bible.
  • OBEDIENCE. When man’s will joyfully does what God commands. When knowledge of God’s commands results in doing what God commands. When the Spirit-given desire to please God is fulfilled by willful, joyful acts.
  • HOLINESS. When persistent, ongoing obedience has begun to transform the heart and mind of the disciple such that their presence exudes godly behavior.
  • USEFULNESS. When the disciple performs good works (Eph. 2:10) which edify other believers and which bear fruit for the kingdom of God.

Here, we are going to focus on the area of obedience.

Obedience is usually measurable. “Here is the command. It applies to you. Are you doing what the command says? Yes or no.” Obedience grows as knowledge of God’s commands grows. The more commands you know, the more you can obey. Therefore, the disciple must spend much time in the Word learning what he is expected to obey.

But obedience also grows as we learn to obey. Let’s consider an example. In Matthew 6:25, the Lord gives the command, “Stop being worried.” Now let’s assume that a newly converted disciple who is in the habit of worrying and being anxious reads Matthew 6 and discovers this command. Now the disciple has gained the knowledge of this command from his King and now knows that worrying is a sin. Since worrying is a sin, the disciple should obey and stop worrying. But despite the knowledge of sin and despite the disciple’s desire to obey God, what may occur is that the disciple continues to experience worry and anxiety. That is, the professing disciple of Jesus continues in disobedience. What is going on here? For Paul says in Romans 6:2, “How will we who died to sin (were saved) still live in it?” It is a rhetorical question that demands the answer, “We cannot continue in sin if we are a disciple of Jesus!” So, how do we explain this situation where a professing disciple is not seeing victory over this sin of worry?


First, ongoing sin is always a serious concern in the church of Jesus Christ and any situation of ongoing disobedience needs to be addressed. Also, we should acknowledge that there are several possible explanations for this, including the possibility that this person is not genuinely converted and therefore is unable to repent of their sin. But there is also the possibility that this is a genuine disciple of Jesus who has never learned obedience. That is, this disciple has not learned how to vanquish the sin so that he can obey. What I am suggesting is that, for sins that are deeply ingrained or that are difficult to identify by individual acts, obedience may be delayed because the disciple needs to be coached or discipled in their obedience.

To illustrate this, let’s go back to the person who is disobedient with regard to anxiety and worry, and this disciple knows that it is sinful. The first necessary ingredient is the disciple’s own desire for victory over the sin and his desire to walk in obedience. Assuming there is an earnest desire for obedience, the first step would be for the disciple to confess his sin and acknowledge his sin to God (Psalm 32:5) and to others (James 5:16) and thus bring the sin out into the light (1 John 1:7). “Yes, Lord, and yes, brothers, I know this is sin and I hate this sin.” Just this obedient confession of the sin will drain the sin of at least some of its power.

Next, the disciple learns from the Puritan, Thomas Watson, by reading his book Doctrine of Repentance and discovering the power of genuine repentance and putting that power to work against his worry. Additionally, the disciple develops a specific strategy for “fleeing” the sin of worry and anxiety when his “anxious thoughts multiply within him” (Psalm 94:19). So, when he begins to feel anxious or worried, he responds with his strategy. He consciously, willfully turns his mind until it is fixed either on an obedient action or on a God-breathed truth. For me, since I want to keep my strategy as simple as possible, my defense strategy consists in executing an obedient action. So I think, “Rejoice always” (1 Thess. 5:16). Then I spend the next five minutes reading Psalm 148, out loud if possible, and praising the Lord for all the good things He has given me and has done for me. And the sin that was trying to insinuate itself into my mind and cause me to disobey is expelled.

The point that I am making is that the local church should be aware of the need to instruct especially newer believers in the path of repentance so that they can see victory and learn obedience.

It is extremely discouraging, even depressing, and even eventually faith-threatening for the disciple of Jesus to continue long in “unwilful disobedience,” to long engage in what the disciple knows to be sin while his earnest longing with heart and soul is to be rid of the sin and to be obedient. The ideas presented in this article should help in training disciples how to learn obedience.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 3/17/2023                   #632

Psalm 110: The Lord (Adonai) rules in the midst of His enemies

POST OVERVIEW. A second post on Psalm 110, this time considering verses 2-7 where we see the Lord bringing His judgment on the unrighteous on the last day.


In a previous post (#629, 3/4/2023), we began our study of the eschatology of Psalm 110 by carefully examining just the first verse of the psalm. There we had discovered that, as the psalm opens, the Lord (Adonai) is welcomed back into heaven by the LORD (Yahweh). We saw that this first scene of the psalm took place when Jesus returned to heaven as the victorious Lamb after accomplishing His work of redemption on the cross. This first verse of Psalm 110 is therefore approximately parallel with Acts 2:33-36, with Revelation 5:6ff, and with Revelation 12:5b.

But we also saw that the focus of this psalm is not on the work that Jesus accomplished on the cross but is instead anticipating a future work that He will do when “His enemies are made a footstool for His feet.” Therefore, our orientation for reading the rest of the psalm is one of anticipation, asking the question, “What work will the Lord Jesus perform when He comes again?” That will be our question as we read the rest of the psalm.

I will again be using the New American Standard Bible (1995) for the text.


PSALM 110:2. Once again, it is important to see who is acting in this verse. In verse 1 the LORD (Yahweh) had said to the Lord (Adonai) that He should sit at His right hand UNTIL His enemies are made a footstool. Now in verse 2, the time anticipated by verse 1 has arrived and we now see that it is Adonai who is going to “rule in the midst of Your enemies.”

INTERPRETATION. God the Father speaks to God the Son, saying, “Jesus, now is the appointed time. The end of the age has come. There will be no more delay and no more suspension of judgment. Rise from Your seat at My right hand and take up Your double-edged sword. Take Your seat upon the white horse (Rev. 19:11-21) and begin Your awesome work of final judgment.”

PSALM 110:3. Before Adonai comes to reap the earth, He gathers His army around Him. These are His adoring subjects, and so “Your people will volunteer freely in holy array” as they prepare to follow their King into the battle.

INTERPRETATION. The Lord Jesus, the victorious Lamb, will gather His resurrected and glorified saints to Himself (this gathering of saints is pictured in Ezek. 37:1-14, in 1 Thess. 4:15-17, in Rev. 11:11-12 and in Rev. 14:1-5), and then these will immediately return with Him as His army (1 Thess. 3:13; 4:14; Rev. 19:14). In this context, “Your people” is all the elect of all time.

PSALM 110:4. This statement was made in eternity past from Yahweh to Adonai. In it, Yahweh established the eternal divine priesthood of the Lord Jesus, the priesthood of Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews teaches about this priesthood of Melchizedek and about Jesus’ place in it in Hebrews 7. Refer to this passage in Hebrews for an understanding of this verse. (I have written about Hebrews 7 and Melchizedek in a separate series of blogs.)


The final three verses describe the work of judgment on the last day. This is THAT day, the day of the Lord, the day of the wrath of God. This portion of the psalm reveals why the unregenerate are terrified when the Lord returns (see Rev. 6:12-17).

PSALM 110:5. Now, as the war of the last day begins and the final rendering of judgment is poured out on the reprobate, we see that it is Adonai (Jesus) who is still at the right hand of Yahweh (God the Father). “He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.”

INTERPRETATION. We have already made clear that these verses in Psalm 110 are describing the same events that take place in Rev. 19:11-21. Jesus Christ, accompanied by all His glorified saints, is coming to judge the earth and to tread the wine press of the wrath of God the Almighty. Here “kings” are mentioned specifically (“shatter kings”) to direct us to the passages in Revelation 16:13-16 and 19:17-19 (see obvious allusions in Rev. 20:8-9) that tell of Armageddon and the kings who gather their armies together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty (16:14). Jesus will “shatter” all opposing kings. All worldly authority will crumble before Him.

PSALM 110:6. Adonai (Jesus) “will judge among the nations and fill them with corpses. He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.”

INTERPRETATION. The verse’s meaning could not be clearer. In the day of His wrath, Jesus will come upon all the unrighteous with absolute justice and will slaughter all the unregenerate such that the earth will be filled with corpses. This same scene appears in Rev. 14:20 when blood flows from the wine press of God’s wrath up to a horse’s bridle for two hundred miles and in Rev. 19:21 where the Rider on the white horse (Jesus Christ) kills all the armies who had gathered against Him. The carnage will be unimaginable and none will escape.

PSALM 110:7. In a peaceful scene we see Adonai drinking from a brook.

INTERPRETATION. After the violence and destruction of the previous two verses in which the Lord judges all the inhabitants of the earth, the picture turns to a peaceful scene of the Lord drinking beside a brook. The message is so obvious that it can easily be missed: the Lord drinks from the brook just like a Man! To the Hebrew mind, both in David’s time and in Christ’s day a thousand years later, there was never any question that Adonai, the Lord, was God. But now in this verse we find a mystery, because here we find the Lord drinking from a brook. This means that Adonai, the one who comes to judge the earth, the one who shatters kings and who by Himself fills the nations with corpses, is also a Man. The psalm is teaching that the Lord is both God and Man. But how can this be?

Of course, we now know that the Lord Jesus, the one who will fulfill this psalm and the one who will render recompense to the nations, is both God and Man. He is the one who will fill the nations with corpses and He is the one who will drink from the brook when He is thirsty, just like any other man. This psalm is definitely prophetic and Messianic.


What we see in Psalm 110 is a picture of the end of the age when the Lord Jesus will gather all His elect to Himself via the Resurrection and then will render recompense to all the unrighteous in the Judgment at the last day.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 3/9/2023                     #631

Romans 1:18-25: The General Revelation Cannot Save

POST OVERVIEW. An article considering how the creation clearly reveals the existence of a powerful creating God but does not present the gospel so that man can be saved.

After declaring that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16), Paul launches into the prosecution of all mankind because of their sin and unrighteousness. Romans 1:18 declares that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and then Paul talks about “general revelation,” which is the term for what creation reveals to us about God.

“Because that which may be known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” – Romans 1:19-20

But while the creation “declares the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1-6), and while what has been made by the creative hand of God gives anyone but a fool (Psalm 14:1) overwhelming evidence of a supreme Creator (Romans 1:19-20), the creation and general revelation will never bring a sinner to repentance and faith, and this for many reasons.

First, for the fallen and unredeemed man, the creation does not reveal the one true God, but merely evidences some power much greater than the creature. That this is true is displayed by pantheism and polytheism and even through the foolishness of evolution, in which modern man denies what his senses and his intellect make unambiguously clear to him. To move a sinner to salvation, the sinner must be pointed to the one true God, indeed, must be pointed to the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, through the gospel. The sinner must encounter the God who saves sinners.

Second, the creation does not reveal the fallenness and the wickedness of every human heart and does not reveal that man is by nature sinful. Through the creation alone any man and every man is free to behave as he pleases, because the creation is not moral. It displays God’s power, but it does not proclaim His holiness. Without the Law there is no concept of sin (Romans 3:20; etc.), and so there is no awareness of how wicked we are. The Law was given to display God’s holiness and our unholiness.

Third, the creation does not make clear that God’s holy wrath is directed against my sin and that my sin deserves to be judged. Only the gospel declares to the sinner that their sin deserves the judgment of death and presents to the sinner the certainty of hell for those who will not respond to the gospel message.

Fourth, there is nothing in the natural creation that would point to the Lord Jesus Christ and would declare Him to be the Savior of sinners. The Lord is not presented through what has been made, but rather through those who have been chosen to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8, etc.). Paul declares in Romans that the Lord Jesus must be presented or no one can ever believe (Romans 10:14-15). The gospel is where the Lord Jesus is proclaimed.

Fifth, the creation does not tell the sinner what to do in order to be saved. It must be acknowledged that the plan of salvation wrought through the Incarnation and through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is completely unlikely and would never be conceived by the mind of man. But even if there was history that told of Jesus, nowhere would man know of the significance of that life and what to do to respond to Jesus. Only the gospel tells us that we must respond by believing on Christ as Lord and Savior to be saved.

Sixth, the creation brings no conviction of sin, because the creation is not empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction of sin (John 16:8ff) and without His power, the man does not experience conviction. By contrast, the Holy Spirit is empowered to bring about conviction of sin.

Seventh and finally, the creation gives the sinner no power to repent and believe. The creation is powerless to move the sinner to repentance and faith. Without the Holy Spirit’s moving through the gospel the sinner is left dead in transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1-7). But the gospel brings with it the power to stir the dead heart of the sinner and to remove the heart of stone and to create a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36).

Thus we must conclude that there is no way that “the native in Africa” who has never heard the gospel can come to faith in Christ and be saved, for there is nothing in their experience that can bring them to saving faith in Jesus Christ. All of this information and all of these steps listed are necessary for salvation, but it is “the gospel that is the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16). Without the gospel being preached and understood and without the response of faith no one is saved. Thus the person holding a Bible in a stadium in Houston who has never been convicted of their personal sin and who therefore has never come to repentance and faith is no better off than “the native in Africa” who has never been exposed to one word of the gospel. Both are equally lost.

In our next post, we will consider the implications of these ideas about the creation for our evangelism and for our apologetics.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 3/6/2023                     #630

Psalm 110:1 – “The LORD said to my Lord”

POST OVERVIEW. A detailed study of Psalm 110:1 focused on the eschatology contained in this verse and in the psalm.

The psalms serve the church of the Lord Jesus by giving us praises and prayers, by modeling for us how we can cry out to the Lord when we are afraid or in pain or lonely or threatened by others. The psalms show us how raw and honest we can be with our God as we seek Him with our whole heart. The psalms are well-known for all these things. But we should also keep in mind that the psalms provide us with rich theology, pouring out doctrinal teaching in the form of laments and praises and cries for mercy. As the book of Job uses the context of suffering to debate the nature of God and His righteousness, so the book of Psalms uses the form of Hebrew poetry to reveal profound truths about God and man.


For the next couple of articles, we will be studying Psalm 110. There may be no better example of a psalm that teaches theology and Bible doctrine than this psalm. Contained in its seven verses are truths about the nature of the Trinity, the deity of Jesus, Jesus’ priesthood of Melchizedek, and the humanity of Christ, as well as much teaching about Christ and the end of the age (eschatology). I plan to write two articles on this psalm, the first one being a careful study of just the first verse and the second article going carefully but more quickly through the remaining six verses.

TARGET OF OUR STUDY. Although there are many things that we could learn from Psalm 110, we will be seeking to learn what this psalm teaches us about last things, particularly about the coming of the Lord at the end of the age.

METHOD. The pace of our study will be slow, moving carefully and deliberately through all the verses of Psalm 110, and especially moving deliberately through the first verse. We will spend a lot of time on verse 1 for two reasons. First, this verse is packed with powerful theology and we want to go carefully to be sure that our exegesis does not go beyond what is actually contained in the text. But second, by carefully studying verse 1, we effectively position ourselves to see how the rest of the psalm flows. In other words, if we properly understand verse 1, then we should be lined up to understand the entire psalm.

I will be using the New American Standard Bible (1995) for my text.

The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
Psalm 110:1

WHO. Simple observation tells us that there are two persons here in this scene, but who are these persons? One is “the LORD” and the other is “the Lord.” Both of these are names for God, but the names appear differently in English because the names are different in the original Hebrew. “The LORD” is “Yahweh” in Hebrew and is the first Person of the Trinity, whom we know as God the Father. “The Lord” is “Adonai” and is the second Person of the Trinity, whom we know as God the Son, Jesus Christ. So, this verse shows us God the Father speaking to Jesus. Much like Jesus’ so-called high-priestly prayer in John 17, in which God the Son prays to God the Father, so here we are allowed into the heavenly throne room to hear God the Father speak to Jesus, who is God the Son. We have now discerned who is speaking in Psalm 110:1.

WHAT. What is this event that prompts God the Father to speak to Jesus in this way? Again, observation of the details of the scene coupled with a basic knowledge of the flow of biblical history will make the answer plain. It appears that Adonai (Jesus) has been absent from His seat at the Father’s right hand for some reason and is now returning to His place. But when was there ever a time when God the Son was not seated at the Father’s right hand? Of course, the only time in all of eternity when Son was not at the Father’s right hand was when He had been sent into the world to accomplish His work of atonement by His death on the cross. For those thirty-three years of the Incarnation, Jesus “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) and during those years, the seat at the Father’s right hand was empty.

But now, in Psalm 110:1, Jesus has perfectly accomplished His work of atonement on the cross (John 17:4; 19:30; etc.) and is returning to His place, seated at the Father’s right hand (Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12-13; Col. 3:1; Acts 2:33; 5:31). Thus, in Psalm 110:1, the Father (“the LORD”) welcomes Jesus back to heaven and back to His seat at His right hand.

WHEN. Since we now know what is happening here, we can know for certain when this occurred. The Father said this to the Son at ~ AD 30 in human history when Jesus ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9). [NOTE: For reference to other end-times passages, this scene is roughly simultaneous with the events of Rev. 5:6-14 and Rev. 12:5b.]


Having determined the participants in this scene and when the scene takes place, we now will examine the contents of the Father’s address to the Son.

“Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” This sentence from the Father to the Son looks out into the distant future and hints at events which will close the gospel age. Jesus, as the victorious Lamb (Rev. 5:6ff), has finished His atoning work and has sat down (Heb. 1:3), but the Father’s statement forces us to think about what will happen “then.” The LORD’s words create an anticipation about that future event when the Father makes Jesus’ enemies “a footstool for His feet.” This first verse, then, establishes that this psalm is prophetic and its theme is eschatological. The message is that, when His enemies are made a footstool, Adonai (“the Lord”) will arise from His seat to perform another work. The nature of that final work is what the rest of the psalm is about.

“The Lord” will remain seated at “the LORD’s” right hand for a long time (see Heb. 10:12-13 for this proof), but when His enemies are made a footstool, the Lord will arise to carry out His work of final judgment (see Rev. 19:11-21).


Our first study of Psalm 110 has focused on only the first verse, but that verse has established this psalm as both Messianic and eschatological, and the psalm is about events surrounding the coming of the Lord Jesus at the end of the age. The next article will study the rest of the psalm.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 3/4/2023                     #629

Two riders on white horses (Rev. 6:2 and Rev. 19:11)

POST OVERVIEW. This post compares the rider on the white horse of Rev. 6:2 with the Rider on the white horse of Rev. 19:11 to reveal how to interpret these two passages.


In Revelation 5, the victorious Lamb is given a scroll sealed with seven seals, and the Lamb is the only one worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals. He breaks the first seal and a rider on a white horse rides out “conquering and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2). Then later, in Rev. 19:11, we encounter another Rider on a white horse who “judges and wages war.” In this post, by comparing these two riders, we will show what these two symbols represent and how beautifully they relate to one another.

As is evident from this chart, the parallels between the riders are both profound and intentional. The first rider of Rev. 6:2 represents the commissioned church as it rides out at the very start of the gospel age conquering the nations with the bow of the gospel.  Then on the last day, at the very end of the gospel age the Lord Jesus comes from heaven to judge the rebellious nations and to pour out God’s wrath on all those who oppose Him. The first rider (6:2) goes out to proclaim the gospel message, a message which is able to bring the dead to life, but the second rider (19:11-21) goes out with a sharp sword, a sword which will put the living to death.

“Behold, a white horse!” But the appearance of the different horses produces very different responses. The white horse in Rev. 6:2 carries a rider who is proclaiming the good news of the gospel, so when the shout “Behold!” is heard for this white horse and rider, joy begins to spread. Armed with the bow of the gospel, this rider is conquering the nations to bring many into the King’s army. This rider is welcome because he brings good news. This is the proclamation of the favorable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19), the announcement of “the acceptable time” and “the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:1-2). This is the opening of the gospel age, the time of the great ingathering of the elect as the Gentiles are called from every tribe and tongue to repent and believe in Jesus.

By contrast, when the nations hear “Behold, a white horse!” for this second Rider (Rev. 19:11), it will be a time of horror and despair. The Rider on this white horse “judges and wages war.” “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations” (Rev. 19:15). The second sounding of “Behold!” announces the end of the gospel age and declares that the time for mercy is forever past. Now there is only “a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES” (Heb. 10:27). When the shout “Behold!” is heard to warn of this Rider’s approach, it is only a notice that all hope is to be abandoned, for “there will be delay no longer” (Rev. 10:6).


We have shown that there is an obvious parallel between the two riders on white horses who are located at the beginning and the end of the gospel age. The rider sent out at the breaking of the first seal in Rev. 6:1-2 represents the commissioned church going out to proclaim the gospel message to the nations. The Rider who rides out in Rev. 19:11-21 is the Lord Jesus coming “to judge the living and the dead” (2 Tim. 4:1) on the last day as He “strikes down the nations” (Rev. 19:15).

The interpretation that we have proposed emerges entirely from these two texts, but there are other passages in Revelation which connect with these riders and which strengthen and clarify other points of interpretation. A future post will explore those connections.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 2/25/2023                   #628

Two “last day” doctrinal truths – implications for Revelation

POST OVERVIEW. Exploring the implications of the two doctrinal truth we discovered in Post #626 (2/22/2023). Doctrinal Truth 1: The Resurrection of the saints occurs on the last day. Doctrinal Truth 2: The coming of the Lord Jesus occurs on the last day. This post will explore the implications for Revelation.

In a recent post (#626, 2/22/2023), our exegesis of verses from John 6 along with careful study of 1 Thess. 4:15-17 (and other verses) had revealed two significant doctrinal truths. First, the Resurrection of the saints occurs on the last day and second, the coming of the Lord Jesus also occurs on the last day. These two truths have profound implications for our understanding of many of the eschatological passages in the Bible, because now when we see a passage involving the coming of the Lord, we know that this occurs on the last day. Likewise for passages displaying the resurrection of the saints, we know that these events are occurring on the last day. This post will examine passages from the book of Revelation in light of these “last day” truths and will demonstrate how being able to identify when these events occur helps us better interpret Revelation.


REVELATION 20:1-7 AND THE THOUSAND YEARS. The first passage we will consider is Revelation 20:1-7 and the matter of the thousand years. Our OBJECTIVE in this mini-study of these verses is to determine when the thousand years occurs or at least when the thousand years definitely does not occur in light of one or both of these two doctrinal truths.

By way of background, there are many believers who hold to a view of the end of the age which places the thousand years of Revelation 20 after the coming of Christ. But we have discovered the doctrinal truth that the coming of Jesus is on the last day. Therefore, it is impossible for the thousand years to occur after the coming of Jesus.

This leads to the following conclusion:

Any view of the end times that sees the thousand years of Revelation 20 as occurring after the coming (παρουσία) of Christ is incorrect, because that view is in conflict with an established doctrinal truth.

REVELATION 6:12-17. This is the great day of the wrath of the Lamb, which, of course, is a picture of the coming of Jesus on the last day. So, this occurs on the last day.

REVELATION 11:11-13. In a scene reminiscent of Ezekiel 37, we see the saints rising to their feet and ascending heavenward. This is a figurative picture of the Resurrection, which occurs on the last day.

REVELATION 14:19-20. Although this text does not explicitly mention the coming of Jesus, we know from Rev. 19:15 that, in His coming, Jesus is the One who “treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty,” and here in Rev. 14 we see the same “great wine press of the wrath of God” (14:19). It is certain that these two texts (Rev. 14:19 and Rev. 19:15) describe the same event and that, although not mentioned in Rev. 14:19, Jesus is the one who produces the blood from the wine press. This event occurs on the last day.

REVELATION 19:11-21. The Rider on the white horse! This is the climactic scene in the book of Revelation as Jesus comes to strike down the nations that oppose Him and to throw the beast and the false prophet (and Satan, 20:10) into the lake of fire. Again, the last day.


Before we leave Revelation to see other last-day passages in the Scriptures, we should consider the significance of what we have discovered. Answering the “when does this occur?” question is one of the most challenging features of a study of Revelation, but by establishing doctrinal truths and then interpreting the text on the basis of those truths, we have been able to answer the “when” question for some very important passages and thus to develop two foundational principles for interpreting Revelation.

  1. The period of time called THE THOUSAND YEARS in Revelation 20 does not occur AFTER the coming of the Lord (as proven above). and
  2. Because events of the last day appear in at least four different chapters throughout the book, we know that Revelation is not to be interpreted in chronological order. Instead of reading these visions as sequentially arranged, the student must examine the content and the context of each vision to determine when it occurs and where it fits with the other visions.

In the next post, we will continue to explore the implications of these two “last-day” doctrinal truths in other eschatological passages of Scripture.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 2/24/2023                   #627

Studies from John 6 – When is Jesus coming?

POST OVERVIEW. A Bible study based on the teaching of John 6 intended to determine when the coming of the Lord occurs.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study in the Scriptures is to determine when the coming of the Lord occurs. This could also be the question, “When will Jesus be revealed?” or “When will the appearing of the Lord occur?”

FROM JOHN 6. We will begin with Jesus’ teaching in John 6 and asking the question,

“According to Jesus, when does the Resurrection occur?”

39  “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing but raise it up on the last day.” Jesus is speaking about those who will be saved. He will raise them up on the last day.

40 ”For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” Jesus Himself will resurrect all believers on the last day.

44 ”No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” Jesus will raise up on the last day all whom the Father draws.

 54 ”He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” Once again, Jesus will raise them up on the last day.

A final reference will be from John 11:24.

24 Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” In this conversation between the Lord and Martha about Lazarus, Martha knows that Lazarus will rise on the last day.

Based on five unambiguous verses from the gospel of John, we can say with complete confidence that:

The Bible teaches that the Resurrection occurs on the last day.

This now becomes a doctrinal truth for all other Bible study.

(NOTE: “The Resurrection” is defined as the event when God’s people receive their glorified, resurrection bodies. Thus, the Resurrection is the believer’s glorification.)

But our OBJECTIVE as stated above was to discover when the coming of the Lord occurs according to the Scriptures. Why start with when the Resurrection occurs? It is because the timing of the Resurrection and the timing of the coming of the Lord are related.

The Bible also teaches that the coming (παρουσία) of Jesus occurs at the same time as the Resurrection of the saints.


FROM COLOSSIANS 3:4. “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

The verse tells of the future time when “Christ is revealed,” which certainly speaks of the coming of the Lord in glory. Note that, at that time, “(we) also will be revealed with Him in glory.” Christ is revealed in glory at the same time that we are revealed with Him in glory. The coming of the Lord and the Resurrection occur at the same time.

FROM PHIL. 3:21.  Christ “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.” Jesus will transform us into glorified saints. Our bodies will be conformed to His glory. When will this occur? When He is revealed in glory, of course. Thus this verse teaches that we will be transformed at the time when Jesus is revealed.

FROM 1 JOHN 3:2. “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him.” In this verse, John says what Paul has said in Colossians and Philippians. When Christ appears, He will be coming in blazing glory. And John says, “We will be like Him.” This must mean that we are going to be glorified (resurrected) when Christ comes. In other words, His coming and our Resurrection occur at the same time.

FROM 1 THESS. 4:15-17. This section of 1 Thess. is explicitly about the timing of the Resurrection. In these three verses, Paul unambiguously teaches how the coming of Christ relates to the Resurrection of the saints. We will quote the whole passage.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

The apostle gives the details of the “coming of the Lord,” and he also supplies the order of the Resurrection. At “the coming of the Lord” or when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven,” the Resurrection of the saints will occur. Saints who have “fallen asleep” (“the dead in Christ”) will be resurrected first, then saints who are still alive will be resurrected next. Then the resurrected saints will meet the descending Lord Jesus in the air. In the clearest possible words, Paul says that the coming of the Lord happens at the same time as the Resurrection of the saints.

[FURTHER NOTES: There can be some confusion about what happens after the glorified saints “meet the Lord in the air” (4:17), but the Bible is not unclear about this. See my teaching on this in Post #625 from February 22, 2023.]

Now, since the Bible teaches that the Resurrection occurs on the last day, and since we have shown that coming of the Lord occurs on the same day as the Resurrection of the saints, we can state as a doctrinal truth that the coming of the Lord occurs on the last day.

The Bible teaches that the coming of the Lord occurs on the last day.

IMPLICATIONS: In the course of this study, we have established two doctrinal truths. First, the Resurrection of the saints occurs on the last day, and second, the coming of the Lord occurs on the last day. Our next post will consider some of the implications of these truths.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 2/22/2023                   #626

What happens after we ‘meet the Lord in the air’? 1 Thess. 4:17

POST OVERVIEW. A brief exegesis of 1 Thess. 4:17 and the phrase “meet the Lord in the air.” What does the Scripture teach about this phrase? What happens after we “meet the Lord in the air?”

Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. – 1 Thess. 4:17


The fourth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians contains some of the apostle’s clearest teaching about the coming of the Lord and the Resurrection of the saints, but Bible students can still have questions about these events. One of the points of confusion can be about what happens after the glorified saints “meet the Lord in the air” (4:17), but the Bible is not unclear about this. The saints meet the descending Lord Jesus in the air and then we come with Him to earth as “He judges and wages war” (Rev. 19:11). Let’s explore what the Scripture says about this event.


First, the nature of Jesus’ mission at His coming requires that He come to earth after the saints meet Him in the air. When Jesus comes, He is coming to “strike down the nations and to rule them with a rod of iron and to tread out the wine press of the fierce wrath of God the Almighty” (Rev. 19:15). “There will be delay no longer” (Rev. 10:6). At His first advent, Jesus came to be a Savior and to be a sacrifice for sin, but when He comes at the end of the age, He will come as a judge to punish all sin. The time for mercy and grace will be over. Then Jesus “judges and wages war.” His mission will be to render recompense, and so we see Him throwing the beast and the false prophet into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20) and then we see Him rendering punishment on all unredeemed mankind. “And the rest (‘of the kings of the earth and their armies’ 19:19) were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of Him who sat on the horse” (Rev. 19:21). At the end of Revelation 19, Jesus has killed all those who oppose Him. (See also Rev. 14:19-20.) Therefore, because of the nature of His mission, Jesus must continue to earth after the saints meet Him in the air.


But second, we also have the clear teaching of the Scriptures that tells us that the saints meet the Lord in the air and then come with Him back to earth. In 1 Thess. 3:13, Paul says that “we will be without blame in holiness at the coming of our Lord Jesus WITH all His saints.” In 4:14, again Paul says, “God will bring WITH Him (with Jesus) those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” In Rev. 19:14, a verse that describes the Lord Jesus as He descends from heaven to judge the nations, we read, “The armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him (Jesus) on white horses.” The glorified saints, by their resurrection, have joined their King’s army and now come with their King as He judges the nations.


Thus, from Scripture’s clear teaching, after the saints “meet the Lord in the air,” they proceed to come to earth with the descending Lord Jesus as He comes to judge and wage war.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 2/22/2023                   #625

Investigating the “42 months” of Revelation 12:6 and 12:14

POST OVERVIEW. (4th post)A continuation of post #617 (1/31/2023) investigating specific occurrences of the “42 months” in Revelation 11-13 (also in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7). This post looks specifically at Rev. 12:6 and Rev. 12:14.


In our last post (#617, 1/30/2023), we had begun carefully examining several occurrences of the “42 months” to get a clearer picture of these events near the end of the age, and now we will continue that work by looking at Rev. 12:6 and 12:14.

Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. – Revelation 12:6

But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she *was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. – Revelation 12:14


Since these two verses evidently describe the same event, we will interpret them simultaneously. That is, we will consider information in either verse as being useful for interpreting both verses. We see that both verses tell of a woman who flees into the wilderness to a place where she is nourished for “42 months.” How do we interpret what this means?

THE WOMAN. We will begin by identifying the woman. She is introduced in Rev. 12:1 wearing a crown of twelve stars. The woman then gives birth to a male child (12:5). This is obviously the Incarnation. Jesus completes His work and then “was caught up to God and to His throne” (12:5), which describes His ascension, so that by the end of 12:5, we are at basically the same place as we are in 5:6, when the Lamb arrives back in heaven. But who is “the woman?” The woman is a symbol for true Israel or the elect. Here in Rev. 12:1-5, the woman represents the Old Testament people of God. Thus, the twelve stars (12:1) represent the twelve tribes.

But “the woman” also appears during the “42 months” (12:6, 14) in the time shortly before the coming of Jesus at the end of the age. The woman is persecuted by the dragon (12:13) after the dragon (the serpent, Satan) is thrown down to the earth, “having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time” (Rev. 12:12). In other words, here in 12:6 and 12:13-17, “the woman” represents the church. Therefore, throughout this chapter, the woman is a symbol for true Israel or the elect, representing as she does the entire people of God.

THE OTHER SYMBOLS. So, if in 12:6 and 12:13-17, “the woman” represents the church, what do the other symbols mean? Let me begin this exploration with an observation. We know that the “42 months” appears seven times in Scripture. In all the other passages which mention the “42 months,” the people of God are persecuted and must endure suffering. In Dan. 7:25, the little horn wears down the saints. In Dan. 12:7, the holy people will be shattered. In Rev. 11:2, “the holy city” (the church) is tread underfoot. In Rev. 11:7, the beast overcomes and kills “the two witnesses” (the church). And in Rev. 13:7, again, the beast overcomes the saints. But in Rev. 12:6 and 12:14, even though “the woman” must flee into “the wilderness,” she does not suffer and is not killed in this “place,” but instead is “nourished.” The woman is just as faithful as “the saints” and “the holy people” and “the holy city” and “the two witnesses,” but in God’s sovereignty, one portion of the church suffers greater and more dangerous persecution while another portion suffers less. Paul wrote, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12), and Jesus sends His whole church out “as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt. 10:16). So, all disciples are willing to suffer and die for Jesus, but, according to God’s divine sovereignty, not all will. Some will flee into the wilderness to their place to be nourished, away from the presence of the serpent (Rev. 12:14).


Now we should consider Jesus’ letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. Among these seven churches, only two, Smyrna and Philadelphia, were faithful and received no rebuke and no call for repentance from the Lord. Smyrna represents the suffering church, the church that is imprisoned and tested and has tribulation. Jesus commands them, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (2:10). By contrast, the church at Philadelphia is presented with an open door and to them Jesus promises, “I will keep you from the hour of testing which is about to come upon the whole world” (3:10). In this context, “the hour of testing” refers to the great tribulation of the church (Rev. 7:14). The point is that one faithful church goes through tribulation and testing, while another faithful church is kept from that same testing. One faithful church goes through the fire while another flees into the wilderness to be nourished. As Philadelphia displays the church that the Lord, in His sovereignty, delivers from testing, so some of the church will be allowed to flee into the wilderness to be nourished during the 42 months.

Thus, the general meaning of Rev. 12:6 and 12:14 reveals that, during the 42 months, not all the church will be subject to deadly persecution. In Matthew 24:22, our Lord declares that the days of the great tribulation will be cut short “for the sake of the elect.” Clearly implied here is that some of the church will be spared and will remain alive until the coming of the Lord. We know that is the case because Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 4:17 that there are some “who are alive and remain” and in 1 Cor. 15:51, the apostle tells us that “we will not all sleep.” Some, therefore, will be able to flee to a place of safety in the wilderness. The “place” here may not be a physical place but may be speaking of a place of spiritual safety. The “wilderness” suggests that the church must seek refuge away from the land of abundance and fruitfulness. There in the wilderness the church finds nourishment and she is sustained by the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. The physical comforts are few but there is safety in the barren place where no one wants to go. And so the church stays under the radar and is nourished during the “42 months” as she awaits her King’s coming.

Having investigated the seven occurrences of the “42 months,” we now want to consider all these passages together and see what they teach us about the end times. That will be the purpose of our next blog post in this series.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 2/18/2023                   #624